Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yes, our copyright law can get your ass sued

Georgia Straight: 2008 January 31
By Blaine Kyllo

Recently, I was surprised to learn that I’m a lawbreaker. I haven’t been convicted—not yet. But I’ve been committing crimes for years without knowing it.

And you may have been too.

When I record Family Guy to watch later in the evening, after my young daughter has gone to bed, I’m breaking the law. I broke the law when I ripped Feist’s The Reminder to my computer so I could listen to “1234” on my iPod. In each case, I violated Canada’s Copyright Act.

These are examples of time and format shifting. I pay for the television signal that comes into my apartment, and I believe I should have the right to record a show now and watch it next week. I believe that when I purchase a CD, I should have the right to listen to those songs on any device I want. But I don’t have those rights. In other countries such actions are allowed under the concept of fair use. In Canada, we talk about fair dealing, but our copyright laws don’t give us much freedom to use the content we pay for.

Bringing Canada’s copyright legislation up-to-date is on the Conservative government’s agenda. Responsibility for the reform rests with Industry Minister Jim Prentice, along with Josée Verner, minister of Canadian heritage, with whom he would table the legislation.

While we don’t know exactly what is in Prentice’s legislation, noted copyright and Internet-law expert Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, says there is sufficient evidence to inform speculation about what the minister has planned. Critics such as Geist don’t expect Prentice’s bill to amend the concept of fair dealing, which means that using your digital video recorder will still be illegal. And if you want to listen to a CD on anything other than a CD player, unless it includes additional files, you’ll be expected to buy it in other formats.

It’s what Prentice is likely to add to our copyright law that is dangerous. It’s thought that he wants to bring in anticircumvention provisions, which would make it illegal to work around or break digital locks. So a blind student who wants to run an audio book through her voice reader could be prosecuted for using software to circumvent the audio book’s digital-rights management. Converting your iTunes-purchased music into a format you can play on a non-iPod MP3 player could also land you in court.

DRM technologies also pose a risk to privacy because they can collect information about users to be sent to the copyright holder without a user’s knowledge. It’s a serious enough issue that Canada’s privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart, recently sent a letter to Prentice and Verner warning that permitting such data collection would threaten the privacy of Canadians.

Digital locks are a blunt tool: they are used to protect copyrighted content, but are unable to make exceptions for the professor who is conducting legitimate, legal research, the journalist writing film criticism, or the comedian using television clips in a parody.

Prentice has met with the U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, to talk about copyright reform. He’s met with lobbyists for the American entertainment industry. But he’s ignored requests to hear the concerns of Canadian educators, librarians, musicians, artists, consumer-rights groups, and technologists.

The U.S. media corporations want Canada to mirror that country’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In the 10 years since the act came into effect, more than 20,000 individuals have been sued by the recording industry for copyright infringement. How much of the “recovered” money was passed on to the artists who wrote and performed that music? No one knows for sure, but precious little, if any.

In a news release, Steven Page, member of the Barenaked Ladies and representative of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition (other members include Feist, Avril Lavigne, Sarah McLachlan, Broken Social Scene, and Sloan), quipped, “It’s shortsighted to say ‘See you in court’ one day and ‘See you at Massey Hall’ the next. If record labels want to try and sue fans, we hope that they’ll have the courtesy to stop trying to do it in our names.” The CMCC is one of several groups that have called upon the government to come up with a made-in-Canada response to copyright reform.

The industry minister has said that his intent is to get Canada in line with a World Intellectual Property Organization treaty we signed in 1997. But the draconian measures he is expected to propose far exceed what is required to ratify the treaty.

In Canada, using measures like CanCon requirements, we go to great lengths to ensure that our creators, be they musicians, writers, or artists, have an opportunity to make their voices heard over the din to the south. Bending over to American interests when it comes to copyright would invalidate those efforts.

Which makes me wonder why we haven’t heard a peep from Verner, the minister of Canadian heritage. Neither of the ministers’ offices responded to telephone requests from the Straight for an interview. And neither has addressed Canadians’ concerns about copyright reform.

Somehow, what would normally be a dry and boring subject has become a hot-button issue. The listeners of CBC Radio’s Search Engine program came up with a list of 250 questions to ask Prentice, and when he ignored an invitation to appear on the show, about 50 people showed up at his constituency Christmas party to ask questions in person. The Facebook group Geist started back in December, Fair Copyright for Canada, had 15,000 members within 10 days of launching, and now has nearly 40,000.

Prentice and Verner planned to introduce the legislation on December 11, but it was delayed, some suggest due to public outcry. In a recent e-mail exchange, Geist said that his sources expect the bill to be introduced early in the new parliamentary session, which began on January 28.

The Conservative government, it seems, just wants the bill tabled, and will deal with the consequences afterward. I wonder if they’re ready to lose a federal election. That’s one hell of a consequence.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Director of library program honored

Spartan Daily: 2008 January 30

On the fourth floor of SJSU's Clark Hall sits the office of Ken Haycock, and he is the director of the largest library and information science program in the world with more than 2,000 graduate students.

"We have students in almost every state and 20 different countries," Haycock said.

As a notable contributor to the success of SJSU's School of Library and Information Science and to The Association for Library and Information Science Education, or ALISE for short, Haycock was awarded the association's national service award for 2008.

"ALISE is significantly more functional and effective in seeking to fulfill its mission because of Ken's investment in the long-term success of the organization," said Heidi Julien, associate professor at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Haycock has been a member of ALISE for 27 years - serving two terms on the Board of Directors and as president from 2005-06.

He has represented the organization in national and international forums as well as chairing various association committees.

His most notable contributions to ALISE were his reorganization of the association's system of governance, initiation of a new strategic planning process and development of criteria for the performance of managers.

They were having difficulty with direction, Haycock said, so he worked with the board to create efficiency.

When Haycock ended his term as governance committee chair, the organization had reached its highest net revenue and membership in 10 years, according to the nomination letter for the award."

While he was president, he went through the process of making the association more effective," said Dr. William Buchanan, chair of the ALISE Service Award Committee. "He left us in a much better place than when he came in."

Haycock's recruitment efforts helped SJSU faculty make up more than 10 percent of ALISE's total membership."

Dr. Haycock is one of he most highly regarded individuals in our field," said Sharon McQueen, one of a dozen members who nominated Haycock. "I feel certain that Dr. Haycock was the clear front-runner for this award."

ALISE is an organization composed of 1,000 members and 75 programs at universities in North America, and its mission is to promote the scholarship of education in library and information science.

