Privatized Libraries . . . Say What?

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By , September 28, 2010 4:57 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

As if there aren’t enough issues to divide people, along comes a company that thrives on turning public libraries into profiteering businesses. The New York Times features a story on LSSI (Library Systems & Services, LLC) and their corporate endeavors. While the article gives LSSI a voice and expresses their platform thoroughly, a tidbit remains glanced over: ended contracts. What complaints or problems have arisen and what are the tangible negatives?

Public distrust of government and bankrupt budgets are what I imagine to be the two largest reasons that lead a local government to throw up their hands and outsource operations with LSSI. Is the answer to governmental dilemmas private control of public services? Hopefully, LSSI will be open to studies performed by universities / government agencies. I am certain librarians and the public would be interested in the details.

A Look at LibraryThing

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By , September 27, 2010 6:08 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

It wasn’t long ago that I was a library school student, exploring new concepts, developing the old and discovering the technologies and structures of an information world. The rapid change of our relationship with data and the constant influx of social tools makes being a librarian a balancing act. We have to stay on top of the progression of our profession, internally and externally.

While we cast our net to catch movements in librarydom, items are missed. For me, LibraryThing got lost in the shuffle of school work, library work and looking for work. LibrayThing was something I eventually checked out, and my assumptions about its purpose varied. Turns out LibraryThing is functionally awesome. Continue reading 'A Look at LibraryThing'»

Elephant Sightings

By , September 24, 2010 3:40 pm

by Karen Helde

I recently stumbled onto one of the Elephant Posts from 3 Geeks and a Law Blog. I started reading all the posts, in reverse chronological order, remaining oblivious to their original concept until the end. While reading, I decided that the elephant in the title must refer to “the elephant in the room” – the thing everyone knows but no one will discuss. I thought this was a brave and interesting theme for a series of blog posts. When I finally got to the the original post, I learned they were indeed thinking of those studiously ignored elephants parked in law firm hallways, but were also referencing the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Continue reading 'Elephant Sightings'»

AALL2go with Cheryl Nyberg

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By , September 22, 2010 6:33 pm

AALL2go Pick of the Month

Check out the AALL2go Pick of the Month, featuring Cheryl Nyberg. She talks about how she compiles her 50 state surveys for the annual Subject Compilations of State Laws.

This 59-minute PowerPoint with audio (.WMV) presentation recorded at the Dallas Association of Law Librarians 2007 spring meeting features Cheryl Nyberg, reference librarian at the University of Washington’s Gallagher Law Library. In the presentation, Nyberg discusses how she compiles her annual list of 50-state surveys for the annual Subject Compilations of State Laws. She discusses types of 50-state surveys, useful sources for finding surveys, and the areas of law that are likely to have 50-state surveys.

Although much of the presentation focuses on how State Laws is put together, the second half focuses on strategies for researchers trying to find these materials. Nyberg delves into specific research queries using online resources and common places where you can find needed information. Though many AALL members now have access to State Laws through HeinOnline, this presentation may still be useful for researchers who want to brush-up on their research skills, need a new 50-state survey, or do not have access to State Laws. Note: The PowerPoint with live links is available from Nyberg’s webspace.

President's Message

By , September 21, 2010 2:55 pm

by Mort Brinchmann

The best thing LLOPS does is bring librarians together. The Program Committee has charted another stellar year, kicking off with its series of management programs. That almost gets us to spring’s professional development workshop – Kerry Fitz-Gerald and Barbara Holt have agreed to co-chair the PDC this year and are looking for a few good members to join.

 Let’s do more than that. I will be leaning on the Social Committee to get us out more this year and pushing for another Big Lebowski night at the Garage. You should also join the LLOPS team for the KCBA 5K run/walk(most likely the first Sunday in March). Come run/walk circles around the lawyers while supporting KCBA’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics. Fair notice to those of you who insist on training for these things. Continue reading 'President's Message'»

Eau de Library

By , September 20, 2010 11:09 am

What does a library smell like? Musty old books, smoldering hard drives, hairspray for our stereoptypical buns? Whatever it might be, I simply can’t imagine what this new perfume called “In the Library” might smell like. Any guesses?

Pulling Rank: the U.S. News & World Report Law Firm Rankings

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By , September 16, 2010 4:43 pm

by Kristine Lloyd

If you haven’t heard the big news by now, the inaugural law firm rankings by the venerable U.S. News & World Report have just been released. Because the popular journal is so renowned for their law school rankings, firms have been clamoring for high marks since the announcement of this upcoming ranking back in July of 2009.

Unfortunately, firms that were hoping to win Best in Show must be disappointed in the final outcome, not least for being denied the chance to note the bedraggled mutts at the bottom of the list. As Ashby Jones points out in his WSJ blog post, “what we’re most looking forward to are the fights. When you marry lawyers and rankings it’s an inevitable blood sport.”

The search methodology is as labyrinthine as Deadalus’ masterpiece. Firms were divided by practice area, then separated into tiers based on surveys sent out to clients, lawyers, marketers, etc. Frankly, the rankings baffle me. I think I will just stick with my AmLaw 200.  

Recycle Your Reference Desk

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By , September 15, 2010 5:26 pm

No, I don’t mean send it to the wood chipper and make recycled diaries out of it, I mean, check out this groovy reference desk made from reccyled books at the TU Delft Library. I’ve tried to create one of these at home and not on purpose. A word to the wise: balance is key.

You're a Librarian?

By , September 14, 2010 5:26 pm

by Kerry Fitz-Gerald

We’re supposed to wear sensible shoes. We’re supposed to wear buns. We’re supposed to be women. We’re supposed to wear glasses. We’re supposed to look seriously frumpy. Which is why so many of us, when we identify ourselves, are met with “You’re a librarian??”

I recently came across a nice list by the Curmodgeony Librarian and Molly Knapp of witty responses. From “Arrrgh, Matey! We prefer ‘Pirates on the Information Sea‘” to “Yes. I took the job because I’m secretly in love with Melvil Dewey. He completes me,” the suggested replies provide some satisfying alternatives to the demure “why yes, I am.”

Inspiration in the Library

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By , September 9, 2010 2:40 pm

by Philippe Cloutier

Last week, I moved to Seattle and am now a local LLOPSter! Unfortunately, it happened to be the same week that Seattle Public Library was closed. The week long closure was made necessary due to budget cuts. Being a librarian without a library card felt odd. However, the library system looks to save around $655,000 from this closure alone, and I think I can survive a week. While most patrons, myself included, will complain, shrug, and bide their time, others will take action.

This story, of a young girl in Georgia, is simply encouraging. She chose to take the terrible news that her local library may close or suffer other economic fates and act. 11-year-old Ashley Alderman is organizing a local fundraiser to sell a range of edible treats. She has labelled the event “Eat and Read”. Ashley values not only the books and computers but also her personal relationships with the library. Ocilla, Georgia is lucky to have this young girl taking up the library cause single-handedly.

Libraries and communities can find hope in tales like Alderman’s. It’s not all doom and gloom, especially if we step up to the plate and make a difference.

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