Killjoy Was Here

September 23, 2009

Recently I listened to a commencement speaker who said, "If faculty members can't offer students some hope and optimism for their future, some path of confident thinking in uncertain times, then we have no right or reason to be around them." I'd prefer offering students a sunnier picture from behind the reference desk, but the … Continue reading Killjoy Was Here


What Do You See?

September 23, 2009

On what was apparently a slow news day, the front page of the July 29, 2009, New York Times featured YAWA—yet another Wikipedia article—a variation on the enduring theme of “Wikipedia is changing the world; how shocking” (or how wonderful, depending on the mood of the reporter). This one highlighted an exploration of the ethics of … Continue reading What Do You See?

Building a Digital Branch

September 23, 2009

Library websites have been around for about 15 years. The list of what has changed in the past 15 years could fill a library. Programming languages have changed. Web browsers have changed. Internet connections have gotten faster, and websites have come to serve a wider variety of functions. Interaction has also changed. Many library websites, … Continue reading Building a Digital Branch


September 23, 2009

Thanks to Libraries, Librarians You sit down to write a novel and soon the characters are crowding around demanding attention with the urgency and self obsession of a 3-year old. Nothing shuts them up until the manuscript is ripped from your hands at deadline, and even then, they squawk until they've gone to print. Over … Continue reading Letters

Spectrum’s $1-Million Challenge

September 23, 2009

The Spectrum Scholarship Program is one of the more successful programs initiated by ALA. It began as part of then- ALA Executive Director Elizabeth Martinez's vision to recruit more minorities into the library and information management profession. Betty Turock turned that vision into a reality in the late 1990s during her ALA presidency. Spectrum's mission … Continue reading Spectrum’s $1-Million Challenge

Going the Distance

September 23, 2009

The future of online learning is now, says Kenneth E. Hartman, academic director for Drexel University Online and chairman of National Distance Learning Week (November 9-13). His article in this issue makes a compelling case for online education in general and distance learning in particular. Earlier this year, I taught a one-week summer course in … Continue reading Going the Distance

Once in a Lifetime

July 23, 2009

If you find the no-frills Billy Goat Tavern on a list of restaurants for the America Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago, the likely reason is that it inspired and remains true to the 1970s Saturday Night Live “Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No Coke,pepsi!” skit. Walls decorated with blowups of columns by Mike Royko and others celebrate … Continue reading Once in a Lifetime

Sweet Home Chicago

July 23, 2009

Hardly anyone I know in Chicago is actually from Chicago, born and raised here that is. Most of my friends and colleagues are from someplace else, a lot of us from Michigan. I always tell people back home in Detroit that if the Midwest were a country, Chicago would be the capital, so I feel … Continue reading Sweet Home Chicago

Open Discovery Interfaces

June 1, 2009

Discovery interfaces allow libraries to offer more modern tools to their users for searching library collections. While the ILS serves as the automation environment for library staff, the discovery interface extracts data from the ILS and other repositories and gives end users a centralized index with new search capabilities. Almost all commercial library automation vendors … Continue reading Open Discovery Interfaces

Open Source Public Workstations

May 1, 2009

In a time where an economic downturn and concerns about climate change are influencing library managers' decisions, many libraries are looking for ways to save money and reduce environmental impact. Open source operating systems and software applications can decrease power utilization while providing a positive patron experience. Prior to 1999, mentions of any open source … Continue reading Open Source Public Workstations

Beyond the Barriers

October 1, 2008

A quest for real-time gold Beeeeeeeeep. Alarm. 4:50. Predawn. Downstairs. Coffee. Eyes . . . opening . . . slowly. Countdown. 2,008 drummers, thousands more dancers, singers, athletes from all around the world, a couple of speeches, a flying gymnast lighting the torch, and the unsettling feeling that it can’t possibly only be 9 o’clock. … Continue reading Beyond the Barriers

Why Johnny Can’t Search

January 2, 2007

A couple of generations ago, a catchphrase entered the American lexicon, representing growing concern about the quality of education and in particular a perceived decline in literacy. “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” from the title of 1955 book by Rudolf Flesch, became a byword for the perception of relaxed standards and concomitantly lower achievement in schools. … Continue reading Why Johnny Can’t Search