"He's really put the association in a very good light nationally and internationally," Buchanan said. "I think that his work will just echo down through the years."

Haycock also has his own international consulting firm, Ken Haycock & Associates, Inc., specializing in association management, which helps organizations to develop the capacity for collaboration, leadership and advocacy.

Parent Congress - Sharing views?

The second annual Parent Congress was held yesterday in Vancouver, bringing together more than 100 B.C. parents to talk to minister Shirley Bond about the education system....

Patti Bacchus said:
What can families do to help schools promote literacy?
Note: No mention anywhere of funding for school librarians, library resources...

Several good parent questions about need for books, librarians, early assessment. I did not get the impression the minister was interesting in "engaging" at any length about these questions...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Adrienne Clarkson, Roy MacGregor, Carolyn Weaver to judge national letter writing contest; CanWest Raise-A-Reader, Canada Post, Tourism PEI to sponsor

Adrienne Clarkson, Roy MacGregor, Carolyn Weaver to judge national letter writing contest; CanWest Raise-A-Reader, Canada Post, Tourism PEI to sponsor

TORONTO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables, Penguin Group (Canada) will launch a national letter-writing contest on February 9, 2008, inviting Canadians of all ages to write to Anne Shirley, telling her in 500 words or less, what she means tothem.

The letter-writing contest, an initiative sponsored by Penguin, in partnership with Canwest Raise-A-Reader, Tourism PEI, and Canada Post will open on February 9, 2008, and close on April 30, 2008, marking the publication of three official 100th Anniversary books from Penguin. The books include the highly anticipated prequel, Before Green Gables, by Governor General's Award finalist Budge Wilson. Also to be released from Penguin are Imagining Anne: The Island Scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery, an elaborate collection showcasing Montgomery's extensive scrapbooks, orchestrated for the first time in one single volume by Montgomery scholar Dr. Elizabeth Epperly, and a special 100th Anniversary Edition of L.M. Montgomery's original Anne of Green Gables, containing a new introduction from two of Montgomery's grandchildren.

The contest is open to residents of Canada. Twenty letters will be selected randomly from four age categories and five will be forwarded to a national jury for adjudication. The national jury will be chaired by Canada's twenty-sixth Governor-General, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson. Other jury members include bestselling author and Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor; Rogers Fine Print Host Carolyn Weaver; Robert Waite, Senior Vice President, Stakeholder Relations and Brand at Canada Post; Scott Anderson, Senior Vice President, Content for Canwest, and Kate Macdonald Butler, L.M. Montgomery's grand-daughter.

Contest entries will be judged on four criteria: each worth up to 25 points: originality, spelling and grammar, relevance to subject, and style.The winner in each age category will receive a $2,500 travel voucher from The Travel Store for travel to and from Prince Edward Island, courtesy of Tourism PEI. The winners will be invited to visit Charlottetown and Avonlea village, and will receive complimentary tickets to Anne of Green Gables The Musical at the Confederation Centre. Winners and runners-up will also receive a library of Penguin's 100th Anniversary editions, acommemorative stamp to be issued by Canada Post, and a commemorative coin to be issued by The Royal Canadian Mint.

In accepting the appointment to chair the national jury for the letterwriting competition, Adrienne Clarkson said:

"I am delighted to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Anne of GreenGables by chairing a panel of national judges. It's a terrific idea and I look forward to reading the letters. In my memoir, Heart Matters, I write about how Anne helped me, as a little immigrant girl, become a Canadian. Anne is the most important "character" in my life! Count me in!"

Contest entry forms will also be available at participating retailers including Indigo, Shoppers Drug Mart, Overwaitea,,,and fine bookstores across Canada. Over 300 book displays ship from Penguin's warehouse this week.

Anne of Green Gables has sold 50 million copies worldwide in over twenty different languages since its original publication in 1908. The prequel, Before Green Gables, announced in October, 2006, will be published by Penguin internationally. Japanese rights to the prequel were sold to Shinshosha Publishing for publication in June, 2008.
  • "Anne of Green Gables, Before Green Gables and other indica of Anne are trademarks of the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority Inc."
  • "L.M. Montgomery" and "L.M. Montgomery's signature and cat design" are trademarks of Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.

For further information: Yvonne Hunter, Director, Publicity and
Marketing, Penguin Group Canada, (416) 928-2409, 100; Lynn
Munro, Corporate Affairs, Literacy Programs, CanWest Raise-A-Reader, (204)
953-7765; Nicole Lemire, Manager, Media Relations, Canada Post, (613)
734-8888; Robert Ferguson, Manager of Advertising and Promotion, Tourism PEI,
(902) 368-5522; Shauna Klein, Manager, Marketing & Strategic Alliances, Girl
Guides of Canada, (416) 487-5281 xt. 248; Alexandre Reeves, Manager/Chef,
Communications, Royal Canadian Mint/Monnaie Royale Canadienne, (613) 949-5777


Ministry of Education
Jan. 28, 2008

VANCOUVER – Parents of B.C. students in kindergarten through Grade 12 can now access educational resources online through LearnNow BC, a partnership between the Province and the Virtual School Society, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.

“Children whose parents are involved in their learning are often more successful in school,” said Bond. “The new Parent Information Network will make it easier than ever for parents to participate in their child’s school community, no matter where they live in B.C.”

The Parent Information Network (PIN) is a one-stop online resource for parents looking for up-to-date information relevant to their child’s learning and experiences at school. The information component of the site contains several topics, including:
  • A Learning Support section that includes information on tutoring, literacy and supports for ESL and students with special needs in B.C.
  • A Parent Involvement section that outlines the various ways parents can participate in their child’s school community.
  • A Health and Safety section that includes information about daily physical activity and healthy eating guidelines in B.C. schools, codes of conduct, and information on seismic upgrades to schools in B.C.
  • A section on Graduation that outlines the requirements for graduation from the B.C. school system and includes information about post-secondary education and career planning.
  • A Learning Options section that highlights the types of schools and learning methods available in B.C.

The site, which was built in consultation with B.C. parents and the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, also includes information on early learning and adult education programs available for B.C.’s lifelong learners. The interactive component of the site features video clips and provides a forum to facilitate communication between parents around the province. The network allows parents to create and attend virtual meetings, so more parents can get involved in the B.C. education system while reducing the amount of travel necessary and, in turn, helping to create a greener B.C. Parents and guardians can access the Parent Information Network through the LearnNow BC website at

“Every parent wants what’s best for their child, and the technologies we've used for LearnNow BC are helping to reach children in ways that best help them learn,” said Gordon Milne, president of the Virtual School Society. “Through the new Parent Information Network, we’re now able to help parents support their children to achieve success in their learning – and we welcome input from parents around the province on ways to improve the site.”

