Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The real Alice in Wonderland's book up for auction

Mon Nov 23, 11:34 pm ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A copy of the book "Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There" that belonged to the British girl who inspired author Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" will be sold at an auction next month, the company behind the sale said on Monday.
At its December 16 auction, Profiles in History also will sell a copy of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" that belonged to its author, Beatrix Potter. The items come from the collection of former U.S. professional football player Pat McInally, the auctioneer said.
Read On

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Design for the New Bush Presidential Library

Architecture Review
A presidential library with modest virtues
Low profile distinguishes Robert A.M. Stern's design for Bush Center in Dallas

By Philip Kennicott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Love him or hate him, George W. Bush presided over one of the noisiest presidencies in history. There were debates over wars of necessity and wars of choice, alarm and rancor over ballooning budgets and new social entitlements, a bold mix of political and religious rhetoric, and the projection of American power into places where it was largely unwanted. The Bush years, on a decibel meter, are up there with a NASCAR rally.

Which makes the cool, quiet and dignified design of his presidential library -- unveiled in Dallas on Wednesday -- a rather odd architectural postscript to eight dramatic years of governance. Architect Robert A.M. Stern's plans for the George W. Bush Presidential Center call for a low-slung building of brick and limestone, following traditional lines and hugging the Texas landscape with a calm reserve. It's almost as if Bush has chosen to retreat into the patrician reticence of his blue-blooded, Connecticut forebears.Read On

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Faced with Too Little Bandwidth, Some Libraries Limit Streaming Media, Porn

Aim is to ensure access to ILS, databases
Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 11/24/2009

Most libraries have inadequate connection speeds
Sites like MySpace can hog network
Need for more capacity planning
Nearly 60 percent of public libraries report inadequate Internet connection speeds to meet patron demand, according to the American Library Association's (ALA) Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study, and a few, at least, are cutting back on the amount of bandwidth for streaming media to assure that the integrated library system (ILS) and other functions remain robust.

Slowing pornography
The Greensboro Public Library, NC, has been relegating streaming media identified as pornography to less than dial-up speeds—1KB a second—as part of a way to ensure that the bandwidth is not occupied by material that would violate the library's Internet policy, which states that users won't access anything "inappropriate for public viewing."

The tactic, director Sandy Neerman told LJ, is a way to avoid the problematic use of filters, while discouraging those seeking to access pornography, which has been the source of 89 complaints in a half-year—a relatively small number compared to loitering complaints, but way too many for some concerned parents, as the News-Record reported. (The newspaper editorialized in favor of the policy.)

Slowing MySpace
While Greensboro has chosen not to slow the bandwidth of sites like MySpace and YouTube, some other libraries are doing so, using the same product, made by Cymphonix. The Weber County Library, Ogden, UT, found that its four T-1 lines were becoming overburdened on school day afternoons because students were spending so much time on sites like MySpace.

"You could go through a session, hit a couple of dozen pages, and you've generated several thousand DNS (domain name system) requests, so the traffic was horrendous," Scott Jones, IT director and ....

Continue the article at the Library Journal.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

jacket master

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Win for the Stacks

by Jennifer Epstein
The Syracuse University Library system is facing the classic book-lover’s dilemma: too many volumes, not enough shelves. The stacks in the flagship Ernest S. Bird Library are at 98 percent capacity, the on-campus archives are totally full and dozens -- if not hundreds -- of new volumes flood in each day.

Suzanne E. Thorin, dean of libraries, thought she had a solution. Her plan was to ship rarely used or redundant texts 250 miles southeast of campus, to a storage facility in Patterson, N.Y. Readers and researchers would’ve been able to request books before 2 p.m. one business day and receive them the next. Space in Bird would be freed up for new acquisitions, study halls and classrooms.

But that plan went awry Wednesday night when more than 200 faculty and students flocked to first public airing of the issue, a University Senate meeting. Some held signs protesting the proposal (one read "FREE BIRD"). Some spoke against the move on the grounds that library space had been misallocated while others questioned the need to ship the books so far away from campus. Faculty members delivered a petition against the plan signed by more than 100 humanities scholars, whose fields would be hurt more than others by the book relocation.

Now, Thorin and the library staff are reconsidering the options for the university’s 1.1 million books, as well as other library materials. “We have reached our capacity and need to figure out some way to get the space we need,” she said in an interview Thursday. “We haven't signed a contract yet and we're open to more discussion before we make a final decision.”
Read On

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

A jones for Lewis and Clark

By Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
November 12, 2009, 5:02AM

Roger Wendlick will do anything for Lewis and Clark.

"Do you want me to dress up?" Wendlick said after making an appointment to discuss his new book, "Shotgun on My Chest: Memoirs of a Lewis and Clark Book Collector."

