Friday, September 21, 2007

Lost in Translation

What happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages? The authors of the Systran translation software probably never intended this application of their program. As of September 2007, translation software is almost good enough to turn grammatically correct, slang-free text from one language into grammatically incorrect, barely readable approximations in another. But the software is not equipped for 10 consecutive translations of the same piece of text. The resulting half-English, half-foreign, and totally non sequitur response bears almost no resemblance to the original. Remember the old game of "Telephone"? Something is lost, and sometimes something is gained. Try it for yourself!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Proposed Rule Changes for Public Library Accreditation

I received the following email from the Texas State Library.

Coordinators, system staff, members:
I apologize for the delay in sending this announcement. At the August Commission meeting we proposed some edits, updates, and a few changes to some public library accreditation rules. These were published in the August 24 issue of the Texas Register. Anyone who has comments on the proposed changes should send them to me in the next week by email or mail.
Go to - in the box on the right side click on the link for previous issues HTML - go to the August 24 issue (direct link ) - scroll down to the heading "Texas State Library and Archives Commission" - there is just one link
Please let me know if you have questions. Thanks
Deborah Littrell
Director, Library Development division
Texas State Library and Archives Commission PO Box 12927 Austin, TX 78711-2927
512-463-8800 fax

Monday, September 17, 2007

System Coordinator Meeting - September 13th

I attended a Coordinator’s meeting on Thursday, September 13th. Here are the highlights.

· Transforming Texas Libraries. The Texas State Library (TSL) and the Texas Library Association will be holding a series of meetings on what strategic directions Texas libraries should take in the next decade. It is called Transforming Texas Libraries. Steve Brown, the current President of TLA and Director of the North Richland Hills Public Library, thought of the idea and will be speaking about it at our October System meeting.
· Texas Education Agency (TEA) Study. TSL and TEA will be conducting a study of school libraries in the next year to determine what each agency should provide to this type of library. The report is due by December 2008.
· Long Range Plan Guidelines. We have the first draft of the guidelines. The guidelines state “TSLAC believes that the principal purposes of the systems are to bring libraries, regardless of type, together to share information and expertise, to engage in collaborative projects to strengthen library services for all Texans, and to provide continuing education and consulting services to the libraries in each region.” TSL preliminary budget for Systems in 2010 and 2011 is $4.3 million which is $300,000 less than the FY09 budget. With this amount of funding, NTRLS would receive $489,616 in 2010 and 2011. Our budget this year is $626,000 and our FY09 budget will be around $550,000. TSL stressed that the 2010 and 2011 figures were very preliminary with several factors still to be determined.
· TSL Competitive Grants. Competitive grants up to $75,000(very preliminary figure) will be available for Systems in FY09. The grants are due in March 2008. NTRLS staff will be working on developing a project that reaches multi-type libraries as this seems to be one of the primary focuses of the grants.
· Statewide Contracts for Materials. Contracts will be in place next week. The discounts are very similar to what NTRLS provides to its libraries through its material contracts. There is a fair degree of more paperwork involved to participate in the statewide contracts. The grant contracts should be available on the web sometime this week.
· Statistics. TSL has changed the way they want Systems to report their statistics. They are requiring more granular breakdown of the statistics on a quarterly basis. Reports on CE statistics are now available.

Friday, September 14, 2007

ALA releases report on technology access

Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007 Report

This is a long post - and the report is fairly lengthy - but it is worth your time to read it. Here is a highlight:

Libraries as Community Access Computing and Internet Access Points

Public libraries continue to provide important public access computing and Internet access in their communities:
• 99.7 percent of public library branches are connected to the Internet;
• 99.1 percent of public library branches offer public Internet access;
• 54.2 percent of public library branches offer wireless Internet access, up from 36.7 percent in 2006;
• 100 percent of urban library branches are connected to the Internet; and
• Public library branches have an average of 10.7 public access workstations, with rural libraries having an average of 7.1 workstations and high poverty libraries having 25.4 workstations.
Together these findings demonstrate the extent to which public libraries serve their communities through Internet connectivity.

