Bibliothèque Chic: News from the Library


I’m desperately trying to catch up on a bunch of half-completed, half thought out, half-assed posts, so I’m going to keep this short and sweet. So here is some library-related news, opinions, and silliness from the past few weeks.

Myth of the Universal Digital Library by Annalee Newitz via Alternet. Three reasons why everything is not going to be up on the web for everyone anytime soon.

The myth of the universal library is not only widespread; it’s also dangerous. Believing in the myth makes us forget that we need to be working hard right this second to preserve information in multiple formats and to make it available to the public any way that we can.

Shh…Library launches sex hotline from CNN & AP. The ultimate in librarian fetish.

Vienna’s City Hall has launched a “sex hotline” to raise money for the capital’s main public library, officials said Tuesday.

It’s unusual, but it’s not particularly raunchy: Callers pay 39 euro cents (53 U.S. cents) a minute to listen to an actress read breathless passages from erotica dating to the Victorian era.

May 8, 1873 Dewey Proposes Library Classification System on MassMoments. A great moment in library history — even if Dewey was a bit of nutcase — and it happened in Amherst!

File under other by Hua Hus in The Boston Globe via Librarian’s Place. The article explores how to catalog ‘zines.

There is no preexisting librarians’ code pertaining to how one should handle a document that includes a free prophylactic; Freedman stows the entire zine, ephemera and all, along with a rigid, acid-free cardboard backing in a plastic sleeve designed for comic books.

Miniature Books Exhibit At The Boston Public Library by Maria Williams-Russell on Minds Island.

MetaFilter collects Things Found in Books. I wonder if anyone has ever used a miniature book as a bookmark.

Sillier still, the lolbrarians are here (via librarian.net). These are based on lolcats (an internet phenomenon one can find indexed here, learn the history of here, and understand the grammar here) and the fact that librarians tend to be geeky. Note: language on all of these sites is not appropriate for all audiences.

Oh, and the librarian who caused delays on the Red Line with bomb threats? Wasn’t me. (by way of Universal Hub).

Two Commentaries on Immigration


“It is just so difficult to think that they don’t want us” in Larry James’ Urban Daily written in response to a municipal law requiring proof of citizenship from tenants.

Supporters of the ordinance claim that these hard working, undocumented families use up the scarce resources of the community, including public education and health care. Few will acknowledge the fact that these families pay all sorts of taxes, including sales tax, federal withholding taxes, property taxes and Social Security taxes that they will never be able to reclaim. Undocumented workers are in essence paying for my retirement, with no hope of receiving such benefits themselves no matter how hard or long they work.

The New Bedford Raid and Its Aftermath in Dispatch from the Trenches focuses on how corporate policy — aided and abetted by the government — perpetuates the illegal immigration problem.

It’s the picture of city officials so blindly pro-business that they could walk through that hell-hole of a sweatshop and come away thinking only about how they could help Insolia make more money that puts the 19th century attitudes of modern America into sharp relief. Not one of them appears to have considered for a moment that there was anything wrong or at least suspicious about the crowded, filthy conditions or thought to wonder if these rows and rows of Hispanic women were all legal. Not one of them so much as asked a question about how the workers were treated or raised so much as an eyebrow over an obviously unhealthy workplace. Neither was of the least importance to them. They were focused on one thing and one thing alone: help the owner make more money.