Among his many activities related to the Corps of Discovery, Wendlick is a re-enactor. He portrays George Drouillard, considered the third-most important member of the expedition, a skilled hunter and "a man of much merit," according to Meriwether Lewis. Wendlick plays Drouillard with enthusiasm, and jokes that as a kid playing cowboys and Indians, he never imagined being 64 and dressing in buckskins.

There's much about Wendlick's life that he never imagined. He grew up in North Portland and spent most of his life working as a construction foreman, digging sewer lines, and assembled what was considered the world's finest private collection of Lewis and Clark materials. He did it through determination, luck and a willingness to take risks, going more than $140,000 in debt and re-financing his home three times to buy more rare books.

"Passion. Compulsion. Addiction. It was as close to any chemical addiction I've ever heard of," Wendlick said. "I don't know why I did it. I'm not even a book guy."

The story has a happy ending. Wendlick's books ended up at Lewis & Clark College in 1998 through a sale/donation agreement. They are the centerpiece of an outstanding collection of materials related to the expedition at the college's Watzek Library. Wendlick has spent much of the past decade studying the books he bought and becoming an in-demand speaker and authority on all things Lewis and Clark.

"Free at last," Wendlick said, laughing with relief about no longer living with the pressure of building a collection he couldn't really afford. Writing the story of his passion/addiction/compulsion was a different kind of pressure, one that took years to overcome.

"I started in 2002, and I figured it would take me about eight months," Wendlick said. "Was I wrong. I'm a workingman, not a writer. I really struggled through it."

Wendlick didn't keep a journal or any written record of his collecting spree, which began in 1980 with memorabilia related to the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland and kicked into high gear in 1986 when he began to seriously acquire books. He did keep 90 percent of the receipts from everything he bought, and that paper trail allowed him to retrace his steps through antique shows and antiquarian bookstores and rare book auctions across the U.S. Along the way, he made friends who were surprised to see a man who worked with his hands in the rarified air of serious collecting.

"The Internet has changed the antiquarian book trade, and not necessarily for the better," Wendlick said. "You can't go to stores and talk to people and see what might be tucked away on a shelf. Now everything's on the computer. I think I'm one of the last to do it the old-fashioned way."

"Shotgun on My Chest" is published by 12-Gauge Press ($28 paperback, 299 pages) and is available at Powell's. Wendlick reads from "Shotgun on My Chest" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Press Club, 2621 S.E. Clinton St., as part of the Mountain Writers Series.

Oregonian Article

-- Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

Books Returned to High School Library after 50 years with overdue fines included.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

European Union launches digital library

(CNN) -- The European Union has launched a digital library that offers documents dating to nearly 60 years ago, in 23 languages.

A way with words: new digital library "frees the EU tied to paper," said Leonard Orban.

All documents ever edited on behalf of European Union institutions, agencies and other bodies will be available in the library, the organization said in a news release.

"The digital library frees the memory of the European Union tied to paper since its beginning," said Leonard Orban, the union's commissioner for multilingualism.

The electronic library is free to individuals, companies and libraries worldwide, which can download documents as PDF (Portable Document Format) files, Orban said. About 12 million pages -- roughly 110,000 EU publications -- are available for download, according to officials.

"The millions of pages now accessible to everyone in the 23 official languages demonstrate the continued commitment of the European Union to preserve and encourage the history of the union in its linguistic diversity," Orban said.

Read On

Monday, October 19, 2009

Superheroes on display at UO comics exhibit

From the Oregonian
EUGENE -- Ben Saunders is all too familiar with the stereotypes associated with comics and superheroes.

There's the moldy oldie: Comics are "funny books," suitable only for kids.

The next version: Comics are trivial because they're only about superheroes, i.e., men in tights. Snicker.

And the most recent, highfalutin' edition: Comics are an art form, sophisticated, complex and varied, so anybody who brings up superheroes is an unenlightened boob who clearly doesn't get it.

Saunders, however, does get it. The University of Oregon associate professor of English thinks it's high time superheroes were rescued from their low-prestige status in the comics pantheon.

"In the last three years," as Saunders says, "comic studies has grown as an emergent discipline within the academy. And a lot of attention has been placed on what you'd call 'comics lit,' the Art Spiegelman version of the form." Spiegelman is the former underground comics creator who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for "Maus: A Survivor's Tale," his comic book memoir of the Holocaust.

Read On:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Vatican Finally Shares Its Secret Stash of Astronomy Artifacts

From Gizmodo
The Vatican is holding an exhibit showing a collection of astronomy and space themed treasures, including this 18th century orrery.. I 'm just stunned that these beauties have been collecting dust somewhere, unseen and unappreciated for who-knows-how-long.

