Saturday, May 31, 2008

Revolution in the Stacks

"To appeal to a new generation, some libraries are positioning themselves as places to create content." From Governing magazine.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Google vs. educational databases and libraries

"A fellow teacher asked me the other day as he was planning a research project for his class, Which is better, Google, or one of the databases we subscribe to?" The answer? See here.
The Library in the New Age, Robert Darnton

Information is exploding so furiously around us and information technology is changing at such bewildering speed that we face a fundamental problem: How to orient ourselves in the new landscape? What, for example, will become of research libraries in the face of technological marvels such as Google?

The New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Number 10 · June 12, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

First Time Homebuyers Program

Thinking of buying your first home? The Library's the place to be on Saturday, May 31st from 9AM to 4:30PM, Main Library for the First Time Homebuyers Program.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Garage Bands Rock

Drop by the Library's Garage on Friday (yes, this Friday, May 30) for a FREE concert by local Garage Bands, Alta Mira and The Sense Offenders. Check out Sarah's tips for more info to stay on top of the Entertainment Scene in Albany! The Library presents five nights of Summer fun...all at 6PM, all at the Library's Garage and all fun!

Regents Advisory Council on Libraries members sought

The New York State Library is seeking, by June 30, recommendations for membership on the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries.

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries advises the New York State Board of Regents on State policy regarding the New York State Library, library development programs, legislation and library aid programs. The Council works with the officers of the State Education Department in developing a comprehensive statewide library and information policy and makes recommendations to the Regents concerning the implementation of the program.

The Board of Regents will appoint two new Regents Advisory Council members to serve five-year terms from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2013. The Council meets four times a year: January (conference call), May (Board of Regents meeting in Albany), September (Albany or NYC) and December (Albany or NYC). Members of the Regents Advisory Council are leaders in a wide variety of endeavors across the State, including business, human services, education, and libraries. For more information, see

The State Library particularly encourages recommendations of representatives of New York State's broadly diverse population, including but not limited to African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic origin/ancestry and people with disabilities.

Please send nominations, and if possible a brief bio or resume, for membership on the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries by June 30 to: Paula Paolucci, New York State Library, 10C34 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230; or e-mail For more information, please contact Ms. Paolucci.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

EPA Libraries Reopening in Phone Booth-Sized Libraries

WASHINGTON, DC - May 21 - Ordered by Congress to re-open its shuttered libraries, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is grudgingly allocating only minimal space and resources, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At the same time, EPA is issuing a series of edicts placing virtually every aspect of library operations under centralized control of a political appointee. Read more here

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

Read ’Em and Weep

The cover story from Metroland, Volume 31 - Number 20 - May 15, 2008 by Kathryn Lange. "As New York state’s school library books get older and older, funding to buy new ones has not been a legislative priority."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Budget passes; trustee vote in question

From the Times Union:

Albany Public Library:

Incorrectly programmed voting machines are prompting an investigation into the results of the election for a vacant seat on the Albany Public Library's board of trustees, Timothy Burke, acting director, said.

While voters should have picked one candidate for one seat, the instructions on voting machines said to choose two people for two seats. Burke said the results were tallied, and Lois Parsons -- who has occupied the seat since the death of John Bach -- was declared the winner.

"We're investigating that, and we expect to have more information about it soon," Burke said. He said he would work closely with officials from the school district during the investigation.

The other candidates are Jose Lopez and Charles Carr. Carr said he noticed the problem when he went to vote and notified Burke. He said he was frustrated by the mistake.

"Even though it's a small election, how could this mistake be made?" Carr said, saying he was "given the runaround" when he attempted to report the error. "Is it a fair election at this point?"

Burke did not offer a clear timetable when a determination might be made on the validity of the election.

Voters meanwhile approved the library's $6.7 million budget.
Thursday, May 22, 2008 Update: Library candidate to play appeal card; Second-place finisher (Charles Carr) wants state to review trustee ballot mix-up.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

VOTE, Come to the Annual Meeting, Listen to Rex Smith

Polls open until 9 p.m. Vote early and come to the annual meeting at 7 pm, followed by a talk by the Times Union's Rex Smith.

Oh, and please let me know if you saw my incoherent babbling on Capital News 9 today. I was the first person voting at my location.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

New York State Statistical Yearbook

The Rockefeller Institute of Government has published the 32nd edition of its popular New York State Statistical Yearbook, providing updated information on a vast array of state data and state agency contacts for news media, citizens, government officials, and others. The 714-page Yearbook contains information ranging from population and health statistics to information on education in the state. Information is freely available online as a series of Excel pages here.

