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The 2009 Words of the Year November 30, 2009

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The Global Language Monitor, a self-proclaimed academic and internet-based group that “analyzes and tracks trends in language the world over” has announced its list of the top ten words, phrases, and names of 2009. #1? Twitter. My personal fave? Check out #5.

Publishers Put Up a Fight November 30, 2009

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It’s nice, for a change, to see publishers attempt to innovate and meet the changing demands of their tech-savvy readers instead of complaining about decreasing sales and demands for free content. This article by the New York Times discusses the attempts of powerhouse publishers like Conde Nast to create a centralized portal where both electronic and print copies of publications can be bought. This model, which the consortium plans to reveal in early December, will be loosely modeled on the iTunes store.

While I laud the attempts of these companies to keep payroll up and their writers employed, I cannot help but to believe that people will find a way, once again, to circumvent payment. If anything, this development is just another reminder that libraries are not doing outreach correctly (or at all). Most public libraries (and all public libraries in New York State) already provide free access to these publications through databases provided by their own tax money! Is it our job as librarians to spread the word about this amazing access to information, or should we keep in on the DL? Is being overlooked what has kept us in business? Is our biggest downfall our secret savior?

Google Books Blah Blah Blah November 30, 2009

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If you are as sick as we are of hearing about Google Books settlement updates then just scroll past this post. BUT if you just found yourself saying, “huh?”, “what?”, or (astoundingly) “that sounds interesting!”, then you should check out this guide created by the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, and ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries that explains the revisions to the proposed settlement, and with particular emphasis on the parts that will most affect libraries. Have a Red Bull before this one!

Niche Blog Friday: My Parents Were Awesome November 30, 2009

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Okay, okay, I know it’s not Friday, but I’ve been without internet access all holiday weekend and I really wanted to share this great blog: My Parents Were Awesome, featuring pictures of parents before they were parents, the kind of people you might actually want to hang out with and not avoid besides on holidays. The description is short but succinct: “Before the fanny packs and Andrea Bocelli concerts, your parents (and grandparents) were once free-wheeling, fashion-forward, and super awesome.” Check it out!

Monday Book Review: The Robber Bridegroom November 30, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Book Reviews.
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Recently, we posted about the National Book Awards, and I was surprised at how few of the 77 past fiction winners I had read. So, I picked a few titles to find at my local library. I had once read a book where the main character was named Eudora, after the famous American writer, and have since been curious about her – so Eudora Welty was my first choice from the National Book Awards list.

My library did not have in stock the actual award winner, The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, so I browsed and chose the presently reviewed novella.

The Robber Bridegroom, published in 1942, is a fairy tale, similar in style and theme to many a Brothers Grimm tale. The beautiful daughter of a rich plantation owner is lured away from her home by a bandit, and the two fall in love and encounter a number of unpleasant characters and obstacles, from the girl’s mean and ugly stepmother to the tattletale numbskull neighborboy, Goat, to the psychotic cave-dweller, Little Harp, who is told what to do by his brother’s head, which is kept on a spike in a trunk nearby. The story is both enchanting and confusing, as a few of the characters are apparently legendary in Southern folklore, and perhaps a little prior knowledge of their mythos would have been helpful. Despite this, it was a lovely story, and the writing was as beautiful as it was sprightly and refined.

Eudora Welty

In my curiosity about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, I found that after her death in 2001, her home in Jackson, Mississippi, was restored and preserved by The Eudora Welty Foundation in a tribute to her, her writing and photography, and as she wished, also to arts and literature in general. The goals of the foundation are to promote and encourage reading and the efforts of young writers, as well as maintain the writer’s home for visitation, education and inspiration. Eudora Welty was also an avid gardener, and the gardens around her home have been restored and preserved. The home and gardens are open for tours in person by reservation. However, if you aren’t planning a trip to Mississippi any time soon, the home is open 24 hours, 7 days a week for a virtual tour on the website. It’s worth checking out.

Book Binding in 3000 Shots November 28, 2009

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This stop motion video shows the process of binding a book from start to finish: its a fascinating process, with lots of steps!

(via Craft)

Webseries Wednesday: The Guild November 25, 2009

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Last week we started a new regular feature inspired by the Twitter meme Webseries Wednesday, by posting about the webcomic Unshelved.

This week, we want to share an award-winning live-action webseries, The Guild. Begun in 2007 as an independent sitcom web series about a group of socially awkward (to put it mildly) online gamers, it was financed entirely by fan support. The series stars and is driven by Felicia Day, who played Penny in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the wildly successful Whedon project of Summer 2008 (she’s on Twitter too). After 2 successful seasons, popularity spread by word of mouth and Dr. Horrible, and the series earned sponsorship by Sprint, and distribution by Microsoft and XBox Live.

Sponsorship has been great for The Guild, in that they have had wider distribution, not to mention the bigger budget. A small downfall of the distribution agreement is that the newest episodes are available first at MSN and XBox Live, and not on the Guild website, where I usually find them.

The Season 3 finale was released just this week, and is available on MSN and XBox Live – but of course, you really should start at the beginning. On the main page, look for the drop-down window that says “Season 3″ and select “Season 1.” Click on the first episode and enjoy!

With episodes ranging from 3 to 8 minutes in length, and always ending on a cliff-hanger, I’m confident you’ll be telling yourself, “OK, just one more.”

Shhhhhh! November 24, 2009

Posted by pupfiction in Just for Fun.
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This is what kept happening today to me at work. Thought you should know….

As the map grows dark… November 24, 2009

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By now you know I love data visualization and that’s why I feel compelled to show this dynamic map of unemployment statistics from January 2007 to September 2009. The choice of colors from pale yellow to black  make a dramatic impact as the map turns darker and darker. For some reason this reminded me of Dagney Taggart’s view as she flew over the world at the end of Ayn Rand’s  incendiary novel, Atlas Shrugged.

Pimp My Bookcart Winners Announced! November 23, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Just for Fun.
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The guys who write the webcomic Unshelved run a contest every Fall called “Pimp My Bookcart” in which the library that submits the best “pimped” bookcart wins a new bookcart. Doesn’t sound like much of a prize – but I think the point is more about having fun and being creative! This year’s winners have been announced!

This entry by the Perry High School Library is called Easy Rider and is a Runner Up.

Check out all the entries here and last years winners too!

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