Reluctant Habits

What Will Become of Uninformed Muttonheads Who Promulgate Misinformation on Slate About Public Libraries?

Posted by in argesta-michael, Libraries, NYPL, Slate

Slate has been publishing irresponsible articles for years, but a dangerously misinformed article by a dimwitted hack named Michael Argesta spreads wanton ignorance about public libraries. It is thoroughly debunked in this 1,700 word response.

Save NYPL: How an Organized Movement to Stop the Destruction of Libraries is Being Ignored by Mayor de Blasio

Posted by in Central Library Plan, deblasio-bill, Humans of New York, Libraries, New York, NYPL, Save NYPL, zadrozny-matthew

The Central Library Plan threatens to decimate the New York Public Library System. Why is Mayor de Blasio so steadfastly silent? And can a growing movement stop this assault on New York culture? In this lengthy dispatch, we talked with members of the Committee to Save the NYPL and others to determine the present struggle and the protest strategy.

More Bedbug Hysteria in Canadian Libraries

Posted by in Bedbugs, hasham-alyshah, Libraries, saint-louis-catherine, sullivan-margaret, Toronto, Toronto Star, Vancouver

As the bedbug hysteria spreads to Canada, we continue our efforts to clear up the misinformation.

The Bedbug Bunk: How the New York Times Used Fear and Misinformation to Spread Public Library Hysteria

Posted by in Bedbugs, Libraries, New York Times, potter-michael, saint-louis-catherine

In this independent investigation, we talk with multiple sources and reveal how bedbugs in public libraries aren’t the great threat the New York Times suggests.

BEA 2012: What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew

Posted by in BEA, BookExpo, Libraries

The librarians didn’t come for the muffins. But the publishers came for the librarians.

The Bat Segundo Show: Marilyn Johnson

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Libraries

Marilyn Johnson recently appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #324. Ms. Johnson is most recently the author of This Book is Overdue! Condition of Mr. Segundo: Hoping to avoid being arrested by Rusty the Bailiff. Author: Marlyn Johnson Subjects Discussed: Why libraries are little regarded by the American public, the preservation of blogs and websites, Josh Greenberg’s efforts at digital preservation, the Firefox extension Zotero, the rickroll video’s removal from YouTube, the Barnard Zine Collection, the reliance upon private entities to preserve information, the lone guy archiving Hunter S. Thompson’s…read more


And a Box of Cookies

Posted by in Libraries


Tainted Glove

Posted by in Libraries

Guardian: “While most of us might expect to have to wear gloves to read 14th-century illuminated manuscripts, Silverman says it is damaging. He and a colleague, Dr Cathy Baker, have published a rather esoteric paper, Misperceptions about White Gloves, in which they call for the wearing of white gloves to be replaced with a policy of people simply washing their hands.”


Fewer Readers or Shorter Hours?

Posted by in Libraries

Mercury News: “The number of books threatened with removal from library shelves dropped last year to its lowest total on record, with 405 challenges reported to the American Library Association.” (via Literary Gas)


Cambridge Cache Unearthed

Posted by in Libraries

Approximately 170,000 volumes and papers have been discovered in the Cambridge University library tower. Some people believed that this stash of tomes represented little more than the 19th century equivalent of the now classic 20th century pornographic confessional Fist Me Hard! Fist Me Fast! But as it turns out, this cache yielded first editions of several 19th century authors, a collection of penny dreadfuls, and the bulk of it remains untouched. And by “untouched,” keep your dirty minds out of the gutter, folks. You know what I mean. Thanks to…read more


Dover Town Library: Hot to Trot

Posted by in Libraries

It is a fundamental truth that librarians are among the sexiest people on the planet. But the Dover Town Library staff have me contemplating all manner of sexual fantasies*: you see, they’ve abolished overdue fees. * — In one, I am tied up to the microfiche machine, forget the safe word, and am forced to endure discomfort that goes outside of the accepted terms. I am then released under the assumption that I will be a “good patron.” Then I’m asked to conduct academic research while being partially blindfolded and…read more


And So the Invasiveness Begins…

Posted by in Libraries, Privacy

The FBI has issued the first demand for library records under the Patriot Act. The library in question is apparently somewhere in the Bridgeport, Connecticut. The ACLU said that it was barred from disclosing the identity of the specific location or the details of the FBI demand. But if the ACLU can’t get this out into the public, perhaps some enterprising citizen journalist (who has more time than I do today) might want to start making some calls. Here are some places to start.


