News and Views from the American Library Association (ALA):
Libraries toppled in devastating Chinese earthquake
The 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Sichuan Province in western China on the afternoon of May 12 killed more than 40,000 people and left another 5 million homeless. In the week after the quake, the Library Society of China posted information on damage to libraries in the region on its Chinese-language website. The library building in Beichuan County collapsed, burying five staff members under the debris, but all were rescued after being trapped for more than 70 hours. The Chinese American Librarians Association has set up a website for donations to support earthquake recovery efforts in China
Library advocates converge on the Capitol
More than 400 librarians and library supporters converged on Washington, D.C., May 13–14 for ALA’s 34th annual National Library Legislative Day. They came from as far away as Hawaii and from a variety of libraries to lobby their members of Congress on such issues as copyright, telecommunications, and funding. “Vote for Libraries!” was the message of the day and the enthusiastic crowd set out to bring that message to their senators and representatives.
Become an Emerging Leader
ALA is now accepting applications for the 2009 class of Emerging Leaders. The program is designed to enable more than 100 new librarians to get on the fast track to ALA and professional leadership. Participants are given the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, network with peers, and get an inside look into ALA structure and activities. The deadline to apply is July 31.
Demystifying Library Standards webinar
The National Information Standards Organization and ALCTS have announced the first in a series of webinars on standards in the library environment. “Demystifying Library Standards,” which takes place 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on June 18, will focus on placing standards in context. The speakers will address why standards are important to libraries and not just in the traditional technical services areas.
Vermont enacts library confidentiality bill
On May 13, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas signed into law “An Act Relating to the Confidentiality of Library Patron Records” (S. 220), to take effect July 1. The bill specifies that libraries are not to release patron circulation records unless there is a court order. Another exception is made for requests from parents of children younger than 16. A patron whose records have been wrongly disclosed may now bring a civil action against the library….
Vermont Library Association, May 14
Arrest made in 1994 library theft
A 70-year-old Indiana man was arrested May 19 in connection with the 1994 theft of valuable artwork from the Transylvania University library in Lexington, Kentucky. Eugene C. Zollman, described as a significant Jefferson Davis collector, is accused of stealing documents of the former president of the Confederate States of America valued in excess of $15,000, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Investigators say Zollman recently tried to auction the documents online….
Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, May 21
Google and OCLC to link digitized books
OCLC and Google have signed an agreement to exchange data that will make it easier to find library collections on the Web through Google search services. OCLC member libraries participating in the Google Book Search will be able to share their WorldCat-derived MARC records with Google. Google will link from Google Book Search to WorldCat, which will drive traffic to library OPACs and other library services….
OCLC, May 19
Alarming open source security holes
Simson Garfinkel writes: “Back in May 2006, a few programmers working on an open source security project made a whopper of a mistake. Last week, the full impact of that mistake was just beginning to dawn on security professionals around the world. We now know that two changed lines of code have created profound security vulnerabilities in at least four different open source operating systems, 25 different application programs, and millions of individual computer systems on the internet.”…
Technology Review, May 20
To see the entire issue of the May 21, 2008 issue of American Libraries Direct, click here.