Friday, July 30, 2010

White House Pushes for Warrantless Access to Internet Records

Attorney speculates data could include Facebook friend requests

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act currently states that companies are required to provide basic subscriber data to the FBI, but lists only the four kinds of information that might be found on phone bills -- customer's name, address, length of service, and toll billing records

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

August 3 Book Review

Location Main Library, 161 Washington Ave., Albany 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Presented by Friends of the Albany Public Library

August 3 - Book Review - A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan. Reviewer: Herbert Holland, retired educator and Amy Reserve officer.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Underground Railroad Conference proposal deadline extended

Call for Proposals submission deadline extended to July 31, 2010

Abolishing Slavery in the Atlantic World: The 'Underground Railroad' in the Americas, Africa, and Europe

The Tenth Anniversary Underground Railroad Public History Conference
April 8 - 10, 2011

Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
Hosted by Russell Sage College, Troy, New York

Where there was slavery, there was resistance, escape, and rebellion. The
Transatlantic Slave Trade (1400s to 1800s) was a global enterprise that transformed the four continents bordering the Atlantic, and that engendered the formation of a multifaceted and international Underground Railroad resistance movement. The broad geographic nature of this freedom struggle is the theme of the 2011 UGR Public History Conference. We invite proposals that address capture, enslavement, and resistance within and across borders in Africa, Europe, and the Americas, historically and contemporarily, as well as proposals that address the preservation of the voices of the past and their relationship with us today.

Proposals should be submitted by July 31, 2010
Via postal mail to URHPCR, PO Box 10851, Albany NY 12201 or via email to
For more information, visit or call 518-432-4432

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The ADA Turns 20

The US Department is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act this week. I find this to be exciting; at the same time, it seems as though some people seem to find ADA difficult and punitive. While I'm sure that one can find bad outcomes of good intentions in any bureaucracy, the core message of the Act is to make goods and services more accessible to a population that is nearly one in five Americans, and growing.

As the Reaching Out to Customers with Disabilities section indicates that "The ADA asks public accommodations to take steps that are 'readily achievable' or are 'reasonable' or that do not constitute an 'undue burden' to enable people with disabilities to be their customers and clients."

I was at a business conference a few years ago, and a representative laid out some examples about how a business could become more customer friendly. A dry cleaner had a three-step walk up to the entrance. Not only would a ramp been expensive, it would not have been practical, because the angle would have been too steep. The solution: setting up a buzzer at the bottom of the stairs for an employee to come out to the customer and pick up or deliver the dry cleaning.

I was struck by the conversation I had with someone at my former church. There was a debate before I had gotten there as to whether they should build a ramp. Some folks indicated that there were no current parishioners who needed a ramp. The response: "Yes, and if we don't build the ramp, we never will." Subsequently, folks with walkers and wheelchairs and others for whom the few steps were a burden have made good use of that ramp.

Accessibility is not just a matter of "fairness" or "justice"; it's good business sense.
Info about the Disability website and blog; the latter features some great stories.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Anything Is Possible When You're in the Library'

Link to the Old Spice parody filmed at Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library, as well as the video of the Old Spice Guy plugging libraries, from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making It Last: Looking After Your Paper Collections

A workshop
July 22, 2010 at 6pm
Albany Public Library
161 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY

Learn about the best methods to care for paper including:
-The conditions that threten your paper
-How to make paper last as long as possible

A presentation sponsored by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and
Historic Preservation and the Albany Public Library.

Featruing Michelle Phillips, Conservator, OPRHP Peebles Island Resource Center,
Cohoes, NY

Michelle is a consevrvator of paper and photographic materials specializing in
the preservation and tratment of prints, drawings, maps, documents, print and
cased photographs and plate & film negatives with special emphesis on

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eliot Spitzer book reviewed by Rex Smith

Tuesday, 12:00 noon - 1:00pm


Location Albany Public Library Main Branch, 161 Washington Ave., Large Auditorium

Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer by Peter Elkind, editor-at-large of Fortune Magazine. Reviewer: Rex Smith, editor of the Times Union.

