Chuck's blog

Harry Potter and children of all ages

Wonderful little article that goes a good job of encapsulating the Potter phenomenon. I thought it topical as the midnight hour and the release of "Deathly Hallows" approaches.

Information Literacy collects a scalp

Note: From the Guardian. Lots of other papers have it too ...

"The Kansas school board, long ridiculed for its resistance to teaching evolution, prepared Tuesday to repeal rules backed by social conservatives and switch to science guidelines that embrace Charles Darwin's mainstream theories.

The new board, with a 6-4 majority of Democrats and moderate Republicans, was to debate and vote on what would be the fifth set of science standards for public schools in eight years."

Accuracy and reliability of sources; careful, critical thinking; logic; reasoning. Beautiful.

Wikipedia is not authoritative

[Chuck: I can't say I disagree.]

College: Wikipedia Not Source for Papers
By Associated Press

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- Middlebury College history students are no longer allowed to use Wikipedia in preparing class papers.

The school's history department recently adopted a policy that says it's OK to consult the popular online encyclopedia, but that it can't be cited as an authoritative source by students.

The policy says, in part, "Wikipedia is not an acceptable citation, even though it may lead one to a citable source."

History professor Neil Waters says Wikipedia is an ideal place to start research but an unacceptable way to end it.

Stop It -- The End the War Thread

Coming home provides 100% guaranteed protection from dying in Iraq.

Care about the troops? Let them live.

The consequences of failure are horrible. The problem is we've already failed.

What the hell does emboldened look like if not this? 3000+ dead and more every day.

The new commanding general in Iraq, David Petraeus, wrote the Army's counter-insurgency manual.

In it he gives a formula for calculating the # of troops needed for wars like Iraq.

The number needed, JUST FOR BAGHDAD, is larger than the whole surge.

There is no Iraqi government, only puppets propped up by the Shia. The police and army answer to their imams and tribes not to the government.

There are two choices:

1) Leave now.

2) Militarize the whole country. As in Ford will start making tanks. Activate the draft. Spend close to $1 trillion on "rebuilding Iraq." And large tax increases to avoid paying for the rest of the war with Chinese money.

And all that has to be carried out by an Administration that hasn't done anything right in 6 years.

A favorite writer of mine, Steve Gilliard, is fond of saying "Hope is not a plan."

That's all the war supporters have. And hope, flag-waving and Toby Keith songs will only guarantee that another 19 year old will die in the sand screaming for his mother.

It ends now. Write it everywhere. Talk to everyone. Be obnoxious. Be "shrill."

End the war. Bring them home.

Gays, Libraries and Borrowing Privileges

Follow the link below to read about a shocking incursion by The Gays into our communities.

I have three questions:

1) How can ALA be blamed for this?
2) What does this have to do with Cuban librarians? And, if nothing, can one write a long essay about it anyway?
3) Won't somebody please think of the friggin' children?

Library of Congress and Thomas Jefferson trumps Rep. Goode

This made me smile:

After catching heat for declaring his intention to use a Koran at his private swearing in ceremony, Rep. Keith Ellison will use the Koran donated to LC by Thomas Jefferson himself.

Ellison has been ignorantly insulted in the media and by the above-mentioned Rep. Virgil Goode of Charlottesville VA.

No offense, Congressman Goode, but I think you've just been pulled rank on.

Neener.

The sh*tty OPAC thread (the OPACs, not the thread)

I wanted to continue the "why are OPACs so bad?" thread, which you can find at http://lisnews.org/~nbruce/journal/5206, that Norma started and I wanted to place it up on the list to keep it going.

We have been discussing why ILS software is so much worse than commercial software (of any kind.)

Mondiel made the point that companies large enough to make ILS software and build it with all the capabilities aren't swayed by our market power. Further that librarians are timid advocates for themselves, too unfamiliar with software process and design, etc.

I disagree, partially. I don't think you need a huge corporation to make an ILS, or to trick it out.

All it is is a database. A large one with detailed records, but a d-base nonetheless. In fact one of the problems with the front end of ILSs is that they they have too many functions and options.

