27 February 2009

Volunteering Opportunity with Project Cicero

A message from the organizers:

Project Cicero's annual book drive will be held at the Hotel Pennsylvania on March 6-8. Project Cicero is a non-profit book drive that is designed to help create, or supplement, school and classroom libraries for children in under-resourced New York City public schools. Now in its ninth year, Project Cicero has distributed more than 1,150,000 new and gently used books to 6,500 New York City classroom and school libraries, reaching 250,000 students. Project Cicero solicits donations from individuals and more than 100 independent, public, and parochial schools each year, and has received generous contributions from First Book National Book Bank and book publishers.

Each year, hundreds of students, parents, librarians and teachers volunteer in all aspects of collecting, sorting and distributing the books. This year, volunteers are invited to join us the following times:

Friday, March 6, 4-8 p.m. (pizza served)
Saturday, March 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, March 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

To participate in this event, please email info@projectcicero.org the date and time you would like to attend. Thanks for your support!

24 February 2009

The Art of the Catalog: NYARC Libraries Launch Arcade

After years of planning and three big grants from the Mellon Foundation, the New York Art Resources Consortium has delivered its integrated catalog, Arcade. The catalog consists of over 800,000 holdings from three of the four NYARC members -- the Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. Arcade is based on Innovative Interfaces' Millennium system and has back-end cataloging, acquisitions, and circulation modules. From NYARC's press release: "Over the next three years, the partners will create a mechanism for coordinating collection development, construct new services to deliver the collective Arcade collection to users onsite, implement a system for electronic resources management, and carry out a program of engagement with current and potential users to guide strategic planning."

23 February 2009

Post Vilifies NYPL Pensioners

Today's NY Post claims New York Public Library retirees are collecting enormous pensions! Actually, the article reveals that two former librarians are receiving the 7th and 9th highest pensions in the state and a total of 1,128 library retirees are taking in $21.6 million. Let's see now...$21.6 million divided by 1,128 comes to a whopping $19,148! Those book-lovers sure are a greedy bunch. (Fair warning: some of the comments are rather demoralizing.)

22 February 2009

Make Way for Lent: Field Trips, Week of Feb. 23, 2009

Over the next few months, we'll be seeing a number of events that focus on job skills, networking, and other recession-responsive subjects. This week features two such affairs: on Tuesday, SLA-NY hosts an evening program entitled "Opportunities of New York: Employment in a Challenging Environment"; and Friday brings an all-day METRO workshop, "How to Survive and Thrive in the Workplace". Now to the fun stuff:
And so not leastly, but lastly: MARDI GRAS PARTY! Here's a reminder note from Desk Set Nation:
Don't let Mardi Gras come and go without eating some king cake, donning some shiny beads, shaking it to some good ole' New Orleans tunes, and contributing towards the literary life of that great city!

Join the Desk Set at Daddy's for our party and Book Drive!
Tuesday, February 24th
7:30pm till late
Daddy's Bar
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Please donate to our Book Drive!
You can purchase one or more inexpensive paperbacks on our Amazon Wish-list, send it to New Orleans, and make a student's day. All books will be donated to the A.P. Tureaud Elementary School, located in the 7th ward. Like all NOLA schools, Tureaud has struggled mightily to survive post-Katrina. Books are scarce, and we can make a huge difference. Click here to make a donation.

If you donate a book, we'll reward you with a free pint of beer courtesy of the Blue Point Brewery. But you're not really doing it for the beer, right? So even if you cannot make the party, please consider donating a book and spreading the word.

Lotsa love,

Maria and Sarah
The Desk Set

TONY Visits the Map Room

Time Out New York is "officially obsessed" with NYPL's Map Division. Aren't we all? I think TONY is officially obsessed with librarians. Two thumbs up for 100% positive publicity!

20 February 2009

Eastern Migration: NYU Tech Services Moves Out of Bobst

Shelved @ NYC welcomes guest blogger Sommer Browning, a recently festooned library school graduate with the inside scoop on NYU's crosstown maneuver.

Last Thursday, well for the last week -- and for the supervisors, the last many months -- the entire Technical Services Department at NYU moved from Bobst Library to the third floor of 20 Cooper Square. By Tuesday afternoon we were actually cataloging books. Somehow, thousands of books, decades of invoices, dozens of book trucks, computers, office chairs, file cabinets, hundreds of feet of shelving and to my chagrin, six large boxes of unearthed microfilm that I will have to catalog, moved four blocks away to our new office. My name is Sommer Browning. I'm a copy cataloger, cataloging everything from serials to microfilm, and I've been at NYU for nearly four years.

