Thursday, March 29, 2012

Information literacy: the work of librarians past and present

As long as there have been public libraries, librarians have been involved in education. They have helped people choose what to read for leisure and helped with their information needs. The recent emphasis on information literacy is more of a new term than a new concept, but as technology has transformed everything in society, information literacy needs to be done differently.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

David Carroll of AIHA to address the Albany Roundtable on April 11.

David Carroll, Executive Director of the Albany Institute of History and Art, will address the Albany Roundtable on Wednesday, April 11.

Albany Roundtable luncheon meetings are held at the National Register-listed University Club, 141 Washington Avenue at Dove Street in Albany, and are open to the public.

A Colorado native, Carroll succeeded Christine Miles as the head of one of America's oldest museums in September, 2011. He served most recently as executive director for the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs, a position he held since 2005. While there, he worked with the staff and board to dramatically increase support and create a more vibrant institution that served the broader community.

Before returning to his home state, Carroll served as the membership director at the Art Institute of Chicago. A graduate of Colorado State University and Indiana University Bloomington, Carroll has also worked at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago and the Indiana University Art Museum.

The cost for the luncheon is $15, which may be paid at the door. The University Club will serve lunch from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., with the program commencing at 12:30. Reservations for the April 11 luncheon are required by Monday, April 9 and may be made by calling 518-431-1400 (the Albany Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce) or by sending an e-mail

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

APL Seeking Trustee Candidates

The Albany Public Library Board of Trustees has three seats that are up for election on Tuesday, May 15. This includes seats currently held by board chair Dennis Gaffney, who, I am told, has chosen not to run again, and Mary Ellen O'Connor, who cannot run again because of term limits. Leonard Ricchiuti is the third trustee whose term expires in 2012.

Anyone interested in running for a seat on the board should pick up a candidate packet at the Reference Desk in the Main Library. The packet contains a nominating petition and directions. There are several requirements for candidates, including the collection of 141 signatures on the petition. The number of signatures required is related to the number of votes at the previous year's election.

Completed nominating petitions are due to the City School District of Albany (School Administration Building in Academy Park) by April 16. The school district clerk can be reached at 475-6010.

Each APL trustee seat carries a five-year term that starts on July 1.
Questions about the APL trustee election can be directed to Stephanie Simon at 427-4344.

(Modified from here.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

for-profit schools and the value of the education.

The graphic illustrates stats on for-profit schools and the value of the education, offered up by

Sunday, March 25, 2012

11th annual Underground Railroad Public History Conference

The Underground Railroad Turned On Its Head: Old Themes, New Directions and its relationship with us today

The 11th annual Underground Railroad Public History Conference
Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
Co-sponsored by Russell Sage College and Rensselaer County Historical Society
April 13-15, 2012

Highlights of Saturday, April 14 -
Over 25 workshops are scheduled, along with vendors and poster displays.

Of special interest is the inflatable art work Spectres of Liberty – the Ghost of the Liberty Street Church, modeled after Henry Highland Garnet’s Liberty Street Church.

An evening reception will feature Babacar Baiye from Goree Island, Senegal. Known as the 'Door of No Return', Goree Island was the last portal of home for many sold into bondage and bound for enslavement in the Americas.

Choose from the 'a la carte' menu of tours, workshops, concert, receptions, and art exhibit.
"The gold standard of Underground Railroad conferences" (Fergus Bordewich, author
of Bound for Canaan)

Reserve your place - Don't miss this historic weekend program - pass the word on.
Registration materials are available
Questions? email or call 518-432-4432

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Search Engine Use 2012

Search engines remain popular—and users are more satisfied than ever with the quality of search results—but many are anxious about the collection of personal information by search engines and other websites and say they do not like the idea of personalized search results or targeted advertising.

Though they generally do not support targeted search or ads, these users report very positive outcomes when it comes to the quality of information search provides, and more positive than negative experiences using search.

More HERE.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Adirondacks Exhibit at the NYS Library

This month's web site and public floor exhibit features some choice Adirondack Mountain items from the Manuscripts & Special Collections unit of the New York State Library, as follows.

An early 1900s poster titled "The Adirondacks for Complete Vacation Joys," signed D. C. Lithgow.
Seneca Ray Stoddard's 1882 edition of his Map of the Adirondack Wilderness, hand colored.
The Adirondack Picture Map (circa 1920), produced by E. A. Knight and printed by the Lake George Printing Co.
Map of Adirondack Canoe Routes, prepared in 1919 by the Conservation Commission, State of New York, Division of Lands and Forests.
Also from the Commission, Map of the Adirondack Mountains and the St. Lawrence Reservation (1927).

Like the Great North Woods themselves, you should see these items in person if you're in the vicinity; otherwise, here's a digital vista.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

NYPL Eases the Way For Searching 1940 Census

The National Archives releases census records once a decade, and on April 2 it is making available the information from the 1940 census. But the records won't immediately be searchable by name.

For those whose relatives lived in New York City, the New York Public Library is aiming to make it simpler to search this holy grail of information about what life was like during periods such as the Great Depression and the lead-up to World War II.

The library is launching an online tool to allow users to type in names and, potentially, locate census forms listing a host of details on every person living in the family household at the time of the census.

More HERE.

Friday, March 09, 2012

New York State Library Announces “Early Literacy Partner Manual”

Acting State Librarian, Jeffrey W. Cannell, announced this week a new literacy resource for child care providers, "2012 Summer Reading at New York Libraries Early Literacy Partner Manual." The manual may be downloaded from the Summer Reading at New York Libraries; click on Downloadable Materials.

