Harry Potter explained

In this essay taken from the current print edition of the London Review of Books, appearing online exclusively at Books Unlimited, comparative mythologist Wendy Doniger investigates why we love the wizard of Hogwarts.

Young Harry Potter\'s parents are dead. So far, so good: many of the heroes and heroines of the classics of children\'s literature are orphans, while others have invisible, unmentionable or irrelevant parents. The sorrow of grieving, not to mention the terror of helplessness, is quickly glossed over in favour of the joy of a fantasised freedom. -- Read More

populist software rating startup

Charles Greenberg writes
\"I\'m one of those librarians that doesn\'t have enough to
do already and has wondered why populist sentiment for
software inadequacies (bad design) couldn\'t be harnessed and
aggregated to actually help consumers identify the simplest
and most usable programs. I decided Y2K might be the year
that a community of software raters could be found to launch
this, so I started techsimple.com

I do this on my own time with my own home resources, but I
believe there will be eventual benefit for librarians that
want an idea of what programs are simplest to use in a
number of categories, or they may want to refer library
users to my site.

I just started this site and need populist participation.
Librarians and educational technologists who have studied
usability and design will recognize that my rating survey
for each program is based on Jakob Nielsen\'s useit.com usability
heuristics for software design. Privacy for all individual
ratings and identities is maintained, and I don\'t see why a
rater couldn\'t have the application being rated open at the
same time they complete the survey.

I would appreciate feedback and

Can volunteers do it ?

Benton Foundation, at the request of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, published Buildings, books, and bytes in November 1996. The report reveals what library leaders and the public have to say about the future of libraries in the digital age. Follow this link to read the HTML version of the report. A PDF version will be available soon for downloading.

Elizabeth
Christian
writes \"It jumps out from the recent
publication, Buildings, Books, and Bytes,Libraries and
Communities in the Digital Age by the Benton Foundation,
urgent, demanding a response. From one focus group which
made up much of this report
the statement
\"They..sanctioned the notion that trained professional
librarians could be replaced with community volunteers, such
as retirees.\"
As we try to push our \"information literacy\" services on our
publics they also said
\"they preered to acquire new computer skills from \'somebody
they know\', not from their local librarians.\"

Retirees as volunteers..... -- Read More

Five science books rejected

This Story sent in from a reader in Oklahoma.

It was survival of the fittest textbook Friday as the
Oklahoma Textbook Committee rejected five of 16 science books because
of the way the theory of evolution
was presented and other issues.


With split votes each time, the committee rejected \"Fearson\'s Biology,\"
\"Biology Principles and Exploration,\"
\"Holt Biology: Visualizing Life,\" \"Asking About Life\" and \"Biology: The Living Science\" on the basis that they
contained either inaccurate or noncurrent information. The committee
adopted the remaining 11 textbooks.

-- Read More

Library turns to collection agency

Michigan Live sure does have alot of library stories. This one is about how The Georgetown Township Library is now using a collection agency for fine collection.


Patrons with more than $50 in lost or long-overdue materials from the Georgetown Township Library could end up with a black mark on their credit report.
The Township Board recently approved a proposal by library officials that will allow the library to start a program to recover some of the more than $22,000 in materials owed by patrons.
Of the amount owed, $18,637.67 is owed by patrons in the library service area; the remainder is owed by patrons from other libraries and through interlibrary loans.
Library officials hope to begin the program by May 1 for 131 patrons with outstanding bills of at least $50. They expect to recover $11,880.67 through the program.

-- Read More

In desperation, man visits library, learns to rob banks

Check out this article Here. From the Birmingham News.

His slide had been a long one. The 43-year-old preacher\'s son had started out as the pudgy kid whose teachers said didn\'t reach his potential. The Army hadn\'t helped and then he bounced from job to job. Now he owed child support. He had maxed his credit card. He was drinking again. And he had gotten fired after a drunken-driving arrest in 1998.

The Newbery Awards

LISnews would like to thank Christina for submitting the link to this great article on the history and importance of the Newberry Awards. From Open Spaces Quartley.