We moved because NYU wanted our basement library space for classrooms and many of us were pretty unhappy down there in bowels of Bobst. It was wonderful to be in the library, to head upstairs to check call numbers or talk to the Government Documents librarian about a weird serial, but now we have windows! And fresh air and a clean office and a pleasant break room. It's only been a week so please realize that I'm still reeling from my new intake of natural light. The next time I'm sweating over the intricacies of cataloging a multi-volume that has become a serial with monthly supplements and we have three monograph records for it in Bobcat with three different call numbers and I walk over to Bobst to sort it all out and have forgotten the peculiar details of what I was doing, ask me how much I care that I can watch plastic bags blowing around the streets of New York City from my cubicle. But until then, me and my quickly reviving Swedish Ivy are quite pleased.

The square footage is nearly identical to our old digs, except we have lost some shelving space because of the one long wall of windows. But we can't get too used to the space, it's temporary. We are supposedly moving again, to an undisclosed location, in two years. When that happens, I hope we will have the great direction and organization we had for this move. Our acting department director, Meg Manahan, and our acting head of cataloging, Elizabeth Lilker, did an amazing job keeping us happy and focused while we bumbled around with boxes and tons of discombobulated office supplies and asked questions about how our plants would survive. Actually, yesterday, we found out that one of the two shipments of our plants tipped over and was destroyed. But seriously, for us underlings, besides some initial disgruntlement about our new seating chart, which seems for the most part to be fixed, a box of mangled plants has been the worst of it. We are very lucky that, besides Meg and Elizabeth, we had very capable supervisors planning this move. I can't imagine the hard work and long hours that went into it. I don't want to, frankly, especially since just a few months ago we made an ILS switch, from Advance to Aleph. To move a department of 50 or so people, after teaching us all a pretty complicated new system is Herculean--and a lot to ask of your TSD on top of our regular work. We also catalog books for at least four other consortium libraries. But as we unpack and get used to where the pencil sharpeners are, we all seem to be excited about our new space. Maybe it's just because I now sit by the entrance to the lounge, but I've noticed everyone saying "good morning" a lot more and asking where we can go to get a good cup of coffee in our new neighborhood.

19 February 2009

NYU Stages the City's First Student Takeover of 2009

Following in the ideological footsteps of last year's New School occupiers, NYU students have barricaded themselves within the Kimmel Center cafeteria in an effort to force the school's administration to adopt "democratic, accountable and socially just" policies.

Take Back NYU -- the student group running the show -- has been active for a couple years now. Their demands include: budget transparency; 2110 union recognition; fair labor practices; scholarships for 13 Palestinian students; tuition stabilization; and, finally, "that the general public have access to Bobst Library." Interesting....

Media coverage abounds and NYU Local has an embedded reporter live-blogging the proceedings.

17 February 2009

Disseminating The Future of Reading

Fact: librarians love to share. I've no doubt that's what's behind "In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update" becoming the NY Times #2 most-emailed article.

16 February 2009

Things Are Happening; Let Things Happen to You: Field Trips, Week of Feb. 16, 2009

Happy President's Day everyone! (So, wait, why am I at work?) And while I'm at it, Happy Library Lovers' Month! The happenings:
  • METRO workshops, including "Library Advocacy During Critical Times" which was originally scheduled for Jan. 15.
  • Feb. 17: Urban Librarians Unite unite. Same bat time, same bat Creek.
  • Feb. 18: Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library hosts "A View From the 90s", a symposium in honor of James G. Nelson, followed by a reception and initial viewing of the "Victorian Imprints" exhibition.
  • Feb. 19: Columbia, round 2. The Scholarly Communication Program presents a panel discussion on information-sharing among researchers.
  • Feb. 21: Up for a little professional reading? Join your fellow librarians for a Saturday afternoon's conversation about the hot new library literature.

14 February 2009

NY Librarians Bear New Tax Burden

Yesterday's Daily News included yet another story about the increase in library use during economic downturns. This latest rendition focused on Queens Library, its patrons, and the bleak promise of a budget-slashed future. Here are some budget statistics excerpted from New York Library Association's draft of estimated State Library Aid for 2009-2010. Remember, these figures represent New York State funding only:

Beyond the disheartening numbers and proposed service cuts, the Daily News mentions another baffling decision by our friends up in Albany, namely, "the state Department of Taxation and Finance's move to stop mailing income tax packets. The agency is instead urging people to go online or pick up the forms at their local libraries." Though this move saves $1 million and cuts down on paper waste, what of the extra work and expense incurred by public libraries? The tax men have set up a special phone number for librarians, but it seems they've underestimated taxpayer neediness. According to this article in the Times Union, libraries across the state are overwhelmed with questions, running out of forms, and having to pay out of pocket for copies. The Caldwell-Lake George Library "set up a collection jar to help offset some of the additional cost." What's next, bake sales? Buy a cookie, get a 1040 instruction packet?