For more information or to obtain a copy, click here. Read the news release.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Layered Local Governments in New York

From the Rockefeller Institute of Government:
New York's local governments are among the most heavily "layered" in the nation, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Donald J. Boyd writes in a new paper. Unlike most states, New York is characterized by at least two general-purpose local governments in every region except New York City. Boyd was a consultant to the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, chaired by former Lieutenant Governor Stan Lundine. The Commission has just issued a report with recommendations to make local government more streamlined and cost-effective. Robert Ward, the Institute's deputy director, analyzed the Lundine Commission's report in a May 1 commentary for WAMC/Northeast Public Radio.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pine Hills Library temporary site announced

The news we've all been waiting for . . . yes, you guessed it, we have formally secured a temporary site for the Pine Hills Library. The Elks Lodge, located at 25 South Allen Street, across the street from the Post Office and just a stone's throw away from our permanent location, will be our APL home in the Pine Hills neighborhood until the transformed library re-opens. The Elks Lodge location is expected to open in mid-June. Keep an eye on its progress here.

Hey, a great big shout out to everyone that attended the auctions at the Howe and Pine Hills libraries. Your enthusiasm for owning a piece of history brought in $9,000. Thanks for supporting your favorite libraries . . . a wild time was had by all!

Linda Fox Receives Distinguished Service Award

Linda Fox, Director of the Capital Region School Library System, is the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Service Award from the School Library Systems Association of New York State (SLSA).

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a School Library System Director whose work exemplifies six areas of consideration: professional leadership, professional service, information sharing, collaboration, quality programs and creative service.

SLSA President, Elizabeth Naylor-GutiƩrrez, made the following remarks during her award presentation. "Linda is well known for her responsive leadership and the creative services she provides the school library media specialists in her system. She is also an adjunct professor at SUNY Albany and is making a direct contribution to the development of the next generation of school library media specialists."

"Last year," she continued, "Linda led SLSA through its first year of consortium online database purchasing. The Online Resource Consortium enabled School Library System Directors to offer excellent prices on needed electronic resources to the school library media specialists they serve. The Online Resource Consortium would not have become a reality without Linda's vision and diligence."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

St. Sophia Greek Festival 2008. May 16, 17 and 17

The St. Sophia Greek Festival is this weekend! Friday, May 16, 6PM to 11PM; Saturday, May 17, Noon to 11PM; Sunday, May 18, Noon to 7PM. St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, 440 Whitehall Road, Albany, New York. Admission $2. Children under 12 free. For more information call (518) 489-4442.

StoryTubes Video Contest - Voting

Voting for the StoryTubes contest has begun. A national video contest for
students in 1st through 6th grade to promote their favorite book. There are seven children from NYS participating! You can see their entries on the NYS Summer Reading website.

The stated rules on voting will be one vote per person per day. Please
follow this link to vote:

Each week, you will be able to vote for your favorite video in a different
May 12 - May 18, 2008 - From or For the Heart
May 19 - May 25, 2008 - Of Heroes and Heroines
May 26 - June 1, 2008 - Facts, Fads and Phenoms

At the end of each week, one lucky contestant will win $500 in books. Their
sponsoring organization (school, library or designated organization for
home-schooled youth) will receive $1,000 in books.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The new library fad: borrow a person

A new library allows readers to borrow people for a 30-minute chat. Here's the experience of one man who offered himself as a human book:

APL Computer Camp

Check out the Albany Public Library Computer Camp 2008, a free day camp for kids ages 9 to 13. Register your child for one of two sessions: July 7th - 18th, or August 4th - 15th. Both sessions are held at the Main Library, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Registration forms may be filled out in the Children's Room. Call 427-4310 for more information. Space is limited.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Robert Knightly at APL May 13

Join the Friends of the Library as we welcome the recent transplant from NYC, local author Robert Knightly. He is a former lieutenant with the NYPD, a criminal trial lawyer, he has published several mysteries and, from all accounts, he's rather entertaining. Join us at 12:15 on May 13th at the Main Library for a lively discussion on the process of writing short mystery stories.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quarterly Indicators, First Quarter 2008

Reflecting ongoing weakness, the U.S. economy grew 0.6 percent in first quarter 2008, mirroring the previous quarter according to the U.S. SBA’s Office of Advocacy 1st Quarter Economic Indicators. Consumer spending rose 1 percent on an annual basis, the slowest rate since second quarter 2001.Unemployment was slightly higher than in previous months at 5.1 percent in March. On the positive side, real exports benefited from a weaker dollar with annualized growth of 5.5 percent for the quarter and 9.5 percent year to year. Both the small business optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to their lowest in March 2008.