The Newbery is the Holy Grail of American children\'s book writers. There are other awards -- the National Book Award for Young People\'s Literature, for example -- but none comes close to conferring the cachet, the recognition, that the Newbery conveys. It is the oldest children\'s book award in the world. Libraries and bookstores have shelves devoted to Newbery winners. The author\'s future books -- and reissued earlier ones -- will frequently bear on their covers the legend \"Newbery Award author.\"

When libraries faced the future

It\'s rare to find someone who says so many nice things about
librarians in one article. Th
is article
I found in the magazine University
Business
has nothing but praise for the foresight
librarians have when dealing with technology.

STROLLING
THROUGH the university library used to be a walk down memory
lane for returning alumni. Cavernous reading rooms evoked
similar memories for both the 50th reunion class and the
5th. Not anymore. During the past decade, card catalogs have
become little more than decorative furniture, and the
periodical room is now likely to be full of terminals to
access online journals. Not even the class of 1995 would
recognize the Encyclopaedia Britannica; it has abandoned
hard copy and CD-ROMs for a Web-based product. -- Read More

Senate OKs library porn bill

This Story is from the Detroit Free Press. Thanks
to Bob Cox for another submission.

A bill to prevent children from using library computers to
access pornography -- and to discourage sex predators from
preying via computer -- cleared the state Senate on
Thursday.
The Senate also approved a bill to halt the quick
destruction of campaign finance records. Both bills went to
the House.
The library bill passed 37-0 after it exempted college and
private libraries from requiring electronic filters or other
means to block sexually explicit material.
\"We are standing before a whole world of hard-core sexual
predators coming after our kids,\" said Sen. Mike Rogers,
R-Brighton, the bil -- Read More

Limits on kids book spark war of words

Harry Potter is inder fire in MI.This Story from the Detroit Free Press.

Some teachers are so riled over efforts to restrict children from reading the best-selling Harry Potter books that they are threatening to burn their Winnie the Pooh discount bookstore cards.

Protesting teachers -- about 40 signed a petition asking the school board to take its restrictions off the Harry Potter books -- also plan to attend Monday\'s Zeeland Board of Education meeting, hoping to get the board to take the clamps off the Harry Potter books. The novels by Scottish author J.K. Rowling feature Harry, a boy being trained at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his adventures in fantasy. -- Read More

High-Profile Crusade

A story from MI on The American Family Association.

To some, the American Family Association is one of the greatest protectors of conservative values in this nation. To others, it is a group of mean-spirited censors who deal in half-truths and intimidation.

Either way, the Tupelo, Miss.-based organization has a long history of activism, largely aimed at what it considers the pernicious influence of the media. Its local affiliate, the Holland Area Family Association, has been active for a decade, but its previous local efforts have largely been sound and fury with little results.


Over the years, the group led drives against the sitcom \"Ellen\" for its perceived promotion of homosexuality, radio shock jock Howard Stern, the National Endowment for the Arts and the presence of adult magazines in federal prisons. -- Read More

Architects unveil design for new Eugene library

Read this story Here. From the Register-Guard

Architects have finished designing the new Eugene Public Library,nailing down the size at 127,000 square feet and the expected cost at $32.2 million.

The ground floor will feature an indoor garden and coffee bar near the front entrance, a section for new and popular books, an area for young adults, the compact disc collection, the children\'s center and a 200-seat meeting room that can be split in two.

Protesting the library

From Omaha.com

More than 50 people gathered outside the Council Bluffs
Public Library on Wednesday evening, protesting the board\'s refusal to vote on placing content filters on Internet-connected computers.

The crowd, which included more than a dozen children, listened to presentations by Creighton law professors Michael Fenner and Ed Morse and Pottawattamie County Attorney Rick Crowl. -- Read More

Craziness down under

I\'ve been sitting on this one for awhile, not sure if I should post it. Someone sent this story on a retired library worker in AU. I can\'t verify where it came from, or if it\'s even real, but I just can\'t resist.