20 of the World's Most Beautiful Libraries

For those who enjoy reading, a huge beautiful library is a place of endless pleasure.

(Of course, our new libraries are pretty nifty, too!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Search engine manipulations by "black hat SEOs

I saw on a listserv info about two very interesting articles on how criminal elements manipulate search engines, especially Google. Yet one more reason to use more than one search engine! The abstracts follow:

Groups magnify their chances in fight for hits

"What they're doing isn't wrong," says Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University law school. "The fault is Google's, which hasn't come up with an algorithm that screens out all this junk content."
[Google]'s Mr [Amit Singhal] calls this the problem of "brand recognition": where companies whose standing is based on their success in one area use this to "venture out into another class of information which they may not be as rich at". Google uses human raters to assess the quality of individual sites in order to counter this effect, he adds.
"There's good SEO, allowing people to get to more relevant content," says Google's Mr Singhal. "And then sometimes people do shitty things and sometimes our algorithms are fooled/
Source: Richard Waters. Financial Times. London (UK): Jul 13, 2010. pg. 16 /
Criminals take advantage of search algorithms

Professional criminals are increasingly likely to outflank legitimate companies in competing for Google's algorithmic attention, security professionals say. Criminal gangs use a more sinister form of search engine optimisation, duping Google and its rivals into serving as unwitting vehicles for delivering web surfers to malicious pages. Known as "black hat SEO", the art includes conventional tricks such as stuffing articles with keywords and amassing links from affiliate sites. But it goes much further: The bad guys steal content from legitimate pages and spin the content with new wording, which practitioners say makes them hard to distinguish from the real thing. They hack into trustworthy sites directly and link to their own pages from there, piggybacking on good reputations to get better rankings. They also use [Google]'s own disclosures against it, leaping on Google Trends, which indicates newly popular subjects for searches, to throw together bogus pages faster than real news-oriented pages appear. The number of bad links is tripling every year, with the majority on legitimate websites that have been hacked, according to Bradley Anstis, M86 vicepresident. He said Google could help by digging deeper into the websites it ranks, looking at individual pages within them. What Google sees, though, is different from what the end users see. The con artists can tell when a search engine is visiting the site and they show content laden with keywords. When a potential victim arrives via Google, the criminals pull a switch, redirecting the visitor to another page with bad code.

Source: Joseph Menn. Financial Times. London (UK): Jul 13, 2010. pg. 16 /

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great Local Music at Your Libraries

Garage Bands in the Garage

Libraries aren't the typical venue for rock concerts, but the parking garage at Albany's Main Library is the perfect location for the award-winning Garage Bands in the Garage concert series. These free after-hours, all-ages rock concerts take place on the third Friday of each month this summer from 6 to 8 p.m. in the garage at the Main Library's back entrance on Elk Street. You can hear some great local bands and buy used CDs and LPs retired from the library's collection. This year's Garage Bands in the Garage shows are co-sponsored by WEXT 97.7 and Metroland.

July 16 (Friday) at 6 p.m. at Main: Charmboy and Beware! The Other Head of Science. Charmboy is a classic power trio who long for rock's bad old days. Beware! The Other Head of Science is a six-member group that was dubbed "best electro pop band" by Metroland in 2009.

Aug. 20 (Friday) at 6 p.m. at Main: Grainbelt and Knyghts of Fuzz. Grainbelt infuses country with cowpunk for glorious roots-rock and impassioned vocals by Howard Glassman. Knyghts of Fuzz is a newer band created by members of Rocky Velvet and other Albany-area rockers.

Sept. 17 (Friday) at 6 p.m. at Main: The Union Boots and Complicated Shirt. The Union Boots has a classic, rocking sound and hails from Albany. Complicated Shirt lives between garage rock and punk, but brings an inspired sound to both genres.

Acoustic Sidewalk

We've got more great local music for you in our Acoustic Sidewalk shows. This concert series consists of free afternoon musical performances each month, from April through September, on outdoor patios and sidewalks in front of the city's libraries.