The Addition, Upgrade, and Replacement Challenge
The survey data indicate that the average number of public access workstations is 10.7, a figure that has not changed significantly since the 2002 Public Libraries and the Internet study (the average number in 2002 was 10.8; the average number in 2004 was 10.4; the average number in 2006 was 10.7). Moreover, libraries are by and large not adding workstations (58 percent of libraries have no plans to add workstations in the coming year, and another 29 percent are “considering” adding but don’t know how many). Nor are libraries upgrading existing workstations; rather, they are essentially pursuing a workstation replacement strategy (nearly 50 percent).

Combined with the survey data on wireless Internet access in which respondents indicated that 51.9 percent of libraries are providing wireless access to expand service rather than adding workstations , it is clear that public libraries are neither adding nor upgrading workstations. Instead, they are replacing what workstations they have to the extent possible and
expanding public access by allowing patrons to bring in their own technology.

Reasons that respondents cited for the inability to add workstations include space (76.1 percent), cost (72.6 percent), and infrastructure (e.g., cabling, electrical outlets; 31.2 percent).

Reasons cited for the inability to replace public access workstations include cost (84.1 percent), maintenance (maintenance (37.8 percent), and staff (28.1 percent) (see Figure 14). Thus the challenges faced by libraries in enhancing their public access workstation infrastructure include a range of cost, building, and personnel issues.

Quality of Public Access
A key issue woven through the survey’s findings is that, while public libraries provide a substantial amount of public access Internet and computing service, the overall physical infrastructure they are able to provide may be lacking in quality. Take the below data points as
• Bandwidth has essentially remained unchanged since the 2006 survey. For example, 62.1 percent of public libraries report connection speeds of greater than 769kbps, as compared to 63.3 percent in 2006.
• Overall, 16.6 percent of respondents reported that their connection is the maximum speed that they can acquire, 18.1 percent cannot afford to increase their bandwidth, and 19.3 percent indicated that they could increase their bandwidth but had no plans to do so.

Thus, over 50 percent of libraries indicate that they will not be increasing their bandwidth for a range of reasons – affordability, ability, or availability.
• At the same time, roughly 52 percent of respondents reported that their connectivity speed is insufficient some or all of the time . This is up about 6 percent from 2006.
• Nearly 80 percent of respondents report that they have insufficient workstations some (58.8 percent) or all (18.7 percent) of the time. These figures are fairly consistent with the 2006 survey findings, in which 13.7 percent of respondents reported insufficient workstations all of the time and 71.7 percent of respondents reported insufficient workstations some of the time.
• Just below 50 percent of public libraries report that their wireless connections share the same bandwidth as their public access workstations.

So how does your library compare??

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Museums, Libraries, and Archives Urged to Apply for Free IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf

The following is press release from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). An HTML version of this release can be read on the agency's Web site at

September 5, 2007
Press Contacts
Jeannine Mjoseth,
Mamie Bittner,

Museums, Libraries, and Archives Urged to Apply for Free IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf

