You Be the Judge: Wikitorials at the LA Times

cindy writes "This week The Los Angeles Times will launch "wikitorials," online editorials that readers can edit.

"It may be a complete mess, but it's going to be interesting to try," Editorial and Opinion Page Editor Michael Kinsley told The New York Times for an article on Monday. "Wikitorials may be one of those things that within six months will be standard. It's the ultimate in reader participation."

Another new feature, "Thinking Out Loud," is described as "an experiment in making up our minds in public," according to Martinez. He writes that the feature, which will initially tackle immigration and traffic, will allow readers and Times writers to debate topical issues on the paper's Web site and in all areas of its editorial pages. "We don't have a solution, and there may not be a good one," he explained in the paper. "But that is no excuse for failing to come up with the best one. We hope this process will help us do it."

Are we really wanting consensus on an op-ed page?Story about the LA Times editorial unheaval from The New York Times and Editor and Publisher


Legislature shouldn't censor library books - let parents do their job

Steven M. Cohen writes "From Muskogee Phoenix

"Sexually explicit books have no place among children's books. Children are not ready for and cannot handle that type of material physically, mentally or psychologically. But Kern's threat of censorship is based on a vague definition of what is socially appropriate. Will all children's books showing two men or two women holding hands or establishing a friendly relationship be sent to adult shelves?""


More Independent Bookstores Closing

These days, not a week goes by without a local independent bookstore, sometimes a fixture of 30 or more years, the work of a lifetime, closing its doors. The tip of the iceberg:

Avenue Victor Hugo (Boston), WordsWorth (Cambridge), Midnight Special (Santa Monica), Sibanye (Baltimore), Red & Black Books (Seattle), Booked Up (Archer City TX--Larry McMurtry's store), Ruminator Books (St. Paul),Thackeray's (Toledo), My Sisters Words (Syracuse), Printer's Ink (Blacksburg VA), Northern Lights (St. Johnsbury VT),Salmagundi Books (Cold Springs NY), Boadecia's Books (Kensington CA), Book Mark (Eugene OR), Million Story Book Company (Fort Wayne IN) Eeyore's Books (NYC), Oscar Wilde Bookshop (NYC), Blackbird Books (Nashua NH) and many, many, many more.

This week brings news of at least four more closings:

    Branch's of Chapel Hill NC article
    Bound To Be Read (Albuquerque NM and Minneapolis MN) article
    and Altamont Books of Livermore CA article

Much has been written on the subject of the loss of local independent bookstores, but it's time to remind those of us who love books , and hopefully that's all of us LISNews readers, that they will soon be gone if we don't patronize them .

For those of you who want a little background on the history of the loss of the indies, here's an article (not recent, but still current) by Pat Holt, former book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle that sums up how we've come to this sorry state. Pat also writes a wonderful online column, here with news of the book business.


Why Use Libraries?--Buy Books Instead

I can't tell if this guy is dead serious (and small-minded) or ready to pull the satire card. Anyway, Michael Bowers, is awfully cranky about all that wasted taxpayer money that goes to his Orland Park, IL library and bookmobile. Apparently, he's on a tear because the bookmobile was in an accident that the city had to shell out big bucks to cover.

I thought government was to put out fires and defend the borders. Not to give us stuff to read. I mean, thanks to the private sector, it's already everywhere you look. If I simply bought one copy of every magazine offered at the corner Mobil station — covering everything from Kawasaki motorcycles to Esquire women we love to Forbes financial advice — I'd be reading for the next year.

The rest of his loopy rant is here at the Star.


Article Spotlights Role Of Blogs In Library World

The Curmudgeony Librarian writes "A commentary by Rochelle Hartman, published in the Alliance Library System E-Glance, highlights the postive role blogging can play in the library world. According to the article, blogs allow the author to "open my professional world, expanding my access to information and connecting me to people." While there has been some negative press on blogging in the library world, overall this article illustrates how blogging can be a useful force in our workplace today.

The Alliance Library System is located in central Illinois. Hartman's own blog can be found at Tinfoil + Raccoon."


Joking about jobs situation painful

AshtabulaGuy writes "This was drafted to be submitted to Library Journal for BackTalk but due to its publication schedule it is submitted with some minor adjustments for the community here to chew upon... April Fool’s Day is traditionally a day of fun. For librarians everywhere it is a day when we watch Wikipedia wondering what may happen (this year saw the introduction of the "vandalize this page" button for a brief time). Over at Blake Carver’s shop, known as LISNews, a story was placed online this year with links to all of the "fun" at LJ’s site.
For "NexGen librarians" like myself, though, one of the jokes hurt. Not every "NexGen" finds work immediately after leaving school. Indeed, many scrape, claw, and have to fight to even get interviews that they will probably not succeed at. Over the many recent months, I have remained proud of graduating from my library school and having been inducted into the my chapter of Beta Phi Mu. Although pride can be a nice thing, pride does not pay the bills and I have had many crop up while I have been seeking work.


Students Face Difficulties As Information Literacy Gap Looms

The Curmudgeony Librarian writes "A commentary from Geoffrey Nunberg highlights the problems facing students today and illustrates the need for Information Literacy.
Nunberg writes that, the library--while at the forefront of the Information Literacy movement--should not be solely responsible for that kind of literacy. In his article Nunberg calls for a broad-spectrum effort in cultivating Information Literacy. This effort should reach across interdisciplinary lines and all levels of education today."


Should Your Library Carry Literary Magazines?

New Pages offers an opinion piece written by the late Jessica Powers, author and Carmelite Sister, on why libraries should stock more literary magazines. In that libraries today are forced to keep their collections to those most likely to be utilized by their community, they sometimes fail to provide that community with the work of up and coming writers before they become authors of full-length books.

Another problem is the often transient nature of such magazines...after a few issues, many are gone never to reappear. Her article recommends nevertheless that they are worth the effort to seek out and to collect. Fellow Wisconsin poet Tom Montag is quoted as saying "Little magazines are essential to contemporary literature; the librarian who ignores them betrays that literature."


Why are Libraries are in trouble?

A Neat Post From Librarian.net on the many causes of our many problems.
Jessamyn says libraries are doing badly because people are having to make tough choices about where their money is going and they're chosing policemen over librarians. She also takes a jab at the silly "librarian shortage" fallacy.
"Please also note the nod to the upcoming "librarian shortage" coming at a time when hundreds of library students can't find work and tell me how much ALA should be promoting higher library school enrollment?"
Libraries are in trouble, what can we do about it?


Information Literacy Makes All the Wrong Assumptions

Academic librarians were quick to react to the threat posed by Internet competition. In 1989, half a dozen years before the first official release of Netscape, they recognized the explosion in networked information and proposed "information literacy," a reinvention of the educational function of the academic library.

Stanley Wilder goes on to criticize academic libraries for their choice and suggests a different method for teaching students.
See the full story at The Chronicle.


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