Quarterly Indicators: The Economy and Small Business.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Postage going up

The Post Office is raising the postal rates starting Monday, May 12 to 42 cents for the first ounce, 17 cents each for the next few ounces, and 27 cents for a postcard. Lots of people I've talked to seem unaware of the rate change. I wonder if the Post Office still has those "forever" stamps?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

2010 Census Web site

What You Need to Know about the 2010 Census

PDF Fact Sheets for:
Community and Social Service Organizations
Elected Officials
Faith-Based Organizations

Monday, May 05, 2008

Copyright Orphans

Paul Rapp "is an intellectual-property lawyer with offices in Albany and Housatonic, Mass. He teaches art-and-entertainment law at Albany Law School, and regularly appears as part of the Copyright Forum on WAMC’s Vox Pop." He writes a regular column on intellectual property rights.

His most recent column addresses the "Orphan Works” copyright and potential legislation regarding it. What is an orphan work? Paul cites Meredith L. Patterson's Radio Free Meredith where she uses this example about "your parent’s wedding pictures from 1955. You want to publish them? Guess what? The copyrights are probably owned by the photographer! Who was who? And is now where? You don’t know? Uh-oh." The proposed bill, H.R.5889, Orphan Works Act of 2008, seeks to provide "limitation[s] on remedies in cases involving orphan works."

Rapp writes just before the actual legislation was introduced, but still got it right. "The legislation to rectify the problem of lingering, abandoned copyrights, to loosen this stranglehold of ghosts on our culture, by allowing the reuse of pre-existing materials in situations where after a reasonably diligent effort, no copyright owner has been located. If, after the work is re-published, a copyright owner shows up and says 'that’s mine', the copyright owner will be entitled to a reasonable licensing fee for the use, but won’t be able to stop the use."

Rapp, BTW, is a/k/a Lee Harvety Blotto, drummer for the legendary Albany band, Blotto.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Library Use of E-books Published

E-book spending by libraries grew rapidly in 2008 but by significantly less than in 2007, according to Library Use of E-books, 2008-09 Edition, (isbn 1-57440-101-7) just published by Primary Research Group, Inc.
Data in the report is based on a survey of 75 academic, public and special libraries. Librarians detail their plans on how they plan to develop their e-book collections, what they think of e-book readers and software, and which e-book aggregators and publishers appeal to them most and why. Other issues covered include: library production of e-books and collection digitization, e-book collection information literacy efforts, use of e-books in course reserves and inter-library loan, e-book pricing and inflation issues, acquisition sources and strategies for e-books and other issues of concern to libraries and book publishers.
Some of the findings of the 110 page report are:
* Libraries in the sample expected to renew over 77% of their current contracts.
* Well over 81% of the sample cataloged their e-book collection and listed it in their online library catalog.
* For the most part, librarians in the sample felt that their patrons were less skilled in using e-book collections than they were in using databases of magazine, newspaper and journal articles.
* The libraries in the sample had MARC records for a mean of approximately 74% of the e-books in their collections.
* Many libraries reported significant use of electronic directories.
12.5% reported extensive use and 30% said that use was significant. The larger libraries reported the heaviest use.
* Use of e-books in the hard sciences was particularly high. More than 30% of participants said that use of e-books in the hard sciences (defined as chemistry, physics and biology) was quite extensive and another 26% noted significant use.
* Libraries in the sample maintained a print version for a mean of 24% of the e-books in their e-book collections.
* Nearly 21% of the libraries in our sample have digitized out-of-copyright books in their collections in order to make their contents more available to their patrons.
* E-books account for only about 3.9% of the books on course reserve,
with a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 30%.
* Nearly 70% of the sample’s total spending on e-books was with aggregators, while just over 24.6% of the total spending was spent with individual publishers.
Data is broken out by library budget size, for US and non-US libraries and for academic and non-academic libraries. The report presents more than 300 tables of data on e-book use by libraries, as well as analysis and commentary.
The report is available from Primary Research Group and from major book distributors. For a list of survey participants, table of contents and sample tables view the Primary Research website.