Washington, DC-To help raise the conservation IQ of museums, libraries, and archives, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in cooperation with the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH), is offering 2000 free copies of the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a core set of books, DVDs, online resources, and an annotated bibliography that are essential for the care of collections. A simple electronic application for the IMLS Bookshelf is available at
"The IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf is a set of 'power tools'
that will provide immediate answers to conservation issues faced by museums, libraries, and archives," said IMLS Director Anne-Imelda Radice, Ph.D. "We also hope that the IMLS Bookshelf will spark interest among individuals who will study it and become their institutions' go-to people for conservation matters."
The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries' special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens, and nature centers. It will address such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues. Recipients of the Bookshelf will also receive a user's guide, including an annotated bibliography. A guide to online resources on collections care is also being prepared by Heritage Preservation (HP), a national non-profit organization working to preserve America's collective heritage. Both documents will be available online.
Two panels of experts,* convened by HP, made recommendations to IMLS on the contents of the bookshelf. Among the publications selected were The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping (published by the British National Trust in 2005), the Field Guide to Emergency Response (published by Heritage Preservation in 2006), and Essentials of Conservation Biology (published by Primack in 2006).
The IMLS Bookshelf will be awarded free in two application periods:
September 1 - November 15, 2007, with recipients announced in February 2008; and March 1 - April 15, 2008, with recipients announced in July 2008. Instructions, qualifications, and the content of the IMLS Bookshelf, along with the online application, can be found at
Priority will be given to smaller institutions, but large museums and libraries with special collections are also eligible to apply. Federally operated institutions, for-profit institutions, and libraries that do not hold special collections are not eligible to receive the Bookshelf.
For more information on the IMLS Bookshelf, email Terry Jackson at, or call 615-320-3203.
*Expert advisors for the non-living collection texts included: Ellen Cunningham-Kruppa, director of the William and Margaret Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record, University of Texas, Austin; Jeanne Drewes, chief of Binding and Collections Care of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Cathy Hawks, private conservator specializing in object conservation; Melissa Heaver, registrar at the Fire Museum of Maryland, Lutherville, MD; Wendy Jessup, private conservator specializing in preventive conservation; and Debra Hess Norris, Henry Francis du Pont Chair in Fine Arts and Chairperson of the Department of Art Conservation at Winterthur/University of Delaware, Winterthur, DE.
*Expert advisors for the living collections texts included Sylvan Kaufman, conservation curator of the Adkins Arboretum, Ridgely, MD; Bill Langbauer, director of Science and Conservation, Pittsburgh Zoo; Brandie Smith, interim director of conservation and science, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Silver Spring, MD; and Dan Stark, executive director, American Public Gardens Association, Wilmington, DE.
The IMLS Bookshelf has received support from the Getty Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation and is part of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a three-year initiative to help improve the care of our nation's collections. IMLS began the initiative in response to A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America's Collections, a 2005 Heritage Preservation study supported by IMLS, which documented the dire state of the nation's collections. See for more information.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.
The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit
The American Association for State and Local History is a non-profit membership organization comprising individuals, agencies, and organizations acting in the public trust, engaged in the practice of history, and representing a variety of disciplines and professions. It provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans. To learn more, visit
The Getty Foundation provides support to institutions and individuals throughout the world, funding a diverse range of projects that promote the understanding and conservation of the visual arts. The Foundation is part of the J. Paul Getty Trust which also includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, and the Getty Conservation Institute. To learn more, visit
The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R.
Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. With assets of approximately $750 million, the Luce Foundation supports American art, higher education, Asian affairs, theology, and women in science and engineering. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Librarian Live - Podcasts by librarians for librarians

Hi. For the last six months, the North Texas Regional Library System(NTRLS) has been producing a podcast called Librarian Live. We had produced four on our own in a pilot project. I am happy to report that we received nothing but encouraging feedback concerning the episodes. With this in mind, NTRLS decided to move it out of the pilot project stage by seeking partners. During the summer, we signed up three: Central Texas Library System, Alamo Area Library System and the New Mexico State Library. We created a project website and determined a schedule. I am very proud to announce that the fifth episode of Librarian Live is now available online through It is about our recent Children and Youth Conference for Librarians 2007. Carolyn Davidson interviewed two attendees from the conference. Fantastic stuff! You can also subscribe to the feed. We are very excited by the opportunities this project will provide to our member libraries and the library community as a whole. Please let me know of any feedback. Thank you.

Top Ten Excuses for Not Asking

As we all start looking for additional funding, don't forget your local supporters. As the excuses begin, here is a different way to think through them

After the committees have been put together and the first fundraising meeting begins, that's when they start. You may recognize them as “yes, but . . .,” or that old stand-by “let's not get too hasty” – “The Excuses” are a sure sign that your campaign leaders are nervous about getting started. From the sublime to the ridiculous, there is no shortage of creativity when “The Excuses” get started.

Here are some of our all-time greatest hits:
1. They gave a big gift to our last campaign. We know they will give again.
2. They told us they wouldn't give to us again.
3. They just remodeled their house.
4. They have two kids in college.
5. They are going to / just got back from (insert expensive vacation spot here).
6. Their business isn't doing so well.
7. They don't have much money.
8. They are strange/odd/difficult to deal with.
9. They're just not ready! Let's do more cultivation.
10. They just gave to __________'s campaign.

Read the complete article in the September 2007 edition of Texas Non Profits.