The Astrum 2009, Astronomy and Instruments' exhibition is running from October 16 to January 16, 2010 and just seeing some of the pictures in io9's makes me want to book a trip to Vatican City and stroll through space history. [io9
Send an email to Rosa Golijan, the author of this post, at

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Wild Things" Hit the Streets of New York City

A much anticipated movie of a classic piece of writing by Maurice Sendak. It sure would be fun to be in NYC for this.
"Wild Things" Hit the Streets of New York City

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Award maybe a little early, but a nice sign of International Acceptance

I try to keep things here on subject as to regards to things that involve books, and the literary world. This post is a little stray from this ideal, and into the world of politics. As most of you know I am a big fan of President Obama. I have thought he was the best choice for President, long before his candidacy was announced. I first read his book Dreams of my Fathers in 2005, and was quite moved by his story. While this award may be a bit premature in receiving, and acknowledging that their are many who have spent lifetimes towards bringing peace to a war torn region, people, and world, I do think President Obama is a fine example of someone who is working towards making this nation, and this world a place where we can all co exist, and fine peace and harmony in our everyday life.
- Doug

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hilary Mantel's Booker prize-winning novel sees off Dan Brown

Thomas Cromwell has seen off Robert Langdon after Hilary Mantel's Booker prize win on Tuesday night sent her novel Wolf Hall soaring ahead of Dan Brown in Amazon's bestseller charts.

Mantel's Wolf Hall, an historical novel about the life of Cromwell, the machiavellian schemer from the court of Henry VIII who oversaw the dissolution of the monasteries, was last night named winner of the £50,000 Man Booker prize. The win helped increase its Amazon sales by 1,500%, sending it leaping to the top of the online bookseller's charts and pushing Dan Brown's new novel The Lost Symbol, starring Harvard symbologist Langdon, into second place. Mantel's French Revolution-set novel A Place of Greater Safety also enjoyed a knock-on effect, with sales up almost 2,000%.

Mantel was voted winner of the Booker by three votes to two, beating former winners JM Coetzee and AS Byatt. "It was a majority decision but it was not unanimous," said judge John Mullan, professor of English at University College London, this morning. Mullan praised the "quality of her prose", which he said gets forgotten when the scope of the novel – a "Tudor soap opera", as Mantel has described it – is discussed. "Reading it for the third time, line by line, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, it's just a real delight. Fantastically well written," he said. "Her inventiveness, the glitter of the prose, is really remarkable."

Read On

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Book Review by Charles Seluzicki

'The Man Who Loved Books Too Much'September 19, 2009, 10:00AM
As both a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America and a friend and colleague of the booksellers who finally caught the often-charming book thief John Charles Gilkey, it's fascinating to finally read a story that I experienced, only a few years ago, as e-mail alerts and dinner conversation at book fairs.
Allison Hoover Bartlett's "The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession," is a book about entering a world that is new to her, the world of serious book collecting. Befriending both Ken Sanders, the bookseller who for six years headed security for the ABAA, and Gilkey, who methodically stole from some of the best of those booksellers, she unravels tales of private obsession and touches deeper issues and themes that inform our understandings about people who collect -- not merely gather or assemble, but consciously and systematically collect -- rare books.

Read On

Monday, September 21, 2009

Northwest writers at work: Tess Gallager in Raymond Carver country By Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

Courtesy Tess Gallagher
Raymond Carver wrote a poem called "Gravy" about the years after he stopped drinking and met Tess Gallagher. "Don't weep for me," Carver wrote. "I'm a lucky man."

The mailbox still says Ray Carver and Tess Gallagher. His Mercedes-Benz sedan, the one he bought while wearing his bedroom slippers, is in the garage. His study is pretty much the way he left it in 1988, the typewriter in its place and the picture of Chekhov on the wall. The books on the shelves are the ones he wrote and the ones he put there himself.
But time has moved on at Ridge House, where Carver died 21 years ago. On an outside wall hangs a copy of a painting by Alfredo Arreguin, a portrait of Gallagher with the words to her poem "I Have Never Wanted to March" on it. It's faded from the sun and rain, but she's going to leave it up until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. Two dogs jump and bark at the window until she comes to the door and silences them.
"Hashi! Peggy! That's enough now!"