Parents are an important education partner, and we are committed to giving them a greater voice in the B.C. education system,” said Bond. “The Parent Information Network provides vital information that will help unite parents in an interactive, provincial dialogue.”

The Parent Information Network fulfils a throne speech commitment to provide parents with up-to-date information on programs and research that can help their children excel in school.

The Ministry of Education and Virtual School Society launched the Parent Information Network in Vancouver today, as part of the second annual Parent Congress, where more than 130 parents from around the province shared their vision for the future of education. The Parent Congress helps fulfil government’s
throne speech commitment to communicate directly with B.C.’s education partners and seek their ideas for positive change. The Parent Congress complements conversations at the Learning Roundtable, the Teacher Congress and Student Congress.

Family Literacy Day another big hit

Woodstock Sentinel Review: 2008 January 28

WOODSTOCK - Learning was fun this weekend at the Family Literacy Day event held at St. Mary’s High School in Woodstock.

Hundreds of families turned up at the sixth annual event that marks a national day encouraging families to read together.

Reading as a family and reading for enjoyment are essential for children and their reading and learning development, said Darlene Pretty, the Woodstock Public Library’s head of children’s services and member of the Family Literacy Day committee.

"When a family reads together, it instills a life of reading and learning in children," she said.

"The event has grown over the years and many families return each year. We grew out of our Fanshawe College space used last years.

"It was free for families to register and every child received a free book.

"We have every type of book, for babies to teenagers," Pretty said.In the craft area, children giggled and ran towards special guests, Clifford, Little Red Riding Hood and Curious George.

There were also local celebrities on hand to read their favourite children’s books to eager crowds. Mayor Michael Harding, OPP Const. Laurie-Anne Maitland and community services manager Brad Janssen were among the group. There was also a Scholastics book fair.In the cafeteria, where children picked out their free book, Kozmo, a fluffy golden dog, and Jennifer Simpson, from St. John’s Ambulance, greeted kids.

"What book did you get?" Simpson asked the kids petting Kozmo.

Simpson is the co-ordinator of a pilot program that brings gentle, child-tested and trained dogs into schools, where students can read to them.

"Instead of going into remedial reading, the kids can read aloud to the dogs," she said.

"Kids aren’t embarrassed to tell their friends, because its fun."

The dog just sits and listens. They don’t judge like adults and other children do, Simpson said. A similar program started two years ago in Kitchener, has had tremendous success.

The pilot program just started at Northdale and Algonquin public schools in Woodstock.

There is also a program at Rolph Street Public School in Tillsonburg.After meeting Kozmo, Simpson invited kids to head downstairs and meet the three dogs working in the schools.

Five-year-old Laura Waterland is in senior kindergarten at Hillcrest Public School. She sat down with Haillie the dog and volunteer Gail Lange to read, "Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight?" by Carol Roth.

Laura giggled as Haillie rolled on her back and snuggled into her.

Laura’s mother, Jennifer stood nearby. She said reading together is important to the family.

"Reading out loud together is a wonderful thing," she said, adding that her mother - who was also at the event - read to her as a child.

This event is wonderful, we come every year,î she said.Lange said going into schools with Haillie is a wonderful experience, because children get positive one-on-one time.

Mostly, Haillie just lays there calmly, sometimes she will sniff the book and the kids love that, because itís like sheís looking at the pictures,î she said.

After visiting with Haillie, the Waterland family walked down the hall to where the reading sessions were being held in a couple classrooms.

They settled into the packed Mother Goose class.

The sing along session was particularly popular because of the interaction between parents, children.

Ane Innes, who held the session, sang old favourites, including, the wheels on the bus and itsy bitsy spider.

Innes said singing with children and reading rhythmic books is important for young childrenís development.

Freed From the Page, but a Book Nonetheless

New York Times: 2008 January 27

PRINTED books provide pleasures no device created by an electrical engineer can match. The sweet smell of a brand-new book. The tactile pleasures of turning a page. The reassuring sight on one’s bookshelves of personal journeys.

But not one of these explains why books have resisted digitization. That’s simpler: Books are portable and easy to read.

Building a portable electronic reader was the easy part; matching the visual quality of ink on paper took longer. But display technology has advanced to the point where the digital page is easy on the eyes, too. At last, an e-reader performs well when placed in page-to-page competition with paper.

As a result, the digitization of personal book collections is certain to have its day soon.

Music shows the way. The digitization of personal music collections began, however, only after the right combination of software and hardware — iTunes Music Store and the
iPod — arrived. And as Apple did for music lovers, some company will devise an irresistible combination of software and hardware for book buyers. That company may be Amazon.

Amazon’s first iteration of an electronic book reader is the Kindle. Introduced in November, it weighs about 10 ounces, holds more than 200 full-length books and can display newspapers, magazines and blogs. It uses E Ink technology, developed by the company of that name, that produces sharply defined text yet draws power only when a page is changed, not as it is displayed.

Sony uses E Ink in its e-book Reader, which it introduced in 2006, but the Kindle has a feature that neither Sony nor many e-reader predecessors ever possessed: books and other content can be loaded wirelessly, from just about anywhere in the United States, using the high-speed EVDO network from Sprint.

This may turn out to be a red-letter day in the history of convenience — our age’s equivalent of that magical moment
FedEx introduced next-day delivery and people asked, “How was life possible before this?”

The Kindle is expensive — $399 — but it sold out in just six hours after its debut on Nov. 19. Since then, supplies have consistently lagged behind demand, and a waiting list remains in place.

The Kindle gets many things right, or at least I assume it does. I haven’t had much of a chance to test out my demonstration unit. My wife, skeptical that a digital screen could ever approach the readability of ink on paper, was so intrigued by the Kindle when it arrived last week that she snatched it from my grasp. I haven’t been able to pry it away from her since.

I can see that the text looks splendid. But when one presses a bar to “turn” a page, the image reverses in a way I found jarring: the light background turns black and the black text turns white, then the new page appears and everything returns to normal. My wife said she wasn’t bothered by this at all, and I didn’t have enough of a chance to see if I would soon get used to it.

Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, has nothing to fear from the Kindle. No one would regard it as competition for the iPod. It displays text in four exciting shades of gray, and does that one thing very well. It can do a few other things: for instance, it has a headphone jack and can play MP3 files, but it is not well suited for navigating a large collection of music tracks.

