Archive for the ‘Librarian Stuff’ Category

banned books posterThis week is Banned Books Week, September 23rd – 30th. From the America Library Association’s website

Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

I’m ashamed to say the library where I work is doing nothing to recognize Banned Books Week. Personally I planned to read a banned book, I’ve read most of them, so it may be a re-read. What you can do – fight oppression, censorship and closed-mindedness, defend your right to freedom of information, expression of ideas and access to information – Read a Banned Book! To get you started here are the top ten challenged books of 2005

For more information or more books

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Man without a country

“So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries. ”

Kurt Vonnegut
In These Times
August 2004

Saw this quote today and loved it. If you like the quote you’ll like In These Times it’s “dedicated to informing and analyzing popular movements for social, environmental and economic justice; to providing a forum for discussing the politics that shape our lives; and to producing a magazine that is read by the broadest and most diverse audience possible.”

Also, if you haven’t read Vonnegut’s latest book, A Man without a Country, I recommend it.

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Bill 410-15 will ban libraries and schools from letting people access “social networking sites”. So you’re thinking? How does this affect me? Maybe you don’t use myspace, which is probably the site you’re hearing the most about. Even if you don’t use myspace (and I do) this willl affect you, flickr is considered a social networking site and that’s where I host my pictures.  I even have a pro account there.  I know a lot of other people (including knitters) who use flickr and have pro accounts there.  Other sites that would be considered social networking: Amazon, blogs with multiple contributors (see MDK KAL), and many more.

This may seem like a small problem, but creating a solution without a problem seems like a big deal to me.  Flickr, myspace and may other social networking sites are no more dangerous than walking down streets in your town, or at the local mall, (where you’ll see many young girls dressed very provocatively, half nude A&F models) or your local library.  Predators can be anywhere.  The solution is to educate people.  I’m quoting Robin on this because she is a great parent and very tech savvy individual. 

I’ve said it over and over again – MySpace isn’t the problem, it’s a symptom. If you take aspirin to mask your symptoms, your underlying disease just gets worse. That’s what will happen here. Kids will find somewhere else to congregate and we’ll be doing this again in a few years. Let’s work on educating kids as to what is appropriate information for public sites, how to protect themselves on-line and help them become responsible net citizens – let’s not try to remove any possible problems that may exist on the Internet and not teach them how to work through those problems on their own.

I’ve also heard the argument that libraries and schools are for learning.  Should libraries no longer offer the latest Daniele Steel novel?  It’s certainly not educational, neither is John Grisham or Tom Clancy for that matter, maybe we’d better get rid of all fiction.   As to schools, I maintain one of the most valuable things children learn there is how to interact with other people.  

Please call, write, email your state representative and let them know that we don’t want or need this bill. 

More great info about this bill fround on Librarian in Black, here, here and probably a lot of other places

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It’s true!  CB I Hate Perfume, a boutique in New York offers a scent called In The Library reminiscent of “Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish”. Says perfumer Christopher Brosius  “Don’t you find there are few things more wonderful than the smell of a much-loved book?”  I do love the smell of old, but loved leather bound books, and with a description like that, who could resist?  It’s available as a house spray or a perfume.  Hmmmm, choices choices.

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This isn’t the type of thing I usually write about and those of you who know me personally know I’m the first person to bust someone for forwarding spam email about something that isn’t true.    But this is important to me personally, as a librarian and as a small business owner. 

There is legislation in front of Congress right now that would allow network owners to charge website owners in order to get preferential treatment in traffic on the net. Those who don’t pay could find themselves loading much slower or not loading into people’s browsers at all. 

I’ve included some FAQs below visit Save the Internet for more information and to see what you can do.

What is Network Neutrality?

Network Neutrality — or “Net Neutrality” for short — is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Net Neutrality ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice. With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service. Net Neutrality prevents the companies that control the wires from discriminating against content based on its source or ownership.

Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online. It’s why the Internet has become an unrivaled environment for open communications, civic involvement and free speech.

Learn more in Net Neutrality 101.

Who wants to get rid of Net Neutrality?

The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all.

They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.

What’s at stake?

Decisions being made now will shape the future of the Internet for a generation. Before long, all media — TV, phone and the Web — will come to your home via the same broadband connection. The dispute over Net Neutrality is about who’ll control access to new and emerging technologies.

On the Internet, consumers are in ultimate control — deciding between content, applications and services available anywhere, no matter who owns the network. There’s no middleman. But without Net Neutrality, the Internet will look more like cable TV. Network owners will decide which channels, content and applications are available; consumers will have to choose from their menu.

The Internet has always been driven by innovation. Web sites and services succeeded or failed on their own merit. Without Net Neutrality, decisions now made collectively by millions of users will be made in corporate boardrooms. The choice we face now is whether we can choose the content and services we want, or whether the broadband barons will choose for us.

Isn’t this just a battle between giant corporations?

No. Small business owners benefit from an Internet that allows them to compete directly — not one where they can’t afford the price of entry. Net Neutrality ensures that innovators can start small and dream big about being the next EBay or Google without facing insurmountable hurdles. Without Net Neutrality, startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web.

But Net Neutrality doesn’t just matter to business owners. If Congress turns the Internet over to the telephone and cable giants, everyone who uses the Internet will be affected. Connecting to your office could take longer if you don’t purchase your carrier’s preferred applications. Sending family photos and videos could slow to a crawl. Web pages you always use for online banking, access to health care information, planning a trip, or communicating with friends and family could fall victim to pay-for-speed schemes.

Independent voices and political groups are especially vulnerable. Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips, silencing bloggers and amplifying the big media companies. Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups or candidates to pay a fee to join the “fast lane.”

Isn’t the threat to Net Neutrality just hypothetical?

No. So far, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. But numerous examples show that without network neutrality requirements, Internet service providers will discriminate against content and competing services they don’t like.

  • In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.

  • In 2005, Canada’s telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a labor dispute.

  • Shaw, a big Canadian cable TV company, is charging an extra $10 a month to subscribers in order to “enhance” competing Internet telephone services.

  • In April, Time Warner’s AOL blocked all emails that mentioned http://www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company’s pay-to-send e-mail scheme.

This type of censorship will become the norm unless we act now. Given the chance, these gatekeepers will consistently put their own interests before the public good.


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Playaway Audio Books – basically a self-contained auido version of books, not CD, not Cassette, sort of like a mini MP3 player that only plays one things. I haven’t actually used one yet, but they look very cool, I like the idea of audio books being more portable. They about the same price as unabridged versions and work with most FM transmittors and cassette adapters. It does require AAA batteries for power. Now I just need to convice my library to carry them!

Librivox – Free audio books. Just ones that are in the public domain. But still some great titles. They are also looking for volunteers to read, so if you feel like you have the best voice ever, or just want to do some public good, sign up! Also on the bottom right hand side of the page you can see links to more public audio projects, where you’ll find more titles.


Invisible bookshelf – because, really, you can never have too many books or bookshelves! Think of all the possibilities! You can put books everywhere! Found on The Librarian in Black.

Book Crossing – basically you join, get a identifying number to put in your book and thenk you leave it somewhere in public for someone else to find it and when they do they are supposed to go to the site and either add comments or just say they found it and pass it on. You can also see how many books have been “released” in your area.

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I came across this again today and it was just as funny as the last time I saw it so I thought I'd share.  Check out the Peeps

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