Showing posts from April, 2013

The inevitable result of Patron Drive Acquisition

After about two and a half years of circulating e-readers with letting patrons each purchase a singles book to add to the collection, this finally happened: I'm honestly surprised it took this long for someone to add porn/erotica to the device.  We knew it was only a matter of time before it happened.  Perhaps the best part of this was the message from Administration querying the legitimacy of the purchase, stating first that it was not purchased by anyone there, and ending with "Perhaps I shouldn't judge a book by its cover!"  At the very least I found amusement in this. I'm pretty sure that in this case, it is ok to judge this book by its cover (or at least by its title). In case you are wondering, we are leaving this on the device.  The borrowing contract states that we are not responsible for the content on the device, and we only lend to patrons who are over 18.  Libraries do circulate sexually explicit and/or erotic material, regardless if th

Link Smorgasbord, April 22-28

German Court Nixes Selling Used E-books  Obviously this is in Germany, not the US, but due to various reciprocity treaties it is worth keeping an eye on what other countries are doing concerning copyright.  The title of this article is also slightly misleading, as it does not ban all ebook sales no matter what, it does still allow resale with rights-holder consent.  On a global scale, companies like ReDigi are exploring the reselling of MP3's and Amazon and Apple are both making initial steps to support the resale of ebooks.  While digital sales often have country based restrictions, the push and pull of demand still exists for services available to others. Are libraries offering enough self-published ebooks? I cannot begin to tell you how annoyed this article makes me.  It does acknowledge that efforts exist to include self-published ebooks, but overall comes across as if we just aren't trying.  Self-published books present both an amazing opportunity and a huge chall

2 Strikes to CISPA

So for the second time around CISPA has passed in the House, received a veto threat from our President, and utterly failed to go anywhere in the Senate.  I am of mixed thoughts about how the Senate handled the issue, I would have loved to see it soundly voted out, but I also know that had it come to a vote it may have passed.  Last year we saw several large legislative pushes against online privacy, and for each one I saw floods of reaction and awareness raising across my social networking feeds. This year, not so much. The website blackout protest barely registered to many users, and the active individual commentators seem missing.  Of course the usual alert messages from various civil liberties groups appeared in my inbox, but the overwhelming wave of internet user protest just never built up.  Even the news coverage was less robust this year. I have no doubt that CISPA (or other very similar piece of legislation) will be introduced again in the near future.  Vote tallies show

I spy with my little eye... someone taking a test

There's a great post up at LibrarianShipwreck on the direction test proctoring has started to take alongside the growing interest in online education options, in particular with MOOC's (Massive Open Online Course) pursuing recognizable credit with college programs.  This caught my eye at first because as a Reference librarian I often receive requests by students to serve as a proctor, and patrons additional use our public computers for online classes or various assessments. "Much of the irony of the idea of such Orwellian proctors is that it seems to run counter to some of the utopian visions attached to online courses. The evangels for online education frequently speak of how wonderfully freeing it can be: allowing students to work at their own pace, allowing students to take classes from all over the world, providing assistance to students who would be less comfortable in a traditional classroom environment. What such proctoring does is take the “freedom” grant

Link Smorgasbord, April 15 - 21

Meet the New CISPA. Same as the Old CISPA. And ACLU's CISPA Explainer Last year several similar efforts were ultimately defeated, but unsurprisingly, people keep bringing them back and trying to get various internet privacies stripped away. State of America's Libraries Report 2013 A report on different areas of libraries and how everything measures up.  This includes copyright, technology, funding/staffing, resources, transformation, and banned books.  For the curious, the top 10 challenged books in 2012 were: Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell & Justin Richardson The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini Looking for Alaska by John Green Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls Beloved by Toni Morrison Simon & Schuster launches

So then that happened

I found my review of Fifty Shades of Brains featured in the "Weekly Interesting Reads" newsletter from BookLikes.

