Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who You Gonna Call?

"The New York Public Library approached us about a month ago and asked if we would want to stage an Improv Everywhere mission on their property. The library is facing serious budget cuts, and they thought having us do something awesome there might serve to remind people of how great the NYPL is. We couldn’t say no to the opportunity to do something in their gorgeous, 100 year-old Rose Main Reading Room."

- Improv Everywhere

Hilarious! A great idea both from the IE people and from the New York Public Library to generate some interest.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

10 Great Books for Traumatizing Children

10 Great Books for Traumatizing Children! It's from Cracked, so you probably won't look like a serious professional if you read this where someone can see you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Twitter Police

I've been snickering at this one for a while: some Twitter users take it upon themselves to correct the spelling, capitalization, and grammar of other posters.

“It would be kind of nice if people cleaned up their grammar a little bit and typed in lowercase, and made the Internet a little bit smarter,” said one of them, Nate Fanaro, a 28-year-old computer programmer in Buffalo, whose Twitter handle is CapsCop.

Last October, Mr. Fanaro wrote a simple program that detects tweets written in capital letters and automatically sends one of several snappy responses, like “This isn’t MySpace so maybe you should turn your caps lock off.” So far, he has issued more than 130,000 of these helpful reminders, including at least 205 to one particular user, a woman in Singapore. (Oddly, with little effect.)

“Some people don’t really understand that it’s just not good Internet etiquette” to type in all capital letters, Mr. Fanaro said.

Yes, he and the other Twitter cops do get quite a backlash, much to their delight. Mr. Fanaro posts a phone number on his Twitter profile page, and his voice mail is full of death threats and foulmouthed rants. For laughs, he sometimes takes his phone to a bar and plays the messages for his friends.

Good luck, guys. That stuff's been in decline ever since the internet expanded itself from just the nerds and geeks. (And as a nerdy geek, sometimes I miss those days, but most days I'm glad everything else has expanded, too - meaning it's easier to do research.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Author Credits Children's Librarian For Interest in Books

Michael Buckley was force fed educational books like 'Little House on the Prairie', but his real interest wasn't sparked until a librarian gave him a copy of a fun, 'pointless' book.

Not that educational books are bad, but sometimes people have to know there are books that are purely fun and adventure.

Have I ever mentioned I haven't read many classics?

The Anatomy of a Facebook Meme

Dan Zarrella wrote an article about the anatomy of a Facebook meme, but really it's full of good tips for your Facebook page to get some action. Library pages included!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Finland, Land of Broadband

Finland! Broadband Internet for all!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Joe Halderman and the Rikers Island Library

So the guy who tried to extort two million from David Letterman works as an inmate librarian at the 'standing library' run by the New York Public Library on Rikers Island. Just about the only useful thing he's done recently, then, is to bring about an article on the standing library.

I like to hear about inmates reading. It keeps them out of trouble and I really do want to believe that prison programs can educate and rehabilitate people.

Inmates were brought down from one section of the jail at a time and browsed the books. One of them, John Ferris, a 41-year-old Brooklyn man sentenced for stealing a car, was looking at books about auto repair — not so he could steal another car when released in August, he said, but so he could get a job at a garage.

The inmates showed their jail identification to one of the librarians who logged their names and books. Then they sat in plastic chairs with rounded edges, reading their books, waiting to be taken back to their cells.

“Being able to read helps keep incidents down and keeps the inmates’ minds occupied because they’re doing something constructive,” said Juan Rosado, a corrections officer who helps inmates access the library. “It helps keep their minds at ease, and helps avoids fights.” The program has been credited by the city’s corrections commissioner, Dora Schriro, with keeping inmates focused on learning and enrichment, and with curtailing fights, misbehavior and other distractions.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

School Sucks Promoted at Library

Say you're an activist group that's against public, government-funded education in the United States. Why, oh why, would you decide to slip bookmarks for your cause into five thousand books at a library? It just seems like aiming at an audience that isn't receptive to your message, kind of like those annoying 'don't pirate movies' commercials before movies in theatres. You know, the movies you paid money to sit down and watch and not steal so you can be told that stealing movies is wrong.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Aisha Lakdawala, DIY Librarian Extraordinaire

A rather enterprising woman in Abu Dabi couldn't find enough books to read, so she wound up founding her own private library. Now that is dedication.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Misspelled Searches

Nobody can spell perfectly all the time, but it's a good thing search engines are better able to deal with phonetic craziness, as shown by this Yahoo Buzz article by Vera H-C Chan.

Then, there are people's names. In a polyglot America, no one rule governs the spelling of proper names. While legions of young girls have glommed onto 12-year-old Web sensation Justin Bieber, a few searchers have referred to him as that "Justin Beaver" singer.

Tee hee hee!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Naked Cheese Thief Spotted in Library

From Cincinnati!

A man faces charges after an unusual incident at a local library. 52-year-old Darrell Bess was taken into custody yesterday, naked, armed with knives and several pounds of stolen cheese.

Bess was ordered by a judge to stay away from the Main branch of the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Public Library in downtown Cincinnati because of prior thefts.

But police say Bess ignored that warning. He was found naked, bathing in the men's bathroom at the library on Wednesday. Police searched his bag and found two knives, two library CD's and 4 pounds of parmesan cheese which he allegedly stole from a local store.

Court documents shows Bess is homeless and has a history of bizarre thefts. In May, he was arrested after he allegedly tried to shoplift 10 cans of herring and 16 cans of sardines at a local store. Then on June 13th, he was accused of trying to take several bags of candy from a Graeter's location.

Bess now faces new charges of carrying a concealed weapon, public indecency, criminal trespass, theft and receiving stolen property.

Seriously. And the link has a video!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Breaking Up With Books

Sonya Chung writes for The Millions about how hard it is to stop reading a book once you've started. I only managed to put a book aside once: it was Lord of the Rings. I might pick it up again now that I've been told I'm 'allowed' to skip Tom Bombadil, which was exactly what made me put the book down. Maybe, but not quite yet.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Shame List

A Massachussets library is proposing a 'list of shame' for people caught surfing porn in the library. At first glance, this makes me laugh. On the other hand:

Robert Duval of Westfield said, “You know sometimes you're looking up something on a search engine and you'll click on a link and it will pop up something that you don't even want.”

Maybe a mandatory .xxx domain for porn sites might work out after all. (There isn't one yet, but there will be an xxx domain.)