Yet, when Mr. Jobs was asked two weeks ago at the Macworld Expo what he thought of the Kindle, he heaped scorn on the book industry. “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is; the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.”
To Mr. Jobs, this statistic dooms everyone in the book business to inevitable failure.

Only the business is not as ghostly as he suggests. In 2008, book publishing will bring in about $15 billion in revenue in the United States, according to the Book Industry Study Group, a trade association.

One can only wonder why, by the Study Group’s estimate, 408 million books will be bought this year if no one reads anymore?

A survey conducted in August 2007 by Ipsos Public Affairs for The Associated Press found that 27 percent of Americans had not read a book in the previous year. Not as bad as Mr. Jobs’s figure, but dismaying to be sure. Happily, however, the same share — 27 percent — read 15 or more books.

In fact, when we exclude Americans who had not read a single book in that year, the average number of books read was 20, raised by the 8 percent who read 51 books or more. In other words, a sizable minority does not read, but the overall distribution is balanced somewhat by those who read a lot.

If a piece of the book industry’s $15 billion seems too paltry for Mr. Jobs to bother with, he is forgetting that Apple reached its current size only recently.

Last week, Apple reported that it posted revenue of $9.6 billion in the quarter that spanned October to December 2007, its best quarter ever, after $24 billion in revenue in the 2007 fiscal year, which ended in September.

But as recently as 2001, before the
iPhone and the iPod, Apple was a niche computer company without a mass market hit. It was badly hurt by the 2001 recession and reported revenue of only $5.3 billion for the year. This is, by coincidence, almost exactly what Barnes & Noble reported in revenue for its 2007 fiscal year. In neither case did the company owners look at that number, decide to chain the doors permanently shut and call it quits.

Amazon does not release details about revenue for books, but books were its first business. And Andrew Herdener, a company spokesman, said that Amazon’s book sales “have increased every year since the company began.”

The book world has always had an invisible asset that makes up for what it lacks in outsize revenue and profits: the passionate attachment that its authors, editors and most frequent customers have to books themselves. Indeed, in this respect, avid book readers resemble avid Mac users.

The object we are accustomed to calling a book is undergoing a profound modification as it is stripped of its physical shell. Kindle’s long-term success is still unknown, but Amazon should be credited with imaginatively redefining its original product line, replacing the book business with the reading business.

Randall Stross is an author based in Silicon Valley and a professor of business at San Jose State University. E-mail:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekend Profile: Carole Wilson

By Matthew Hoekstra - Richmond Review - January 25, 2008

‘Gulpin gargoyles!” “Hold your hippogriffs!”

Since Harry Potter managed to slap a literacy loving spell on many ordinary muggles, Carole Wilson has been preparing more proverbial potions to keep the love for reading alive in children.

Wilson is a teacher-librarian. While matching students with the right resources for their projects is one of her key roles, she’s also passionate about literacy, and passing that on to students.

An elementary and intermediate school teacher in Richmond since 1977, Wilson landed at Tomekichi Homma Elementary after stints at McKay, Mitchell and Lord Byng elementary schools.

She grew up in East Vancouver and loved reading—“anything and everything”— from an early age. She studied education at University of B.C., where she also played basketball for the Thunderbirds.

Like reading and teaching, basketball still remains an interest. Children’s books are her favourite—it helps in recommending appropriate titles to students—and Shattered by Eric Walters (donated to all Richmond schools by the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire) is her current suggestion.

While in university, she didn’t consider becoming a teacher-librarian. At that time, books were checked out through a clumsy card system, demanding a host of clerical work. But in recent decades, the job has become more of a teaching position that happens to be in the library.

She’s not just a keeper of books, teacher-librarians help bring the curriculum alive and sort through a wealth of new resources the Internet brings. She focuses on helping children analyze, evaluate and access the best information, and wade through an information explosion that any given social studies topic can yield.

Sunday is Family Literacy Day, which promotes the importance of reading and learning together as a family. While the basic definition of literacy is the ability to read and write, Wilson says it’s taken on so many new forms in the electronic age.

“You’re going to read forever, in a variety of ways and in a variety of formats. But if you don’t like to read in today’s society, whether it’s reading images, or the newspaper or contracts, you’re in trouble,” she says.

While teaching students at Homma’s library (named after longtime Richmond educator June Chiba), Wilson reflects on the power reading has on the human spirit through a few simple words from Confucius: “Words are the voice of the heart.”

How has the teacher-librarian’s role changed?

“The teacher-librarian has the great power being in the position that they can connect kids and parents with great fiction, with non-fiction, electronic resources, television programming. The spectrum is much wider than it was 25 years ago. It’s not just go get a book or an encyclopedia.”

How can parents instill a love for reading?

“The best way is to model reading for your kids, with your kids. Have conversations with your kids about the issues that are going on in the world—current events, news, the Olympics, the tsunami—because whatever happens anywhere in the world, we find out about it almost the instant it happens. How do we interpret all that?”

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job? “To help inspire the love of reading in kids, and to have those conversations with kids that help them to make sense of how reading is important.”

What’s the most challenging aspect?

“Teacher-librarian time has been cut. Budgets have been cut, not just for libraries but for other areas. It’s challenging because of the expectations and the demands on the teacher as well as the teacher-librarian continue to increase. So it’s easier for children to go online at home and print off something on their topic than it is to go to a library. They both have value...but I think (my role) is to help kids...choose the best resource for what they’re doing.”

Friday, January 25, 2008

Show Librarians Some Love on Valentine’s Day

Bt Debra Lau Whelan -- School Library Journal, 1/25/2008 5:30:00 AM

Valentine’s Day and libraries don’t typically go hand-in-hand. But this year, the American Library Association’s (ALA) youth divisions are urging kids, parents, and library supporters to show librarians some love.

The American Association of School Librarians, the Young Adult Library Services Association, and the Association for Library Service to Children are asking library advocates to "flood federal elected officials' district offices with Valentines that express love for your library and its staff"—and ask for support for important legislation. Specifically, the organizations are asking supporters to urge lawmakers in the House and Senate to cosponsor the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act and to support Library Services and Technology Act funding for libraries.

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) introduced the SKILLs Act, which calls for a certified media specialist in every K-12 school across the country.

Currently, only eight lawmakers have cosponsored the bill. "A major grassroots effort is needed in order for this critical piece of library legislation to get passed," says the ALA. For more information, visit the I Love My Library Campaign.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


For Immediate Release
Jan. 24, 2008
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Education

VANCOUVER – As part of Family Literacy Week, the Province is fulfilling its commitment to CanWest’s Raise-a-Reader campaign with a matching donation of over $895,000, the largest contribution yet, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

“Literacy opens the doors of opportunity for every British Columbian,” said Campbell. “Raise-a-Reader helps lay the foundation for children and families to develop community connections and improve the reading skills that will last a lifetime.”

