American Libraries Direct September 10, 2008

The e-newsletter of the American Library Association*.

Critics revisit library incident that paints Palin as censor
“Journalists and bloggers scrutinizing Sarah Palin’s record of public service have made national news out of a 1996 library incident in Wasilla, Alaska, where the Republican vice-presidential nominee was then mayor. The story that has emerged-in countless reports, from the blogosphere to the New York Times-paints Palin as a would-be censor and then–city librarian Mary Ellen Emmons as nearly losing her job for disagreeing….”

Book banning is alive and well in the United States
“Are books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or the Harry Potter series available at your public or school library? According to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, due to book challenges, more than one book a day faces removal from public access in school and public libraries. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. Office for Intellectual Freedom Director Judith Krug and Nathan Ritchie from the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum (above) discuss Banned Books Week 2008 on Chicago Access ”

Library clerk recognized for catching a thief
“Jacksonville (Fla.) Public Library Clerk Bradley Jaskula helped gather information that led to the arrest of a library patron who had stolen about $7,000 worth of materials last spring. Jaskula noted that Jermaine Smith had more than a dozen library cards issued to fictional children. For his efforts, Jaskula was given a “Goal Star” civic award and a letter of recognition from Mayor John Peyton….”

Groups criticize new copyright bill
“A broad intellectual property enforcement bill introduced in July is slated for markup by the Senate Judiciary Committee September 11. The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act (PDF file), sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), enacts a potpourri of measures long sought by content industries. In a letter sent to the committee September 10, ALA and other groups criticized the bill, warning that an “unbalanced approach to enforcement would lead to unintended harms” that could stifle innovation….”

Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library planned
“Theodore Roosevelt lacks one thing that most modern-day presidents have: a presidential library. Dickinson (N. Dak.) State University is gearing up to change that and is planning a library, museum, meeting space, research center, and a comprehensive digital library, all in honor of the 26th president. DSU will incorporate a database of 600,000 digitized Theodore Roosevelt documents from the Library of Congress and Harvard University….”

Highsmith company to close
“The Highsmith company in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, will close November 1, leaving 86 employees out of work. Lab Safety Supply of Janesville, which purchased Highsmith in July, has informed the Department of Workforce Development that it will close the Fort Atkinson facility. Highsmith, founded in 1956, is a distributor of supplies, furniture, and equipment to public, academic, school, and special libraries throughout the United States…”

.Beethoven’s last piano piece discovered in Berlin library
“Is this Beethoven’s last work for piano? Peter McCallum, associate professor in musicology at the University of Sydney, Australia, believes it is. The 32 bars of handwritten musical notation caught his eye when he was studying the composer’s last sketchbook in the Berlin State Library a couple of years ago. McCallum said he believed the piece was written in October 1826, a few months before Beethoven died in March 1827….”

10 things that changed the face of computing
“The history of computing is a fascinating one. Over the last 40 years or so computers have evolved from enormous and complex machines requiring specialized knowledge for operating, to small devices that most people can understand and operate in a few hours. This is a list of 10 software developments that have been the most revolutionary in the history of computing.
Number 1? The Xerox Alto operating system (above)….”
The List Universe, Sept. 2

Oddest book titles of the past 30 years
“Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers (Hellenic Philatelic Society of Great Britain, 1994) has been crowned the oddest book title of the past 30 years. In The Bookseller’s online poll in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, Derek Willan’s comprehensive record of a sector of Greece’s postal routes gained 13% of the public vote. Gary Leon Hill’s People Who Don’t Know They’re Dead (Weiser, 2005) finished second (11% of the public vote) and John W. Trimmer’s guide to avoiding maritime mishaps, How to Avoid Huge Ships (The author, 1982) finished third (10%)….”
The Bookseller, Sept. 5 _______________________________________________ *Information for this post was contributed by our Senior Law Librarian, Philip Y. Blue. To see the entire issue in html format click here.

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