Category: In The News

Library and Archives Canada vs. Librarians and Archivists in Canada

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By , April 22, 2013 9:00 am

by Tal Noznisky

Last March, Canadian libraries got caught in a quick swell of fear and worry over the freedom of expression. The Library and Archives Canada (“LAC”), employer of public service librarians, served their staff with a new set of professional guidelines. Many who commented on the new rules, entitled “Code of Conduct: Values and Ethics”  reviled it. Boing Boing’s (and former Canadian library-worker) Cory Doctorow tagged it “censorship” and “surveillance.” Library Journal’s Annoyed Librarian called it totalitarian. What happened?

 

National Archives of Canada

National Archives of Canada

 

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A Game of Terms

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By , April 2, 2013 5:51 pm

by Tal Noznisky

Library-publisher relations reappeared slightly in the tech news circuit last week. The Journal of Library Administration’s editorial board resigned amid a stalemate with their publisher, Taylor and Francis, over licensing terms. Tech-happy blogs inferred hacktivist intent behind the board’s decision. They vilified T&F and praised JLA’s editors as open access heroes. A thin parallel to Aaron Schwartz was also drawn into the narrative.
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Sunshine and Washington

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By , March 15, 2013 8:58 am

by Tal Nozniskyswlogo

Happy Sunshine Week, everyone! And, if you’re reading this on March 16th, let’s hope you’re having a wonderful National Freedom of Information Day!

Every Sunshine Week, open government activists speak up about freedom of information, laud its preservation, and caution its diminishment. Sunshine Week was founded in 2002 by the Florida Society of News Editors founded Sunshine Week as an expansion of National Freedom of Information Day (which was itself founded years earlier to commemorate James Madison’s birthday). In 2005, the American Society of News Editors raised the idea to a national platform. The goal was, and remains, to amplify the dialogue about government information access issues across America for a solid seven days of news reporting, editorials, conferences, and more. The impact of social media, in particular, on Sunshine Week themes and reporting is worth watching.

A series of Sunshine Week posts on the White House Blog is a good place to start. Continue reading 'Sunshine and Washington'»

Shushing the Librarian

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By , February 12, 2013 10:02 am

by Philippe Cloutier

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Law Library blogs and print mediums often take stabs at vendors for mishandling communications, products, billing, and general practices. More often than not our articles serve to educate and raise awareness. Sometimes these posts are nothing but cathartic outlets for reader and writer. So it comes as a great shock to hear that in Canada a publisher is suing a Librarian Professor for his blog post: Continue reading 'Shushing the Librarian'»

Librarians and Customer Care

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By , December 28, 2012 10:39 am

by Amy Eaton

Customer

I recently received a link to this article from March 2012.  In it, the author, Jeff Rundles, laments the lack of customer service in both businesses and government entities.  The one bright spot he found: libraries and librarians!  Of course, this comes as no surprise to those of us in the field. Our number one priority is to take care of our customers, whether they are attorneys, students or members of the general public. Why do librarians excel when other entities, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, fail? I think librarians are given a great amount of authority and freedom to assist our customers. My daughter had an internship at a large hotel chain one summer. She was working the front desk one day when a customer came to the desk with a complaint about their room. No one at the desk had the authority to offer the customer additional services or remove charges from their bill. The staff had to wait for manager approval. The customer left angry and frustrated and my daughter learned the importance of empowering your staff to handle problems as they arise. I know librarians who have had their children, attending universities in other states, pull and copy articles for rush requests. Many of us spend untold hours on the phone with customer reps for online services seeking to understand the vagaries of their databases in order to explain why we received the results we did.  I have used Google translate to try and submit requests through foreign websites written in languages I don’t understand. What is the greatest length you have gone to in order to provide top notch reference service?

Bedbugs in your books

By , December 11, 2012 9:17 am

by Philippe Cloutier

I hate to freak you out but it has come to my attention that bedbugs are able to plant their seeds into library materials. Making matters worse is that full-grown bedbugs have been hanging out at the University of Washington and enjoying architecture titles. UW Libraries have taken the necessary steps to remove the infested materials: freezing, heating, sealing, advising circulation, and employing dog-sniffers. The extent to which this has affected Seattle Public Libraries remains unknown. SPL’s spokesperson simply “is not aware” of any bedbug related situations, safely she neither confirms nor denies. Bedbugs are not only a physical nuisance: biting, sucking your blood, and leaving rashes; but the mental disorders they manage to leave in their wake is something to behold. That said, the Kindle certainly looks more enticing than ever.

