Go to:
Online Doc
Meeting Request
Jason Griffey's picture

Story ideas - sketches, posts, images, links

Hello Happy Mutants!

In talking about LBB, one of the big goals is to use Boing Boing proper as a publishing platform for Important Library Stuffs. If you're a part of this group, you probably have a good idea what it is that BB is about. Come January, I think we should aim at a minimum of a post a week about library issues hitting the front page of BB. 

So, here's the place for us to start staging that. Some things to keep in mind: the front page of BB is one of the most traffic'd pages on the 'net, and anything that gets posted needs to be very timely. As an example of stories that I think would have been prime-BB material in the last week or so: Eric Hellman's Libraries and SOPA post and Sarah Houghton's Overdrive has different catalogs post. This isn't to say we should just be linking (although that is going to be a big part of it)...we should also be actively trying to write solid posts about topics that are important to libraries/BB. 

What are some topics that we can start stockpiling awesome posts about? Let's make a list, and maybe even have people start claiming some topics/writing a couple hundred words so that we can come out of the gate swinging!

Also: I love you all for wanting to be a part of this. Seriously. Makes me smile like a damn fool every time I think about it. 

Thank you.


Ellen Druda (non-member)'s picture

Libraries, in their own quiet way, have assumed the job of tech trainers to the parents/grandparents of the world

Ellen Druda
Internet Services
Half Hollow Hills Community Library

Andromeda Yelton's picture

Libraries-as-hackerspaces would appeal to that crowd.  After that, I get confused trying to brainstorm now for something that needs to be timely in a month or two ;)

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2019; President-Elect, 2017-2018

Patrick Sweeney (non-member)'s picture

There are a ton of amazing bloggers in libraryland.  Maybe we should also make a list of all of those awesome folks and their blogs to keep an eye on.  People like Andy Woodworth, Sarah Houghton, Nicole Pagowski, the Hack Lib School folks, the Shanachies, Etc... I know Jason has been on Boing Boing before right?  Also, I'd love to see more videos and much less text.

Jake Pettit's picture

There needs to be something to highlight all the great things that are going on in school libraries.


Andrea Davis (non-member)'s picture

A good kickoff for January - and time-sensitive initiative from the Digital Public Library of America:

Start A National Effort To Digitize All Public Government Info.

The administration should create a group that will answer--within 1 year--the question "what would it take to scan .gov?" What are our federal holdings, what would it take to digitize them, how much would it cost, what are the economic and non-economic benefits?

A national digitization strategy can save money, create jobs, revitalize education, and unleash the treasures buried in the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, National Archives, Printing Office, and other national institutions. We need to scan at scale and make access to knowledge a right for all Americans. If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we launch the Library of Congress into cyberspace?

More information about this petition can be found at https://YesWeScan.Org/

Patrick Sweeney (non-member)'s picture

This one is just entertaining, we randomly talked to this guy about libraries. Not sure it fits exactly, but its entertaining anyway - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcbhliuzUGQ

Patrick Sweeney (non-member)'s picture

This needs to be edited differently and have more story etc... But, let me know if you guys think this is a good story and I can re edit it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW0ddmfkg2Y

Patrick Sweeney (non-member)'s picture

Here are two videos I did for our Seed Library, let me know your thoughts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJfb0jbrzPQ, and here is a longer one- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY99fETDiEQ

Karen Lauritsen (non-member)'s picture

Hello! I'm new to ALA (and libraries in a professional way) and as a BB reader am excited to find this group!

So thinking science / tech for BB readers, there may be a good material coming out of libraries at polytechs. Example, we have a Science Cafe series we've adapted for our library in the cafe area. This is a totally replicable program, BTW, and if anyone is interested I'm happy to help.

Anyway, last we had an aerospace engineer talk about commercial space flight and got a podcast and video from the event. She talks tech about how it is now an almost reality AND has great enthusiasm (via Virgin Galactic). Links to both are in this blog post:


Friday we're having a DIY / arduino / physcial computing experiment in our library's main stairwell (shutting it down and throwing tennis balls to test circuits and basically turn the stairs into a giant pinball machine). Jason, we are a short drive away -- you are very welcome to come check it out!

