Bookworms, pack rats: nation's secret warriors

"Add the nation's bookworms and pack rats to the list of heroes in the fight on terrorism. James Billington, the librarian of Congress, reveals that his staff is helping the government's hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and even the rebuilding of Afghanistan. One example: On 9/12, Middle East experts on war alert began rummaging through dusty files and later found a book in which bin Laden describes his terror tactics." (from US News and World Report)


Adrienne Barth, 89; Librarian, Activist

"Adrienne Mayer Barth, 89, who did volunteer work as a D.C. public school librarian and an activist for the American Civil Liberties Union, died April 16 at Georgetown University Hospital of complications after surgery for a broken hip."

"Mrs. Barth was born in Washington, and she graduated from Central High School and Goucher College. She was the widow of Alan Barth, a Washington Post editorial writer, who died in 1979."

"In the 1950s and 1960s, she was a volunteer librarian with the D.C. schools. She was an ACLU volunteer in the 1970s and 1980s." (from The Washington Post)


Library science hooks into high-tech

"Shhh. There's something exciting brewing in the field of library science that's transforming card catalog gurus into professional Internet sleuths."

"While librarians have often been the first and best warriors in our never-ending battle for information, their realm was previously contained to aisles of books and hardbound reference manuals. Now, instead of lecturing on the Dewey decimal system and directing customers to the right aisle for that hard-to-find book, librarians can direct their "clients" to the best website or journal database."

"Prof. Louise Robbins, director of the School of Library and Information Studies at the UW-Madison, says that librarians are the go-between for people who want information and the information itself. She says many people might not know where or how to do an effective search. Trained librarians can do it faster and usually find exactly what they're looking for, she says. Plus, it's almost always free." (from Madison Magazine - Thanks Mary)


Retired Librarian Mourns Decline of Libraries

Don Saklad noticed this Harvard Crimson Story on a talk by Kenneth E. Carpenter, former Assistant Director for Research Resources in the Harvard Library.
He says American libraries are in a period of serious decline. Carpenter said his research uncovered local governments dissolving or merging libraries, a decline in interested readers, and the "diminished status and human resources policies that limit advancement" of librarians.

"Libraries are retreating back into a sameness of acquisition, justified by the ideal of “sharing” which sounds like commonality, but limits access,"


Live Webcast of Sandy Berman's Lecture

Madeline Douglass writes "April 15,2003 at 7pm,(EST) Sanford Berman, creator of the original Hennepin County Library
catalog, author of Prejudices and Antipathies,
and social activist will be gave the Stone
lecture at his alma mater, Catholic University
of America.
The lecture is webcast LIVE on the
internet. Download Windows media player 7.1
or above to view it. Video Is Here


Fun Word Of The Day

Christine A. Whittington pointed out the word of the day is librarian chic today.

"( sheek) n. A fashion style that uses elements of, or is inspired by, the styles stereotypically attributed to librarians."


Seymour Lubetzky, 104, Librarian, Dies

"Seymour Lubetzky, who helped librarians channel the rising tide of information with his ingenious transformation of cataloging, died last Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 104."

"Mr. Lubetzky worked for years at the Library of Congress, where he started in the 1940's sorting out an overwhelming backlog of books waiting to be entered into the library's soaring inventory. In the 1960's he taught at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he retired in 1969 as a professor at the School of Library Service."

"The Dewey Decimal Classification assigns numbers to books to organize them on library shelves. But Mr. Lubetzky's theories went beyond the numbers to provide descriptive rules for identifying a book and condensing its nature into a meaningful but concise catalog entry in a place where a user might look for it." (from The New York Times)


Seymour Lubetzky Passes

Dave Lull writes "Seymour Lubetzky died on Saturday morning, a few weeks short of his
105th birthday.

Memorial services will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, April 13th, at
Hillside Memorial Park Chapel in Los Angeles.

Cards, letters of condolence, etc. can be sent to The Lubetzky Family,
c/o David Lubetzky, 1250 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.

Elaine added: "---It is the passing of an era, would you believe during
his last weeks he wanted to discuss topics such as the relationship
between the book and life and what the Ancient Greeks might have talked
More Info."


Outlook mixed for nation's librarians

Gary Price passed along This CSMonitor Story from The Resource Shelf.
They say As the United States marks National Library Week (April 6-12), librarians find themselves in the middle of a growing shortage, especially of school librarians.

A wave of librarian retirements, combined with school budget cuts brought on by state fiscal problems, has resulted in a slew of greenhorns and parent volunteers being deployed to fill the void among the stacks of the nation's public school libraries.

"Our applications continue to rise," she says. "Some [people] are being laid off, but others are retiring and not all sectors get hit at the same time. Public libraries and schools may get hit, but not necessarily academic and specialty libraries."


Library, archives resist move

The Ottawa Citizen Is Reporting Canada's newly merged National Library and National Archives are refusing to give up their prestigious parliamentary address.
The institutions have for years complained about the old, leaky building they share on Wellington Street, but rebuffed an offer by Public Works and Government Services, the government's real estate arm, for a new home in Gatineau.
Canada is the first country to merge its national library and archives, a move the Chrétien government said would boost the sagging visibility, relevance and accessibility of the two nearly invisible institutions.



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