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News

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."

Woman held in DUI fatal also charged in tiger case

A woman suspected in a hit and run Wednesday that killed two Connecticut librarians on Peña Boulevard is facing a jury trial in March on a charge of illegal possession of a Bengal tiger cub.

Full story here.

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One of the Last Of the Few Sunday Newspaper Book Sections Will Soon Be Gone

The Washington Post reported today that it plans to close its stand-alone magazine Book World as of mid-February.

In dropping one of the few remaining stand-alone book sections in American newspapers, Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said that the coverage will be shifted to the Style section and a revamped Outlook section. Shea said that The Post would publish about three-quarters of the roughly 900 reviews it has carried each year. The change will take effect Feb. 22.

The CIA, Rapist, and Self Publishing

Yesterday there was a story on LISNEWS called Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab that opens with this line: "The point may soon come when there are more people who want to write books than there are people who want to read them."

Here is a unique tie together of two stories. You may have seen on the news this breaking story: Former CIA station chief accused of rape. Andrew Warren, the CIA station chief in question, is the author of a self published book called The People of the Veil

The publisher (using that term loosely) is Publish America. Here is the page at Publish America for the book. Looks like the book was the September 2002 book of the month at Publish America.

Denver Library Baby Meets the Press

Mom (Dominique Trevino, 18) and one-day- old baby (Sariah Unique) are doing well.

Library staff pitched in to buy a bag full of children's books for Sariah, which Thomas Scott, director of security and safety, presented to Trevino at Wednesday's news conference.

She also got an earth-friendly library tote bag with two unactivated library cards inside - one for mom, who said she's not a big reader, and one for baby.

"We look forward to having her as a customer," Scott told Trevino.

More on this story (and a picture) from The Rocky Mountain News.

John Updike Dead at Age 76

John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce and other adventures in the postwar prime of the American empire, died Tuesday at age 76.

Updike, a resident of Beverly Farms, Mass., died of lung cancer, according to a statement from his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.

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PW Lays Off Top Brass

Sara Nelson, the editor in chief of Publishers Weekly, the main trade magazine for the book industry, has been laid off in a restructuring by the publication’s parent company, Reed Business Information.

According to a statement from Reed, which operates a broad range of trade publications, the layoffs affect about 7 percent of the staff (including executive editor Daisy Maryles, bookselling editor Kevin Howell, children's reviews editor Elizabeth Devereaux and director of business development Rachel Dicker ...Shelf-Awareness) .

As a result of the restructuring, Brian Kenney, editor in chief of School Library Journal, will now be editorial director of three magazines: Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Library Journal. NYTimes.

Neil Gaiman wins Newbery.

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Comic book geeks and nerds rejoice. Of 'The Graveyard Book,' Gaiman says, "It has a protagonist who is about eighteen months old in the first chapter, four in the second chapter, six in the third, and so on, until, by chapter eight, he is all of sixteen years old. There's no sex in it and no swearing. There is some really scary stuff in there, and a few of the people (all adults) who have read it have written to tell me they cried in the last chapter." Cool.

The Fraud THEY Didn't Want You To Know About

Despite being utterly, and embarrassingly, full of crap, Kevin Trudeau's books are still popular. I've got patrons asking for them every week and I have to put them on hold because they're usually checked out. Never mind that the man's a fraud and a con-artist spreading false information about everything from cures to cancer to ways out of debt, people want to read his stuff.

So while I applaud the recent actions of a federal judge who ordered Trudeau to pay US$37 million for violating a 2004 order regarding false claims in his weight loss "cures" book, I doubt it'll have an effect on those wanting to read it. However, we can at least take solace in the fact that he's also been barred from publishing anything or creating infomercials for the next three years.

More from, where else?, the Federal Trade Commission.

Wikipedia May Restrict Public’s Ability to Change Entries

Stung by criticism after vandals changed Wikipedia entries to erroneously report that Senators Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd had died, Wikipedia appears ready to introduce a system that prevents new and anonymous users from instantly publishing changes to the online encyclopedia.

The new system, called Flagged Revisions, would mark a significant change in the anything-goes, anyone-can-edit-at-any-time ethos of Wikipedia, which in eight years of existence has become one of the top 10 sites on the Web and the de facto information source for the Internet-using public.

Full article in the New York Times

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LibraryThing Calls for New Cataloguing Scheme

With all the talk of Dewey or Don't We...

Gawd I'm getting tired of that phrase.

Anyway, with all the talk of whether or not libraries should use DDC, LCCN, BISAC, or something else for their collections and then the possibility of using open databases instead of OCLC, it seems like cataloguing is on everybody's mind.

It is over at LibraryThing too, where they've issued a call for the creation of OSC, or the Open Shelves Classification. They're looking for a few librarians who are of a mind to create a system that's free, "humble," modern, open source, and crowd sourced. Indeed, they want something that the library profession has needed for a long time - a modern system capable of changing, and changing easily.

So if you're of the cataloguing bent, check it out.

Obama's BlackBerry

In the library world, we rely on technology. We e-mail our colleagues and co-workers. We use the web to find information for us and for others. As a profession, and like many other professions, we've grown increasingly attached to digital communications and we'd find ourselves hard pressed to make do without them.

Not so with the highest office in the United States. The President of the United States really doesn't engage in e-mail because of laws regarding the archiving of Presidential communications, but also because of security. While the ability to send a message instantly to POTUS is a powerful thing, if that message contains classified information and it's intercepted by a hacker, then we're talking a matter of national security.

Nevertheless, our new President is a bit of a geek and is addicted to e-mail and his BlackBerry. He's explicitly stated that "They're going to pry it out of my hands."