Read On

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pawn Stars A Must See

My favorite show on TV. A blue collar version of Antique Roadshow complete with Idiots, Family Dynamics, and Bleeped Out Swearing.. Oh yeah, and some really cool things being brought in to sell/pawn in Vegas!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Latest word on Wordstock

Latest word on Wordstock
by Jeff Baker, The Oregonian
Wednesday August 19, 2009, 5:15 PM

Wordstock 2009 is about booked up. Most of the big names are signed, the program is about ready to be printed, and everything is moving forward for the literary festival Oct. 8-11 at the Oregon Convention Center. Here are a few highlights:

• Headliners include Sherman Alexie, Ethan Canin, Dan Chaon, Richard Dawkins, Pete Dexter, James Ellroy, Julia Glass, Jacquelyn Mitchard and Jeannette Walls.
• Alexie and Dawkins will be separate-admission events away from the main floor. Those purchasing tickets will receive a copy of their new book, similar to the way Powell's does its events at Bagdad Theater.

• Wordstock patrons have been asking for Alexie for five years. His story "War Dances" is in the Aug. 10-17 issue of The New Yorker.

• Ellroy may do "Live Wire!" as part of his Wordstock experience. His new book, "Blood's a Rover," is generating some heat.

• Five writers from the International Writing Program, based at the University of Iowa, will read at Wordstock.

• 2nd Story, a storytelling theater group from Chicago that uses music in its performances, will appear on Oct. 8. Portland is awash in storytelling events right now, and these guys are supposed to be the real thing.

• The 150 or so writers participating in this year's Wordstock are "down by design" from the 210 to 230 of the past two years, according to executive director Greg Netzer. There were logistical problems with so many writers, and the smaller number is easier to handle.

• Local arts organizations will get in on the act with partnership events beginning Oct. 3. Write Around Portland, the Oregon Council for the Humanities, the Independent Publishing Resource Center, the Flash Choir and the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center are among the groups planning something special for Wordstock.

• Some of the Oregon Book Awards finalists will read on Oct. 11.

• There's going to be an emphasis on food writing, memoir and young adult fiction this year, with more than a dozen writers from each genre.

• Floor space at the convention center will be smaller, but (yet another) new configuration is supposed to help the sound problems that have bedeviled the festival throughout its history.

• All major sponsors from last year are back, Netzer said, and only one decreased its commitment. Given the economy, finances are going OK.

Jeff Baker: 503-221-8165;

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Book throwdown: Julia vs. Julie

Meryl Streep in the movie
“Julie & Julia” doesn’t come out until Friday, but thanks to a huge publicity push, beloved actors, lots of movie previews and three popular books, there is already an incredible amount of buzz surrounding the movie.

Even this book reviewer got to attend a preview. I’ll leave the film review to colleague Joe Williams, of course. But I will say this: The movie is guaranteed to sell a lot of books.

This week I looked at to see how “Julie & Julia,” “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and “My Life in France” are doing saleswise.

Not surprisingly, the three books that provide most of the inspiration for the movie are in the top 100.

“Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which blogger Julie Powell cooked from for a year, was ranked highest at 34. The 40th anniversary edition, published in 2001, now sports a removable wraparound band with a photo - not of chef Julia Child but actress Meryl Streep!

Meanwhile, “My Life in France,” Child’s memoir, has not only a photo of Streep, but also one of actress Amy Adams. It was ranked 357 (the edition with the real Child’s photo was ranked better, at 99). The movie tie-in edition of the book by Julie Powell was ranked at 43, which was better than the original paperback.

I checked the catalog at the St. Louis County Library, and from what I could tell, there were more requests for “Julie & Julia” than for the books by Julia Child.

Even though the movie was charming (I could watch Streep play Child all day), I’d rather see the real people on the book covers. Especially the iconic Child. Her real kitchen is in the Smithsonian, for pete’s sake. But I’m sure that the publishers don’t hesitate a minute about putting actors’ pictures on other people’s memoirs if it will sell books. And the movie really does make one curious about the books - I’m reading “My Life in France” now.

In the movie, both Streep and Powell are appealing. (Maybe a bit too cutesy, but that’s typical of movies by Nora Ephron.) I’ve already heard from filmgoers who differ on which cook they found more interesting.

In the meantime, which cook would you rather read?

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Yorker Discovers the Little House Books' Libertarian Roots

Judith Thurman in the current New Yorker, in an article largely (and curiously) hooked off a now-16-year-old book, The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane, by William Holtz, uncovers what seemed (to anyone unfamiliar with modern libertarianism's history) like a fascinating and somewhat dark secret: that the hugely popular and influential Little House books were highly influenced, edited, maybe even "ghostwritten" to a significant extent, by Laura Ingalls Wilder's radical libertarian daughter and fellow novelist, Rose Wilder Lane.

