Ursula Le Guin Sounds the Alarm: A tribute, and call to arms, to writers and readers

If you haven’t heard or read the eloquent Ursula Le Guin speech, that brought the audience to their feet, upon accepting the distinguished contribution to American letters award at the 65th annual National Book Awards ceremony in New York this week – you must:

View the speech at NPR: “Book News: Ursula K. Le Guin Steals The Show At The National Book Awards,” November 20, 2014

Read the speech at various websites, including:

The Guardian: “Ursula K Le Guin’s speech at National Book Awards: ‘Books aren’t just commodities'”

New Yorker, “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”: Ursula Le Guin and Last Night’s N.B.A.s,” by Rachel Arons.

Full text from the Guardian:

“To the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks, from the heart. My family, my agents, my editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as my own, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice in accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who’ve been excluded from literature for so long – my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for 50 years have watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries – realists of a larger reality.

Right now, we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.

Yet I see sales departments given control over editorial. I see my own publishers, in a silly panic of ignorance and greed, charging public libraries for an e-book six or seven times more than they charge customers. We just saw a profiteer try to punish a publisher for disobedience, and writers threatened by corporate fatwa. And I see a lot of us, the producers, who write the books and make the books, accepting this – letting commodity profiteers sell us like deodorant, and tell us what to publish, what to write.

Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.

I’ve had a long career as a writer, and a good one, in good company. Here at the end of it, I don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds; but the name of our beautiful reward isn’t profit. Its name is freedom.

How Do You Know You’re a Librarian? (Free book download)

You are willing to read books like this one! “The LCSH Century: One Hundred Years with the Library of Congress Subject Headings System.” [This is a link to a free download of the book. Librarians are founding members of the "sharing economy." We educate, inform, and entertain.]

Or, support your local book-buying economy and get a bound copy suitable for gift-giving:

Stone, Alva T, ed. “The LCSH Century: One Hundred Years with the Library of Congress Subject Headings System.” New York: Routledge, 2013. 025.49 LCSH ISBN 978-0789011695
“The LCSH Century traces the 100-year history of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, from its beginning with the implementation of a dictionary catalog in 1898 to the present day. You will explore the most significant changes in LCSH policies and practices, including a summary of other contributions celebrating the centennial of the world’s most popular library subject heading language.”

Law Librarians and Legal Information Professionals in a World That Needs (Legal Research) Help

Also from LawSites: an inspiring view of the legal information world of today (which will be tomorrow really, really soon):

Turning Challenges into Opportunities: New Directions for Legal Information Professionals

Leaving aside the hilarious Dilbert & Wally 9/5/01 cartoon regarding opportunities and challenges, I have to agree with Bob Ambrogi when he says, “To my mind, there has never been a more exciting or important time to be a legal information professional.” [Link to full article.]

And my favorite item in his list of roles for librarians, “Librarians as Experimenters”

Not only do legislators, lawyers, and self-represented litigants need law librarians, but so do the creators, deciders, and innovators, e.g. the Fastcase 50 (which “highlights entrepreneurs, innovators, and trailblazers — people who have charted a new course for the delivery of legal services“): Heaven knows most could improve upon their products if they consult with professional law librarians.

Fourth Annual Oregon Archives Crawl (10/18/14)

Fourth Annual Oregon Archives Crawl (Portland-based)
Saturday, October 18th
10:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Everyone is invited to join us for the 4th Oregon Archives Crawl this October in celebration of Oregon Archives Month. Travel between the Portland Archives and Records Center, the Multnomah County Central Library and the Oregon Historical Society. At each location there will be a variety of activities to choose from so you might want to start early.

The Portland Archives and Records Center (PARC) is happy to be hosting nine organizations this year ….” [Link to website for full details.]