This new manual will assist child care providers and teachers of young children in partnering with a public library, or public library system, to help families gain the full advantage of public library resources and programs during the summer months. Developed by the New York State Education Department in partnership with the Collaborative Summer Library Program and public library system youth services consultants, the manual contains information on public library summer programming for the young child along with extensive book lists related to the Summer Reading at New York Libraries 2012 slogan, “Dream Big READ.”

Libraries are encouraged to share the manual, in either electronic or paper form, with local child care providers and teachers of young children. It is hoped that this new resource will lead to strengthened relations between libraries and all those who serve and educate the young child.

For further information contact Karen Balsen “Summer Reading at New York Libraries” coordinator,, 518-486-2194.

Summer Reading at New York Libraries is funded through the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, with funds awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. The New York State Library is a program of the Office of Cultural Education in the New York State Education Department.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

History of Information Organization

A creative team teamed up with Mindjet to create an infographic on the History of Information Organization. It traces the progression from the original lunar calendar to the first library card catalog to Google.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tiny library raises money with tiny uke and awesome video

"The Shutesbury Public Library in Shutesbury, Massachusetts is seeking funding in order to build a new building to replace their charming but woefully inadequate current one (which features no running water!). In order to get the word out staff and patrons created this cute little video in order to show the shortcomings of their current location, as well as what they could do with a new building."

Video HERE.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


Books, Borges and Those Internet Predictions

by Cara Meadows

For many bookworms, there really is no comparison: a real hardback made of paper and properly bound beats any other manifestations of intellectual content hands down.

Witness, however, this ironic observation seen not long ago on the online social network Twitter, and which went something along the lines of: "There's nothing like the feel and smell of a first-generation Kindle!" Electronic books have clearly arrived in force – and it's not possible to miss how they too originally struck their early adopters.

How quickly technology advances – and yet, in some ways, how slowly too.

The virtues of an analog world

The analog world, that world beloved of the bookworms, has – more often than not – been popularly judged as occupying a far less resilient place than that of the digital. Smartphones, PCs, PDAs, e-book readers – all these very physical objects seem to many unpracticed, and particularly young, eyes to sustain a presence much closer to the permanence that was the Victorian Industrial Revolution than the fragility of Dead Sea Scrolls.

Yet the Dead Sea Scrolls survived where many engineering feats of the 19th century have not. Who, then, is to say which is the more permanent?

Traditional books in their very many forms have often lasted for centuries. Other more modern forms of intellectual content, however, find sustaining their integrity rather more of a challenge. Remember that Sony Betamax video recorder you lovingly invested in all those decades ago? How many of its videotapes can you now play and enjoy? Either the tapes themselves have disintegrated under the weight of mere decades or the recorder itself has long ago given up the technological ghost. All that's left to remind you of the experiences you once enjoyed is the recliner sofa you used to curl up on.

Or there's that digital music collection which cost thousands of dollars to build up – only to be totally incompatible with your brand new player.

On the other hand, what about those shelves creaking under all those books? How old is the oldest edition? A century? Maybe two?

When was the last time you needed to recharge that collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories? Or replace a damaged paperback because you'd dropped it? Or pay all over again for the loss of an entire collection of whatever it might be because for some unfathomable reason a wretched electronic device no longer wants to load its content properly?

The birth pains of the digital world

All the above examples – and very many more – are obviously the birth pains of a brave new world. This world talks to us of interconnectedness – and it's true: whilst an electronic PDF file may not be the kindest thing on the eye, the ability to not only send but also limitlessly search a 300-page document in a split-second click of a mouse should not be underestimated.

It does, however, bring its own very complex challenges. The recent battles over SOPA and PIPA here in the US and elsewhere have shown that the tension between the singularity of a real book – or, for that matter, the old-fashioned videotape or vinyl LP – and the capacity online content has to almost infinitely reproduce itself is not, in the short-term, going to be easily resolved; nor perhaps will it ever be – at least, not to everyone's satisfaction.

The Babel we've inherited

In the real world of real books, meanwhile, the Argentine writer and librarian Jorge Luis Borges seems to have predicted some aspects of the latter-day Internet as long ago as 1941, in his astonishing story "The Library of Babel" . Here, a massive library of interconnected rooms contains all the possible versions of a 410-page book:

Though the majority of the books in this universe are pure gibberish, the library also must contain, somewhere, every coherent book ever written, or that might ever be written, and every possible permutation or slightly erroneous version of every one of those books.

The similarities are, indeed, striking – at least for anyone able to see beyond the fireworks of unthinking engagement. Just imagine, in fact, what the proponents of SOPA might one day have to say about a library which contained millions of slightly different versions of one of their favorite movie titles. Perhaps such libraries already exist.

In this brave new generation of interconnected content, where self-publishing and self-revelation have become the norm, the massive and currently unstoppable flow of information still awaits the ancient organizer and filter roles which the noble profession of librarian continues valiantly to provide. While so much of what is now done in the book-publishing and intellectual-content trades seems to resist useful differentiation and observation, there will surely come a time when the traffic becomes simply untenable. Whether this will lead to a restriction on its production and movement, as those in favor of SOPA and PIPA might argue in favor of, or, on the other hand, to a greater importance being placed on the value which librarians everywhere add for their users is difficult to predict.

Meanwhile, those who love books in all their shapes, sizes and forms must continue to preach to those who – in a hyperlinked age – might have forgotten the pleasures of being walked down a path of writerly ingenuity and spirit.

A PDF may fly round the world in a second and find its keywords perfectly searched in the blink of an eye – but a real book commands its readers to hold onto its wisdom for a lifetime, and is never forgotten by those who may stumble across its beauty.

Bio: Cara Meadows is a writer and researcher living in London. She has five years experience in the industry and has spent a lot of time traveling with her job. She specializes in publishing and marketing but is happy to write about just about anything.