Of their collaborative style, Thurman writes:

The cumulative evidence suggests that sometimes Laura stood her ground and sometimes she was cowed into submission, but most often she solicited and welcomed Rose’s improvements. When Rose left the farm, in 1935, the editing of the five books yet to come was done by correspondence. “I have written you the whys of the story as I wrote it,” Laura told her in a letter that accompanied a draft of volume four, “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” “but you know your judgment is better than mine, so what you decide is the one that stands.” Rose, for her part, could be an insufferable didact. She played down her authority, even as she hammered it home: “I’m trying to train you as a writer for the big market,” she had told her mother in 1925. (Laura had written an article about her Ozark kitchen, which, heavily revised, had appeared in the magazine Country Gentleman.) “You must understand that what sold was your article, edited. You must study how it was edited, and why. . . . Above all, you must listen to me.”

Of Rose's political work beyond working with her mother, Thurman writes:

In 1936, the Saturday Evening Post published Lane’s own “Credo,” an impassioned essay that was widely admired by conservatives. Her vision was of a quasi-anarchic democracy, with minimal taxes, limited government, and no entitlements, regulated only by the principle of personal responsibility. Its citizens would be equal in their absolute freedom to flourish or to fail.

Everything that Lane wrote after “Credo”—fiction or polemics—was an expression of that vision. She may have been the first to invoke the term “libertarian” (it dates to the eighteenth century) to describe the agenda of a nascent anti-statist movement of which she has been called, with Isabel Paterson and Ayn Rand, “a founding mother.” To the degree that she is still remembered for her own achievements, it is mainly by a few libertarian ultras for whom her tract of 1943, “The Discovery of Freedom: Man’s Struggle Against Authority,” is a foundational work of political theory. (It was written “in a white heat,” she said.)

As far as that "may have been the first," such attempts to pin down "firsts" is a mug's game; she was certainly early in using that term in what has become its main modern use, and also helped define what the term would come to mean.

Of the dual philosophies detectable in the Little House books, Thurman writes:

Last June, Anita Clair Fellman, a professor emerita of history at Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia, published “Little House, Long Shadow,” a survey of the Wilders’ “core” beliefs, and of their influence on American political culture. Two streams of conservatism, she argues—not in themselves inherently compatible—converge in the series. One is Lane’s libertarianism, and the other is Wilder’s image of a poster family for Republican “value voters”: a devoted couple of Christian patriots and their unspoiled children; the father a heroic provider and benign disciplinarian, the mother a pious homemaker and an example of feminine self-sacrifice.....

Fellman concludes, “The popularity of the Little House books . . . helped create a constituency for politicians like Reagan who sought to unsettle the so-called liberal consensus established by New Deal politics.” Considering the outcome of the November election, and the present debacle of laissez-faire capitalism, that popularity may have peaked. On the other hand, it may not have. Hard times whet the appetite for survival stories.

Rose Wilder Lane could certainly have set Ms. Thurman straight on her absurd assertion that the current crisis is one of laissez-faire capitalism. Kate Harding at Salon chimes in with comments on Thurman's article, with some requisite modern liberal distaste, yet a hat tip to the undeniable power of Rose Wilder Lane as both character and phenomenon:

Even if she is partially to blame for a political landscape that's made me despair for most of my adult life, there's no denying that Rose Wilder's life story is compelling stuff -- arguably far more compelling than her mother's nostalgic stories (and especially the Michael Landonized version of them). Given the mainstream American tastes that keep the Little House books perennially in print, perhaps it's not surprising that someone who simultaneously lived feminist ideals and righter-than-right politics has gone largely unnoticed, but it's a shame nonetheless.

Rose's story is also told at great length in my 2007 book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. She is also discussed in my review of a biography of Rose's good friend and ideological sister Isabel Paterson, from the February 2005 issue of Reason magazine.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Art for All; Special Collections Art Film

Oh NO......

Win a prize -- deface a book!
Feeling bookish and artistic? Baltimore's Enoch Pratt Free Library this week announced its first Altered Books Competition. Eligible is "any book, old or new that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art. They can be rebound, painted, cut, burned, folded, added to, collaged in, rubber stamped, drilled or otherwise adorned. [It] may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture."

I've seen some mind-boggling creations made from books -- the art shown above is just a sampling from the FunForever blog.

If you need artistic guidance, the Pratt will have a workshop at the Baltimore Book Festival on Friday, Sept. 25, 6 to 8 p.m.; old books and supplies will be provided for free. Entries in the competition must be received by the Pratt no later than 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. Prizes will be awarded to the top three altered books; the top 15 altered books will be displayed at the Central Library during October.

