Must Read Stories

Must Read Stories

In response to controversy, hundreds pack Mount Horeb library for reading of transgender book

<P align=justify><blockquote>MOUNT HOREB — In a turnout that stunned organizers, nearly 600 people filled the library here Wednesday night to hear a public reading of a children’s book about a transgender girl, with many in the crowd expressing strong support for a local family with a transgender child.</blockquote></P> From <A HREF="http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/in-response-to-controversy-hundreds-pack-mount-horeb-library-for/article_095da109-0caf-534e-9879-3cb4e0c769ee.html">http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/in-respon

Ten Stories That Shaped 2013

Once more we look back at the notable library happenings of the past year.

Memorable Stories

10. Timbuktu Library Rescue

In January, Islamic militants torched an archive that had contained many ancient manuscripts. Fortunately, prior to this, people had removed the materials from the city.

9. The Hudson Falls Free Library Reading Contest

Tabloids loved the story of a library director who tried to take the perennial winner of a children's reading contest out of the running. Two librarians lost their jobs over the scandal.

8. Fairfax County Library's Dumpster

Libraries discard and destroy titles from their collections all the time, but when it's done sloppily and in plain sight, outrage ensues.

Hip Trends

7. MOOCs! Video Games! Makerspaces! 3D Printing!

Are these nifty new avenues to reach patrons, or a feature creep beyond a library's mission?

6. Little Free 'Libraries'

Although perhaps better named "community bookshelves," the growth of the Little Free Library movement continued this year. How many are in your neighborhood?

5. The New Librarian Stereotype

Commenting about the latest calendar models in the profession, a LISNews poster noted, "the bun wearing shushing librarian stereotype is long dead. Now the stereotype is hipster tattooed librarians."

Big Issues

4. Open Access versus Publisher Profits

In a case of "If you have haters then you must be doing something right" (similar to the harassment of Jeffrey Beall over his list of predatory publishers), Science published a flawed hit piece on Open Access journals.

3. Metadata Wants To Be Free

As more libraries move to web-scale discovery systems, the issue of interoperable metadata will become important. A vendor dispute highlights how libraries can be caught between competing economic interests.

2. Kindle MatchBook &c.

A Churchill 'Quote' That U.S. Politicians Will Never Surrender

NPR piece about quote attributed to Churchill that cannot be verified. Librarians are often asked to find quotes and many librarians are asked to verify quotes.

Here is a quotes website attributing the quote to Churchill:
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu135259.html

Library Journal articles that may be of interest

Apps, Babies, & the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

This past Wednesday, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood--an organization best-known for "taking down" Baby Einstein videos a few years ago--urged the FEC to look into the marketing of apps for babies. The CCFC is both looking particularly at apps by Fisher-Price and Open Solutions, and more generally arguing that apps have no educational merit whatsoever when it comes to young children. There's been heavy media coverage (Mashable, NYT, Slate, HuffPo, etc). At School Library Journal, Rachel G. Payne, coordinator of early childhood services at Brooklyn Public Library, offers her take in Are Learning Apps Good for Babies? At Little eLit, I offer mine in Apps & Babies: Keeping Our Heads (and our iPads).

NH Libraries Busy in the Electronic Age

A positive story identifying services in NH libraries covered by a prominent NH newspaper. http://www.unionleader.com/article/20130408/NEWS/130409256

Ten Stories That Shaped 2012

It's that time again... let's look back at this year's top library headlines.

10. Bird Flu Study is Published

After researchers found a way to spread H5N1 to humans, an interesting test ensued of the bounds of free speech versus public health. Citing concerns over bioterrorism, a government panel wanted to ban publication of the scientific findings. The paper was printed, in full, in the journal Science.

9. Remember Those Boycotts?

Multiple generations of librarians have lamented over costly journal prices. Aside from the continued drive for
public access to funded research, libraries and now finally scholars are boycotting Elsevier and the American Chemical Society. Here's hoping the Open Access movement against profiteering publishers keeps growing.

Quote of the Year

"The economics of publishing print no longer worked and that's why we're going to go all digital" - Newsweek editor Tina Brown. How does your employer intend to survive?