The matching funding for the Raise-a-Reader campaign will go to support many literacy groups, such as the Canucks Family Education Centre, Literacy BC, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., CNIB, Aboriginal HIPPY Canada (Home Instruction for Parents of Pre-school Youngsters) and Big Sisters of B.C. Lower Mainland.

“We are pleased to lend our support to this very worthwhile fundraising campaign with a 54 per cent increase over last year’s contribution,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “Literacy truly is the backbone of healthy and productive communities and supports government’s goal of making B.C. the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent.”

The Province has previously supported campaigns in Vancouver and Victoria, and this year support was extended to inaugural CanWest campaigns in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Penticton, Port Alberni and Prince George. All proceeds raised from the 2007 campaign’s street sales stay in the community where they were collected, and are distributed to local literacy organizations to improve literacy for children and families across the province.

“CanWest greatly appreciates the B.C. government and Premier Gordon Campbell’s support for this important cause,” said Kevin Bent, president and publisher of the Vancouver Sun. “More than $10 million has been raised for literacy programs that benefit children right here in B.C. since the campaign started 11 years ago.”

The Province has been matching funds raised through the campaign since 2004, and to date has contributed nearly $2.4 million. B.C.’s matching funding this year will help to support more than 180 beneficiary organizations and help British Columbia continue to lead the country in Raise-a-Reader fundraising. Since its inception in Vancouver in 1997, the Raise-a-Reader campaign and its sponsors have made significant contributions to help improve literacy for children and families across the province.

Since 2001, the Province has announced over $131 million in new literacy programs in support of its goal of making British Columbia the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. ReadNow BC is the Province’s comprehensive literacy action plan to help provide adults, Aboriginal people, K-12 students and preschoolers with the skills they need to succeed. ReadNow BC was introduced one year ago and has been supported with nearly $44.5 million in provincial funding. Visit the website at

Lara Perzoff
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education
250 356-5963
250 920-9040 (cell)

Dale Steeves
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
250 387-6605

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Washington State Prepares for School Library Summit

Joan Oleck -- School Library Journal, 1/23/2008 2:05:00 PM

Three Spokane, WA, moms who are working to improve funding for school libraries have scored some heavyweight help for their upcoming library summit: American Library Association (ALA) President Loriene Roy and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Sara Kelly Johns have both committed to travel to Olympia, WA, to speak at the February 1 event.

That morning, librarians and their supporters will gather to affirm “a vision” for 21st-century library media programs in Washington and set an action plan, says Susan McBurney, co-chair of the
Washington Coalition for School Libraries and Information Technology (WCSLit).

During an afternoon session, lawmakers will be invited to discuss proposed legislation that WCSLit organizers hope will institute funding for school libraries at the state level and offer supplemental public funding for budgetary shortfalls affecting specific school libraries, says McBurney. Currently, school libraries in Washington are funded locally.

A rally of librarians, parents, and children is also expected that day, outside the summit meeting place—a building adjoining the state legislative campus in Olympia, McBurney adds. Also scheduled to speak is Gary Hartzell, a professor emeritus of educational administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a member of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries advisory board. Cassandra Manuelito-Kerkvliet, president of Antioch University in Seattle, and Michael Eisenberg, founding dean of the University of Washington School of Information are expected to participate as well.

The goal is for the “community of Washington folks who have been working on this issue to take stock and look ahead to the future and [create] a vision and a plan for how to bring library media programs to the place we all want them to be,” McBurney says.

McBurney and other
mothers in the coalition testified last month before the state legislature’s Basic Education Finance Joint Task Force about the importance of school libraries. The task force is drawing up educational recommendations for the fall.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kids May Be Computer-Savvy, But Not Great Researchers, Study Says

Debra Lau Whelan -- School Library Journal, 1/22/2008 2:05:00 PM

Just because today’s kids grew up using the Internet doesn’t mean they’re adept at using the Web, says a new British study.

"Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future” says that although there’s only patchy knowledge about how children and young adults become competent using the Internet, some clear news has emerged. Most notably, the information literacy of young people hasn’t improved with the growing access to technology.

In fact, “their apparent facility with computers disguises some worrying problems.” For instance, the speed with which students search the Web means that “little time is spent in evaluating information, either for relevance, accuracy or authority,” says the report, commissioned by the British Library and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) []. JISC is an oganization that supports education and research by promoting innovative technologies.

The report goes on to say that young people have a poor understanding of their information needs and, therefore, find it difficult to develop effective search strategies. As a result, when students conduct Web searches, they tend to type in phrases using “natural language rather than analyzing which key words might be more effective.”

This leads to numerous irrelevant search hits, and kids find it “difficult to assess the relevance of the materials presented and often print off pages with no more than a perfunctory glance at them,” the report adds.

Since kids are typically unfamiliar with library databases, they prefer to stick to more familiar search engines, such as Yahoo! and Google, for their research needs “[So] there is little direct evidence that young people’s information literacy is any better or worse than before,” the report says.

The main message of the report is for research libraries to realize “that the future is now, not 10 years away, and that they have no option but to understand and design systems around the actual behavior of today’s virtual scholar.”

New AASL Standards: More to Come

Debra Lau Whelan -- School Library Journal, 1/22/2008 2:00:00 PM

If you have no idea what to make of the newly released standards from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), have no fear. Help is on the way.

AASL’s “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner" , which offers a complete revision of 1998’s Information Power, will be accompanied by a new set of learning assessments and indicators to help librarians incorporate the tools into their daily lessons, says AASL President Sara Kelly Johns.

The standards, released in October 2007, describe how today’s kids conduct research and draw conclusions—and their goal is to help media specialists tailor programs to better suit their students. But instead, the standards have left some librarians struggling to figure out how to include them in their curriculum—and convince administrators that they really work.

“I have come to wonder: Are the new standards a step forward to a more holistic and comprehensive view of learners, or a misstep that will serve to marginalize our profession?’” asks Sharon Grimes, supervisor of library information services for Baltimore County Public Schools.

A task force headed by Kathy Lowe, executive director of the Massachusetts School Library Association, is currently hard at work developing the learning assessments and indicators to help librarians incorporate the standards into their lessons, says Johns. “Part of their process will include an opportunity for input from the field.

“Nobody is expecting anybody to use the new standards exclusively at this moment,” says Johns, adding that the new indicators, benchmarks, model examples, and assessments will support and expand the new standards and “should clarify much.”

