Newsmaker: Arne Duncan

October 31, 2009

The U.S. Secretary of Education shared his views on, among other things, volunteerism, No Child Left Behind, reading readiness, and libraries, in an exclusive June 22, 2009, telephone conversation with American Libraries Editor in Chief Leonard Kniffel. Arne Duncan at the Fanwood (N.J.) Public Library for the June 22 kick-off of "United We Serve." American Libraries: … Continue reading Newsmaker: Arne Duncan


Libel Tourism: Why Librarians Should Care

October 26, 2009

The global exchange and purchase of information via the internet has undoubtedly enriched scholarly communication and library collections. But all sorts of legal and cultural barriers confront information crossing national borders. Consider a book published in the United States and sold on a global website. Persons or groups who believe that this book has defamed … Continue reading Libel Tourism: Why Librarians Should Care


The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

October 26, 2009

Think about it. What makes you decide to try a new restaurant, see a particular movie, read a novel? Is it because you saw an ad, or because a friend-someone you trust-recommended it? The whole advertising arena has changed. Today there are so many more choices and so much clutter. We're no longer all watching … Continue reading The Power of Word-of-Mouth Marketing


Digital Divide on the Inside

October 26, 2009

Technology and reference are intertwining strands of public service. As our systems get more sophisticated, and as our desire to overhaul and remake those systems gets more intense, libraries need librarians who are tech-savvy and back-office staff who are pure tech. But is the drive toward more technologyoriented public service a one-way street? Or is … Continue reading Digital Divide on the Inside


David Weinberger

October 23, 2009

Few have been able to capture the essence of the Internet Age like David Weinberger. In 1999, he coauthored The Cluetrain Manifesto, which took a seemingly radical approach to the web as a vehicle for cultural interaction, in a time when the media focused on the web's commercial aspects. Recently released in a 10th anniversary … Continue reading David Weinberger



Facebook à la Fulbright

October 7, 2009

A New Jersey librarian had put me in touch with this outgoing young woman, starting the social networking experience that would supplement F2F (face-to-face) contact in class throughout the academic year. I had already been using Facebook to keep in touch with friends and colleagues while in the United States. Surprisingly, Facebook also became a … Continue reading Facebook à la Fulbright


E-readers in Action

September 24, 2009

E-books are nothing new, and librarians and library patrons have long struggled with their lack of utility. Reading on a computer screen for long periods of time is not most people's cup of tea and leads to hundreds of pages-long printouts in many a library lab. However, in early 2008, e-books began to make waves … Continue reading E-readers in Action


The Children We Serve

September 23, 2009

In Children and Libraries: Getting It Right (ALA Editions, 2001), I proposed three alternative visions for the children we would be serving as we moved into the 21st century: the original notion of the child reader, an idea that inspired and guided the founders of library service to children; the child of the information age; … Continue reading The Children We Serve


From a Distance

September 22, 2009

As of November 2008, there were 62 ALA-accredited MLS graduate programs offered by 57 U.S. and Canadian institutions of higher education; 50 of these programs either teach their curricula entirely online (see box) or offer a blend of face-to-face and online courses. A study released this spring by the U.S. Department of Education jibes well … Continue reading From a Distance


Philly Dodges “Doomsday”; Other Pennsylvania Libraries in Limbo

September 18, 2009

With less than a day to spare before layoff notices were to be sent to library staff, the Pennsylvania Senate approved a law September 17 that gives Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter the revenue to fund the Free Library of Philadelphia. “This is indeed the legislation that was needed for the City of Philadelphia to avoid … Continue reading Philly Dodges “Doomsday”; Other Pennsylvania Libraries in Limbo


The Download Dilemma

July 27, 2009

A little over a year ago, I received an e-mail from Cantaloupe Music announcing the release of a new live recording of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, available solely as a download-only digital file through iTunes and the label’s website (Cantaloupe CA21045). At Northwestern University we typically buy most CDs released by Cantaloupe, so I … Continue reading The Download Dilemma