8. Begun, the E-Book Wars Have

As e-books continue to gain mainstream dominance, thorny issues over lending, pricing, and the future of publishing remain crucial to follow.

7. Library Evolution Sparks Protests

Some library administrators now realize that running a change averse institution no longer has the survival value that it once did. The very notion of change, however, is still antagonistic to some. Two notable examples of adapting libraries this year are Harvard University and the New York Public Library.

6. National Library Efforts

LeBron James, open book: Star credits reading for making him calmer during playoffs

<blockquote>"Turns out there's nothing whatsoever feigned about LeBron's one-man book club. Nobody's paying him to read (although it's OK for folks to be paid to lose weight on TV). He's not doing product-placement favors for any author buddies.

Ten Stories That Shaped 2011

It's time again to look back at the good, the bad, and the ugly library stories of the past year.

Honorable Mention: Lenny Bruce Should Have Been a Librarian

Hot on the heels of the popular book Go the Fuck to Sleep comes a straight-talking site that all library marketers should take note of: Go the Fuck to the Library.

10. Neither Fax nor E-mail nor IM

Print-based industries are struggling, and the United States Postal Service is no exception. I couldn't help but hear the Postmaster General boast about not paying bills online and wonder how many analogous things librarians do, such as instructing students in the "old ways" of doing research.

9. Terry Jones burns a Quran

A copy of the Quran was burned by pastor Terry Jones in his church on March 20, 2011. Although not widely covered by mainstream media, the burning was condemned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. During the ensuing protests in Afghanistan, at least 30 people were killed. Among the dead were United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan employees, who were shot and decapitated.

8. Occupy Wall Street makes a "People's Library"

The OWS movement in New York City got attention for forming a library. When the protests ended, things didn't go so well for the library, however. Depending on who you ask, it's either the "destruction of a library" or the "eviction of illegal squatters who had some books confiscated."

7. Greg Mortenson: Humanitarian or Swindler?

Though not as flashy as the James Frey or Jayson Blair scandals, Mortenson's publications were also charged with containing inaccurate and possibly fabricated information. A 60 Minutes hit piece was followed by a class action lawsuit against Mortenson's charities.

6. Borders Goes Bankrupt

A U. of California Librarian asks: What happened to the American flags on the moon?

"As a symbol of the Fourth of July holiday, it is easy for the conversation this time of year to turn to iconic American flags, like the flag the Marines raised at Iwo Jima; the one firefighters put up at ground zero; and the one that flew over Fort McHenry and was the inspiration for what would become our national anthem." "As the space shuttle program comes to an end this week, CBS News decided to look into the flags the astronauts left behind on six trips to the moon.

Ten Stories That Shaped 2010

It's time again to take a look at the memorable headlines of the year.

10. YouTube Sensations

Although viral videos are nothing new, libraries found themselves involved in a few catchy clips this year, and even got Old Spice guy involved in their cause.

9. Libraries and DVDs and Netflix, Oh My

Libraries check out a lot of movies, in case you haven't heard. A library touting their use of Netflix, however, ran afoul of many due to the admitted violation of Netflix's terms of use.

8. Piracy Crackdown

Many Chicken Little essays cropped up over the seizure of domains by Homeland Security, questioning the due process involved and decrying the potential for censorship that the new law affords.

7. Under New Management

The corporate takeover of public libraries and the commercialization of academic libraries should have us all thinking about our workplace of the future.

6. Gizmo of the Year: iPad

Since its spring release, Apple's life-changing tablet has been put to use by many libraries. How is your library using iPads?

5. I For One Welcome Our New Media Overlords

My how times have changed. Gone are the days of video stores and print magazines, right?

4. Web 2.0 Fatigue

The Day The Internet Threw A Righteous Hissyfit About Copyright And Pie

Must Read Story

Piece on intellectual property at NPR. Boring? No it is not. This is a must read story. See what the pie in the title is all about.

Full piece here

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Collaboration Beats Smarts In Group Problem Solving

You might think a gathering a group of the smartest minds would make for the smartest team. But a new study says that might not always be right. Groups with more females and groups whose members each contributed equally were most successful at completing given tasks.