We're going to document so that others can try it out, too. Also going to try and share with Make Magazine:


These things are up BB alley... I'd be happy to draft something if anyone thinks there is a good idea here.

Karen Lauritsen
Communciations & Public Programs Coordinator
Robert E. Kennedy Library
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

Wow, Karen, that sounds fab and very exciting. Can you write it up as a post and send it to me and I'll work on getting it into the queue? You can send it via connect or via email (ccoleman@ala.org)

Be sure to include a post tiltle and maybe we can embed the video in the post?


Karen Lauritsen (non-member)'s picture

We're in the thick of event prep, but if there is anyone out there who would like to follow along, our Science Cafe presenters made a live site to digitally display scoring:


Event is 11am-1:30pm PST. (Sorry, make that 12:30pm)

Basically, when participants trip a circuit that's been set-up in the stairwell (by aiming tennis balls), it will communicate with the server and display the results.


Karen Lauritsen
Communciations & Public Programs Coordinator
Robert E. Kennedy Library
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Christina Coleman (staff)'s picture

Did everyone go quiet on ideas because Jenny's on vacation?

Ideas for #3? There was the Bre video; the Douglas Library Digital Wall; Karen's Science Cafe; there's the What Librarians really do meme if someone is collecting them somewhere (?), or the What Librarians Look Like / Librarian Wardrobe ?

I saw a post from someone about finding a story focusing on cool stuff in schools...

Anyone have any ideas? I'm not Jenny, but I promise I don't bite.

-Tina (your OTHER Staff Liaison)

Shari Laster's picture

Via the blog Free Government Information (http://freegovinfo.info/node/3629), InfoDocket has a piece up about the release of historic audio recordings made by Thomas Edison's recording engineer. Kind of fits in with the bb love for all things steampunk. Here's the link: http://infodocket.com/2012/02/05/national-park-service-releases-historic-audio-recordings-made-by-thomas-edisons-recording-engineer/


Shari Laster

rhonabwy@gmail.com / twitter: @rhonabwy

Andrea Davis (non-member)'s picture

this would be a great post!

Mary Axford's picture

I like Karen's Science Cafe for the next post.
On the what librarians look like thread, there are, or were, a couple of interesting sites - The Modified Librarian, with photos of tattooed and/or pierced librarians (
http://www.bmeworld.com/gailcat/ - but I couldn't get into it today, don't know if temporary glitch or it is gone for good).  Also maybe the old but still active site The Lipstick Librarian (http://www.lipsticklibrarian.com/).  Maybe even something on Cafe Press and its wide selection of librarian themed items (http://shop.cafepress.com/librarian) though we may not want to get into something that can be construed as advertising.  I do think a reference to the slogan "Librarians - the original search engine" in some post or another would be great.  ;-).

Would an article about research/subject guides be appropriate?  They are technologically savvy these days, offering a variety of material, from links to text to videos to RSS feeds.  It is something we struggle to let users know we offer, which is why I think it would be a good topic.

Information is the currency of democracy - T. Jefferson

Mary A. Axford

Georgia Tech Library


Karen Lauritsen (non-member)'s picture

I watched the video on the Douglas Library Digial Wall - the part where it shows users interacting with it is pretty awesome. I think that's a great share.

Is there a history of these suggestions somewhere I can see links? I'm just joining the conversation and don't know all the references.

We're working away on the video footage of our Science Cafe event and hope to have something short by the end of the month. Then I'll send it on to you via email Christina, with a write-up.

