January 2009

Stephen King’s Office

You ever want to walk through a bestselling author’s office? You know, just to see what it’s like?

Well, you can do that virtually with Stephen King’s office. He’s got a new thing on his website that allows you to take a interactive tour of his workspace. You’ll want a fast computer to do this along with Flash, but it is kind of fun and interesting. You can click on items to get information about them and there’s even a sort of treasure hunt involved.

Take the tour. When you get started, it will look like it’s asking for a log in, but it’s actually not. You can walk around without entering anything.

A Fond Farewell To Favorite Cultural Spots In Milwaukee

Arnie Birren writes in the UWMLeader :

“Just imagine, one day we’ll tell our kids about books. The way they smelled when first purchased, the graceful aging of the yellowed volumes that lined the shelves of resale stores and the satisfaction of turning that final page.

Start saying goodbye to the paperback. Say farewell to off-tune punk ballads bleeding through the low-ceilinged basements of Riverwest. Kiss your art goodbye Milwaukee. It’s leaving you behind.

March 31 will mark the final day of operation for Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, a Milwaukee staple since 1927. Not only a bookshop, Schwartz also serves as a venue for book and poetry readings. It connects the loose network of local readers and writers to nationally touring authors. It has been a place to talk about books.”

EVERYTHING Is Harmful To Your Computer – Google Cites Human Error

Between 6:30 and 7:25 am PST, every single search result on Google was met with their dire warning that “This site may harm your computer!”.

So what happened?

Most programmers will nod and smile when they hear that the value “/” was listed as being a site containing malware. For the uninitiated, a / is basically added to the end of every site’s URL and it expands to all URLs. So all those Google links got tagged as bad when they were, in fact, just websites.

The Google Blog has the full deal. But really, from the perspective of someone who’s done web design and programming, it’s nice to see the big guys screw up every now and again.

Additional reporting by Cali Lewis of GeekBrief TV:

What Books Inspired Our New President?

A New York City bookstore, McNally Jackson, has mounted an exhibit not of new books, but of books that inspired President Barack Obama as a young man in his 20’s. The exhibit is entitled “How History Was Made: Books that Inspired a President.”

“There is an incredible range of books and writers,” said McNally Jackson’s John McGregor, who came up with the idea for the display shortly after Obama won the election in November. McGregor conducted extensive research to compile the list of more than 50 featured titles, drawing on such sources as Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope and interviews given by Obama. “It was a really deep period of contemplation and study for him,” said McGregor. The young Obama’s reading selections ranged from Shakespeare’s King Lear and Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook to Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son. Also included in the display are some more recent books Obama has indicated reading, such as Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead and Gandhi: An Autobiography.

Here’s the list of titles read by Obama. Great idea.

Impact of recession on libraries

The following was found via AUTOCAT and is posted entirely as it isn’t showing up in the web archive quite just yet:

Please excuse duplication. Please forward to interested colleagues and other listservs.

The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances will be publishing a special issue(s) on the effect of the current global economic recession on libraries. The editor is looking for articles from all types of libraries: public, academic, private, special, corporate, etc.

Articles that deal with managing layoffs, permanent cuts to staffing and collections, innovative collaborative and cooperative arrangements between and among libraries and/or other organizations because of budget cuts (including shared print, cataloging, collection building, etc.), and organizational change and/or strategic planning in a time of dramatic budget cuts are especially encouraged. Articles can be of any length, and figures and screen shots are encouraged.

If you are interested in contributing, please send the editor your name, a short proposal of the topic, and a tentative title for the article. Deadline for proposals is March 1, 2009. Articles would be due to the editor by July 1, 2009. Any questions can be directed to the editor.

Thank you.

Dr. Brad Eden
Editor, The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances
Associate University Librarian for Technical Services and Scholarly Communication
University of California, Santa Barbara
[email protected]

Books as Objets D’Art on Exhibit in Minneapolis

Many collectors will tell you that books are works of art. Not just for their words, but as objects of art. Many artists at some point in their careers have made books. The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis is celebrating the book as an art form with it’s exhibition “Text/Messages.” It features books created by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Kara Walker, among others.

Story, slide show and audio from Minnesota Public Radio.

Lead Law Could Cause Big Headaches for Libraries

Toys with dangerous levels of lead, toxic chemicals in clothing, hazardous baby cribs — the soon-to-be-enforced Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act aims to protect children from all of them.

But library books? Unless the Consumer Product Safety Commission exempts them from the sweeping legislation, libraries nationwide could be forced to pull children’s books from their shelves or, alternately, ban children. The law is scheduled to take effect on February 10.

“You’re talking about separating children from books, which has got to be the most ridiculous thing this commission has ever attempted,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington office. “Books are safe. They are not a dangerous product.”

Paper cuts maybe…but lead? Kansas City Star reports.