July 2008

“Books” a Memoir by Larry McMurtry

Reviews (mixed mostly) are sprouting up (in those publications that still have book reviews) for Larry McMurtry’s new book simply entitled “Books”.

McMurtry, in addition to being an author (Terms of Endearment, Last Picture Show, and the Pulitzer prize-winning Lonesome Dove), has been a bookseller in Archer Texas for the last forty-some years, and that is primarily the subject of this, his fortieth book.

Reviews: SF Examiner, NYT, Chicago Sun-Times and the Boston Globe.

Columbus Library Director Finishes a Good Run

Today is Robert Trautwein’s last day as Director of the Columbus (NE) Public Library…it’s been a good twenty-eight and a half years.

As a child, Trautwein lived on a farm 26 miles from the nearest library in Twin Falls Idaho. When his teacher gave him a book review assignment (Vanity Fair), and he’d only read about 100 pages, he headed to the nearest library where he was introduced to Master Plots, a reference set that summarizes many classic books. Later that summer, he went back to the library and read the whole book.

He has some exciting plans for his retirement, starting with a 450-mile walk across Spain.

MS Library Looking at Security Options After Teen Stashes Weapon There

Readers of the Desoto Times are being polled about the possible use of metal detectors in the library after a gun was found stashed behind the First Regional Library in Hernando Mississippi, a place described by the library’s executive director as “a nice peaceful town’.

Catherine Nathan said she was reluctant to consider the installation of metal detectors, but would leave that decision up to the Board of Trustees. Said Nathan “We didn’t think the day would come when we would talk about guns and the library. I hired a security guard this past year and we have security cameras outside the library. Now it does pull us up short”.

The Debate Over Rating Video Games… In The UK

As gaming in libraries becomes more of a commonplace and less of a radical notion, librarians will be forced to deal with the same kinds of issues they encountered when libraries began to carry movies.

When libraries started stocking VHS cassettes, there was a huge debate over R rated movies. Should libraries stock such films even though many R rated movies garner Academy Awards and other film acclaims? Now the rating issue isn’t over R, it’s M for Mature. Should a library carry a game or not simply based off its rating? Grand Theft Auto IV is rated M but received accolades throughout the entire gaming world. How reliable is the rating? Do we check it out to minors? And the list goes on.

We’ve had our share of trouble with game ratings here in the States, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the good folks over in the United Kingdom are slogging through similar problems.

More from the Beeb.

Engadget Brings Words on Mobile P2P

Donald Melanson at Engadget brings us a story about wireless peer to peer use. It appears that AT&T has provisions in its contracts for its US wireless phone users to terminate service if peer to peer traffic occurs. With the rise of wireless broadband modems as well as phones that can be “tethered”, might this hurt the mobile user of the Internet? Might this impact potential innovative uses of such technology in bookmobiles whether it be for ILS connectivity or providing Internet access to patrons?

A New Type of Bookmobile

The Voice of America reports about a new sort of bookmobile in Ethiopia. A former children’s librarian in San Francisco, Yohannes Gebregiorgis, has returned to his native land to spread reading with the help of donkeys and carts. Funding is being given by civic groups in the United States to help the effort.

Running Digital Library Software On An Ipod?

Writing in the Greenstone Blog, Dr. Ian Witten of the University of Waikato brought light upon a paper presented at the recent Joint Conference on Digital Libraries held in Pittsburgh. Dr. Witten noted that New Zealand had more contributions to the conference accepted than South America, Africa, and Australia combined. The paper on running the Greenstone system on an iPod can be found using the Association for Computing Machinery portal.