July 23 (Friday) at 5 p.m. at the Arbor Hill/West Hill Branch Library. Guitarist/singer Kyle Miller recently released an indie album of original folk/blues/rock songs.

Aug. 6 (Friday) at 12 p.m. at the Main Library. Singer/guitarist John Florussen has written and performed original folk-inspired pop for 10 years and has a new collection, "Nothing Wrong With Love," coming out this fall.

Aug. 23 (Monday) at 5 p.m. at the Howe Branch Library. Singer/songwriter Courtney Biondo has been performing live since she was 13 and is known for her original acoustic rock.

Sept. 10 (Friday) at 5 p.m. at the Delaware Branch Library. Cavanaugh & Kavanaugh performs traditional and original songs on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and more.

For more information about these two concert series, call the Main Library at 427-4300.

As you can see, Albany Public Library should be YOUR entertainment destination this summer. We've got activities galore for people of all ages, plus the latest blockbuster books and DVDs too. Stop by one of our libraries and check out what we have to offer!

From one bookworm to another,
Stephanie Simon
Albany Public Library

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Reading Fun

From Stephanie Simon, APL

All of our libraries are participating in the Summer Reading Program from June 25 to August 14. Kids and teens register and record their reading online. For every week they read during the program, participants are eligible for prizes. We've also got lots of fun activities for kids and teens! -- Kids get a chance to earn a prize for every week they read. They can post book reviews online, and visit their branch libraries for prizes, special activities, events, and parties. -- Teens also record their reading online and earn chances for prizes each week they read. There are also fun teen activities at branch libraries.
Baby Bookworms for Babies and Toddlers -- Parents read to their little ones for 15 minutes each day, and fill out a reading record. Each child gets a new book in July and August.
Adult Summer Reading Program -- Grownups can get in on the summer reading act too. In the Read It & Rate It program, they can read any book, give it a rating, and earn a chance to win a prize in the weekly drawing.

More than 100 special events and activities--like magic shows, movie showings, yoyo classes, jewelry-making sessions, Wii game nights, paper airplane derbies, bubble blowing contests, and parties--are planned at the library's seven locations. The full listing of activities is available online. This year's Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Friends of Albany Public Library, Price Chopper, Stewart's Shops, and The Stakeholders Foundation.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Summer Splash Saturday

Purloined from Stephanie Simon, APL:

It may be hot in the city, but there's lots of cool fun just around the corner at your favorite Albany Public Library this summer.

Summer Splash Party Saturday
It's going to be one wet and wild afternoon Saturday, July 10, as the Delaware Branch hosts Summer Splash. This free outdoor party runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and features water and beach-themed rides, games, prizes, activities, and more. The branch is located at 331 Delaware Avenue.

The July 10 Summer Splash party is a kickoff event for the Summer Reading Program, which encourages literacy by rewarding kids for reading. From 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday afternoon, the outdoor patios and backyard at the Delaware Branch will be transformed into a beach-themed festival of free food, music, and activities for children and their families.
Activities are expected to include:
• 2 bouncy bounces and a giant inflatable slide
• 3-hole mini-golf
• Misting tent
• Magic and face painting
• Sponge toss relay, ping pong squirt, and other water games
• Frog jumpers, snake pit, and other sand games
• Prize booth for game winners
• Snow cones and popcorn
• Summer snacks provided by Price Chopper

The party is so big that the library is closing all branches--except for Delaware and the Main Library--on July 10. The Delaware Avenue neighborhood is also participating in the festivities: many Delaware Avenue businesses are hosting "show your library card and save" specials that day, and the neighborhood garage sale is taking place too.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 34

*Librarianship in Times of Crisis*

The impact of the global economic crisis is having a severe and probably lasting impact on libraries and related fields. Libraries not only are reducing book and periodical buying, but also are asking publishers to hold prices at prior year levels. Colleges and universities with the LIS program are seeking new income streams. In the USA, state libraries such as that of New Jersey, fight to survive funding cuts as high as 74 percent. Public libraries are closing branches and cutting
service hours. Academic libraries are pooling their purchases and technical services to streamline operations. Library associations, such as the Canadian Library Association, are seeking structural changes to sustain themselves.