MELBOURNE, Australia-Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle, 81, was so ticked-off
when two thugs raped her 18-year-old grand daughter that she tracked the
unsuspecting ex-cons down - - and shot their testicles off! \"The old lady
spent a week hunting those bums down-and when she found them, she took
revenge on them in her own special way,\" said admiring Melbourne police
investigator Evan Delp. \"Then she took a taxi to the nearest police
station, laid the gun on the sergeant\'s desk and told him as calm as could
be: \'Those bastards will never rape anybody again, by God.\' Read more if you dare.... -- Read More

librarians as triviameisters

Someone sent in this interesting question:

\"I wonder how many of the 10 people who make it onto each episode of the \"Who Wants To Be a Millionaire\" game show as semi-finalists are librarians? I have yet to hear any of the persons who make the final cut, landing in the \"hot seat,\" identify themselves as librarians, but when they introduce the semi-finalists, I always play \"Spot the librarian\" (calling out, \"I bet she\'s a librarian. And she looks like a librarian.\"). It is, after all, a trivia game, and as a reference librarian at Arizona State University said, doing reference is like playing Trivial Pursuit for a living. \"

I think I remeber this question somewhere involving the contenstants on Jeopardy as well, anyone seen that one?

Tech-savvy teens still read books

A Shocking Report from the Chicago Sun Times. Teens actually READ!

In 1990, there were 66,268 books in print in the children\'s division, including young adult titles, she said. In 1998, that number soared to 130,850.

Middle school and high school students are being drawn to books that are filled with graphics and different typefaces. The books are designed to appeal to teens familiar with Web sites and computer games, say experts on teens and reading.

\"I like his writing,\" Michael said of Shakespeare. \"I just think it\'s cool.\"
Teens say they love to read about how their peers handle problems. -- Read More

Black students win CU appeal

A Follow up Story from the Denver Post.

A student group can have its Black History Month display.

Harold Bruff, dean of the University of Colorado law school, on Tuesday asked the law librarian to relent and allow the Black American Law Students Association to exhibit its take on the legal system\'s treatment of blacks throughout history.

The controversy started last week, after Barbara Bintliff, head of the law school library, asked to review the contents of the students\' display. According to Haygood, Bintliff rejected much of that content.

Bintliff has not responded to requests for comment.

\"We feel pretty good,\" said Ryan Haygood, president of the group. \"The students are really excited to see that we didn\'t have to settle for being treated - we felt - unfavorably.\" -- Read More

Panel proposes Potter books stay in schools

Oregon Live Reports

A review committee is pushing the school board to keep the Harry Potter children\'s books in local libraries and in the classrooms of the district\'s 20 schools.

The committee, appointed by Interim Superintendent Gary Bruner, on Monday unanimously recommended that the Bend-La Pine School Board let the books be available for unrestricted use.Bruner appointed the review committee after a Bend couple, Greg and Arlena Wilson, complained that the books would lead children to \"hatred and rebellion.\"

Greg Wilson said Monday he wasn\'t surprised by the committee\'s decision.

\"I just hope this whole thing will really open the parents\' eyes and get them more involved with what the schools are teaching,\" he said. \"I still believe that what I was doing is right.\"

Pro-filter group will pay $1,250 to keep oversized signs

What would a day be without a report from Holland, MI?

A mistake on the size of more than 100 campaign signs that promote Internet filters will cost a Holland group up to $1,250.

The signs, which measure about 11 square feet, went up in yards Saturday, but organizers of the pro-filter campaign were notified Tuesday they exceeded the residential district size limit of 6 square feet.

City officials gave the group two options: remove the signs or pay a $25-per-sign permit fee to temporarily override the city\'s sign ordinance.
Diane Van DerWerff, treasurer of Holland Area Citizens Voting YES! to Protect Our Children committee, said her group intends to keep the signs and pay the fee.

\"I feel so silly,\" Van DerWerff said. \"This was just one of those things.\"

What are the search engines up to?

Someone recommended this story at onlineinc, quick updates on the major search engines, read it Here.

All the major search engines are covered. AltaVista, Ask Jeeves, Dogpile and the rest of the major search engines have new developments.

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