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Budget cuts leave about half of L.A. Unified's elementary and middle schools without librarians
The crisis has exacerbated educational inequalities across the nation's second-largest system, as some campuses receive extra money for library staff and others don't. It has also sparked a prolonged labor conflict with the California School Employees Assn., which represents library aides.
Since 2011, the union has alleged that L.A. Unified laid off their members, then illegally allowed parent volunteers, instructional aides and others to do their work at nearly four dozen campuses. The district issued a bulletin last year clarifying that library work can be performed only by those with proper credentials, but the union asserts that violations are still occurring. The issue is set for a hearing by the state Public Employment Relations Board in May.
Sony & Panasonic announced that they have formulated "Archival Disc", a new standard for professional-use, next-generation optical discs, with the objective of expanding the market for long-term digital data storage.
Optical discs have excellent properties to protect themselves against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored. They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them robust media for long-term storage of content. Recognizing that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage going forward, particularly given the anticipated future growth in the archive market, Sony and Panasonic have been engaged in the joint development of a standard for professional-use next-generation optical discs.
If you’re an average reader, I’ve got your attention for 15 seconds, so here goes: We are getting a lot wrong about the web these days. We confuse what people have clicked on for what they’ve read. We mistake sharing for reading. We race towards new trends like native advertising without fixing what was wrong with the old ones and make the same mistakes all over again.
The circulating-library model might seem like a strange fit with gardening. When you check out books and DVDs, you’re supposed to bring them back so others can use them, but with seeds, there’s a strong chance nothing will come back at all. And, in a world where fruit and vegetable seeds are available for just a few dollars a packet, free seeds aren’t a pressing need most places.
The mayor's letter to the commissioners proposed creating a Family and Education Fun Zone around the library and suggested that the first step should be instituting actual penalties for breaking the library's long-standing code of conduct. Previously, most bad behavior was met simply with a warning to stop.
In response, library staff beefed up the Patron Code of Conduct with much harsher penalties than the admonishment, "Uh, that's a sink - not a bathtub." Under the proposals, which will likely be tweaked after community input and voted on by the commissioners this spring, repeat offenses could result in being banned from all the city's public libraries for up to a year.
Anne Rice has tackled vampires, werewolves and witches in her fiction, but now the bestselling novelist is taking on a real-life enemy: the anonymous "anti-author gangsters" who attack and threaten writers online.
The Interview with the Vampire author is a signatory to a new petition, which is rapidly gathering steam, calling on Amazon to remove anonymity from its reviewers in order to prevent the "bullying and harassment" it says is rife on the site. "They've worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey," Rice told the Guardian. "They're all about power. They clearly organise, use multiple identities and brag about their ability to down vote an author's works if the author doesn't 'behave' as they dictate."
What do you get when bookshelves pose for a picture?
A group shelfie, of course.
Go ahead and groan, but give the Akron-Summit County Public Library credit for a pretty good visual pun.
A British man named Joseph Heath was ordered to pay $3,000 to Becker College library after stealing 100 rare books, including one signed by Abraham Lincoln, The Telegram reports.
The 53-year-old Leicester native had smuggled around $115,000 out of the antique book collection of the library. One of the books he took was a first edition o Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”
Heath, a janitor at the college, had offered the missing books or sale to private collectors, as well as posting them on Craigslist.
Heath’s book pilfering was discovered when he tried to sell books to the Leicester Historical Society, and one of the board members recognized the editions.
U.S. needs to add student online privacy rules
As more of our children's education moves online, there are increased opportunities for abusing the collection of their personal data. Last month, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill that would help close a loophole in federal regulations — at least in California — in an effort to safeguard personal information of public school students. The potential privacy violations could be significant, and it makes sense for the Legislature to act now.
Teleread article commenting and linking to an article in the Torontoist
The April 2014 issue of Cites & Insights (volume 14, issue 4, whole # 172) is now available for downloading at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i4.pdf
The print-oriented two-column edition is 22 pages.
Those reading online or on a tablet may prefer the 6x9" single-column version, which is 41 pages long, at http://citesandinsights.info/civ14i4on.pdf
This issue includes two essays:
Intersections: Ethics and Access 1: The Sad Case of Jeffrey Beall (pp. 1-14)
The saga of Jeffrey Beall going from self-appointed investigator into "predatory" open access publishers and journals (and, notably, only OA journals) to ludicrous analyst of serials pricing and the reasons for OA--and beyond that to denouncing OA and its advocates? It's an odd story, and my version includes some really good ideas on avoiding sketchy journals (mostly from a notoriously worthwhile pseudonymous feathered library type) without buying into vigilantism.
