October 2009

Security Upgraded at Multnomah County Library

For years now, stealing from the Multnomah County Library has been an easy feat. You just have to pick up a book and walk out with it.

The Central Library — which holds half of the library’s collection — has had no security system since the building was renovated 13 years ago. None of the 16 branches has working security systems either, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost materials each year — nearly $300,000 in the last six months alone.

But book thieves beware: The days of easy pickings are almost over. More from Oregon Live.

Not a Simple Price War — It’s a Fight Over What You Get to Read

What looks like a simple price war between Amazon, Target, and Walmart over a handful of bestsellers is symptomatic of a much deeper problem in the book business. The larger fight is really over what you get to read.
The price war began Oct 15 when Walmart.com dropped its prices drastically on several bestsellers. Amazon.com and Target.com quickly followed suit, and within a couple of days the prices were down to $8.99 and heading lower. At this point, these behemoths were clearly selling those books below cost and engaging in an illegal form of predatory pricing.

Read more at: The Huffington Post

What Can You Do With Old Catalog Cards?

Bookmark? Origami? Grocery list? The librarians at U. of South Carolina’s Thomas Cooper Library are working to hold a series of events to honor the card catalog, its use in the transformation of knowledge and the people who created and used it.

The Daily Gamecock reports “We want to commemorate it and raise awareness about what it did and all the generations of library staff that made it what it is,” said Jeffrey Makala, the assistant special collections librarian. “Commemorate and celebrate.”

During Welcome Week there was a game night and a boat race featuring cards from the catalog. The latest event is a competition challenging students to get creative and see what they can make with catalog cards.

“We are looking for different way to get many different types of people involved in the events,” said Marilee Birchfield, a reference librarian at the Thomas Cooper Library.

The competition has four categories: functional (serves a purpose), fashionable (wearable), foundational (building models) and free form. Students are allowed as many cards at they would like and there are no specified rules for the competition.

Highwood mayor dismisses nearly entire library board

All but one member of Highwood’s (IL) library board were greeted at their doors by police officers with dismissal notices last week. The one remaining trustee and treasurer, William Koch, was asked to stay on, but resigned on Sunday.

Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro said he is assembling a new board to bring a more modern tone to the library, but released trustees see the mass dismissal as the city’s backlash for their prior complaints.

In a city council meeting scheduled for Oct. 27, the council will have determined whether to veto the nearly full-board dismissal or appoint a new board.

Full story

Intermingling Issues

The American Library Association’s President issued a statement on the new FCC net neutrality proceeding. The text is available from the FCC web site in PDF form relative to what the Commission is proposing.

School Library Journal ran a piece in the matter. The story included extraneous issues that are not being dealt with in the net neutrality proceeding by the FCC but in other dockets. For those participating in FCC proceedings, the Commission normally rebukes commenters who raise extraneous issues outside a particular docket’s scope unless there is good cause for the matter to come up. The hub for speed issues but not net neutrality issues is at Broadband.gov.

LISTen, one of the LISNews podcasts, talked about the net neutrality proceeding in its most recent episode. While the discussion is brief it does discuss what was not an FCC decision but rather the start of a process.

What Book Got You Hooked? And the winner is…

The fiftieth state!! Congratulations to Hawaii, the winner of 50,000 new books for kids in need from this year’s “What Book Got You Hooked?” contest. Dr. Seuss’ Beginner Books, including Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in The Hat, were this year’s top vote-getters in the online campaign to discover what books got Americans hooked on reading.

Visit the What Book Got You Hooked Web site to view the entire list of top 25 books, see the final state rankings and learn how the books will be distributed in Hawaii.

Google’s Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years

Google CEO Eric Schmidt envisions a radically changed internet five years from now: dominated by Chinese-language and social media content, delivered over super-fast bandwidth in real time. Figuring out how to rank real-time social content is “the great challenge of the age,” Schmidt said in an interview in front of thousands of CIOs and IT Directors at last week’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2009.

Full piece at NYT ReadWriteWeb

This book is overdue!

Are librarians irrelevant in the age of Google? Hell no. After years hanging out with a wide variety of librarians, Marilyn Johnson, author of the upcoming THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All is convinced that the profession is more vital than ever.

Full post here.

The book is due out in February 2010.

UT librarian Built Renowned Jewish Collection

Austin Statesman: Nathan Snyder worked as a bibliographer and cataloguer at the Perry-Castañeda Library, the main library on the U. of Texas campus. The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at UT dedicated a library to him in May — the Nathan I. Snyder Library. Snyder created an endowment of his personal collection of books and documents, worth between $15,000 and $20,000, which is at the center.

Snyder died of a brain tumor Sunday. He was 65.

Robert Abzug, a UT history professor and the director of the Schusterman Center, said Snyder single-handedly built up a collection of books used by Jewish studies scholars around the world.

“It’s fair to say he helped create one of the most remarkable collections of Jewish studies at any public university in the United States,” Abzug said.

Robert King, a UT linguistics centennial professor, said Snyder was shy and eccentric and lived for his work. King said Snyder toiled to build the library’s collection — one of his biggest additions was a rare copy of the Torah from Czechoslovakia — and often stayed at the library until 8 p.m. and worked weekends.

Rest in peace.

China accuses Google of censorship

TheInquirer.net: The Chinese Communist Party’s main newspaper has accused Google of keeping searchers away from its website after it reported on a copyright dispute.

The People’s Daily had reported on a Chinese group’s complaint that Google’s planned online library of digitised books might violate Chinese authors’ copyrights.

For three days Google searches for the report, in the books section of the website, warned users the site might contain harmful software. The paper argues that the Chinese search engine Baidu did not return a similar warning.

Full story