AADL Blogs


I’m sure many aadl.org visitors are familiar with the staff written blogs that show up on the main catalog page. If you don’t wish to read through them all and just want to read ones on music, magazines, or perhaps movies, with a few clicks you can. Blogs are accessible on various pages of aadl.org, under Services, Events, Research, etc. (You can also see a refined list by clicking on the blog’s categories.) Did you know there is a Local History blog and a Developer’s blog? Have a peek! Here is a quick list of the blogs, with a quick link so you can easily RSS them and stay on top of AADL and community happenings.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Betty Ford!

Next month former First Lady Betty Ford will turn 91, and to help us all anticipate that, her former assistant press secretary will appear at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at the University of Michigan. Patti Matson will talk about “Betty Ford: Strength in a Package Marked Fragile” on March 31 (Tuesday), at 7:30 p.m. Mrs. Ford is the founder of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction and a Congressional Gold Medal recipient. You can see wonderful images of her life in our AP Images database.

Youth Media Awards--the Oscars of books and media for kids and teens!

Newbery MedalNewbery Medal

The American Library Association will announce the winners of this year's Youth Media Awards on Monday, January 26, 2009 at their Midwinter Conference in Denver. These awards include such high profile honors as the Newbery Award, for the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for Children, and the Caldecott Award for the most distinguished illustrations. Other honors conferred include the Printz Award for excellence in Young Adult literature and the Robert Sibert Medal which honors an author, illustrator and/or photographer of the most distinguished informational book published for children. There are also other awards that honor excellence in many areas of books and media intended for youth. These are the Oscars of Youth Media!

The new conference will begin at 9:45am ET(7:45am MT), Monday, January 26, 2009 and can be viewed via live streaming video online at the ALA Youth Media Awards Webcast. You can also follow the news conference with Twitter, a micro-blogging service, at Twitter.

Our Green Library

Libraries are old growth green; all items in the collections can be used by anyone, then returned and used again. They're all about pooling resources to share information, entertainment, and more recently, to promote community dialog. At this time of greater ecological awareness, library architecture is going green too. The Ann Arbor District Library is modeling sustainable design in public buildings with three new branches built since Jan. 2004. Mallets Creek Branch was first with its passive sustainable systems and bioswales to filter impurities from rainwater before they sink into the watershed. In March 2006 Pittsfield Branch opened, built on a wetland with selective plantings of native species, solar heating, natural daylighting and convection cooling. On June 30, 2008 Traverwood Branch debuted with an innovative stormwater management system, rain garden, and the reuse of harvested ash trees from the building site. You can read about all these fantastic features, but the best way to appreciate the wonders of these spaces is to visit each one.

Waiting For You

Traverwood parkingTraverwood parking

Did you know the Traverwood Branch has two wonderful features not offered at our other branches? Parking is available underneath the branch. This includes handicapped parking and bike racks. The entrance for the underground lot is on Huron Parkway. An elevator as well as stairs are available to take you from the parking area to the Library’s lobby. Not only does the underground parking give you easy access to the Library, but it also provides shelter for you in inclement weather. Come to the Traverwood Branch and check out these new features waiting for you.

Print is dead. Long live print!

With all of the latest news about electronic books, one can be forgiven for thinking that print books are in their death throes. Free ebooks and Kindles and digital libraries, oh my! Nonetheless, the good money is that print books are not going extinct anytime soon. In fact, general skepticism of the ebook reading experience aside, good money is actually on ebooks boosting sales of "pbooks."

Allow me to offer some examples. Take Amazon's Search Inside the Book feature (an awesome tool, if you haven't tried it). According to Amazon, sales of books that could be searched increased by 9% when the feature was launched. And despite suing Google for scanning books from the great libraries of the world, publishers are jumping at the chance to make digital previews of their books available via Google Book Search. Now why, pray tell, would publishers partner with Google on scanning if they didn't experience some benefit like, oh, increased print sales?

All of this is to say that the printed word isn't going the way of the dinosaurs in the near future. Of course, we shouldn't be surprised given books' long and storied history.

Books Aren't Dead: Steven Levy of Newsweek at the Grad Library

Next monday, 2/4, at 5:30 PM at the Hatcher Graduate Library, The UM University Library presents The Future of the Book: A Conversation with Newsweek's Steven Levy. Steven Levy is the author of The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness and wrote the recent Newsweek cover storyThe Future of Reading that accompanied the launch of Amazon's Kindle reading device. He was also the guest editor of The Best of Technology Writing 2007. This event is free and open to the public, so show up to join the conversation!

Good reading on history of knowledge

If you’re up nights worrying about the future of books and/or libraries, you might want to keep a copy of the November 5 issue of The New Yorker magazine nearby, tabbed to the lively article Future Reading: Digitization and its Discontents by Anthony Grafton. From the concluding paragraph: “. . .Sit in your local coffee shop, and your laptop can tell you a lot. If you want deeper, more local knowledge, you will have to take the narrower path that leads between the lions and up the stairs . . .” to the library, of course, where you also can find this magazine.

"You can have my book when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers"

Mudflap GirlMudflap Girl

Nothing like a little controversy to start the day. The statewide organization of Wyoming libraries has launched a glossy new ad campaign designed to spark interest in their services. What could possibly be controversial about library advertising? The ads feature a character affectionately referred to as “mudflap girl,” a slinky silhouette of a reclining nude engrossed in a book, adapted from the image frequently seen on the backs of large trucks. Mudflap girl aside, there are some great bumper stickers associated with the campaign (“If you can read this, you might enjoy the library”), and I suppose it does support a good cause...

…what do you think?

What if public libraries didn't already exist?

As he did in Levitt and his 2005 book Freakonomics, Stephen Dubner poses yet another interesting question on the Freakonomics blog: "If public libraries didn’t exist, could you start one today?" The post actually produced so much interest that it crashed their site.

Dubner's basic contention is that book publishers would vehemently oppose creating public libraries today, if they didn't already exist. Their response would probably mirror the music recording industry's reaction to Napster and other such peer-to-peer filesharing sites. After all, libraries, with their booksharing tendencies, may very well contribute to lower sales for book publishers. According to NCES, libraries circulated over 2 billion items in 2004. Even if only a fraction of the people who check out books bought them, that's a big chunk of change.

So what do you think? In this age of copyright disputes, could we create public libraries if they weren't already around?

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