[Book Review] Brewing Made Easy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Making Beer at Home

Brewing made easy : a step-by-step guide to making beer at home / Dennis and Joe Fisher ( Microcosm Publishing , Powell's Books ) Brew your first batch today! It's fun, the beer tastes great, and with the easy-to-follow instructions, it's as simple as picking up an equipment kit and a bag of brewing ingredients and opening to the first chapter. Homebrewing brothers Joe and Dennis Fisher guide you through every step of making your first and second batches, and then they set you free to explore and create. Work your way through the 25 recipes the Fishers provide, or use the charts and tables in chapter 3 to design your own formulations. This is the "how to brew" book that I wish came with my brew kit.  I am grateful to this book for dispelling a few misunderstandings I had gathered from my initial reading of other materials, and for generally explaining brewing in an easy to understand, direct manner.  This book will guide you through a first batch,

"Try Everything"

Recently, Neil Gaiman gave a keynote speech at the London Book Fair (video, imbedding seems to be turned off).  It is a beautiful speech, filled with wit and masterful storytelling.  In particular, he talks about publishing and creating in the face of disruptive technologies.  And ultimately, adapting and moving forwards with (or ahead of) disruptive technology is key.  This is a beautiful and very relevant statement.  We can't always tell which ideas will disrupt our lives and which will fizzle out unnoticed.  Think of all the services/technologies that we use daily that didn't exist 5 or 10 years ago.  At one point the concept of an online only bookstore was considered a folly.  Library services for children largely started as an experiment just over a hundred years ago at the New York Public Library (Lepore, Jill. "The Lion and the Mouse." The New Yorker . The New Yorker, 21 July 2008 ).  Now libraries without a children's department exist as the rare e

GED Worries

At my library GED classes and testing are kind of a big thing.  A community education group has taught and facilitated GED testing for some years in partnership with my library.  We serve a population of around 30,000 people, and every Spring and Fall we host maxed out GED and pre-GED programs, with very few of the participants taking the test as a capstone to homeschooling.  Starting January 1, 2014 the cost to take the test greatly increases, partially due to privatization of the test.  Before now our semester long GED and pre-GED classes for $35 including the test thanks to various funding for the community education group that runs the sessions.  Generally the GED test costs $60.  The new GED courses will include computer literacy, something I support, but will also cost upwards of $120, require the use of proprietary software and/or web portal access, and most likely require testing centers. The new test not only will be out of reach for a large number of patrons who are curre

NF Display April 2013

Like any month, I wanted the April display to be fun.  Then a few months ago I found Encyclopedia Paranoiaca : the indispensable guide to everyone and everything you should be afraid or worried about / Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf.  That pretty much sold me for a display concept.  Only one problem, there's only so many silly yet serious dangers of the world books out there.  So I went a bit broader, and have started generally describing the display as "crazy books."  The label is applied differently across the various titles, and I've included books on conspiracy theories, secret societies, superstitions, oddities, and books generally on how humans are speeding towards their own species demise. I did actively avoid books focusing on bigfoot/aliens/ghosts/etc beyond the obvious inclusion of a book on Area 51.  Those have a place in an October display some point down the line. One advantage I have noticed about such a small display is that it becomes imme

Link Smorgasbord, April 8 - 14

Indie Bookstore Sales of Kobo Ebooks Dwarf Google; Still Small A bit about the small, but solid, niche that Kobo has found for itself enabling small bookstores to sell ebooks and ereaders. German Court finds Apple's 'slide to unlock' patent invalid The title pretty much says it all, Germany is not the first country to find the patent invalid. Teacher Knows if You’ve Done the E-Reading Ebook software package allows professors to monitor student's "engagement index" - frequency of textbook use, note taking, highlighting, time spent using text book, etc.  The potential upsides - teachers may be able to help students pinpoint study habit issues, and possible better flow of information in future textbook editions or possibly better choices in future text book purchases.  Potential downsides - "engagement index" with textbooks has quite clearly in the trial run not necessarily had correlation to class performance, it can give an incorrect or ove

[Book Review] Fifty shades of brains

EDIT: I'm bloody tired of getting 50 Shades of Grey spam posts on this review thanking me for writing this and talking about how great E. L. James' book is (or that the movie will be).  Seriously, half of this post is about how I can't stand 50 Shades of Grey.  Comments are now turned off. Fifty shades of brains / B. F. Dealeo ( book website , Powell's Books ) When Survival School student Aurora Foyle interviews Seattle's premiere zombie hunter, Caligula Green, she encounters a man who is intense, intelligent and incredibly perverse… and not in a good way. She falls for him nonetheless and agrees to become his apprentice in order to remain at his side (or better yet, on his lap). Unfortunately, as the controlling, charismatic Green starts to train Aurora in the fine art of offing the undead, she discovers the zombie apocalypse has affected her lover far more than she imagined. In fact, the guy may have gone slightly insane -- something that may happ