Karen Lauritsen
Communciations & Public Programs Coordinator
Robert E. Kennedy Library
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Andrea Davis (non-member)'s picture

Let's get some info from Steve Hargadon to talk about what Library2.0 / Classroom2.0 are doing partnering with the PBS NewsHour to bring the importance of critical journalism into the classroom - they had a virtual meetup yesterday to discuss: http://www.stevehargadon.com/2012/02/pbs-newshour-is-hoping-youll-give-them.html

More info on the project:

PBS NewsHour - EdIncubator


Gregory Landgraf (staff)'s picture

1. Libraries from other things: In doing the architecture feature for American Libraries this year, there are a fair number of cool adaptive reuse projects -- libraries that used to be historic barns, roller rinks, banks, and the like. It would be relatively easy for me to adapt that into a public-targeted piece about libraries making use of disused buildings, and often catalyzing development in the process.

2. It's not new, but the historical coolness value of this video from Yale seems to me to be in one of BB's wheelhouses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_eGdSp47Uw. It's a 1930 film showing librarians moving the collection to the then-new Sterling Memorial Library.

James Jacobs's picture

I was moved -- as I generally am by Barbara's writing! -- by Barbara Fister's latest LJ column "Joining the movement: a call to action". In the article, Fister argues forceably for librarians and others to join the boycott against Elsevier.

All of this leads me to wonder why on earth librarians continue to perpetuate the very system that we have been scolding scholars about for years. Many of our scholarly journals are published by the very corporations that supported the Research Works Act and which will continue to do what they can to maximize profits, which means making research in librarianship unavailable to many. Either we believe in open access, or we’re okay with the enclosure of knowledge. To preach open access without practicing it is baffling to me.

I think this would make a great BoingBoing post as she connects the issues facing libraries with broader efforts (eg. SOPA/PIPA) that are near and dear to boingBoing readers hearts.

Mary Ghikas's picture

I'm enjoying all the great ideas.  I need to caution you on this particular one, however.  You are an ALA group and posting stories to Boing Boing as a ALA group.  You cannot, therefore, in any way encourage a boycott.  This is not an ALA policy.  It is not about ALA's tax status (IRS code).  This is about U.S. antitrust law - which is criminal code.  It has to do with the fact that ALA is an association.  Individual members acting as individuals in their own space (such as a blog) are in a different position.  But, ALA's name and resources (including a member group, ALA Connect, other ALA "space") cannot be used.  There's really no leeway in this one.

Let me know if you have questions.  I can respond here -- or you can reach me directly at mghikas@ala.org or 312-280-2518. 


James Jacobs's picture

Hi Mary, Can you please post the part in the anti-trust law that states that associations cannot encourage a boycott. It seems an inherent contradiction that many of us *join* ALA in order to put our voices together to positively affect public policy surrounding libraries but are limited from doing just that. I have a couple other questions on that front: What are the differences/similarities w/ LBB posting about this and a division or roundtable creating a resolution in support (or against for that matter) that then passes ALA Council? Could a BB post simply mention about this growing boycott as one piece in librarians' wider efforts at open access etc without running afoul of anti-trust law? 

Mary Ghikas's picture

James, you are correct that people join associations to accomplish together that which would be less effectively accomplished individually.  That is, in fact, what ALA does in public policy areas.  So, ALA lobbies (within the limits of the law) in areas such as copyright, first amendment rights, and other areas.  We regularly urge ALA members to contact their elected representatives -- and provide information to help them do so most effectively.  ALA, through its elected Council, takes positions on a wide range of issues and publicizes those positions.  It is precisely that inherent bias toward collective action that makes associations (vs. non-association journals and blogs) particularly interesting to the law (and the Justice Dept.) in the area of antitrust.  In encouraging an economic boycott, you move from the public policy world of advocacy and lobbying to the world of antitrust law.  It would be illegal for ALA -- its Board, Council, Divisions, Round Tables or any other group using ALA's name (including LBB) -- to encourage an economic boycott.

