Pro-Fine or Anti-Fine, Which Position Would You Take?

Library fines could become a thing of the past if a group of UK librarians get their way. A fiery debate has been raging for the past week between librarians, with anti-fine campaigners describing the charges as punitive, old-fashioned and creating a negative impression of libraries.

"Libraries are facing competition from television, magazines, the internet, e-books, yet they have this archaic and mad idea of charging people money for being slightly late," said library consultant Frances Hendrix - a loud voice in the debate which has been taking place on an online forum for librarians. "It's all so negative, unprofessional and unbusinesslike; like any business, libraries need not to alienate their customers."

The Guardian article continues: "One librarian suggested adopting the ancient practice of some monasteries, in which monks who offended in the handling of books were publicly cursed. Another pointed to Soviet Russia, where they said that offenders' names were published in newspapers to shame them into returning their books. In New Zealand town Palmerston North next week, library users returning late books are being challenged to beat librarians on Guitar Hero to have their fines waived.

From Bad To Worse

Listen, when your job is in trouble because you, as a library director, are accused of overbilling, financial kickbacks, and misuse of the library's credit card, chances are good you don't want to spend another $11,000 on a PR crisis management expert. Nevertheless, that's exactly what the embattled director of the Sacramento Public Library did.

She issued a no-bid contract, saying she didn't need library board approval to contract for work under $100,000. The contract file cited the "urgent nature of the communications issues."

The library already employs a full time public relations and marketing person.

More from the Bee.

Retro Bond Covers

Like any avid reader, I appreciate the beauty of good cover art. No matter what they say, millions of people judge books by their covers every day.

These retro covers for Penguin's reissues of Ian Fleming's master spy stories fit the style and sexiness that fans all over the world have come to associate with James Bond. Some of the covers are completely original while others pay homage to the movie based upon them. (See Dr. No for the now iconic white knife belt worn by Ursula Andress and then most recently by Halle Berry.)

Obviously these come just in time for the release of Quantum of Solace, the newest big screen film featuring Daniel Craig as 007.

New Marketing Site: Marketing Your Library

Susan Akers sent over word on a new Web site on marketing libraries.... for interesting articles, great links and tips and how-to's on marketing, branding and more.

File This Under Bad Bookmark Ideas

It seemed like a fun way to promote goodwill for the University of Michigan at the Ann Arbor Mayor's Green Fair earlier this month: Hand out bookmarks made from recycled computer circuit boards. But the idea has now prompted a recall, complete with a reward, because the university has learned the circuit boards contain lead. U-M bought 1,000 of the bookmarks from an Illinois-based company that marketed them as "eco-friendly." Between 40 and 60 were handed out at the environmental fair in downtown Ann Arbor June 13. Read more at

Stepping into marketing: Who’s with me?

Greg's been thinking and reading about online identity, reputation management and personal branding. His interest is NOT in marketing libraries. He says there are plenty of other people worrying about that. He's talking about marketing librarians and hopes to find ways to demonstrate the importance of that distinction to others in our profession.

I suspect few of you would disagree that librarians are, for the most part, poor self-promoters and marketers. I plan on doing my part to change that and the first step is paying attention to the people who know what they’re talking about.

Yummy Books

During the second annual Edible Book fundraising event at the Lilly Library, Florence, MA, visitors could taste 16 dishes inspired by books. The evening was a fundraiser for the Lilly Library and The Forbes Library, Northampton who split the proceeds. reported that the delectable tomes ranged from "a cake based on The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman to a platter of horse shaped cookies inspired by Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses."

The "Best in Show" award went to John Riley, owner of Gabrielle's Books, Northampton, who made Aristotle's Second Book of Poetics, a fictional book in Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. The 'book' was made of a combination of baklava and lavash flat bread.

The needle in a haystack problem; The Librarian Solution

Seth Godin wrote about his The needle in a haystack problem: " But Google doesn't help with finding experts when the problem is hard to define, or when interactivity is required...No, there isn't an obvious answer. But yes, it's a universal problem. Worth a think when you get a chance."

The answer seemed completely obvious to me!

Insanity @ My Library: A Photo Contest

Scott Douglas has released full details of a book give away contest here:

Do you have a picture that perfectly illustrates the insanity that takes place at a library? Maybe it's the book drop that was destroyed by a firecracker, the librarian who never matches his socks, or the library that is completely falling apart and has structural damage to prove it! If so, send them to me and you will automatically be entered in a drawing for a free signed copy of Quiet, Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian.

Pondering Podcast Access -- A Conundrum I Have No Solution To

The Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science defines podcast as:

A digital media file (audio or video) syndicated over the Internet via an RSS feed. The author or host of a podcast is known as a podcaster. Once available online, podcasts can be downloaded for listening on portable media devices (MP3 players, pocket CDs, cell phones) and personal computers. Despite the similarity in name, listening to or watching a podcast does not require an iPod, although the device can be used for that purpose. Online directories of podcasts are usually browsable by subject and searchable by keyword(s) (examples: Podcast Alley,, and

This describes the program produced here in the Las Vegas metro. This also describes the method of normal distribution. Is this the normal means of accessing LISTen, though? -- Read More

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