The 2011 volume will focus on the impact of plummeting support, as well as creative solutions for surviving this tsunami. Papers are sought from all sectors of the field: education; publishing; and all types of libraries and information services, associations and related industries.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
. Mergers and consolidations amongst consortia and regional cooperatives
. Downsizing library hours and eliminating public library branch services
. Large, medium and small academic libraries’ solutions to cost cutting
. Staff reorganizations, layoffs, salary and benefit cuts
. Merging technical and non-public service operations across two or more academic libraries
. Refining and narrowing core/principal missions
. Digital solutions to offset funding losses
. Advocacy efforts by the public to resist loss of library funding
. Marketing the value of the library to users
. Opening new markets for library and information science schools
. Effect on the publishing industry
. Impact on museums, archives and special collections
. Extent of union leadership in downsizing efforts
. How libraries in all sectors are preserving quality of services to their clients
. Impact and solutions for national, state and other government operations and services.

Please submit chapter proposals by 1 October 2010 to:
Author guidelines and further information on the Advances in Librarianship series can be found on the website.

Questions or comments should be addressed to the Editor and submitted via e-mail to:

Schedule of due dates:
Proposal outlines: 1 October 2010
First drafts: 1 February 2011
Revised drafts: 1 May 2011

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Libraries get a mall makeover

A Texas branch aims for shoppers -- and thrives. Should the rest of the country follow suit?

Like trucker hats and last week's version of the iPhone, libraries have an image problem. Wait, did you say libraries? Those places with the passed out homeless people and the twenty-year-old editions of the "World Book"? You mean, people actually still go to them? Combine the public reticence to hobnob with vagrants with the imminent obsolescence of books altogether with an economy that's forcing crippling budget cuts, and you might understand why desperate times require dire measures. Like making libraries more like Starbucks.

More library stereotypres. Oh, joy. Our libraries already ARE for "hipsters".

Monday, July 05, 2010

The future of passenger rail

Linda Norris Auditorium 339 Central Ave, Albany
Wednesday July 7 2:00 PM

The Times Union and WAMC/Northeast Public Radio will present a forum on Wednesday, July 7, to further explore the future of rail passenger industry and its potential impact on the Capital Region.

The panel discussion, open to the public, will be hosted by WAMC's Alan Chartock, political scientist and president and chief executive officer of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio. Moderating the panel will be Eric Anderson, Times Union business editor who has written extensively on the topic of rail transportation.

The panel will pull together representatives from the industry and present the historical perspective. Also, Bruce Becker, president of the Empire State Passengers Association, will participate.

Organizations dedicated to the history and expansion of railroads will be invited and members of the public are welcome to attend and to bring photos and related rail memorabilia to display after the formal panel discussion.

The program will be recorded for future broadcast on WAMC.

This event is free to the public but seating is limited and the audience must arrive by 1:45 p.m. To reserve a seat, call The Linda box office at 465-5233, ext. 4.

FREE Call 518-465-5233 ext. 4 for tickets.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


July 3rd, 12 noon-6pm

Rusted Root & other great bands fill a summer Saturday afternoon with family fun in Downtown Albany - details HERE.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Ranking the Presidents

Siena Research Institute’s 2010 Presidential Expert Poll ranked Franklin Delano Roosevelt No. 1, followed by his cousin and fellow New Yorker Theodore Roosevelt. The poll has generated a healthy debate on the online pages of the Times Union.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Casey Award Deadline Approaching

The Empire Friends of Libraries annually recognize a Library Friend, group or community member who has contributed to the growth of a Friends Grouop or library service. The 2010 Dan Casey Library Advocacy Award deadline for applications is July 23.
Information and the application form are available on the NYLA website.

It's County Fair Season in New York!

New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker has announced that the county fair season kicks off on July 1. Fifty-four county and youth fairs are held during the summer months and through October 3. In addition, the Great New York State Fair is held in Syracuse from August 26 - September 6.

Information about county and youth fairs in New York, including locations and dates, can be found online HERE. Information about the Great New York State Fair can be found online HERE.