It’s still unclear when the task force’s work will be complete. But in the meantime, Johns suggests that school librarians “look at what they’re doing this year, examine the standards, and see how they fit together,” so that when the final document is released media specialists will have a feel about how the new standards relate to their programs.

So what happens to Information Power, the original set of information literacy standards, now that a new set of standards has come out? “It becomes a reference book and shows part of our progression” in the profession, says Johns.

Meanwhile, AASL is also revising its program guidelines, which will describe what a high-quality school library program looks like.

Bill may protect school libraries

The Olympian: 2008 January 22
Diane Huber

Teacher-librarians are backing a bill that would protect school libraries from the budget chopping block.

That's because today's librarians do much more than check out books — they help students navigate the wealth of information online, said Steve Coker, teacher-librarian at Rainier High School.

"Libraries are more relevant now then they ever have been in the sense that ... students who don't learn to process and evaluate the information they encounter in their lives are at a real disadvantage," he said.

Coker is set to testify today in support of Senate Bill 6380, which would provide state funding — $12 per student — for materials, and require a certain number of certified-teacher librarians based on the size of the district.

Washington is one of the few states that doesn't fund school libraries; rather, libraries are supported by local levy dollars. As a result, districts around the state have cut library positions to balance their budgets. Federal Way cut 20 librarian positions last year, and Spokane reduced 10 librarians to half-time. In response, a group of parents from the Spokane district banned together and are spearheading efforts for state funding for libraries.

So far, Thurston County school library programs have generally remained robust.

In the districts North Thurston Public Schools, the Olympia School District, the Tumwater School District and the Yelm School District have half-time or full-time certified teacher-librarians at all schools.

Some of the smaller districts, including Rainier and Rochester, have one teacher-librarian at the high school who serves the entire district.

Yelm Superintendent Alan Burke said teacher-librarian hours were reduced from full-time in the late 1990s because of budget cuts.

All eight Thurston County districts have maintenance and operations levies on the Feb. 19 ballot. Marianne Hunter, teacher-librarian at Timberline High School and president of the Washington Library Media Association, fears if levies fail, districts will look to cut librarians.

She said elementary-school librarians were reduced in the North Thurston schools after a levy failure in 1995-96.

"We've slowly been recovering from that," she said.

The library bill would mandate two certified teacher-librarians in Rainier, which has just under 1,000 students, and three at Rochester, which has about 2,000 students. For districts with 2,000 or more students, the bill would require one full-time librarian for every 700 students.

Districts also hire aides to help staff the library, but bill backers say students benefit from trained teachers who teach skills such as how to effectively search databases such as Google and how to evaluate the credibility of online sources.

"They're truly life skills," Hunter said. "Everybody needs to be able to access information and, even more importantly, make judgements about whether it's valid information. We're teaching kids to use technology to work for them," she said.

The Seattle Times contributed to this report.

Catch the Buzz with Booklist Online’s New Blog

ALA: 2008 January 22

CHICAGO - Why do we need to talk about books? According to Book Group Buzz blogger Nick DiMartino, "Unfortunately we're far from divine readers. We have short attention spans. We have limited knowledge. We're easily distracted. We miss details. And sometimes we miss the whole point. Occasionally half a dozen smart, committed readers banding together into a book group can correct that."

Addressing the growing interest expressed by librarians, book group participants, publishers, authors and general readers in what's going on in (and around) book groups for adults and youth, Booklist Online has launched a one-stop resource, Book Group Buzz at This blog is the newest online gathering place for anyone involved with, or interested in, book groups.
Several regular expert contributors, recruited from around the country by Booklist Online's managing editor-and contributing blogger-Mary Ellen Quinn, offer informative, wise, witty and salutary posts, as well as links to a wide range of free book group-related guides, tips and other resources. The contributors are Amanda Blau, Children's Services Program Coordinator, and Heather Booth, Literature and Audio Services Librarian (for YA and adult fiction), for the Downers Grove Public Library; Kaite Mediatore Stover, Booklist "She Reads" columnist and Head of Readers' Services for Kansas City Public Library; Misha Stone, Readers' Advisory Librarian at Seattle Public Library; and Nick DiMartino, author, playwright, avid book group leader, blogger and bookseller at University of Washington Bookstore in Seattle.

"We were looking for a group of bloggers who could address book group needs from a variety of perspectives and experience," said Quinn, also Booklist's Reference Books Bulletin editor and a regular contributor to American Libraries magazine. "We look forward to seeing this become the go-to resource for book groups, especially as the blog's readers add their own insights.

"In addition to general information about best author sites, how to select fiction and nonfiction books for discussion and reading guides, topics already touched on include parent-child book groups; graphic novels; the book about the book about the book; some books that bombed; the Martha Stewart School of Entertaining Arts; and best uses of masking tape when discussing a controversial book.

As Booklist Online senior editor Keir Graff posted in his own popular book reviewer's blog, Likely Stories, "What people kept telling us was that what they really wanted were resources to help them with their in-person book groups. And, by golly, that's what we intend to give them."

Booklist is the book review magazine of the American Library Association, considered an essential collection development and readers advisory tool by thousands of librarians for more than 100 years. Booklist Online, launched in 2006, includes more than 120,000 reviews as well as a free Web site offering the latest news and views on books and media.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Online Books

Listing over 30,000 free books on the Web

Prize-Winning Books Online

The category of fun slowly being pulled from library shelves

Seattle Times: 2008 January 20

The sound of jazz fills the library at Arthur Jacobsen Elementary in Auburn as Art Spencer prepares for his afternoon storytelling session.

"This isn't your traditional quiet library," Spencer said.

Throughout the Auburn School District, Spencer is known for his animated reading sessions in which he brings characters to life.

"Reading aloud keeps kids' attention," Spencer said. "It conveys emotion."

Once considered a mainstay of the school library, this fun, engaging reading time could be in danger at some area schools, educators say.

"All programs are challenged because of state budgets," said Rod Luke, executive director of K-12 student learning and district technology in Auburn schools. "You have to be extremely prudent in how you run programs these days."

To adapt to these changes, Southeast King County districts say they are overhauling how they run their libraries and how much money goes into library programs.

In Auburn, the district has expanded the duties of librarians, who now show students how to conduct research on the Internet, administer reading tests and teach classes. Some elementary-school librarians have become technology coordinators in their schools.

Ideally, officials from all Southeast districts say they would keep a full-time librarian at every school, but rising transportation costs and state-mandated initiatives have forced districts to make tough decisions.