I admit there's something sad about defacing any book. But I have lots of old textbooks and other books lying around the garage, just waiting to be turned into works of art. Watch out Principles of Accounting, here I come!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Texas Librarians Tattoo Calender

AUSTIN, Texas — So much for the stereotype. Texas librarians are baring their skin and revealing their tattoos — all to raise disaster relief money to help damaged libraries. Photos of the librarians and their body art appear in a new calendar sold by the Texas Library Association.
Librarian Shawne Miksa says it's a way to get people to notice library issues. As the model for November 2010, she shows off Chinese characters on her lower back that mean "wisdom" and "desire."
The "Tattooed Ladies of TLA" 18-month calendar is a follow-up to the successful "Men of Texas Libraries" calendar, which raised $9,000 to help libraries damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The TLA says libraries thrive on promoting diversity and free expression and the calendar exhibits that spirit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Police Drop Charges in Gates Case

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Authorities agreed to drop a disorderly-conduct charge against renowned Harvard University African-American studies scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who had been arrested at his own home last week after police answered a call about a suspected break-in there.

The arrest had sparked concern that Mr. Gates was a victim of racial profiling, a controversial practice in which police allegedly use race as a factor in identifying criminal suspects.

In a joint statement, Mr. Gates' lawyer, the City of Cambridge, Mass., its police department and the county district attorney's office called the July 16 incident "regrettable and unfortunate." The statement added that "this incident should not be viewed as one that demeans the character and reputation of Professor Gates or the character of the Cambridge Police Department" and that "all parties agree this is a just resolution to an unfortunate set of circumstances."

Bloomberg News
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., shown in 2007, told police he was the victim of racism.
In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Gates said the situation "shows our vulnerability to the caprices of individual police officers who for whatever reason are free to arrest you on outrageous charges like disorderly conduct." Mr. Gates called a police report alleging he yelled at an officer and was uncooperative "a work of sheer fantasy."

Mr. Gates, a Harvard professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, said he hadn't decided whether to pursue any legal action. He said if the officer who arrested him, Sgt. James Crowley, "sincerely apologized, I would be willing to forgive him."

Sgt. Crowley didn't return phone calls.

Mr. Gates said he had returned from a trip to China last Thursday afternoon in a hired car. He said he and the driver had trouble opening his front door, which was jammed. Mr. Gates says he used a key to enter through the back door; his driver pushed open the front door. A passerby called police because she thought the men were breaking into the house. Mr. Gates said he had no issue with the woman's call.

Randomly Noted: The Gates Arrest
Mr. Gates said Sgt. Crowley arrived and asked him to step outside. Mr. Gates said he declined because of the officer's tone. He said Sgt. Crowley also asked him to prove he was a Harvard professor and followed him into his kitchen, uninvited. "He was clearly convinced I was the perpetrator," Mr. Gates said.

Mr. Gates alleges that Sgt. Crowley declined to state his name and badge number. "Are you not answering me because I'm a black man in America?" he says he told the officer. In his report, Sgt. Crowley said he had given Mr. Gates his name.

Robert McCrie, professor of security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, called Mr. Gates' arrest "gratuitous" because, he said, even if Mr. Gates had yelled, such conduct doesn't amount to disorderly conduct. He said police departments need to improve training, especially when interviewing citizens at home. "We in America believe very much in the privacy of our own home," he says.

Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard's president, issued a statement saying she was "gratified" the charges against Mr. Gates were dropped, but added, "I continue to be deeply troubled by the incident."

Write to John Hechinger at and Simmi Aujla at

In Final Round of Grants, Gates Foundation Gives $6.5M To Upgrade Library Computers

Third round of Opportunity Online grants serves 11 states; ; advocacy training required
Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 7/20/2009

Third round of hardware grants
Part of $350M in domestic library support
$3.7M local match expected
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced its third and final round of Opportunity Online hardware grants, $6.5 million in grants to public libraries in 11 states. While the foundation, which has invested $350 million in domestic library support, did not initially aim to pay for hardware, it has recognized the need to upgrade and add public computer workstations in low-income areas, especially given the increasing demand for Internet access at libraries.

Last year’s round was worth $8.1 million, while the 2007 grants totaled $8.3 million. The remaining 18 U.S. states participated in the foundation’s Public Access Computing Hardware Upgrade Grant program in 2006.

In the current round, nearly 800 library branches in Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin are eligible. The libraries are expected to leverage $3.7 million in local funding.

Read On

Monday, July 20, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"A Clear Midnight" poetry by Walt Whitman composed by Lee Hoiby.

Walt Whitman - A New Composition

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Inquiry bodes ill for writers

Inquiry bodes ill for writers

"Copyright recognises and enshrines the value of original work." ... Tim Winton.
Jacob Saulwick National Correspondent
July 13, 2009
THE Federal Government's economic advisory body is likely to recommend scrapping copyright provisions preventing the parallel importing of books.