In testimony given at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on January 28th, NYLA lambasted state legislators. "Not only are you asking us to do more with less," they argued, "but you are asking libraries to help collect the very tax dollars you are taking away from us." Don't bite the hand that feeds you, New York.

12 February 2009

On Exhibit: $40 Million-Worth of Incomparable Hebrew Rarities

Sotheby's is handling the sale of the Valmadonna Trust Library, the collection of an elderly former diamond merchant, Jack V. Lunzer. This extraordinary private library of 13,000 Hebrew books and manuscripts is on display now through Thursday, the 19th. From the Sotheby's brochure:
The treasures of the Valmadonna Trust cannot be briefly summarized, but they include copies of almost half of all extant Hebrew incunables; the incomparable twelfth-century English manuscript Pentateuch; arguably the finest copy in the world of Daniel Bomberg's edition of the Babylonian Talmud; and scores of incredibly rare and even unique sixteenth-century imprints, many being luxury examples printed on vellum or colored paper.
I'm flabbergasted to learn that such a deep, comprehensive, and impossibly rare collection was assembled by a private individual. Again, according to Sotheby's, only the British Library, the Bibliothèque nationale, the Bodleian Library, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and the National Library of Israel have "rival" Hebraica collections. Are there any deep-pocketed institutions out there willing to pay $40 million for this prize?

11 February 2009

Taking the L out of LIS, the Book out of Reading, and More

From Library Journal: "Rutgers Faculty Agrees to Drop 'Library' from SCILS Name"; Rutgers' Library and Information Science Student Association will hold a meeting this Friday, the 13th, to discuss this "recent controversy".

From Publishers Weekly: Kindle2 was unveiled at the Morgan Library on Tuesday. Roger Sperberg of the blog TeleRead had a rather 1.0 reaction: "No matter how strenuously Amazon labors to associate the Morgan’s grandeur with the Kindle, there will be no similar physical artifacts for future generations to venerate with the electronic books that will be read on this latest and stately issue of the e-book state of the art."

NYPL and Design*Sponge debuted the final episode of Design by the Book at the Celeste Bartos Forum last Thursday. The featured artists were on hand to discuss their creations, which were properly displayed in glass cases for all to admire. (Pics and more info about the event here.)

10 February 2009

Celebrate Mardi Gras & Donate Books to NOLA with the Desk Set

Advance notice, Mardi Gras revelers: the Desk Set is planning a phat Fat Tuesday shindig at Daddy's Bar in Williamsburg. The party coincides with a book drive for the A.P. Tureaud Elementary School, a public school in New Orleans that, like so many others, could really use a helping hand. The Desk Set has created an Amazon wish-list on the school's behalf. They've even arranged for the addition of bookplates with individual donor names! Help support literacy and make your donation today.

09 February 2009

Join NYTSL Today!

I'm passing on a membership appeal from the New York Technical Services Librarians, of which I am a member. Other local library organizations should feel free to send me information about themselves and I'll post it along.

Become a member of the New York Technical Services Librarians (NYTSL). Since 1923, NYTSL has been an active and productive venue for technical service professionals in the New York Metropolitan area. We provide great networking opportunities at our events for information professionals from public, academic, and museum libraries, among others. Twice a year we host a lecture program with guest speakers from our local area and from around the country. We cover a wide variety of topics of interest and of concern to our membership. Once a year we hold a spring reception and invite students from library schools in the metropolitan area, Queens College, Pratt Institute, Rutgers University, The Palmer School, and St. John’s University. Our annual dues are very affordable. For more information about joining NYTSL and learning about past programs, visit our site at http://www.nytsl.org.

Your Economic Incentive Plan: Field Trips, Week of Feb. 9, 2009

Take advantage of this February thaw and work a little extra-curricular activity into your schedule. Here's what's on:
As always, check the right-hand calendar for additional events, workshops, and random outings.

04 February 2009

New School Library's Best Laid Plans?

