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Archive for September, 2010

Banned Book Week 2010


It is the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week, highlighting their continued fight against censorship. There are some familiar titles in the list and some new ones that surprised me. It would be interesting to see what books gather the most complaints in New Zealand libraries.

Stephenie Meyer joins ranks of ‘most challenged’ authors by Alison Flood [The Guardian]

The Twilight books are among the books that have received most calls to be banned from from US libraries

Queen of teen vampire romance Stephenie Meyer has topped every bestseller chart going but she has now made it onto a less coveted chart, after her Twilight books joined the ranks of those most frequently requested to be banned from US libraries.

Meyer’s novels, about the romance between a human teenage girl and a vampire, came fifth on the American Library Association’s list of books which people tried hardest to ban in the last year. This is the first time the Mormon author’s novels have appeared in the line-up – JK Rowling and Philip Pullman are both veterans of the list – with complaints about both their level of sexual explicitness and their “religious viewpoint”.

“It is the books which are read frequently which are frequently challenged – with all the hype around Twilight and the movies and the celebrities I was actually surprised Meyer’s books weren’t higher,” said Angela Maycock at the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom. Vampire books in general accumulated a host of complaints last year, Maycock said, with “the idea of vampires and other supernatural entities in opposition to certain religious viewpoints”. JK Rowling doesn’t make it into this year’s list but her Harry Potter books were the most challenged of the last decade, the ALA said today, with complaints over their “satanism” and “anti-family themes”.

The most challenged books of 2009 were Lauren Myracle’s young adult series of books TTYL, written entirely in the style of instant messaging. A host of objections were made to Myracle’s books – over their language, coverage of drugs and sexual explicitness. “These books deal realistically with young adult lives – the ickyness, the weirdness of adolescence and the difficult situations lots of teens face,” said Maycock. “Twilight of course deals with adolescence too, but is very much about the supernatural. It’s interesting that both realism and fantasy are causing high levels of concern.”

Continue Reading Here

The top 10 titles most challenged titles of 2009 were:

1. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle, reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, reasons: Homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer, reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler, reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker, reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

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All’s Quiet On The Library Front


I have found myself recently in the unusual position of having nothing much to say. Maybe it’s the weather 😆

So anyway have a look at this…

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Shameless promotion


Of Michael’s podiobook The Spiral Tattoo.

Here is the blurb:

When you’re six inches tall and can fly, life can be tough in a big persons world. What better then than to be partnered with a seven foot troll. She’s the brawn and I’m the brains, and if you believe that I have a castle to sell you. She joined the guard to gain respectability, I joined the guard to escape. I’m Gurt and she’s Elanore Fursk. Don’t forget it. In the darkened alleys of Delvenport the discovery of a naked corpse sets off a surprising chain of events. Leads will unravel at every turn, although Elanore appears to know what’s going on. I just tag along for the ride. With the rising tide of drugs, magic and ambition that threatens to engulf our city, trouble will lurk in our every shadow. But as long as no-one puts a knife in Elanore, or calls me a girly voiced fairy then the bodies won’t be piled too high. Otherwise all bets are off!

I had the honour of reading the manuscript and enjoyed it a lot – am looking forward to the sequel. 😛 No pressure Michael!

If you like crime, mystery and especially in a different world then this one will appeal.

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What an interesting experiment. It certainly tells a tale of modern society that there is a fuss over this. I know some workplaces ban various Social Media, but I think that is short sighted and denies the workplace a valuable medium for communication…

Uni bans Facebook, Twitter [From Stuff]

A central Pennsylvania technological college with fewer students than many Facebook users have friends is blacking out social media for a week.

The bold experiment at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology – which has drawn praise, criticism and even a jab on late-night TV – means students and staff can’t access Facebook, Twitter or a host of other ubiquitous social networks while on campus.

Provost Eric Darr said the exercise that began Monday is not a punishment for the school’s 800 students, nor a precursor to a ban, but a way for people to think critically about the prevalence of social media.

The blackout comes on the heels of a report that web users in the US spend more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google, according to data released last week from researchers at comScore

Still, Darr said he can’t believe the controversy generated in the Twitterverse, blogosphere and academia, with some accusing the school of inflicting “a terrible thing and an infringement upon people’s rights.”

“By and large, the students are supportive of the whole exercise and don’t get so worked up over it,” Darr said.

Read the rest here

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As you know I am really impressed with the concept behind Waimakariri Libraries Twitter account First_Lines, where they take the first line of a book and tweet it with a link back to the catalog.

In fact I am so impressed I asked if they would mind if I used it on the Tararua Library Twitter account. They, being lovely collegial people said yes. In fact we had an idea to make it a challenge. Let see what first lines libraries can find. So for all you library tweeters out there, tweet the first line of a book with a link back to your catalog. Include the hastag #firstlines and lets see how many like the same ones, how many bad ones there are and how many good ones!

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Pirate Hat Wednesday


My crazy Twitter friends have decreed today is Pirate Hat Wedesday (for no particular reason).  It’s not too late to join in!

See Ruth’s post for the “rules”.

Here’s my Mini-pirate hat:

PiratehatWednesday

Aarrrrrr, I fergot me patch!

PiratehatWednesday

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Google Instant – A New Revolution


What can you do with the saved time? Google certainly do push the boundaries.

Really it’s quite an interesting development, and if you look at the figures Google has put out below, and start doing some math, you get a picture of just how much dominance Google has as the search engine of choice.  The implications for our users will be immense.

There is one drawback as far as I can see. Will users start to miss stuff they might previously seen? If you use that function chances are you will click on the first result that pops up before you even finish typing your search. Will that mean that Google Rankings become even more important to your website?

About Google Instant

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type.

The most obvious change is that you get to the right content much faster than before because you don’t have to finish typing your full search term, or even press “search.” Another shift is that seeing results as you type helps you formulate a better search term by providing instant feedback. You can now adapt your search on the fly until the results match exactly what you want. In time, we may wonder how search ever worked in any other way

Did you know:

  • Before Google Instant, the typical searcher took more than 9 seconds to enter a search term, and we saw many examples of searches that took 30-90 seconds to type.
  • Using Google Instant can save 2-5 seconds per search.
  • If everyone uses Google Instant globally, we estimate this will save more than 3.5 billion seconds a day. That’s 11 hours saved every second.
  • 15 new technologies contribute to Google Instant functionality.

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