Full story on NPR (All Things Considered)

Fight for Libraries As You Do for Freedom

A very powerful op-ed piece by novelist Karin Slaughter in today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"My father and his eight siblings grew up in the kind of poverty that America doesn’t like to talk about unless something like Katrina happens, and then the conversation only lasts as long as the news cycle. His family squatted in shacks. The children scavenged the forest for food. They put cardboard over empty windowpanes so the cold wouldn’t kill them.

Books did not exist here. When your kids are starving, you can’t point with pride to a book you’ve just spent six hours reading. Picking cotton, sewing flour bags into clothes — those were the skills my father grew up appreciating.

And yet, when he noticed that I, his youngest daughter, showed an interest in reading, he took me to our local Jonesboro library and told me that I could read any book in the building so long as I promised to talk to him about it if I read something I didn’t understand. I think this is the greatest gift my father ever gave me. Though he was not a reader himself, he understood that reading is not just an escape. It is access to a better way of life."

Read more: AJC.

The Medium Is the Medium

Opinion piece by David Brooks

Recently, book publishers got some good news. Researchers gave 852 disadvantaged students 12 books (of their own choosing) to take home at the end of the school year. They did this for three successive years.

Then the researchers, led by Richard Allington of the University of Tennessee, looked at those students’ test scores. They found that the students who brought the books home had significantly higher reading scores than other students. These students were less affected by the “summer slide” — the decline that especially afflicts lower-income students during the vacation months. In fact, just having those 12 books seemed to have as much positive effect as attending summer school.

Full piece

A step stool for bookworms

Story in the Kansas City Star

I totally geeked out when I discovered a few years back that the iconic Cramer Kik-Step stool is made right here in Kansas City. Turns out our town really has had a “stool boom,” but much bigger than the one depicted in the fictional Missouri town in Christopher Guest’s funny 1996 film “Waiting for Guffman.”

Read full article

If you are interested in getting one: CRAMER 50TH ANNIVERSARY SILVERTONE KIK STEP STOOLS/ 1003-01 LIBRARY EDITION

Announcing the LISNews Bulletin

The LISNews Bulletin has just been transmitted to the location of our printing partner closest to the venue of Computers in Libraries 2010. Blake will have 125 copies available to him to distribute at the conference for free. I want to thank our patrons for their generous financial support in allowing the Bulletin to be distributed at no charge. There will be artwork. We've got an excerpt from a Cleveland-area artist's memoirs about life in India in the 1990s. The owner of Erie Looking Productions offered up a "quick hit" piece from Tech for Techies never heard before on the podcast streams. This issue may be small but it is intended to be a tasty appetizer for a larger serial that might perhaps follow. If you are not going to be attending the conference, you can still get a copy of the publication. Please contact the publisher, Producer Gloria Kellat, at [email protected] with your physical address so we can determine if our printing partner has an office near you. If there is, it will cost about USD$2.00 to have a special "RetCon" copy printed for you to pick up. If there isn't, we'll discuss options with you.

Ten Stories That Shaped 2009

It's time to take another look back at the notable headlines of the past year.

True Stories from a Book Drop Near You

Oct. 25th blog post, www.merrylibrarian.com

Book drops. It seems simple, doesn’t it? A name like “book drop” doesn’t leave much room for mystery…you’d think.

A recent poll of librarians has proven otherwise, however. Across the nation, patrons of public libraries have confused a book drop with trash receptacles, a donation box, urinals, chicken coops… The list goes on and on.

While we may never understand how or why this confusion occurs, we do know that the result of patron confusion–though sometimes disturbing–is frequently amusing. So, until the government provides libraries with several billion dollars to launch an education campaign on proper book drop use, we have taken it upon ourselves to provide you with this useful list of book drop dos and don’ts–all based on the true stories that have been sent in from around the world.

1. Situation: You work at a library in the city of Las Vegas, NV. As you approach the book drop, you hear the sound of squawking and scratching.

Don’t…Assume you’re crazy. You may be miles from the nearest farm, but there actually are chickens in your book drop…complete with food and water. Hey, it happens.

Do… Tell your coworkers to fire up the bar-be-que, baby!

2. Situation: Upon opening the book drop, you are pummeled by the stench of garbage. And on top of the rubbish heap in your book drop? A used maxi pad.

Don’t…Toss your cookies into the book drop. You’d only have to clean that up, too.

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