Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One of the blogs I read most often in my attempts to keep up with useful tech in libraries is The Shifted Librarian, written by Jenny Levine. Thanks to her, and to the articles by Stephen Abram she links to in 23 Library 2.0 Things in 15 Minutes a Day I've been happily playing with 43 Things, a social networking site for keeping track of goals. I have 23 things so far, and am a bit worried that more of them have to do with work than anything else. Perhaps goal 24 should be about balance.

Monday, March 12, 2007


In response to perceived liberal bias in Wikipedia, Andrew Schlafly started Conservapedia. The New York Times article, Conservapedia: The Word Says It All, has more information on this "answer" to Wikipedia.

Conservapedia has a long list of Examples of Bias in Wikipedia, and the list has started me thinking. What is considered "liberal bias," really? And what do we do when the term is thrown as an accusation at people and places (like librarians and libraries) that try hard to remain neutral, especially in terms of what information we make available to the public? I'm doubtful that the average library would be considered less biased, according to Schlafly, than Wikipedia, and think it will be a sad day when we have liberal and conservative libraries (one for Al Franken and one for Ann Coulter?) rather than places where opposing viewpoints can be found side by side.

I spend considerable effort identifying my own biases so that they don't affect my collections or patron interactions, and I try very hard not to privilege one point of view over another in my work. I know this doesn't make me conservative. I worry that, in a world where anything that isn't conservative is liberal, my attempts at objectivity make me and the library where I work liberal by default. And libraries can't be liberal (or conservative) by default or we all lose out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

International Women's Day activities at the Library

Gabriella Reznowski, our fabulous new librarian, has been working with the International Students Center on some celebrations of International Women's Day. Here's the schedule:

  • March 8th – Reception at the Holland and Terrell Libraries 11am-1:00 pm
    All are welcome to drop by to make a card for a woman who has made a difference in your life, or leave a message of appreciation on the International Women’s Day message board. Refreshments will also be provided.

  • March 5th through 12th – There will be an International Women’s Day Display in the Holland and Terrell Libraries display case. The Display was created by members of the International Students Center.
  • Anthology of Palestinian Folk Tales Pulled from School Libraries

    In Palestine, the Education Ministry has ordered that a book of Palestinian folk tales be pulled from school libraries, and many Palestinians are unhappy with the book ban.

    According to the Associated Press Release, "A senior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the issue with reporters, said 1,500 copies of the book had been pulled from school libraries and destroyed."

    The book, Speak, Bird, Speak Again: Palestinian Arab Folktales, is a collection of tales from 17 Palestinian tellers, mostly women, that have been carefully transcribed, and not only the tales but the introduction are well worth reading. It's available in the WSU Libraries if you're interested and in the area, or you can go to the entry at WorldCat, and check for copies in your area libraries by typing your zip code in the "Enter Location Information" field.

    Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    From the Media Awareness Network

    Can you tell it's Women's History Month yet? As the librarian liaison for both Communication and Women's Studies at WSU, I was happy to find that the Media Awareness Network (MNet) has a very nice section on Media Portrayals of Girls and Women.

    I have a soft spot for MNet, and hopefully this quote from their site will tell you why:

      The idea behind our work
      MNet’s work is based on the belief that to be functionally literate in the world today – to be able to "read" the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us daily – young people need critical thinking skills.

    In addition to addressing topics like Beauty and Body Image in the Media, Media Coverage of Women and Women's Issues, Media and Girls, and The Economics of Gender Stereotyping, the site offers links to "Related MNet Resources" and to "Recommended reading, viewing, surfing" on the left-hand menu. A very librarian-like thing to do, and perhaps another reason I like MNet.

    Want more on women and media? I'll post soon on resources in the WSU Libraries, but for now, there's a good selection of resources on the Women & Media subject guide at the EBSS Library Resources for Communication Studies site.

    Monday, March 5, 2007

    Women's History Month Databases

    Alexander Street Press, who make some of the prettiest online resources around, provide free access to some fantastic Women's Studies databases during March. WSU will have access to the following until March 31st of 2007:

    • British and Irish Women's Letters and Diaries
    • North American Women's Letters and Diaries
    • Women and Social Movements

    Questions? Contact Erica.

    Thanks, Alexander Street Press!

    Thursday, March 1, 2007

    Jane Austen Wins

    Something I should've mentioned this morning. Today is World Book Day, a most enlightened holiday observed in the UK and Ireland. A survey taken by readers revealed the following Top Ten list of books for the UK and Ireland:

    1) Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen 20%
    2) Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein 17%
    3) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 14%
    4) Harry Potter books – J K Rowling 12%
    5) To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee 9.5%
    6) The Bible 9%
    7) Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte 8.5%
    8) 1984 – George Orwell 6%
    9) His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 6%
    10) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens .55%

    Go, Jane! (Though I prefer Persuasion)

    Fair Use

    Today I attended a Basic Copyright Law training session given by Marc Lindsey, WSU's copyright expert and author of Copyright Law on Campus. It was a good refresher on the basics, and upon further exploration, I found WSU's very own University Publishing Copyright site, which has some useful information about higher education and copyright law. The session also reminded me of Rachel Bridgewater's "Not a Series of Tubes" presentation, for which I promised to post a link: link

    I encourage you to check out the presentation slides and then support Rick Boucher's FAIR USE ACT OF 2007 (Press Release) by contacting your legislators. Want to know how to contact your legislators? Try here for the House and here for the Senate.