Saturday, May 03, 2008



Competition showcases student productions, offers instructors a fun and thought-provoking class assignment

Washington, DC - April 30, 2008 - Six library, student, and advocacy organizations today announced the Second Annual Sparky Awards, a contest that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by inviting students to express their views creatively.

This year's contest is being organized by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) with additional co-sponsorship by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, Penn Libraries (at the University of Pennsylvania), Students for Free Culture, and The Student PIRGs. Details are online at

The 2008 contest theme is "MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing." Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source.

To be eligible, submissions must be publicly available on the Internet - on a Web site or in a digital repository - and available for use under a Creative Commons License. The Winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000 along with a Sparky Award statuette. Two Runners Up will each receive $500 plus a personalized award certificate. At the discretion of the judges, additional Special Merit Awards may be
designated. The award-winning videos will be screened at the January 2009 American Library Association Midwinter Conference in Denver.

Entries must be received by November 30, 2008. Winners will be announced in January 2009. The Winner of the First Annual Sparky Awards in 2007 was Habib Yazdi, a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for Share.

"If the medium is the message, then a video competition is an apt means of encouraging the YouTube generation to think about the challenging intellectual property issues shaping their communication environment," said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph.

"This video contest is an excellent venue to engage students and to explore with them the intricacies of re-using content," said Anu Vedantham, Director of the Weigle Information Commons at Penn Libraries. "The videos that emanate from this and similar contests provide vibrant examples of student creativity and ownership of new
media. At Penn, I have noticed that mashup video contests and video classroom assignments engage students and faculty in new ways with academic material, and that video creation can be effectively integrated in many disciplines including writing, history and language studies. Through involvement with the 2009 Sparky Awards, libraries and new media centers have a valuable opportunity to reach out to faculty and students."

"We're excited to be a part of the Sparky Awards again this year," said Karen Rustad, Core Team Chair for Students for Free Culture. "More and more students are having to manage issues of access and re-use in their daily school work. It's a great time to talk about the potential for open sharing."

The contest takes as its inspiration a quote from George Bernard Shaw: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

# # #
SPARC is pleased to welcome these co-sponsors for the 2008 Sparky

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), represents more than 13,500 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. It is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public
and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations.

The Penn Libraries system includes sixteen libraries and has been in continuous operation since 1750. Penn Libraries actively explore new media by providing courseware support, encouraging technology integration and supporting creative study through flexible collaborative spaces. The Weigle Information Commons, a joint
undertaking of the School of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost and the Penn Libraries, is a high-tech space that provides undergraduates with integrated academic support services for library research, writing, communication, new media, time management and planning strategies.

Students for Free Culture (SFC) is a diverse, non-partisan group of students and young people who are working to get their peers involved in the free culture movement. Launched in April 2004 at Swarthmore College, SFC has helped establish student groups at colleges and universities across the United States. Today, SFC chapters exist at over 30 colleges, from Maine to California, with many more getting
started around the world.

Students for Free Culture was founded by two Swarthmore students after they sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold for abusing copyright law in 2003. Named after the book Free Culture by Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig, SFC is part of a growing movement, with roots in the free software / open source community, media activists, creative artists and writers, and civil libertarians. Groups with
which SFC has collaborated include Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Downhill Battle.

The Student PIRGs are a network of state-based, student-directed and funded public interest organizations active on over 200 college campuses in 20 states.

The Sparky Awards are organized and sponsored by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). An alliance supported and funded by hundreds of academic libraries and research institutions, SPARC promotes new scholarly communication models that use the Internet to expand sharing of information. SPARC was created in 1997 as an initiative of the Association of Research Libraries
(ARL) and operates under ARL's non-profit status.

SPARC is a founder of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, representing taxpayers, patients, physicians, researchers, and institutions that support open public access to taxpayer-funded research.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mad magazine's fold-ins

In honor of Free Comic Book Day tomorrow: Al Jaffee's fold-ins for Mad magazine, from the 1960s to the present, in interactive form from the New York Times. Great social commentary with an artistic flair.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Auctions at Howe branch May 7 and the Pine Hills branch May 14.
Library budget and trustee vote May 20.

See details here. You must be a registered voter at your current address by May 6.