Fun with "sexy" covers

Right now I completely adore Jim C. Hines.  I need familiarity with more of Jim C. Hines' work, but I enjoy what I have read, finding it both creative and funny.  I read a ridiculous amount, and I will be the first to admit that I regularly laugh at the covers of novels (particularly sci-fi and fantasy novels).  Now add in my for things such as Men-Ups and you'll soon understand this facet of my adoration. Yes, he decided to examine, through experience, the ridiculousness that makes up book cover model poses . It's not just women that are given ridiculous representation on novels, have you ever looked at romance novel covers (though often they are in slightly more comfortable poses)? Here we have the "glistening chest/nostril shot."  In fact, there are LOTS of glistening chest covers, both with and without faces. Again, another example of cropping right above the nostril, however he got to keep his shirt.  So I feel I need to follow it up with anot

A short list of things to not do in the library

I'd like to share a short list of things that may get you banned from the library, or at the very least bring down the wrath of the librarians, regardless of how explicit the building policies: Dealing drugs inside the library Doing drugs inside the library Overdosing on drugs in the library (being found unconscious in the bathroom is for bonus points) Rolling cigarettes inside the library Leaping from a balcony/ledge to the floor below it Exposing yourself (additionally humping the desk is also frowned upon) Taint punching

[Book Review] It's only slow food until you try and eat it : Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter Gatherer

It's only slow food until you try and eat it : Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter Gatherer / Bill Heavy ( Grove/Atlantic , Powell's Books ) Longtime Field & Stream contributor Bill Heavey saw early on that while the outdoors world was full of experts, “the other end of the skill spectrum was wide open,” and he has become the magazine’s most popular voice by writing for sportsmen with more enthusiasm than skill. In his first full-length book, Heavey chronicles his attempts to “eat wild,” trying to see how much of his own food he could hunt, fish, grow, and forage. But Heavey is not your typical hunter-gatherer. Living inside the D.C. Beltway, and a single dad to a twelve-year-old daughter who at one point declares, “I hate nature food!”, he’s almost completely ignorant of gardening and foraging. Mesmerized by the power of a rototiller, Heavey tears up twice as much of his backyard as he intended. Incensed at the squirrels destroying his tomatoes, he is d

Link Smorgasbord, April 1 - April 7

I am often guilty of posting an overwhelming number of articles to my friend's social media feeds.  So lets see how well collecting and posting batches works (for certain topics at least). National Library Worker's Day  Do you have a favorite librarian?  Then submit them for recognition, it gives us warm fuzzies. NLWD is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers. The Best Fantasy Novels You Probably (Haven't) Read Being a significant book geek, I have read, or have been meaning to read most of this list.  Those that fell in neither category are now on my "to read" list, as there are fantastic book recommendations here. Goodreads pledges to remain "independent entity" A little more on the Amazon purchase of Goodreads. Give 'em What They Want? A fantastic article by Jamie LaRue, Director of Douglas County Libraries, Colorado, on providing ebooks,

Book Love: The Awesome Parody Edition

Lets combine a few awesome things, like Reading Rainbow & Jim Morrison (or at least a well done Jim Morrison imitation)!

A disturbance in the Force : personal reactions to the Amazon purchase of Goodreads

A few days behind the curve, I found out today that has purchased Goodreads. I am conflicted, and really the only thing comforting me is quite how many other people are also rather upset at this development. From the official blog post announcement : Today I'm really happy to announce a new milestone for Goodreads: We are joining the Amazon family. We truly could not think of a more perfect partner for Goodreads as we both share a love of books and an appreciation for the authors who write them. We also both love to invent products and services that touch millions of people. I'm excited about this for three reasons: 1. With the reach and resources of Amazon, Goodreads can introduce more readers to our vibrant community of book lovers and create an even better experience for our members. 2. Our members have been asking us to bring the Goodreads experience to an e-reader for a long time. Now we're looking forward to bringing Goodreads to the mos