Must Read Stories

Gov't officials are "obsessed with control" of the media

Kathleen writes "Bill Moyers denounced the right wing and top officials at the White House, saying they are trying to silence their critics by controlling the news media.
Over 2,000 people converged in St. Louis Missouri this weekend for the second-ever National Conference on Media Reform. Few issues were discussed as much as the future of public broadcasting in this country.

The conference was held amid accusations that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been largely taken over by conservatives who are influencing programming and hiring decisions.
In his first public address since leaving PBS six months ago, journalist Bill Moyers responds to charges by Kenneth Tomlinson - the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting - of liberal bias and revelations that Tomlinson hired a consultant to monitor the political content of Moyers' PBS show "Now.""

Condom Machines May Come To Public Libraries

Terrence Bosky writes to share a story from KOLD in Arizona,

"Condom Machines May Come To Public Libraries
By Kaushal Patel, KOLD News 13

It's just an idea for now, but condom machines may be placed in local public libraries."

An interesting quote from the article is encouraging considering that they assume teens are hanging out in libraries:

"We have to make them accessible neighborhood centers, libraries, other places teens are hanging out," says City Councilman Jose Ibarra. He wants to discuss the possible expansion with the library board."

I wonder how this one will go over!?

Book-burning event in Scotland ignites controversy

Kathleen writes "The public bonfire of old and unread books in Scotland’s national book town,Wigtown, will be a vast funeral pyre of books to be lit today, marking the Celtic festival of Beltane.
The event, billed as the Beltane Book Burning, is the idea of Shaun Bythell, who owns The Bookshop
, Scotland’s largest second-hand bookstore. He agreed that the idea is a controversial one. “It certainly seems to polarise people. The reaction is either, ‘that’s a brilliant idea’, or ‘you will burn in hell’.�

The books destined for the fire are mass-produced artefacts - their contents will not disappear when they burn. If the objectors’ point is that books symbolise free speech, why are they not then sentimental about using newspapers as firelighters or fish and chip wrappings? There is also a practical problem: what do you do with unwanted books? They can be sent to the developing world - but how many Kenyan schoolchildren will really benefit from the works of Galsworthy? Does it justify the aviation fuel?

As the poet Joseph Brodsky observed: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.�"

Lots for bibliophiles at library group gathering

Admit it, hard-core book fans: You wouldn't mind buying a special library-grade "book return bin" for your own home or driveway.

They are on display at the packed exhibit hall of the Public Library Association conference at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, along with other library-centric books and equipment. Read more about this here .

Borrow books on the train!

In an exciting new initiative, Frankston Library Service, in Victoria, Australia, launched Frankston Library Express on 17 February at the Frankston Railway Station.

Frankston Library Express offers a fast lending service of popular paper back titles on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, between 6:30am and 8:30am, at the Frankston Railway Station.

In Victoria's first lending service to commuters, travellers on the Frankston line will be able to select from 300 books including romances, suspense/thrillers, crime, mysteries, classic fiction and general interest non-fiction.

What do others think? Has this been trialled in other countries before? Read what Frankston are doing and let us all know!

Rare books and Australian Tourism

Over 100 rare and curious published items on the theme of Australian tourism are currently being featured in a special exhibition of material from the Monash University Library Rare Books Collection at the Sir Louis Matheson Library on Clayton campus, in Victoria, Australia.

The exhibition is running at the moment-read the introduction by David Dunston or have a look at the magnificent virtual exhibition of gorgeous book covers. It's hard to choose a favourite when each is better than the last!

Stealing The Internet

Here's A Scary One by Jeff Chester & Steven Rosenfeld on the future of the web.
They say the thousands of lawsuits are not just about ensuring record companies and artists get the royalties they deserve. They're part of a larger plan to fundamentally change the way the Internet works.
From Congress to Silicon Valley, the nation's largest communication and entertainment conglomerates -- and software firms that want their business -- are seeking to restructure the Internet, to charge people for high-speed uses that are now free and to monitor content in an unprecedented manner. This is not just to see if users are swapping copyrighted CDs or DVDs, but to create digital dossiers for their own marketing purposes.
Under a scenario presented by some lobbyists, people on fixed incomes would have to accept a stripped-down Internet, full of personally targeted advertising. Other users could get a price break if they receive bundled content -- news, music, games -- from one telecom or media company. Anybody interested in other "non-mainstream" news, software or higher-volume usage, could pay for the privilege.
Via This Metafilter Thread.

You Did Get Through To Him [ Sony Barari ]

The author of Library science degree: file that under ‘stupid’ has written this in reponse to the harassment (my words not his Sony Barari that is) he\'s had to deal with since his story broke.

Sony Barari writes:
Sometimes negative attention forces you to stop and wonder: what exactly are we doing as comedians and satirists? While the bulk of satire may seem relatively superficial and too often topical to provide any real and lasting value from an intellectual standpoint, it does serve as a magnifying glass for that brief moment in which it is read, intensifying the reader’s scrutiny upon the subject at hand. Like any other mode of expression, however, it cannot function at all without attention. In this way it may be like a gross New York Post tabloid, but the objectives cannot be systematically simplified and subsequently relegated to some recess of literary darkness.

His story continues below...

Online Journalist\'s Legal Protections Increased Substantially.

Tom Regan over at reports that online
journalist\'s legal protections have increased
: \"in a court decision
that was largely overlooked by the mainstream media, a New York Supreme
Court judge [Paula Omansky] has issued a ruling in a libel case
that extends the same speech protections to online journalists that their
print, radio, and TV colleagues have enjoyed since the famous Sullivan
v. New York Times decision of 1964.\"

The defendant--editor, publisher, and journalist for
reported that a president of a Mexican bank (the bank, Banamex, was bought
by Citigroup during the trial) was connected with drug traffickers. 
After Banamex had lost (repeatedly) their claim of libel in Mexican courts
they moved their complaint to a New York, USA court.  Tom Regan reports
that the judge\'s decision is the first time that the protections provided
by the Sullivan
v. New York Times
decision have been extended to online journalists
., who helped the defendant with an Amicus
Curiae Brief
, has a copy of the court\'s
.  See also the EFF
press release
, and the EFF
about the case, as well as an extensive list of articles
about the case
compiled at

Banamex may appeal the decision.

-Hermit ;-)

The Invisible Web

This one comes by way of LLRX. It\'s a book review by Donna Cavallini, Manager of Competitive Knowledge with the law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton. She discusses in her review, a book entitled \"The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can’t See.\" by Chris Sherman (search engine watch) and Gary Price (virtual acquisition shelf & news desk). The book talks about the vast amount of information on the web that can\'t be retrieved via search engine spiders, for various reasons, ranging from business matters to technological ones. According to the review, the book is intended to \"empower searchers to surmount these obstacles, in part by explaining the technical reasons why search engines otherwise inexplicably fail to return relevant results, and in part by providing a directory of selected subject-specific tools for accessing this valuable hidden web content.\" More


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