The Herald understands one of the proposals the Productivity Commission will present tomorrow will be to free up restrictions on book imports, after a period of up to three years to give the industry time to adjust.

If adopted, the changes would significantly change the way books were sold and, according to writers and publishers, undermine the ability of new Australian authors to land their break.

Copyright provisions are intended to protect Australian authors and publishers.

Under laws introduced in 1991 Australian publishers are given 30 days to publish a local version of any book published in the world. Bookshops must then sell the Australian version and cannot import a cheaper alternative.

In establishing the inquiry in November, the former minister for consumer affairs Chris Bowen set off a pitched battle between booksellers on one side and authors and publishers on the other.

The booksellers - through the Coalition for Cheaper Books set up by Dymocks and the retail chains Woolworths and Coles - have argued that removing copyright limits would benefit customers.

Retailers have also argued they are losing business as they struggle to compete with cheap books sold on

The Productivity Commission, known for espousing orthodox economic principles, is uncomfortable with market restrictions on book imports.

But in a draft paper in March the commission said removing all import restrictions would damage the industry. Instead it advocated limits should apply for a year after a book was first published, but then be removed.

The Herald understands the final report tomorrow is likely to go further and suggest the eventual removal of all import restrictions.

Those fighting the removal are probably the country's most articulate lobby. Authors such as Tim Winton, Kate Grenville and Peter Carey have peppered the commission with submissions. Winton wrote: "Copyright recognises and enshrines the value of original work.

"Copyright is the single most important industrial fact in a writer's life, the civilising influence of a culture upon a market."

Maree McCaskill, the chief executive officer of the Australian Publishers Association, said New Zealand was the only other big market to do away with restrictions on book publishing.

And even in New Zealand, there was little evidence that it had led to lower prices.

Ms McCaskill said an open book market would be "seriously devastating" to the industry, resulting in lost jobs and fewer publishing houses.

She said publishers would be less likely to search for and nurture new authors, and instead would rely more on established names in the book industry to guarantee sales.

The executive director of the Australian Society of Authors, Jeremy Fisher, said the copyright arrangements worked well, protecting the industry at no cost to the taxpayer.

The commission's draft paper noted there was little evidence that books were more expensive in Australia than overseas.

However, it said removing restrictions was likely eventually to lead to lower prices.

The Choices That Closed a Window Into Afghanistan

Published: July 13, 2009
Among the many lasting consequences of the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was the collateral damage it inflicted on Afghanistan and the war there against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Money, troops and expertise were diverted to Iraq, and as the RAND Corporation political scientist Seth G. Jones observes in his useful new book, the initial success of the military operation in Afghanistan was squandered.

Read On

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sorry for the delay in blogging

Will be back at it tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The worst books at your library

The worst books at your library ( from the Baltimore Sun)

While I'm hesitant to kick libraries when they're down, I couldn't pass up the chance to share the Awful Libary Books blog.

Created by two Michigan librarians, Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, the site chronicles the absolute worst books discovered on library shelves. We're talking The New York Times' 1985 guide to the return of Haley's Comet, a Star Power manual, outlining how to use obsolete computer programs I've never even heard of, and a 1962 book about what man will do when we reach the moon someday.

As Kelly and Hibner point out, these books aren't bad per se, they're just horribly outdated and could now actually be harmful for anyone trying to find information they can actually use.

Anyone here want to use a medical tome about AIDS that's about 20 years out of date? I didn't think so.

The best part is, they're always looking for more material. So the next time you find a book that makes you giggle, roll your eyes or even head for the trash can, snap a picture and send it to Awful Library Books where we can all "enjoy" it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cleveland Library has to cook its books

Staff reports

About $400,000 worth of Cleveland Library’s books are headed to a shipping container to cook in nearly 100-degree heat until $8,000 in donations can be found to pay for insulation, a combination air conditioner and heater, lights, wiring and finishing materials at the library.

No one at the library can tell how long the book bindings will survive in the hot, dry container temperatures.

The 40-foot container is getting shelving built by the N.C. Baptist Men for use as an on-site bookmobile, which also can be used as an off-site self-contained library. While not as flexible as the customary traveling bookmobile many libraries use, it will hold four times more books and can be moved by crane and truck to a shopping center, church or school parking lot. It will save Cleveland about $320,000.