Two years ago, officials in the Renton School District chose to keep full-time librarian positions, but the number of library-aide hours were cut in smaller elementary schools, district spokesman Randy Matheson said.

In the Tahoma School District, individual schools choose how to pay for library programs, district spokesman Kevin Patterson said.

Tahoma Middle School and Cedar River Middle School share a librarian, while the district's high school and junior high have their own librarians on staff. Four elementary schools in Tahoma have part-time librarians who work with library aides.

"It is always a question of how best to use limited resources to meet students' needs," Patterson said.

In Kent, schools have been hit hard by decreasing library budgets, said Dennis McClellan, director of instructional technology for Kent.

The district's elementary and middle schools have taken the biggest hit, with most staffed by part-time librarians. Three elementary schools — Covington, Lake Youngs and Sawyer Woods — have no librarians, only assistants.

"In almost all cases, our librarians have lost teaching time and time to guide their students in their reading selections," McClellan said.

These types of cuts can have lasting effects. Librarians who work fewer hours and have more responsibilities have less time to manage and replenish collections. For fickle young readers, out-of-date selections can be a turnoff, librarians say.
"[A] collection diminishes in value over time," McClellan said. "A library without a librarian dies a slow and quiet death."

This legislative session, the Washington Library Media Association, an advocacy group of librarians from around the state, will push for laws that would require all schools to have a full-time certified school librarian.

Other groups statewide also have said enough is a enough.

In the Spokane School District, parents launched a statewide campaign last year after the district cut 10 librarians to half time. The Federal Way School District was criticized in 2006 when 20 full-time library positions were cut because of a $4 million budget gap.

A decade ago, most librarians maintained collections and taught students how to research a topic or find books they would enjoy reading, said Teresa Wittmann, elementary-level chairwoman for the Washington Library Media Association.

"Librarians used to teach about books and literature, but the role has changed," Wittmann said.

Increasingly, librarians say they use time outside of school to keep up on new books.

Spencer reads books and listens to audio books at home to stay on top of new trends. In addition to his regular duties, he runs a storytelling club for students and organizes a book-reading challenge each year.

"Over the years, I've taken on new responsibilities," Spencer said, "I love my job, and if it means taking on more work to continue doing this, I will."

Karen Johnson: 253-234-8605 or

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Google as white bread? (and ICT lit matters)

NeverEndingSearch: January 17, 2008

Shortly after my discussion of the need to de-criminalize student use of Google, I discovered two interesting news stories from the UK about young people's searching behavior and ICT literacies.

The JISC, a British educational ITC organization, and the British Library released a 35-page report,
Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future that claims "the Google generation is a myth."The report contends that the generation of students born after 1993 lacks information skills and displays impatience when searching and navigating. These students do not find library-sponsored resources intuitive......

Former lakecity volunteer inducted to B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame

By Alison Shepherd - Williams Lake Tribune - January 17, 2008

Former lakecity resident Al Matthews received an early Christmas gift when he found out that he had been selected as an inductee to the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Matthews, who now lives in Victoria, was informed of the decision on Dec. 23.
“It’s a great privilege and honour,” Matthews says.

The media announcement of this year’s inductees was made last week and Matthews will be officially inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame in July.
Matthews was a teacher-librarian at Columneetza until he retired in June. He now lives in Victoria where he says he can watch all levels of hockey, including BCHL hockey.

“You know what the final nail in the coffin was [for the move to Victoria]? When we lost the TimberWolves,” he jokes.

Joking aside, Matthews has been staying on top of the issues in the community, including the TimberWolves possible return to the lakecity, and he believes if the Williams Lake Junior A Hockey Society are able to purchase the team, it could be viable.

Matthews’ volunteer experience in hockey stretches back to the 1970’s and continues to the present. Matthews says he watched a Junior B hockey game earlier in the week and he says he volunteered to help at future games. He is also the treasurer for the Canadian Hockey Foundation.

“I’m keeping my hand in it. I’m not completely out of hockey,” he says.
Matthews has been a volunteer with the International Ice Hockey Federation, Junior B Hockey, the B.C. Amateur Hockey Association, Peace Cariboo Junior A Hockey League, Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association, Kootenay International Junior B Hockey League, B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame, and Hockey Canada.

Before retiring from Hockey Canada in September he was chairman of the board and was the education consultant and Hockey Canada representative for the Under 18 Team for the World Championships.

Matthews helped to make sure players stayed on top of their school work so when they returned from their tournaments, they were not too far behind their classmates.

Matthews’ list of volunteer activities is not limited to just hockey, it also includes volunteering for school and in the community.

Matthews does not know who nominated him, but says he is honoured to be in the company hockey greats.

Other inductees this year include former Vancouver Canuck Cliff Ronning and former Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman, who was born in Cranbrook.

Matthews says his being inducted into the Hall of Fame means that volunteers are recognized as a huge part of the game.

“It recognized all of us as much as it recognizes me,” he says.

Matthews will be officially inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame at a dinner and reception in Penticton on July 25.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Reformed copyright laws shouldn't suppress creativity

Vancouver Sun: Wednesday, January 16, 2008

To appreciate how out of date Canada's copyright laws are, consider that taping a TV show on a VCR for later viewing is a copyright infringement that could potentially lead to lawsuits.

A VCR, in case you're too young to remember, is a device with which people could record a TV show in the olden days before the introduction of technology that allows people to download a program from the Internet (or stream it), store it in a compressed file on a computer hard drive and transfer it to multiple platforms for viewing, uploading and manipulating.

Canada's archaic and restrictive laws are stifling technological innovation and preventing companies from offering to consumers all the services the latest gadgets are capable of delivering.

The good news is that a revised copyright law is expected to be tabled in the House of Commons any day now. The bad news is that many fear it will make matters even worse. Indeed, a chorus of concern delayed its debut in December with 40,000 people joining a group on Facebook to oppose the legislation.

They are right to be worried. Entertainment lobby groups in the United States and the Canadian Recording Industry Association here at home hope to increase the control that content creators have over their works and the compensation they receive for it. They want to be able to limit what people do with their cellphones, iPods and other devices to protect their constituents' intellectual property rights. They want Parliament to make it illegal to download songs from the Internet or share them without paying a fee, to time shift TV programs using a digital video recorder or copy files to DVDs or MP3 players.

Clearly, content creators deserve to be sufficiently rewarded for their work to make their endeavour worthwhile. At the same time, consumers have the right to enjoy the full capabilities of the equipment they've purchased, free from restrictions on what they can record and the use they make of content once it has been legitimately obtained.

