Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Loss to the Profession

I was shocked to read this morning of the tragic death of two ALSC leaders. My friend and Council colleague Aaron Dobbs posted to the Council list this morning about the deaths of Kathy Krasniewicz and Kate McClelland. Kathy was the Youth Services Librarian at the Perrot Memorial Library, and Kate had retired from there in 2007.

I saw Kate mostly at Conferences, and several times rode to or from the airport when I lived in Connecticut. (Since I lived further away, she would get picked up by the shuttle after I was on board.)

Kate was the President-elect of ALSC, the Association for Libary Service to Children. There is a spot on the ALSC blog for memorials.

Both the article in the Denver Post, and the article in the Greenwich Time give more details.

This event casts a pall over the success of the ALA Midwinter Meeting 2009.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Update on Status

There was a dramatic drop off in the volume of my blog posts recently. Much is related to the changes in my life.

In July, my job in Eau Claire ended. I spent the summer and fall looking for a new position. I also spent the time geographically relocating "down river" to New Orleans. On December 1, I started a new position. I am now a library consultant for the State Library of Louisiana. Part of my job is to serve as the State Data Coordinator.

I did have a personal revelation recently. When I started blogging, I was in a rut in my life. I was not particularly unhappy, but certainly not happy. More recently, I am much happier, and much busier. My personal time is taken up "doing things." I have a life outside the internet!

Working for a state library agency is interesting. I have gained a great deal of insight into why some things happened the way that they did in the two previous states I was a library director in. I am no longer a manager. There is a part of me that is very happy about that. My job pretty much begins when I walk into the office and ends when I walk out. (Except for conferences and when I am -- eventually -- on the road.)

So, don't expect as many postings as in the past. There will be less work-related. There will also be no political stuff....That is another post.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unintended Consequences -- Will children be banned from libraries or books pulled from shelves

For the past week or so, I have been following the new controversy over the testing of lead for products aimed at children.

There was a post on the ALA Washington Office blog, District Dispatch, about the Consumer Product Safety Commission's proposed enforcement of a new law. That post states:
Within the last few days, ALA and others in the “book” community (other librarians, publishers, teachers, booksellers, etc.) became extremely concerned after seeing that the CPSC intended to include books in the definition of “products to children” that would need to be certified as safe. This concern was heightened by a letter from the General Counsel of the CPSC – a letter that states that books are not exempt from the law.
The end of the posting says:

Several key Hill offices have contacted the CPSC Commissioners and the General Counsel. We believe that the misunderstanding may be cleared up, so the Commission can focus on children’s items that are truly dangerous.

If we can’t get this resolved, we will need everyone who wants children to continue to have access to safe children’s books to contact the Commission and Capitol Hill – but, for now, we can stand by until we hear more from our Congressional supporters.

I've been catching up on my blog reading, and found an article from Library Link of the Day to a provocatively titled piece in the Boston Phoenix "Congress Bans Kids from Libraries?" Here are a couple of key paragraphs from that story which summarize the situation, starting with the lead paragraph:
Is it possible that Congress has just inadvertently turned millions of children’s books into contraband? At the moment, anything seems possible with regard to the sprawling, 62-page Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), passed this past August with overwhelming margins in both the House (424-1) and the Senate (89-3).

Historically, books have been considered more dangerous to read than to eat. Regardless, a memo from the CPSC, issued the day before Christmas Eve, explicitly quashed any hope that books might escape the new law. To make matters worse, even publishers that have already had their products tested for lead will be forced to retest. In the same memo, existing test results based on “soluble lead” — a measure of whether lead will migrate out of a product — were rejected by the CPSC because they did not measure “total lead content.”

The CPSC has not issued any ruling on whether libraries, schools, and other institutions that loan — rather than sell — books will be subject to the law. Without such clear guidance, says Adler [Allan Adler, the American Association of Publishers’ vice president for legal and governmental affairs], schools and libraries should assume they have to comply.

I fully support making sure that our children are safe by getting rid of the possibility of ingesting lead. (I completely stripped the woodwork in a house, taking off all the lead paint), and repainted with lead free paint. However, books are not a source of lead!

This is yet another example of the "Law of Unintended Consequences!"

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Books Read -- July - December 2008

Here is the list of books which I have read from July - December 2008. I have now clipped then off the sidebar.
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg
Death in the French Quarter by Kent Conwell
Dakota: A novel by Martha Grimes
Mudslingers: The top 25 negative political campaigns of all times by Kerwin C. Swint
City of Refuge: A novel by Tom Piazza
The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg
It Might Have Been What He Said by Eden Collingsworth
Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar
Stupid and Contagious by Caprice Crane
Voodoo River by Robert Crais
L. A. Outlaws by T. Jefferson Parker free book from PLA Conference, signed copy
Cannibals: Shocking True Tales of the Last Taboo on Land and at Sea edited by Joseph S. Cummins
Sure of You by Armistead Maupin
Significant Others by Armistead Maupin
Babycakes by Armistead Maupin
Further Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
More Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
The Man-Eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthrophagy by W. Arens
The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich Advance Reader's Edition