Patrons don't want subject head browse AND subject heading search. They want NEITHER. Etc.

I see no reason that a small software company couldn't make a perfectly useable ILS.

The Joy of Reading Laura Malloy

ATLANTA: A mother who fought to ban Harry Potter books from her children's suburban Atlanta school district on the grounds that they promote witchcraft ...

I like that the tacit statement here is "I believe in witchcraft. I believe that you can boil stuff in a caldron and turn people into snakes." And she said this to the newspaper.

People would be embarrased to say how much money they made or admit how many (or how few) people they had sex with. But the reality of
flying brooms and transmorgrification? Absolutely.

Mallory, whose children attend J.C. Magill Elementary School

If she's so concerned about her kids, why is she getting nationally famous for trying to ban the most popular young adult book ever?

Which do you suppose is more harmful: reading about witchcraft or getting shoved into a locker daily while your classmates chant
"Muggle! Muggle! Kill the muggle!"?

... claiming the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in religious witchcraft.

Yes, if anyone hates indoctrination it's a Fundamentalist.

"It's mainstreaming witchcraft ...

Indeed. Why should only the special ed. kids get to be witches?

Gwinnett school officials have argued that the books are good tools to encourage children to read and to spark creativity and imagination.

Banning all books with references to witchcraft would mean classics like "Macbeth" and "Cinderella" would have to go, they said.

At the mention of common sense and logical consistency Ms. Mallory's skin began to burn and she ran screaming from the interview.

Mallory, a mother of four from Loganville, questions the educational value of the fiction series.

I'm sure the building full of professional, credentialed folks appreciate the assist, lady.

"That's the kind of stuff in these books — murder and greed and violence. Why do they have to read them in school? If parents wanted to get these books, they could get them in bookstores," she said.

Has she ever read a book? Picked one up, maybe?

She said she has fought to ban the books from the classrooms — where she said teachers are assigning the books as homework — rather than restricting them from school libraries. "It's a clear promotion of the
books," she said. "And the books promote witchcraft."

Obviously. My parents were furious that my school library carried "The Metamorphosis", as they believe that schools should not promote
man-roach transformation.

The books have been challenged 115 times since 2000 ...

This is like finding out that the phrase "can i reuse a condom" has been Googled 789,374 in the last six months.

The Cedarville (AR) School District's board kept the books under lock and key after it decided the series fostered rebellion and encouraged witchcraft.

They also encourage sedition, angrying up the blood, disquieted humours and terminal fustigation.

In the Georgia decision, the state board ruled that Mallory had failed to prove that the books promote the Wicca religion.

They also found that instead of filing a complaint had just written "Jesus" 432 time on
several sheets of paper.

Although she has yet to decide whether to appeal the case, Mallory said she already has contacted an expert witness.

Has anyone told her that Helen Lovejoy isn't real?

If she doesn't decide to pursue her argument, she still hopes her protest will prompt others to take another look at the series.

The same people still reeling from the sight of women voting.

"If even one parent or one child has looked into this more closely, it's worth it," she said.

If she stays in the paper it's worth it to me.

Is your library on MySpace?

I heard that several PLs have myspace page.

Lots of bands and new movies have them as they are a "hit them where they live" marketing strategies for teens and YAs.

It sounds like a good idea.

Is it?

I told Mrs. Chuck about it and she said "Who would want to be the library's friend?"

Would the uncool backlash or stigma be too strong to make this of any utility? OR would some hate being our friends anyway, but in the anonymity of the web some kids would like it, or would be ensnared by us?

Or is it worth it just to be able to say you do it? That wouldn't be a crime either.

Please advise.

Houghton-Mifflen bought for $1.8 billion

Read all about the giant getting eaten here

What I'm amazed by is that the old goat is worth $1.8 billion in cash.

OJ book cancelled by publisher

OJ's book has been cancelled.

Read about it here: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/4348929.html

Can't say I'm disappointed. I never liked USC or the Bills. Or him.

More on intelligent design, bias in library collections

Ah Chuck, my boy. You're so far off base, I don't even know where to start. I mention looking at titles on the New Book Shelf and you want me to present a carefully crafted research article like Tomeboy's. Sonny, I'm retired, and I don't do that any more.

