American Libraries Direct September 24, 2008

An e-newsletter of the American Library Association
Trenton library plans to close all its branches
A potential citywide budget deficit of as much as $28 million has led the Trenton (N.J.) Public Library to develop plans to close all four of its neighborhood branches. Library Director Kimberly Bray announced the library board’s decision, which followed an across-the-board 10% cut in funding to all city departments, in an email to staff September 10. Some 60 residents attended a September 23 city council meeting devoted to the closings-the third such meeting held over eight days-at which Bray described three options, all requiring staff layoffs….
American Libraries Online, Sept. 24

ALA launches website upgrade
Regular visitors to the ALA website will discover a more user-centered site with a new look and feel. The upgrade is the result of a two-year, member-driven redesign process. New features include: a homepage banner, with dropdown shortcuts to frequently requested areas of the site; a highlights section featuring images and timely information “above the fold”; a redesigned news section on the front page with three segments, updated frequently; and a new information architecture that doesn’t require users to be familiar with internal ALA structure in order to browse successfully….

ALA and DebateWatch
For the fourth consecutive presidential election, ALA will team up with the Commission on Presidential Debates to promote its DebateWatch initiative. DebateWatch is a voter education program that brings citizens together to watch televised presidential debates, discuss them, and share their reactions with the CPD. Find out how you can host a DebateWatch event in your library….

ACRL opens registration for 14th National Conference
ACRL has opened registration for the ACRL 14th National Conference, “Pushing the Edge: Explore, Engage, Extend” to be held March 12–15, 2009, in Seattle. Registration materials are available online. Keynote speakers include Naomi Klein, Sherman Alexie, and Ira Glass. The division will implement more eco-friendly practices than ever before during this conference….

Fairfax County takes a hit
The biggest single theft of books in the history of the Fairfax County (Va.) Public Library system took place this month at the Fairfax City Regional Library. On September 9, “an unknown suspect” stole an estimated 150 books from the branch. The books ranged in value from $6 to $40. One book was titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff about Money, and another was 25 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living….
Washington Post, Sept. 21

The 50 greatest villains in literature

A panel of 11 critics writes: “Compiling a list of the 50 Greatest Villains in Literature, without too much recourse to comics and children’s books, proved trickier than we’d imagined-but gosh it was fun. It’s perhaps the nature of grown-up literature that it doesn’t all that often have villains, in the sense of coal-black embodiments of the principle of evil. Yet even writers as subtle as Vladimir Nabokov have spiced their work with a fiend or two. And here they are.”…
The Telegraph (U.K.), Sept. 20
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