So how do you provide the security needed by the President when all he really wants is to use the same tools millions of people use every day? Simple. You get him the most secure BlackBerry ever made.

The Jig Is Up for Amazon; New York Court Dismisses Challenge of State's Internet Sales Tax Provision

In a significant victory for New York's independent retailers, a New York State judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Amazon.com that challenged the state's Internet Sales Tax provision. The provision, which went into law on June 1, 2008, requires online retailers with certain selling activities in the state, such as Amazon.com, to collect and remit sales tax on sales made in New York State. A similar lawsuit by Overstock was also dismissed, according to Reuters.

In dismissing Amazon's challenge, Judge Eileen Bransten wrote: "The neutral statute simply obligates out-of-state sellers to shoulder their fair share of the tax-collection burden when using New Yorkers to earn profit from other New Yorkers," as reported by CNN Money. Bransten also noted that Amazon.com had failed to state a claim and that "there is no basis upon which Amazon can prevail," according to CNN Money.

Adults Reading More Fiction

For the first time since 1982, "the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen [to 50.2%]," according to a National Endowment for the Arts study being released today, reported by the New York Times.

The increase was most notable among 18-24 year olds and involved novels and short stories more than poetry or drama. Literary reading also increased among Hispanic Americans.

For the first time, the study included Internet reading, which some thought might have helped boost rates, although the AAP's Pat Schroeder suggested that some people don't count reading online or on e-readers as "book" reading.

Other possible explanations for the jump: one community, one read programs; the popularity of the Harry Potter and Twilight series; and "individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders" to promote literature and reading. Booksellers, too, we'd think.

The study is called "Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy" and is based on data from the Census Bureau compiled last year.

Donkeys boost Ethiopian literacy

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It may be low-tech (and decidedly green) but it works, according to <A HREF="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7777560.stm">this BBC story</A> about donkey powered mobile library sevices. "If you leave them practising their letters and walk out through the garden gate, you will find another group of children, clustered under a shady tree, absorbed in their books. Parked alongside them is a brightly painted wooden cart, with sides which fold down to display the shelves of books. The two donkeys which pull it are resting in another patch of shade.

New Year's Day Flooding in Clackamas County Library

A flood caused by a New Year's Day storm destroyed thousands of books at the library in Estacada, OR on Friday.

"Everything on bottom shelves is gone," said library director Katinka Bryk.

The town is in Clackamas County, where the rains were heavy and Gov. Ted Kulongoski declared a state of emergency.

More from the Seattle PI.

Reprieve for Philadelphia Libraries

Update: Mayor Nutter and the Free Library of Philadelphia will halt their plans to shut down 11 branch libraries Wednesday after 5:00 p.m after a judge from the Court of Common Pleas ruled against the closures, as reported by MSNBC and Philly.com.

Ten Stories That Shaped 2008

It's that time again! Read on for some highlights from this year's library news.

10. OCLC Claims Ownership of Data In OPACs

As if charging libraries to provide it cataloging records wasn't enough... what's next? Suing a library-themed hotel?

9. Annoyed Librarian Joins Library Journal

Though some love to hate her, everyone's favorite snarky semi-anonymous blogger continues to garner attention.

8. Censorship Roundup

Penguins continue to make intellectual freedom headlines, as does violence, homosexuality, and sex. Even Sarah Palin made some of the papers she reads with a story about her dealings with the city librarian while mayor of Wasilla.

7. Wikipedia Marches Ever On

Truthiness issues aside, Wikipedia and other user-generated sites continue to grow. If you haven't already familiarized yourself with such sites as Wikipedia, Digg, and Facebook, turn in your library degree now.

6. Book Technology

Kindle, e-paper, and related gizmos made further inroads and advances this year, but mainstream adoption is perennially a few years away.

5. Lawsuits Aplenty

Notable publishing lawsuits this year involved Jerry Seinfeld, Harry Potter, and Electronic Reserve.

4. California Librarian Fired for Reporting Man Viewing Child Porn

Yes, sadly, you read it right. There's more to the story than that, but it remains a reminder that some libraries are short of a full deck.

3. Google Books Settlement

This fall, a payment system was worked out between Google, authors, and publishers, including a subscription model that left some libraries feeling shorted.

2. Gaming Takes Off

Declining U.S. Newspaper Circulation Potentially Signals Decline In Literacy

Americans are doing less well than global competitors on a key index of literacy, according to a literacy survey by Central Connecticut State University.

From All Headline News: This study attempts to capture one critical index of our nation's well-being -- the literacy of its major cities--by focusing on six key indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment, and Internet resources. The information is compared against population rates in each city to develop a per capita profile of the city's "long-term literacy"-a set of factors measuring the ways people use their literacy-and thus presents a large-scale portrait of our nation's cultural vitality," Dr. Jack Miller, CCSU President says.

Seeing the Future in NPR’s Custom News Podcast

National Public Radio has introduced a nifty little feature that lets you create your own custom podcast of NPR content on topics that interest you. Type in Obama or Madonna or whatever, and you can sign up for a stream of NPR clips that match your keywords that can be downloaded to your computer, smartphone, iPod or Zune.

I’m highlighting this, not because I think this particular feature will be all that widely used, at least in its current incarnation. Podcasts are not a mass market phenomenon now. For most services, only a small fraction of users choose any option that involves customization. And while NPR has done a decent job of making the service easy to use, it still has a few steps to it.

But I am very interested because I think that NPR is onto something that really shows where digital media is moving, especially for news.

Full story in the New York Times

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