Antitrust issues are relatively uncommon in the ALA world -- although this is certainly not the first in my experience here.  Antitrust issues arise in areas like this -- economic boycotts -- and also in what we can/cannot make "contingent" on membership.  So, for instance, ALA cannot require that a corporation be a corporate member to exhibit at ALA conferences -- though we can give corporate members special benefits.  We cannot require that an individual be a member to attend conferences -- but we can offer members a reduced registration price.  Antitrust issues also arise in areas such as accreditation, certification and access to research data.

There are many associations. Many -- usually 501(c)(6) organizations -- represent "industry" groups.  So, another way to look at this is that the Justice Department says an association like ALA can't encourage an economic boycott; it also says associations representing corporations in various industries -- including publishing -- can't use the "collective" power of the association to, for instance, fix prices or agree not to sell to someone.

None of this limits an individual, who may or may not be an ALA member, from supporting or even encouraging an economic boycott.  ALA's name and resources cannot be used.  We may not like the law -- but we are obligated to function in accordance with it.  Penalties in this area are criminal penalties -- and may be very substantial.

You also asked about citations. In this area, the actual statutes are both short and broad.  The economic boycott language is in case law -- and the case law is very complex.  This is a difficult --  and dangerous --  area of the law.    A read of the statutes alone would not provide a clear picture of what is permitted and prohibited under the antitrust law.  We work with legal counsel on each specific question. 


Beth Lander's picture

Here is a link that describes the Librotraficantes Caravan, which I think will be a totally cool thing, and I wish I could go ride along: 


The caravan will be making its way into Arizona in March with this purpose: 

"The caravan will be filled with authors and activists who will be taking banned books back into Arizona, to give to students. The bus will include banned authors, new authors, as well as concerned advocates of First Amendment rights of Equal Protection and Freedom of Speech. "The caravan is sponsored by Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say.  What do people think??Beth

Beth Lander
Director of Library Services
Manor College
Smitty Miller (non-member)'s picture

What do you get when you cross a librarian with a hot-rod shop?  Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it isn’t. A provincial Libraries and Literacy grant and a directive to ‘create a mobile initiative to promote adult literacy’ was the beginning of Fraser Valley Regional Library’s (BC, Canada) Library Live and On Tour, the first project of its kind in the library world and a literacy advocacy tool like no other.

Instead of the partnerships that libraries more commonly make—with other non-profit organizations—Library Live and On Tour ventured into the world of enterprise and found the most unlikely literacy supporters: guys with tattoos.

When it became apparent that the traditional go-to library mobile initiative—a bookmobile—was not a practical or affordable option, FVRL was challenged to be creative with resources and ideas.

The result is a mobile initiative that delivers the library to people who do not know about our libraries or have some obstacle to visiting them. Unlike bookmobiles, Library Live and On Tour stresses service through community development, access to information, adult literacy advocacy and awareness, rather than being exclusively about books.

The project is an exercise—in large part—in shattering stereotypes of libraries, librarians, and literacy. The centrepiece of the initiative is a highly noticeable and surprising little vehicle (LiLi) with very un-library-like enhancements.

Library Live and on Tour is one-month in...and we're starting to see some attention. The best article so far is from an auto journalist (!): http://www.examiner.com/article/lili-hits-the-road-to-deliver-the-librar...

Some great photos here: http://www.facebook.com/FraserValleyLibrary

And a nice local cable tv piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9BS479Sth4&feature=youtu.be

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Hey, Everybody --

We have a new post up on Boing Boing about Smitty Miller's amazing Library Live and On Tour (LiLi) initiative at the Fraser Valley Regional Library in BC, Canada. It's a pretty amazing project that's already having a big impact on the community after just a few weeks.

The Librarian and the Hot Rod - http://boingboing.net/2012/06/08/the-librarian-and-the-hot-rod.html



Steve Brantley's picture

My friend from libschool, Kris Bell is a childrens librarian in So. Cal. She had a program for teens on friday on do it yourself fix it type of stuff. She brought in people from ifixit.com, "the online repair manual you can edit". I'll write it up for lib boing boing. 



Steve Brantley
jsbrantley@ eiu.edu
Eastern Illinois University