Must Read Stories

Must Read Stories

Lost in Translation--Crazy Reference Questions

The following is another story from The Merry Librarian. Once again, this true story is an example of patron expectations for a librarian’s abilities. As bizarre requests go, this one is definitely a strange need for information. And we’re just curious…why is it that when a patron needs something complicated and bizarre, they always want it within 24 hours? Just curious....

“Here’s a situation I ran into yesterday that I thought you might find amusing…it falls under the “librarians should know everything about everything” assumption that much of the general public seems to have. A man walked into our branch yesterday and asked me the following questions:

“If something were translated from English into Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics, would someone from Iran who speaks Hebrew be able to understand it?”

Umm…I’m thinking not.

“Well, then, could you translate it for me so they could understand it?”

…Why yes, of course I happen to be fluent in ALL those languages. (I am a librarian, after all.)

“Well, do you have a book that translates Mayan hieroglyphics into Egyptian hieroglyphics into Hebrew?”

I’m thinking not…but I’ll check anyway just to appease you…Nope, just as I suspected. Nothing.

“Why don’t you have any books that do that?”

I don’t think there is a book anywhere that does that.

“Well, what can you do? I need it done tonight.”

Tough Love From a Tough Dad

The following is a post from The Merry Librarian (www.merrylibrarian.com) dated Sept. 27th, 2009. Check out the website for all postings!

"Tough Love from a Tough Dad"

This week’s Story of the Week is one of the rare stories that is genuinely heartwarming (though we’re sure there are more out there!). As librarians–as with any public service profession–we so often see the sad and traumatic family interactions. It is refreshing to witness powerful and positive relationships like this one. Thank you, “Diane”, for this great story!

I work at a small library in an area of town that tends to house the lower-economic demographic. It is not unusual for things to be stolen from our library on a regular basis–most frequently our DVDs. One day, I was at the reference desk when a man came in with a young, teenage boy. The man looked pretty haggard. He had tattoos everywhere (even a cross between his eyebrows! Ouch!) and lots of piercings. He looked like he’d had a pretty hard life. When he came up to the desk, he set a very tall pile of DVDs in front of me–at least 20 DVDs.

“I found these in my son’s room,” he said. “He didn’t check them out. He stole them.”

I didn’t quite know how to respond, so I (rather stupidly) said, “Oh. Okay. So none of them are checked out?”

“No, ma’am,” he answered. Then he knelt down on the ground so that he was eye to eye with me. His son knelt beside him, looking deeply humiliated and angry.

Call It Ludacris: The Kinship Between Talk Radio and Rap

Piece in the NYT comparing rap to talk radio. Some interesting points are made.

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Twitter and Gourmet Sex: They're in the Dictionary Now

<a href="http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1920277,00.html">The 30th Anniversary </a>edition of the Collins English Dictionary includes words like 'mankini' and 'boomburb.' But the most fertile soil for new words seems to be social media and the global downturn

The Family that Reads Together…. (aka What’s in it for ME?)

We often talk about the benefits of reading aloud to our children -- but we usually focus on the benefits <em>to the children</em>. Today, let’s reflect on the ways reading aloud to our children benefits ourselves as parents, our families and our relationships with each other. <b>Read-Aloud Idol</b> I’m no ham and I rarely attempt read-aloud theatrics, accents or voices, but boy-oh-boy do I love the rush I get when I have my young audience shrieking with laughter, swooning, raving and begging for more. Sure, all I’m doing is reading the printed word, the real genius is the author, but I’m the main act at our house and I bask in the glow of my appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Childhood is short -- I treasure the precious moments when reading aloud makes me a star in the eyes of my children. <b>Cuddle Time</b>

Malt Whitman Anyone? Librarians for a Ben & Jerry's Flavor on the LA Times Blog

A New Jersey librarian's (LISNews' VERY OWN ANDY W!!!) lighthearted Facebook petition for a Ben & Jerry's library-themed ice cream flavor might just come to fruition -- or should that be chocolate-swirl-ition? Launched in early June, the petition has picked up momentum as summer temperatures have risen -- there are currently more than 4,800 members in the group, and folks from as far away as Canada and England have volunteered flavor ideas. If you haven't joined the facebook group yet...DO IT NOW!

Suggestions included Gooey Decimal System (dark chocolate alphabet letters with caramel swirls in hazelnut ice cream), Rocky Read (vanilla with chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate chunks and raisins) and Sh-sh-sh-Sherbet! (either lime or chocolate/vanilla).

But, like an autodidact left free to roam the stacks, later ideas have strayed from the original to embrace anything bookish, related to authors or reading or titles.

More from the LA Times Blog.

[Kudos to Andy! He's most likely a dynamite librarian, but he's also got the right stuff for marketing. Libraries need that, now more than ever.]