I don't have the time or training either. But since you didn't make the effort to prove something as a fact, you might reconsider claiming it is.

It wouldn't surprise me if you're demonstrating why libraries close and bond issues fail--librarians, staff and boards being insensitive to the community.

Me and Darwin and my secular humanist intolerance just got a $6 million bond issue passed with more than 70% support. Do you like apples? How about those apples?

I'm not a supporter of ID myself, but find the level of knowledge about it in this discussion at an all time low.

ID claims that God created the universe. It also claims certain observations about the natural world prove this. It is bad theology and bad science. ID has become this ridiculous tabula rasa for Christians. ID is not the holy land and it's not a quest to save the Christian faith. This is a bad horse to hitch your wagon to. If you use science to prove the existence of God you cheapen science and God.

I truly hope some of these commenters are trolls and not librarians. Otherwise librarians, even the gen-x and gen-y new grads must be rigid, narrow minded and naive (just like the old timey stereotype of librarians)

Open-minded doesn't mean uncritical. I've read Behe's book and Dawkins books and the trial transcript of the Dover case and other relevant materials. I know what the flat-earthers believe. They're just wrong.

when it comes to religion--all religions--its importance to their readers, and the culture.

Nice try. We were talking about ID, not Christianity. They're not the same. And no one mentioned any other faith, except in jest.

Even the comments about witchcraft should be bring howls from Wiccans who probably won't think much of how you are portraying them.

Let them howl.

I think I can expect a PL to be respectful of people of faith since most of the people this library serves are Christians (liberals, conservative, main-line, Catholic, Pentecostals, etc.). With 3 Lutheran churches in town, one of them one of the largest in the country, I could expect something on that denomination newer than 40 years old … I might expect just a tad of curiosity on the part of the librarians (I don't think most actually live here) about what Christians are doing, besides getting their information from CNN.

How do limits or perceived shortfalls in your collection "prove" bias?

Yes, Chuck, it would be a huge surprise to you that people who use computers might also be Christians and that Christian magazines carry articles about computers, the internet, copyright problems, websites to watch, the digital divide, computers in business, and (gasp) libraries.

I resent your attempt to turn this into a "you hate Jesus and His good followers" routine.

1) I never said that Christians don't read computer books or use computers. I said that a PL would get more circs. out of a computer book than one about conservative Christianity. Which is true, outside of the Vatican.

2) I buy books on theology, Catholicism, fundamentalism, Evangelical Christianity, religious history and periodicals that cater to modern American Christians. Why would I be surprised by any of that?

From the people who tried to ban Spanish

Yes it's Gwinnett County GA, whose library board recently tried to ban Spanish books from the library.

Apparently brown people proved to be too hard a target. They've moved on to witches. Not the board but a local Helen Lovejoy named Laura Mallory.

Click here for the article.

Some of the "money" quotes as the kids say:

"Witchcraft is being mainstreamed to our children today,'" she said. "My children are the most precious thing in the world to me. I surely do not want them to be indoctrinated into a religion whose practices are evil.'"

Man, your kids are suckers. I'll bet they're fun poker buddies, though.

Mallory also referred to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics that found young children cannot readily distinguish fantasy from reality and try to imitate what they've read.

Right. If this were true millions of children every year would run away from home looking for an anthropomorphic cat with a bitchin' hat, no pants and a flair for the surreal.

Plus you'd think that someone so opposed to her children reading tales of fantastic events would get queasy at the thought of world-ending floods, getting lost in the desert, a day's worth of oil lasting for eight, surviving a lion attack, living until you are 924, etc.

"Gay" book removed from reading list in Webster NY

Read the news article in the local paper here.

The gist of it is that the book, a novel about a group of gay male high school seniors, is in appropriate for high school students.

I have not read it, but it was won several awards and none of the Amazon reviews say that it is at all explicit.

I find it hard to see what is objectionable about it.

Further, the school official interview refused to say what about the book was so bad that it got pulled from the reading list. Just that "parents had called up and complained."

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