NSLA CEO’s meeting – the excitement mounts

Just checked to see whether the PLA, NSLA or ERA were doing anything yet about negotiating with publishers, companies or anyone about e-book provision across Australia’s libraries – seems not.

Will Australasian library consortia be able to deliver a decent vendor outcome for all libraries.

Let us wait with bated breathe for results of the NSLA CEO’s meeting this week in New Zealand, it’s sure to bring dynamic change.

Siri

Neil Gaiman Library Google quote
Yeah, a Librarian, unless you click on the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ option or you have an iPhone in which case Siri will now give you the right answer.

See here for some awesome answers that Siri has given.

Also the myth that Siri Hustvedt is answering all the questions in her spare time is apparently wrong, Siri, actually comes from SRI (Stanford Research Institute International) – now you know everything.

School library trends

Have you been keeping up to date with what’s new and happening in school libraries and what lies on the horizon?

Cover of School libraries: what's now, what's next, what's yet to come

School libraries: what's now, what's next, what's yet to come

Edited by Kristin Fontichiaro and Buffy Hamilton, School libraries: what’s now, what’s next, what’s yet to come offers a collection of over 100 crowdsourced essays from a mix of librarians, teachers, publishers and library vendors and covers a range of issues relating to school libraries such as learners, literacy, gaming, reading, physical and virtual library spaces and collection development. This free e-book is available as an HTML webpage and in Epub, Kindle and PDF formats.

Authors and libraries

Jeanette Winterson writes about her childhood, her reading and Accrington Public Library in the Guardian newspaper

” I had no one to help me, but the TS Eliot helped me. So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. – Jeanette Winterson

There is a further extract from her new book entitled Why be happy when you could be Normal? at:http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/assets/pdf/Why%20Be%20Happy%20intro.pdf

accessibility reading apps

Most smart phones or portable devices have some form of accessibility option that allows for text to speech.

Where they are insufficient there are also a number of  accessibility apps for e-reading, which allow blind or partially sighted readers access to the written word via text to speech.

Many of these do this by ocr scanning text, with users using their devices’ camera to read text which is then spoken. Sighted users can also find this useful as many also translate, so its a great app when travelling in countries that choose not to speak Australian.

Other apps read out downloaded files in any formats, or read webpages on demand.

These text to speech readers again are also useful for sighted users as they can be used as audio books while driving or anywhere.

A useful listing and review of literacy and accessibility apps for iphone/ipad can be found on the Spectronics website at: http://www.spectronicsinoz.com/article/apps-for-literacy-support

There are also a number of apps for Android.

I haven’t listed them or revewed them. But the apps produced by the Disability support company IDEAL Group at: https://market.android.com/developer?pub=IDEAL+Group,+Inc.+Android+Development+Team are good.

Just doing a search on Android market under ‘ocr’, or ‘accessibility’, ‘text to speech’ etc.  will also find many.

In Canberra last night

The American filmmaker and writer John Waters was in Canberra last night on his This Filthy World tour.

He said some nice things about libraries as he is wont to do and also delivered the much quoted line
“If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!”

He also revealed that he is a great fan of Australian authors Patrick White and Christina Stead. Thus the quote from his new book Role Models
“I love to read about anger. A “feel bad” book always makes me feel good. And no other novel in the history of literature is more depressing than Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children.”

Also from the book is his:

Five Books You Should Read to Live a Happy Life If Something Is Basically the Matter with You.

    In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch
    We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
    The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
    Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
    Darkness and Day by Ivy Compton-Burnett

John Waters book signing

I salute everyone who’s come here today, everyone who’s protesting and demonstrating to save this library or that one, everyone who’s devising a way of preserving one of the greatest and the best gifts any society has ever given its seekers after truth, its children, its old people, everyone who is looking for help better to enjoy life or better to endure it: there’s nothing more valuable in the war against stupidity than the public library.

- Philip Pullman

Read the whole speech

Volunteer libraries – not libraries

Very interesting article in the UK Guardian newspaper concerning volunteer libraries replacing closed public libraries in the UK.

There are a large number of libraries that have been closed or are threatened with closure. There are now also a number of libraries that have already been passed into the hands of volunteer or community groups.

Guided by the Future Libraries report community libraries are (at a remove) often in some way directed by local councils, so that they may still fulfil their statutory duty to provide library services. But to save money the council does not pay for any staff. Thus these libraries are run solely by groups or volunteers, with no librarians.

Whilst it may be of some benefit to have libraries remain open, without real qualified staff what are the benefits beyond a warmed room and a paper book swapping system?

The loss of professionalism in library provision cannot be supported, however much we may be pleased to see volunteers springing up to save buildings and collections. Buildings and collections do not make libraries, librarians make libraries. Maybe it would be better if these volunteer libraries were called what they are which is ‘community centres’

Safe Harbour Scheme

There is some good news for Libraries who provide online services. Proposed changes to extend the Safe Harbour Scheme to entities beyond Carriage Service Providers (CSPs) will allow them to be admitted to the Scheme. If the change in legislation is made, this will give some legal protection to libraries to prevent them being sued by copyright interests.
The US copyright agencies (and their Australian arms such as Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) who usually harass and prosecute copyright users, are opposed to the change, so it would be worthwhile if libraries/librarians spoke up in support.