Back to Business

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By , September 25, 2012 10:08 am

by Emily Smith

In June, a lot of us rushed to retrieve copies of National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (better known as the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of “Obamacare”) for our attorneys or professors. It was a highly anticipated decision, so happily for ease of retrieval the text of the opinion was seemingly everywhere upon its release. As fall rolls around, I’m always prompted to think about what significant (or more esoteric) Supreme Court opinions we might be asked to track down for our patrons this year. As always, SCOTUSblog comes to the rescue with a cheat-sheet of the cases scheduled for argument during the October 2012 term. Because the first oral argument is just around the corner (on October 1) I took a quick peek last week. Depending on your interests you might find other cases more noteworthy, but here are some docket items that caught my eye:

  • Lovers of the Fourth Amendment (or dogs): the 2012 term finds the Court hearing argument on two cases involving the use of narcotics detection canines. The first, Florida v. Harris, will address whether a drug dog’s alert can establish probable cause to search a vehicle for contraband. A second case from the Sunshine State, Florida v. Jardines, tackles the question of whether a dog sniff at a suspected grow house is a “search” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading 'Back to Business'»

Behind the Curtain

By , September 20, 2012 2:52 pm

by Emily Smith

Being my first blog post for LLOPS, I thought I’d start out on a (somewhat) personal note. In my now seemingly long-past life as a practicing attorney, I spent a year clerking for Judge Block of the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn and Long Island to those of you from NYC). The year was not without its challenges, but I’d do it over again in a heartbeat. From the outside a federal court can seem like something of a black box, and my experience from that year has helped to give me a leg up as a new law librarian, whenever I need to deal with docket questions, or pester court clerks or judges’ secretaries or case managers. So I was particularly interested to hear that Judge Block recently published a book about his experiences on the bench (Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge, Thomson Reuters Westlaw 2012), providing some insight into the inner workings of a federal court and the mind of a federal judge.

Continue reading 'Behind the Curtain'»

Chillaxin’ in the Stacks

By , August 17, 2012 11:46 am

by Kristine Lloyd

When it comes time to orient new associates, I have learned that I must keep the SNL skit references to myself. I once said to a new group that the difference between Lexis and Westlaw was like the difference between McDonald’s and McDowell’s, in what I thought was a fun reference to Coming to America. They stared at me. A couple even smiled politely in pity for what they sensed was an attempt at humor.

If you want to maintain your hip quotient in the face of an ever-youthful class of associates, then you should at a minimum study the newest update to the Oxford English Dictionary. New words like chillax, muffin top, bromance, bling and Homer Simpson’s D’oh have officially made it into the OED’s sanctioned lexicon, although I got the raised eyebrow from a young associate when I used the word “chillax” in conversation. I guess this is a little like your mom singing “Like a Virgin” when you are in 6th grade (which mine did), an older person’s embarrassing foray into the wilds of youth. And clearly my mother was not a virgin.   Continue reading 'Chillaxin’ in the Stacks'»

Seattle Public Library: Funding on the Rise

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By , August 9, 2012 9:13 am

by Philippe Cloutier

As the economy slowly rebounds and “anti-tax” sentiments dwindle the importance of public libraries gains greater recognition. Today’s good library news is the Seattle Public Library system successfully securing votes for funding on the latest ballot:

We did it! Thanks to your help, the levy to restore and improve essential Library services received a 62% “yes” vote from Seattle voters. We are honored by the outpouring of support to approve a tax measure during a time of economic recovery. Your voices and hard work helped raise awareness of the sacrifices the Library has taken during the last several years and the public impact of repeated cuts.

We now look forward to the Library rebuilding services that were cut or eliminated during the prolonged recession. In 2013 you will see expanded hours and collections, as well as new computer technology. The levy also ensures that our investment in the many wonderful libraries is protected through an improved maintenance budget. With stable funding secured through the levy, more Library resources and assistance will be available for children, teens and adults in every neighborhood in our city.

What does this all mean to the Foundation? By helping secure a more stable funding environment, we can now focus our support by investing in projects and opportunities that help the Library achieve its strategic vision – which in turn will ensure the value and relevancy of The Seattle Public Library for generations to come.

Let this be the beginning of a new era – full of opportunity for the people of Seattle!

Thank you again for your support!

The Seattle Public Library Foundation

Check out additional details on the levy and improvements on the SPL page.

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