The Scoop

  • Chatting with Christie Hefner

    July 12, 2009

    ALA Annual Conference keynote speaker Christie Hefner took a few minutes to chat with me before her Opening General Session speech. Hefner is the director of the Center for American Progress and longtime CEO of Playboy Enterprises, the company founded by her father, Hugh Hefner, and restructured and expanded by Christie. Asked what her major message to … Continue reading Chatting with Christie Hefner

  • A Tale of Four Panelists

    July 11, 2009

    [July 16, 2009] UPDATE: Commentary continues to appear both in and out of the biblioblogosphere speculating about the actions that precipitated the cancellation of the "Perspectives on Islam" panel.  On July 14, the Huffington Post ran a story by CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab that purports to tell the real behind-the-scenes story. In turn, Jihad … Continue reading A Tale of Four Panelists

  • The Medium Has a Message

    July 11, 2009

     Despite murmurs of controversy surrounding his Annual Conference appearance Saturday afternoon, survival evidence medium James van Praagh had the undivided attention of several hundred truth seekers curious to hear about "what the dead can teach us," which serves as the subtitle of his latest book, Unfinished Business (HarperCollins). Even as a toddler, van Praagh said, … Continue reading The Medium Has a Message

  • Opening General Session: Christie Hefner on Change, Business, and the First Amendment

    July 11, 2009

    Opening General Session speaker Christie Hefner drew a clear parallel between businesses and libraries in terms of what they need to do to survive. She noted how, as Playboy CEO, she came to the conclusion that the company "didn't want to be a magazine company—we wanted to be a company that represented a style of … Continue reading Opening General Session: Christie Hefner on Change, Business, and the First Amendment

  • Chatting with Christie Hefner

    July 11, 2009

    ALA Annual Conference keynote speaker Christie Hefner took a few minutes to chat with me before her Opening General Session speech. Hefner is the director of the Center for American Progress and longtime CEO of Playboy Enterprises, the company founded by her father, Hugh Hefner, and restructed and expanded by Christie. Asked what her major message to … Continue reading Chatting with Christie Hefner

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  • James Ellroy Boosts Books, Blasts Bits

    July 11, 2009

    Author James Ellroy is an arrogantly proud Luddite who exults in his disengagement with contemporary culture. "I live in a vacuum," he told a rapt crowd who attended his Saturday-morning Auditorium Speaker Series appearance. "I ignore pop culture, I don't read a newspaper." Ellroy, known for L.A. Confidential and other unrelentingly gritty crime novels, saved his highest disdain … Continue reading James Ellroy Boosts Books, Blasts Bits

  • Annual Saturday: (Screen)Casting a Wide Net

    July 11, 2009

    The RUSA MARS Hot Topics Discussion Group presented a panel discussion on screencasting Saturday: "Casting a Wide Net: Using Screencasts to Reach and Teach Library Users." Committee co-chair Michelle Jacobs was not in attendance, so–appropriately enough–she introduced the session via screencast. Eric Frierson of the University of Texas at Arlington demonstrated how his library's online … Continue reading Annual Saturday: (Screen)Casting a Wide Net

  • Annual Thursday: Wait, Wait…

    July 11, 2009

    The action at Annual Conference is still ramping up, but the first event I attended–yesterday’s taping of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!, was a sell-out success. The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations (ALTAFF) bought out the taping as a fundraiser, and drew a sell-out crowd of more than 500 librarians. Host … Continue reading Annual Thursday: Wait, Wait…

  • YALSA meets Project Runway

    July 11, 2009

    The crowd of 400 teen-services librarians cheered wildly as their colleagues strutted and posed along the catwalk in the Westin River North Hotel Friday night for YALSA’s happy hour and fashion show. The event was hosted by New York Public Library Young Adult Librarian Jack Martin, but the big draw was Chicago fashion designer Steven … Continue reading YALSA meets Project Runway

  • YALSA meets Project Runway

    July 10, 2009

    The crowd of 400 teen-services librarians cheered wildly as their colleagues strutted and posed along the catwalk in the Westin River North Hotel Friday night for YALSA's happy hour and fashion show. The event was hosted by New York Public Library Young Adult Librarian Jack Martin, but the big draw was Chicago fashion designer Steven … Continue reading YALSA meets Project Runway

  • Annual Thursday: Wait, Wait…

    July 10, 2009

    The action at Annual Conference is still ramping up, but the first event I attended–yesterday's taping of NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!, was a sell-out success. The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends, and Foundations (ALTAFF) bought out the taping as a fundraiser, and drew a sell-out crowd of more than 500 librarians. Host … Continue reading Annual Thursday: Wait, Wait…

  • ALTAFF Spokesperson Paula Poundstone at Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

    July 10, 2009

    AL Focus visited ALTAFF Spokesperson Paula Poundstone July 9 before a taping of National Public Radio’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! attended by 500 librarians. The conversation covered Poundstone’s role as ALTAFF spokesperson, her kids’ reading habits, The Three Stooges, the dreaded acronym game, and the horrors of math. See more ALA videos at alfocus.ala.org.