On January 20th, the New School reopened its Fogelman Library in a new space in Arnhold Hall. I asked readers for their impressions, but received nary a one. The New School Free Press is likewise silent. The following commentary is from a New School graduate student who makes heavy use of the library. (Yes, I know the writer; this kind of substantive feedback doesn't fall unbidden from the heavens. Anyone who has undertaken an assessment project knows it's all pleading and teeth-pulling.)
I don't think anyone was kidding themselves in their hopes for the new library space. Put simply, it's completely inadequate. 75% of the collection is off-site which is, for someone like myself who laments the disappearance of monographs from our shelves, very inconvenient and discouraging for browsers and those who like to jump from bibliographies to look up citations, etc. The bulk of the collection is located down a winding hallway in a closet-like space of seven bays of compact shelving. The rest of the collection is scattered across different floors, with the P's--for example--finding their home on the walls of a computer lab, which has an ocean of computers where people convene to avidly update their facebook pages. There is no inside or outside to the library. The building is used heavily for classroom space by one of the music schools in the university. The building also has a large space that is often used for conferences and events open to the public. This makes it difficult for users to know where they can use library materials, e.g. periodicals or reference books. It also seems like it would be difficult for the library staff to account for the different materials. The circulation desk is on the first floor of the building, near the entrance/exit. If one were to ask 'Where is the library?' upon entering, she would be directed to the circulation desk.

The reading space is the main problem. The new 'quiet' reading room is about the size of a classroom. It has four tables: two small tables that fit 1 (comfortably) and two large tables that fit 2 (comfortably). I've only ever seen 4 people in that room at a time, but I think there are 16 chairs. There is simply no way that 16 people could study in there without bumping elbows every second. It is a very nice room with a nice window and nice wood floors, the problem is that there is only one of them. And the heat hasn't been working in that part of the building, so there is a space heater that makes the air stuffy while the room stays cold. The other reading room serves the reference room, where people go if they have a reference question. It is located on the first floor. This is where the reference collection lives, on stylized geometric (space-wasting) shelving with a decor that looks like an Ikea sushi-bar that doesn't seem to make use of the space as best it could. Again, the room itself is OK, it's just that it can be noisy, it’s small, and sits only about 25-30 (absolute maximum). So there are roughly about 25 bays of books and about 45 seats (in quiet areas) in the library; this might be suitable if it just served one of the smaller departments in one of the 8 divisions/colleges of the university. There are more tables and chairs in public spaces, but one has to listen to crowds walking by as well as the goings-on of the security guards at the front desk. That’s fine when eating a sandwich or having coffee, but it's just not conducive to studying. There are, however, many, many computers and computing classrooms. There is also, what looks like, new cafe space with numerous seats. So if you want to get a scone and check your email, then the new library is a good spot.

It is very possible that I have not yet discovered more of library space in this building. Though, I have tried to seek out all that is available. If there is more, please let me know because I would very much like to use the resources and study there. I know many other students who would love to as well. As it is, I have already clocked many hours there. Since not many people know where the new spaces are there haven't been big crowds, which I have to admit is kind of nice temporarily. The librarians and the library staff have all greeted me with a smile and have been very helpful during this confusing transition, making sure that students know where the resources are located and answering any questions. I would very much like to thank the librarians for their help while working under adverse conditions. But the library itself, both the collection and the space, is just amazingly inadequate for the larger university and for the many dedicated, hardworking students that I know.
Again, I'd love to hear reactions from the denizens of Fogelman Library. Does the above description jive with your experience?

"Who knows more: New York librarians or the Pintchik Oracle?"

A little more librarian-love from Time Out New York. There is no winner, but our research skills are clearly superior.

03 February 2009

Intrepid Times Reporter Braves H.W. Wilson's Web

In "To the Lighthouse of Periodical Literature", NY Times City Room reporter Corey Kilgannon infiltrates H.W. Wilson's venerable Bronx fortress, but is denied entry to its roof-topping lighthouse. I'm a great fan of this type of urban exploration article and applaud Mr. Kilgannon for his bibliophilic investigative choice and his entertaining writing style.

Did you sense a "but" coming? Here it is. I've heard from former Wilson employees that its offices are, indeed, stuck in a time warp. Kilgannon's description of Wilson publications reflects this old timey notion, only briefly touching on the company's e-resources and never once mentioning WilsonWeb by name:
In short, the company puts out the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature, the once-familiar thick green books some older readers may have used at the library to find magazine articles, pre-Internet. Mr. Daly said the company still prints the books, and a good deal of other indexing and reference material, although most contents are also published electronically.
He later describes a "warehouse-looking floor which contained pallets holding shrink-wrapped stacks of books". Although this backward-looking -- dare I say, retrospective? -- approach serves the article's purpose, it doesn't reflect accurately on 21st century indexing and abstracting services. On the other hand, H.W. Wilson is a safe distance from the cutting edge....

02 February 2009

Designs by the Book Revealed

Good news, Design by the Book fans: the finale party has been scheduled for this Thursday at 6:30. The library-inspired creations of the participating artists will be on display, plus, hot apple cider, a book raffle, and baked treats.