American Libraries Direct February 20, 2008

News from the American Library Association:

House allows warrantless wiretaps law to expire
A dramatic showdown between House Republicans and Democrats February 14 has led to Congress beginning a one-week break without sending any surveillance legislation to the White House. The result is the February 16 expiration of the Protect America Act, which since its enactment in August 2007 has permitted the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without a court order on foreign communications, including phone calls and email exchanges, between someone “reasonably believed to be outside the United States” and a person on U.S. soil, as well as communications traveling to or from U.S. libraries…

.Greenwich library faces Mideast lecture controversy
Greenwich (Conn.) Library officials decided February 14 to allow a speaker to proceed with two scheduled lectures on Israeli-Palestinian relations at the library’s Cole Auditorium. The permission was a reversal of a previous action to cancel the lectures after the library received a number of complaints from community members….

ALA’s social responsibility mission

ALA was one of several associations spotlighted as global change agents in a new initiative by the American Society of Association Executives that focuses on social responsibility. In its case study, ASAE says that social responsibility “is imbedded in ALA’s stated mission, core values, and policy statements as critical to promoting high-quality library and information services and public access to information. The appendix to ALA’s Ahead to 2010 document, Envisioned Future and Organizational Values, also recommits to ‘social responsibility and the public good.'”…
American Society of Association Executives

Jane Greenberg to receive Kilgour Research Award
Jane Greenberg, a metadata expert and faculty member at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, is the winner of the 2008 Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology. The Kilgour Award, sponsored by OCLC and LITA, recognizes outstanding research that advances information science and information retrieval….

As economy struggles, more people rely on libraries
Librarians have long thought that the demand for library services leaps when the economy limps. It’s not just books that the belt-tightening public wants more of in tough times, but museum passes, children’s programs, and internet access. That’s been the case at the Kelley Library in Salem, Massachusetts, over the past year, coinciding with the economic slowdown, according to Director Eleanor Strang….
North Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune, Feb. 19
Library acquires Mary Queen of Scots death warrant
The only contemporary copy of the piece of paper that sent Mary Queen of Scots to her death in 1587 has been purchased by the library of Lambeth Palace, the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, bringing a huge sigh of relief that it will not be sold outside of the UK. An export ban was placed on the document in November 2007, giving UK institutions a chance to raise the £72,485.50 ($141,265 U.S.) asking price for it, bearing in mind its
importance to British history….

Digital downloads will not kill Blu-ray
Duncan Riley writes: “With Toshiba’s announcement that it is to cease manufacture of HD DVD players, the high-definition format wars are now over. With Blu-ray left standing, some, such as Rob Beschizza at Wired are now saying that digital downloads will now kill Blu-ray. It’s an argument many of you reading this will feel is a sound one, but it’s not going to happen anytime shortly. Here are a few reasons why.”…
Techcrunch, Feb. 17
To see entire February 20, 2008 issue of American Libraries Direct, click here.

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