The independent Cleveland Library on Hwy 42 is several years ahead of schedule on its book acquisition, which is forcing creative solutions to shelving and display. It has received 30,000 books and videos in more than 10 months and is receiving 1,000 or more books per week. The library increased Cleveland’s access to books from the county’s 1.7 books per resident to 3.7 and is on target to reach six by next year, when additional space will be needed.

read on....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lots to love about the Chicago Public Library including fishing poles

Bucktown-Wicker Park Branch Library [320x200].jpg
The Chicago Public Library is a great resource for families. You probably already know that, right? But I am not just talking about checking out books for the kids. Did you know that you cancheck out fishing poles from some branches and meet famous authors face to face? Yep, it true. This place has a lot more to offer than books. Check out some of these cool programs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The bible of baseball cards

The bible of baseball cards
For many boys who were collectors, a 1973 book helped turn one's hobby into a full-fledged obsession.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cheney inks book deal reportedly worth millions

 Cheney is writing a book.
Cheney is writing a book.

(CNN) – Having made his rounds on the cable news circuit over the last few months, former vice president Dick Cheney is now headed to a book store near you.

Cheney has struck a deal with publishing house Simon & Schuster to write his memoirs covering a more than 40-year career in government, stretching all the way back to his roles in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

“It has been a tremendous privilege to serve during some of the most interesting and challenging times, as well as with some of the most fascinating people, in American history,” Cheney said in a statement provided to CNN. “I look forward to writing about these experiences for the first time.”

Read On.... If you can stomach it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New editions of 4 King books in the works June 23, 2009

Four books by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that have been long out of print will be published again under a deal with Beacon Press brokered by King's youngest son.

Beacon, a department of the Unitarian Universalist Assn., publishes books on social justice, human rights and racial equality. Among the authors it has published are James Baldwin, Derrick Bell, Cornel West, Howard Thurman, Marian Wright Edelman and Roger Wilkins.

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Libraries tap into Twitter

Libraries tap into Twitter

Increasing numbers of librarians are using Twitter to engage readers and spread informationTwitter bird logo

read on

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Literary Legend Fights for a Local Library

VENTURA, Calif. — When you are pushing 90, have written scores of famous novels, short stories and screenplays, and have fulfilled the goal of taking a simulated ride to Mars, what’s left?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Richard Nixon's Presidential Library releases more tapes

Presidential history buffs alert: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum has announced Nixonmanualplans to release an additional 154 hours of tapes that the nation's 37th president secretly made of his own meetings and conversations. This marks the fifth release of Nixon tapes, according to Ken Hughes of the presidential recordings program atUniversity of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. Hughes says the recordings should be available online almost immediately, but he'll also be transcribing some of the juicier bits on his wonderfully named blog, Fatal Politics.

The tapes being released tomorrow were made during the first two months of 1973. Our friends at the Miller Center provide some historical context:

During this time, Nixon forced South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to accept a settlement with North Vietnam that both men recognized would lead to a Communist military victory. Nixon needed the settlement to conceal the failure of his "Vietnamization and negotiation" strategy to achieve the goal of a South Vietnam that could defend and go Read On vern itself.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Simon & Schuster to Sell Digital Books on

n another sign that book publishers are looking to embrace alternatives to’s Kindle e-book store, Simon & Schuster has agreed to sell digital copies of its books on, a popular document-sharing Web site.

William P. O'Donnell/The New York Times

Books from best-selling authors like Stephen King would be among the titles available for purchase on

Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS, plans to announce Friday that it will make digital editions of about 5,000 titles available for purchase on the site, including books from best-selling authors like Stephen KingDan Brownand Mary Higgins Clark. It will also add thousands of other titles to Scribd’s search engine, allowing readers to sample 10 percent of the content of the books on the site and providing links to buy the print editions.

“We are interested in getting our books in front of consumers in as many formats and distribution platforms as possible,” said Ellie Hirschhorn, chief digital officer of

Read On 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Obama's half-brother George signs book deal


George Obama, 27, is the youngest of the seven children born to Obama's father in Kenya and was recently arrested there for marijuana possession. The two Obamas have different mothers and never met until Obama visited Kenya in 1987.

The book is tentatively titled Homeland and is scheduled for publication in January 2010. It will be co-written by Damien Lewis, author of the books Apache Dawn, Cobra Gold, Operation Certain Death, Bloody Heroes, Slave and Desert Claw.

"Even had George Obama not been our president's half brother, his story is moving and inspirational," said SimonSchuster publisher David Rosenthal. "It is an object lesson in survival, selflessness and courage."

The publishing deal makes George the fourth member of the Obama clan to sign a book deal in recent months. Shortly before his inauguration, Obama signed a deal for a teenage version of his best-selling book Dreams From My Father.

Basketball coach Craig Robinson, the president's brother-in-law and First Lady Michelle Obama's brother, is writing a book called A Game of Character. Obama's half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng is writing a children's book called Ladder to the Moon.