German Librarian Remembers Harrowing Plane Crash

She was called the Miracle Girl in Peru.

Now she's a librarian for the Zoological Centre in Munich. Yet she has a story to tell - a story of sheer luck, survival, and courage. She was the only survivor of the crash of a LANSA flight in 1971. As it happens, her adventure was only beginning after she survived a three kilometer free fall into the jungles of the Amazon rain forest.

More from CNN.

Judging A Book (Bag) By Its Cover

Damaged or obsolete books are back in fashion after being transformed into unusual handbags.

Full story on NPR

How to Have a Library Themed Wedding

Scott Douglas' wife shares how to have a <a href="http://www.ourcitylights.org/2009/03/how-to-have-library-themed-wedding-part.html">library themed wedding on her blog</a>.

New Blog On Cataloging

Heidi Lee Hoerman, an instructor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina, has started a new blog. Future4catalogers is a blog attempting to look at what is coming in the disciplinary realm of bibliographic control. The blog was announced Monday on AUTOCAT.

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

A chance to participate!

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is beginning to compile it's list of book challenges for his year, 2008. Please follow the link below if you would like to participate. I strongly encourage anyone who has access to these figures to take part in the list. Actions of this sort help sustain the neutrality of our libraries by ensuring that undue pressure to censor library materials does not compromise our free access to information.

Participate here!

When the law is not the law

Libraries are involved with patron's personal information, we all know that. We know who has what book checked out, and in many system there is a record of who has read what, used which computer, etc. Even when there are no physical records, this information can still exist in the form of logs, computer related information that is carried over for a period of time (cookies, etc.), and when books are checked out of a State libraries the records may exist outside the library where the materials were accessed even if that library does not keep records itself once the materials have been returned. It's just a fact of life.

There are laws in place to protect us, the public, from abuse of those in power when it comes to these records. And, while they are certainly not perfect, from from so since 2001, they are still the law, and this is a land of law and order based on those laws - or so we are told. In certain circumstances, people in positions of authority know that if they use their influence to coerce members of the public to abandon their rights, they will often get compliance despite their request being illegal. It happens all the time.

OCLC Claims Ownership of Data In OPACs

OCLC may be trying to pull something sneaky with its new policy of claiming contractual rights over the subsequent use of data created by OCLC. In other words, the data in library catalogues couldn't be used to make anything which competes with OCLC in any way.

Needless to say, this would have a hash chilling effect on the creation of open databases of library content.

As you might expect, the library blogosphere is on fire with the news. The podcast presenter at LISNews gave a commentary in the matter during LISTen #47.

Story from Slashdot.

Google's growth makes privacy advocates wary

Most people today appear to me to love Google, but how much do people really know about this 'indispensable' tool? I'm not going to post an extended rant about how evil Google is in some people's eyes, but I do think that this AP story is worthy of consideration, especially considering the integration that Google is developing with libraries.

Google's growth makes privacy advocates wary

Summary:

This article discusses how information that is collected by Google could be used in violation of current privacy statutes. Some Google tools, such as their Chrome web browser transmit your keystrokes before you press the Enter key. This information is then analyzed by their systems to predict your search terms and offer suggestions. There is an option to turn this feature off, but the activity still occurs, just without user notification, giving the sense that web activity is now 'private'. Along with the information typed into the web browser, your computers Internet address is also recorded, creating a history much like what is visible in your local web browser, but on their servers.

Key concepts from the article:

"It's about having a monopoly over our personal information, which, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be used in a very dangerous way against us,"

“Court says that with all its products, Google has more opportunities than its peers to capture personal information without users realizing it. “

The Election & Technology

Declan McCullagh, CNET's chief political correspondent, recently wrote about the impact on technology of the win by the Obama-Biden ticket. Issues overlapping into the realm of library science include issues like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

video of an great ABC pop up book

<a href="http://www.boingboing.net/2008/10/20/abc3d-the-best-popup.html">This is a video of a great pop up book in case you would like to see it</a>. It's called ABC3D, and it is an unbelievably witty and well-made pop-up ABC book, produced by Marion Bataille. It's one of those books that could only be a book -- there's no way this could be an ebook or a movie (though the little video above gives you an idea of the thing, it's a poor substitute) or an audiobook or whatever.

A personal library like no other.

Story at Wired.com about Jay Walker's library. You have to see the pictures of this.

Hangman, Spare That Word: The English Purge Their Language

I saw a list of these endangered words on LIS News, but <a href="http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1847038,00.html">the article accompanying it is interesting</a>: public figures are actually trying to promote these words to see if "throwing a pebble in the pond of language really can generate ripples."

Educating about Tejano music

PegasusNews via Latina Lista brings us a story about one librarian in Dallas providing educational opportunities relative to Tejano music. Carolina Martinez is working on a community information to share what Tejano music has contributed to not only Texas but also the music industry.

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