Pero, Piense en Los NiƱos!

Posted by in Censorship, Libraries, Wallace, David Foster

Our Rocky Mountain pal and colleague has the scoop on the campaign to divest Denver’s libraries of racy fotonovelas. After having removed 6,000 of these “tawdry” books, a full review of the libraries’ 2.5 million circulation is now being considered, leaving some wags to opine that “indecency” might be more of an elastic term than explicitly stated, perhaps used as a euphemism for purging the catalog of, shall we say, less Anglo-friendly titles.


Future Scholars Will Infer Meaning from Dubya’s Crude Doodles

Posted by in Libraries

If you’ve ever wanted to know how presidential libraries operate, now’s your chance. According to Dr. Jay Hawkes, presidential libraries are “some of the most important and unique libraries in the country.” The tradition began with FDR, who donated all of his personal and presidential papers to the federal government in 1939. In 1955, Congress passed the Presidential Libraries Act, establishing a system of libraries. And the Presidential Records Act of 1978 deemed all presidential records the property of the federal government. (via Rare Books News)



Posted by in Awards, Film, Libraries, pamuk-orhan, Roundup

Because one can never cover too many awards, I note that Orhan Pamuk has won the 2005 Book Trade Peace Prize. The prize is the most coveted literary award in Germany. Alan Riding points to a quiet controversy that has been unearthed regarding women’s writing prizes (and the Orange Prize in particular). Specifically, novelist Anne Fine is quoted, “I do think the Orange Prize has created a division, an artificial barrier where there was only an awful inequality.” Perhaps the answer is much simpler. Could it be because Fine has…read more


Morning Pileup

Posted by in Franzen, Jonathan, Libraries, Roundup

Frederick Forsyth has decided to run against Tony Blair. Well, if this is what it takes to get him to stop writing, count me in as one of his most febrile supporters. Chang-rae Lee’s next novel will center around the Korean War. The story will involve “a refugee girl raised in America after the war, a solider and an aid worker during the war.” Lee also confessed that he made a mistake titling his last novel Aloft, pointing out that too many people were hoping for a gripping tale about…read more


Afternoon Headlines

Posted by in Harry Potter, Libraries, Roundup, Vowell, Sarah

The illustrious Mark Sarvas has served up spectacular coverage of the L.A. Times Book Festival. He even makes a noble attempt to understand Steve Almond. We also wish Mr. Sarvas the best wishes on his new reign as a teacher. A new novel penned by the late Park Tae-won has been found. The new book’s called Flag of Motherland and is the first novel Park wrote before crossing the border during the Korean War. Arianna Huffington has launched a group blog. Alarmingly, Michael Medved is involved. Why publicist Shawn Le…read more


More Archivin’ Fixins

Posted by in Libraries, Technology

The BBC is about to release an Internet video viewer, so that one may review BBC content over the last 7 to 14 days. No word on whether this will be a paid viewer or UK-exclusive, but I wish that all networks took the ideas of TiVo and applied it like this. (via Die Puny Humans)


The Reader’s Last Sigh

Posted by in Fundamentalism, Libraries, Rushdie, Salman, Science

The Associated Press reports that Rushdie’s new novel will “have a lot more India in it” than Midnight’s Children. That’s great. But it still doesn’t change the fact that Rushdie hasn’t written a single compelling novel since Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Who says they aren’t crazy about libraries in the sticks? In Modesto, 100 volunteers are trying to maintain a small sales tax to ensure that their libraries stay open. Geologists are trying to stop a creationist book from being sold at the Grand Canyon. The book, Grand…read more


Disappearing Books & Some People Just Don’t Understand

Posted by in Byatt, A.S., Dubious Achievements, Heinlein, Robert, King, Stephen, Libraries, Roundup, Speculative Fiction, Starbucks, Twain, Mark, Wolfe, Gene

In Singapore, Starbucks cafes have initiated a used-book program to get people reading. Read a book, drop it off at a Starbucks, and get $1 off a drink. Of course, there’s one chief problem with the plan beyond this failure to encourage people to read it. (Hypothetically, you can just move a book from the National Library to one of the 17 Starbucks outlets participating.) If the book is bad and likely to put you to sleep, shouldn’t the coffee discount apply before you read the book, rather than after?…read more


I’ve Always Wanted to Do This

Posted by in Amazon, Libraries

Reading on a Dream: I hope these kids take their show on the road. Opening night at the Library of Congress? Somewhat Related Link: If Libraries Were Like Amazon.