August 28, 2014

State Tweak to Seed Library Rules Ignites Debate

“Seedbank” by R. C. Johnson

As controversies go, it would have been difficult to see this one coming. In tiny Mechanicsburg, PA, a pilot seed library in existence for all of four months is now the epicenter of a national discussion among seed traders, growers of organic food, and other agriculture experts after state officials wrote a list of regulations for the fledgling program.

Ferguson Libraries Step Up to Serve Community in Turmoil

Fergusonsign

Libraries in the Ferguson, MO area provided educational services and creative programs for children and families—and sanctuary for all ages—while the start of school was postponed for two weeks because of unrest in the area.

Gale Founder Frederick Ruffner Dies at 88

Frederick Gale Ruffner

Frederick Gale Ruffner, Jr., who founded Gale Research Company with his wife Mary Evans Ruffner, died on August 12 following a long illness. He launched enduring reference works including the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Contemporary Authors, and the Encyclopedia of Associations

Asserting Rights We Don’t Have: Libraries and “Permission to Publish” | Peer to Peer Review

Rick Anderson

In late June, a minor brouhaha erupted when the library at the University of Arkansas suspended reporters from the Washington Free Beacon, an online newspaper, from using its special collections. The reason given by library administrators was that on multiple occasions the newspaper’s reporters had published content from those collections without asking permission, as library policy requires. Much has been made in the right-wing press about the politics supposedly surrounding this conflict. I want to focus on a different issue: the practice of making patrons request library permission before republishing content drawn from documents in our special collections.

If Confusion Helps Students Learn, Shouldn’t They Be Information Literate By Now? | From the Bell Tower

Steven Bell

When students have trouble grasping the subject matter, intuitively we work to make it as clear as possible. New research suggests actually promoting some confusion may work better. If that’s true, how would it change library instruction?

NYC Mayor Appoints First Replacement for Dismissed Queens Trustees

Jukay Hsu

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on August 12 appointed Jukay Hsu, founder of the community development organization Coalition for Queens (C4Q), to the Queens Borough Public Library (QL) Board of Trustees. The appointment fills one of eight positions left vacant since July 23, when de Blasio dismissed two of the library’s trustees and Queens Borough President (QBP) Melinda Katz dismissed six.

Library Freedom Fighter Zoia Horn Remembered

Zoia Horn

Activist librarian Zoia Markovna Horn died on July 12 at the age 96. She was famous for being the first U.S. librarian to be jailed for refusing to divulge information that violated professional principles of privacy and intellectual freedom. An activist member of the American Library Association (ALA) and a member and chair of its Intellectual Freedom Committee, Horn was jailed for 20 days for contempt after refusing to testify in the 1972 conspiracy trial of the “Harrisburg Seven.”

Canada: New $57.6 Million/129,000 Sq Ft Halifax Public Library Opening This Fall

From The Globe and Mail: Halifax’s new $57.6-million gleaming glass library of the future is to open later this fall – a 129,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown with a unique cantilevered rectangular glass box on the top, suggesting a stack of books. Fully accessible, culturally sensitive, environmentally sustainable and architecturally stunning, with elegant angles […]

New Florida University Unveils Bookless Library

Kathryn Miller, director of FPU's library, in The Commons
Photo courtesy of Florida Polytechnic University

Florida’s newest public university—Florida Polytechnic University (FPU)—is so new it doesn’t even have accreditation yet. Its mission is to educate students in the STEM fields, and Chief Information Officer Tom Hull describes it as part of a future “Silicon Valley East” between Orlando and Tampa. FPU features a lot of innovative, not to say controversial, departures from tradition, including a no-tenure model for its 26 newly hired professors and a library without physical books.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Will Build $40 Million Archives & Conservation Center in Suburban DC

From The Gazette: Bowie [Maryland, pronounced Boo-ee] will soon be the home of the largest collection of Holocaust archives in the world, according to representatives from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Andrew Hollinger, a spokesman for the museum, said that because of recent efforts to search out and collect evidence of the Holocaust, the […]

More on the Damage Done | Peer to Peer Review

Wayne Biven-Tatum

Last year, Walt Crawford self-published a book entitled The Big Deal and the Damage Done (which I wrote about here). In it, he analyzed statistics for academic library budgets and showed that Big Deals for serials were gradually taking over many library budgets as serial expenditures rose significantly more than inflation and the inflexibility of the subscription packages led libraries to cut expenditures for books and other materials. This year, Crawford published a revised and expanded report on the topic as the May/June volume of the ALA Library Technology Reports: “Big-Deal Serial Purchasing: Tracking the Damage,” in which he analyzes the “Academic Library Data Files” from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Columbus Community College, Public Library Partner

Photo courtesy of Columbus Metropolitan Library  (CML)
Columbus State Community College space in CML’s new Driving Park Branch

Columbus State Community College (CSCC) and the Columbus Metropolitan Library have joined forces in a partnership that will benefit students at all grade levels and the community at large.

The Reference Interview Today: Practical Principles, Timeless Tips

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Dave Harmeyer, author of The Reference Interview Today (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), will outline his approach he takes to conducting a successful reference interview every time. He’ll be joined by representatives from reference publishers SAGE and Credo, who will offer more information on what librarians can ask and do today to get to the heart of patron needs. Register today to get a 30% discount on Dave Harmeyer’s book (link to purchase will be provided in your registration confirmation email) along with a complimentary downloadable copy of LJ’s 2014 Reference Supplement.Register Now!

Harvard’s Copyright First Responders to the Rescue

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While most academic librarians are familiar with the basics of copyright law, the questions they’re asked are getting more complex. Issues of fair use and open access, MOOCs and repositories, and the push to digitize mean that students and faculty need more guidance on copyright matters than ever. This spring Kyle K. Courtney, Harvard University’s Copyright Advisor, brought together a pilot group of librarians known as Copyright First Responders (CFRs) to address this situation.

Smithsonian, Swiss Village Farm Foundation Partner on Livestock DNA Library

Smithsonian, Swiss Village Farm Foundation Partner on Livestock DNA Library

Cryogenically freezing the DNA of livestock animals might sound like a science fiction twist to Noah’s Ark, yet it’s the mission of a newly forged partnership called The Smithsonian and Swiss Village Farm (SVF) Foundation Biodiversity Project. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the SVF Foundation announced in late July that they have joined forces to preserve rare and endangered heritage breeds of livestock, animals that our American forefathers raised for agriculture. Over the next several years, the SVF Foundation’s collection of frozen genetic materials will be incorporated into the Smithsonian’s vast genetic library of endangered animal species.