The Middle: Forecasts and Futurism (pp. 14-22)
After skipping a year, it's time for another set of forecasts (short-term predictions) and futurism (long-term "predictions"), including some thoughts on the whole trendspotting game.
Does that number in the title of the first essay suggest something? Why, yes, it does--probably two things, one of them almost certain to appear in the May 2014 issue, and involving another "B."
"I think there was a time, and I’m trying to trace the history when the rights to publish, the copyright, was owned jointly by the authors and the journal. Somehow that’s why the journals insist they will not publish your paper unless you sign that copyright over. It is never stated in the invitation, but that’s what you sell in order to publish. And everybody works for these journals for nothing. There’s no compensation. There’s nothing. They get everything free. They just have to employ a lot of failed scientists, editors who are just like the people at Homeland Security, little power grabbers in their own sphere.
If you send a PDF of your own paper to a friend, then you are committing an infringement."
There isn't much hipster culture that doesn't get lampooned by the IFC program Portlandia. And one of the big cultural shifts of the moment is the move away from ownership and toward access. Younger generations say they care less about owning a home, for instance, or even a car. Why bother, when you can couch surf and car share, bike share and more? It's powering the sharing economy, an economy of bartering and entrepreneurship, where people offer their own excess goods and services.
Librarians know all about ownership vs. access. Full NPR report here.
"I want all the benefits of the information society; all I was trying to do is mitigate some of the risk," she says.
Angwin's book is called Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. She considers dragnets — which she describes as "indiscriminate" and "vast in scope" — the "most unfair type of surveillance."
Author interview at NPR
Library's WikiSeat challenge inspires creative thinking
Why sit in any old seat, when you can build your own?
The Mountain View public library is challenging its patrons with a unique project: build your very own tripod seat, in a month or less.
Called the WikiSeat challenge, the month-long project aims to inspire both fun and function through the task of building a seat. Participants of all ages and abilities receive only a basic starting piece for the seat at the beginning of the project — a small, three-pronged metal bracket to give the seat a sound tripod structure — and from there, they are to build their seat in whichever way they desire.
So how do we improve that? Simple. We read. Take 30 minutes each day to open a book or magazine article. Anything from War and Peace to Cosmopolitan will do—I’m always on the prowl for a new romantic tip.
Here's the story via Melville House about a three year old childrens book that is ruffling some French feathers.
In a country where the banning of books is rare and mostly unheard of, France has recently experienced a spate of attacks by its politicians on the most liberal of French children’s books. Right-wing and even mainstream politicians have begun calling for the censorship of certain books in a trend that seems to reflect that “the domestic political system in France is under strain”, as Olivia Snaije noted for Publishing Perspectives.
In the most public example, the leader of the UMP, France’s main opposition party (which was previously led by President Nicolas Sarkozy), Jean-François Copé, appeared on French TV holding a copy of Tous à Poil (Everybody Gets Naked). Surely one of the sweetest ideas for a children’s book, Tous à Poil is a story in which everyone, the baby, the babysitter, the neighbour, the teacher and even the CEO get naked. The book’s authors, Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, explained they had written it in in order to show:
“Real bodies in natural situations from a child’s everyday life to counter the numerous images of bodies, often undressed, altered by Photoshop or plastic surgery, that are shown in ads or on the covers of magazines.”
From The New York Times:
TOKYO — Japan on Friday promised to begin an investigation into the mysterious mutilation of hundreds of copies of “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” and other books related to her at public libraries across Tokyo.
Local news media reports said 31 municipal libraries had found 265 copies of the diary by Frank, the young Holocaust victim, and other books vandalized, usually with several pages torn or ripped out. The reports said some libraries had taken copies of the diary off their shelves to protect them.
Officials said they did not know the motive for the vandalism, the first cases of which were discovered earlier this month.
Mayor to Miami-Dade libraries: get more efficient to receive more money
When librarian and task-force member Katherine Seaver responded, “We’re down to 400 employees,’’ Gimenez suggested the county may need to look at whether the wages match the positions needed at the libraries.
“What do we pay our employees?” Gimenez asked. “That’s tough for me to say, but it’s the truth.”
His comments are the latest installment in the mayor’s push to remake the library into something that is both more modern and less expensive to run. The department’s $50 million budget faces a $20 million shortfall next year thanks largely to Miami-Dade lowering a special library tax rate while leaving the library to burn through reserves to sustain operations.
Independent bookstores, with their paper-thin profit margins and competition from Amazon, have found themselves a Daddy Warbucks.
The best-selling author James Patterson has started a program to give away $1 million of his personal fortune to dozens of bookstores, allowing them to invest in improvements, dole out bonuses to employees and expand literacy outreach programs.