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....