Law Libraries and Access to Justice, AALL Special Committee on Access to Justice 2014 Report

LAW LIBRARIES AND ACCESS TO JUSTICE, A Report of the American Association of Law Libraries, Special Committee on Access to Justice, July 2014

AALL’s new white paper, Law Libraries and Access to Justice: A Report of the American Association of Law Libraries Special Committee on Access to Justice, is now available on AALLNET. The white paper is the work of AALL’s 2013-14 Access to Justice Special Committee, chaired by Sara Galligan, and explores how all types of law libraries – including private; state, court, and county; and academic – contribute to the ATJ movement.

As AALL Past President Steven P. Anderson noted in his introduction, “As the principal providers of legal information, law libraries are an indispensable part of the services that can be provided to those with legal needs. Law libraries make “The Law” available, and law librarians serve as guides to finding the most relevant legal information.” The white paper explains the myriad ways law libraries can contribute to the administration of an effective ATJ system and successfully work with others on the front lines of ATJ.” [Link to a PDF of the full Report.]

What Happens if Your Library Systems Go Down?

Don’t let it be a disaster. Short and sweet, from iLibrarian:

What Happens if Your Library Systems Go Down?

For full-fledged disasters (floods, fire, earthquakes, hurricanes, shooters, bomb threats, bombs, building collapse, etc.) check with your managers, your organization, and your local librarian community for specific and recommended disaster planning checklists. (And if they don’t help, use The Google! Don’t let others’ failure to prepare become your disaster.)

Free Online Space Planning Tools for Libraries (and other spaces)

Blog posts on the topic:

Additional suggestions from fellow law librarians:

1) Sketchup: Sketchup is suitable for libraries but definitely targets the home renovation crowd. The free version was sufficient for our planning. I found useful for:

  • Planning, visualizing, and revising our floor space during the brainstorming phase
  • Using the 3d model to preview my ideas to my directors
  • Using the 3d model to show the building architect our intent – this was quite fun, actually, the architect did not expect us to have all the details
  • And, finally, comparing the 3d model with the actual space during the build-out phase – the model helped the contractors see how the shelves would be installed and prevents them from putting thermostats, electrical conduits, and light-switches in “bad places”

2) MS Paint: I scanned in an existing floor plan as a starting point. Then, I altered it in MS Paint (in Windows: Start button -> Accessories folder -> Paint).

3) MS Publisher: I used Microsoft Publisher, which was already on our computers, to draw boxes for layouts of our new space and for new shelve layouts (trying to implement LC classification for our books).

4) MS Excel: While not exactly free, it has useful drawing, borders and scalable grid features. I’ve used it for years to do library floor plans, shelf layouts, and even kitchen and bath remodels.

5) Google Sketchup: Was the easiest I found to use. Take a map or something that has your floor plan to scale, scan it in to the the computer, then trace over it in Google Sketchup. Make sure to do the floor plan to scale, and then you can search other people’s objects and find a model of pretty much any mass produced furniture. Then you click and drag that model onto your floor plan and arrange as you like.

6) Gliffy: Library floor plan created using Gliffy, a web-based diagram and flowchart software. I found it relatively simple to use, but in case you wanted more information, here are some reviews about it:

Thank you to fellow law-lib listserv contributors!

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the Comments or email us at oregonlegalresearch@yahoo.com.

Guide to Image Collections with Millions of Free, Hi-Res Images

iLibrarian post: A Guide to Little-Known Image Collections with Millions of Free, Hi-Res Images

…. There have been several new image collections that have opened up to the public just within the past year that not many people are aware of yet, but they offer access to thousands, or in some cases millions of outstanding photographs that can be downloaded for free….” [Link to full post.]

This is quite a treasure trove. Use of images will vary. For example:

“available for free download for non-commercial use”

“The images may be used for commercial or personal purposes, with an acknowledgement of the original source (Wellcome Library, London).”

“free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.”

“These are for personal, non-commercial use only.”

“Each image specifies its license,many of which are remixable and have no copyright associated with them at all.”

“Most NOAA photos and slides are in the public domain and CANNOT be copyrighted while a few photos are known to have copyright restrictions are so noted. Credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.