A revised copyright law must strive to find a balance between the rights of creators and "fair use" by consumers.

The protest against the proposed copyright reform was intended, in part, to persuade the Conservative government not to follow the U.S. model. The U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Copyright Term Extension Act favour producers with copyright protection for life, plus 95 years for individual works and up to 120 years for corporate creations, and make it illegal to tamper with a digital lock (or other Digital Rights Management technology) meant to prevent consumers from using material in ways the rights holder doesn't want, such as copying from a CD or viewing a DVD outside a designated jurisdiction. Critics contend that these laws have a chilling effect on innovation.

Indeed, Telus says it can't launch a new service that would enable subscribers to record shows on a network server for later viewing without the need for a personal video recording device until Canada's copyright laws are updated.

Even as they fight downloading and file-copying, content creators earn revenue from these activities. Canadians pay levies on blank writable media with proceeds going to creators and performers. This compensation is in addition to royalties and other income sources.

Canadians also faced the prospect of levies on iPods and MP3 players but the Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the Copyright Board's decision last summer to allow them.

There is no easy answer to the problem of meeting the competing demands of content creators and consumers. But as legislators ponder this difficult and complex issue, they should keep in mind the bigger picture of technological innovation. New copyright laws should not suppress creativity. Technological advances have given everyone, especially children, the tools to make art, movies and music in ways we could not have imagined even a decade ago. Copyright reform should encourage, not restrict, the use of these tools.

Barriers erected to block the use of technology will be defeated by that technology. Rather than trying to lock up content, creators should focus on inventive pricing and marketing initiatives rather than threatening to take "copyright infringers" to court. Convince us it's worth paying for.

Copyright reform should open up new possibilities for maximizing enjoyment of cultural products and free the technology that has given them life. It should not bind them in a legislative straitjacket.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

White bread for young minds, says university professor

Times: 14 January 2008

Google is “white bread for the mind”, and the internet is producing a generation of students who survive on a diet of unreliable information, a professor of media studies will claim this week.

In her inaugural lecture at the University of Brighton, Tara Brabazon will urge teachers at all levels of the education system to equip students with the skills they need to interpret and sift through information gleaned from the internet.

She believes that easy access to information has dulled students’ sense of curiosity and is stifling debate. She claims that many undergraduates arrive at university unable to discriminate between anecdotal and unsubstantiated material posted on the internet.

“I call this type of education ‘the University of Google’.

“Google offers easy answers to difficult questions. But students do not know how to tell if they come from serious, refereed work or are merely composed of shallow ideas, superficial surfing and fleeting commitments.

“Google is filling, but it does not necessarily offer nutritional content,” she said.

Professor Brabazon, who has been teaching in universities for 18 years, said that the heavy reliance on the internet in universities had the effect of “flattening expertise” because every piece of information was given the same credibility by users.

Professor Brabazon’s concerns echo the author Andrew Keen’s criticisms of online amateurism. In his book The Cult of the Amateur, Keen says: “To-day’s media is shattering the world into a billion personalised truths, each seemingly equally valid and worthwhile.”

Professor Brabazon said: “I’ve taught all through the digitisation of education. It’s fascinating to see how students have changed. We can no longer assume that students arrive at university, knowing what to read and knowing what standards are required of the material that they do read.”

“Students live in an age of information, but what they lack is correct information. They turn to Wikipedia unquestioningly for information. Why wouldn’t they - it’s there,” she said.

Professor Brabazon does not blame schools for students’ cut-and-paste attitude to study. Nor is she critical of students individually.

With libraries in decline, diminishing stocks of books and fewer librarians, media platforms such as Google made perfect sense. The trick was to learn how to use them properly.

“We need to teach our students the interpretative skills first before we teach them the technological skills. Students must be trained to be dynamic and critical thinkers rather than drifting to the first site returned through Google,” she said.

Her own students are banned from using Wikipedia or Google as research tools in their first year of study, but instead are provided with 200 extracts from peer-reviewed printed texts at the beginning of the year, supplemented by printed extracts from eight to nine texts for individual pieces of work.

“I want students to experience the pages and the print as much as the digitisation and the pixels - both are fine but I want students to have both – not one or the other, not a cheap solution,” she said.

The have been concerns about students plagiarising from the internet and the growth of a new online “coursework industry”, in which web-sites produce tailor-made essays, some selling for up to £1,000 each.

Wikipedia, containing millions of articles contributed by users was founded in 2001. It has been criticised for being riddled with inaccuracies and nonsense. Even one of its own founders, Larry Sanger, described it as “broken beyond repair” before leaving the site last year.

Google is the dominant search engine on the internet. It uses a formula designed to place the most relevant content at the top of its listings. But a multimillion-pound industry has grown up around manipulating Google rankings through a process called “search engine optimisation”.

Monday, January 14, 2008

American Library Association announces literary award winners

ALA: January 14, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults - including the Caldecott, King, Newbery, Schneider Family and Printz awards - at its Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

The following is a list of all ALA Youth Media Awards for 2008:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” written by Laura Amy Schlitz, is the 2008 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Candlewick.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: “Elijah of Buxton,” by Christopher Paul Curtis, published by Scholastic; “The Wednesday Wars,” by Gary D. Schmidt, published by Clarion and “Feathers,” by Jacqueline Woodson, published by Putnam.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children. “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” illustrated by Brian Selznick, is the 2008 Caldecott Medal winner. The book is published by Scholastic.

Four Caldecott Honor Books were named: “Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Ellen Levine, and published by Scholastic; “First the Egg,” illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, and published by Roaring Brook/Neal Porter; “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” illustrated and written by Peter Sís, and published by Farrar/Frances Foster; and “Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity,” illustrated and written by Mo Willems, and published by Hyperion.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. “The White Darkness,” by Geraldine McCaughrean, is the 2008 Printz Award winner. The book is published by HarperTempest, an imprint of HarperCollins. Four Printz Honor Books were named: “Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet,” by Elizabeth Knox, published by Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus and Giroux; “One Whole and Perfect Day,” by Judith Clarke, published by Front Street, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press, Inc.; “Repossessed,” by A. M. Jenkins, published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins; and “Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath,” by Stephanie Hemphill, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books.

Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults. “Elijah of Buxton,” written by Christopher Paul Curtis, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Scholastic. Two King Author Honor Books were selected: “November Blues,” by Sharon M. Draper, published by Atheneum Books for Young Adults and “Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali,” written by Charles R. Smith Jr., illustrated by Bryan Collier, published by Candlewick Press.

“Let it Shine,” illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.Two King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: “The Secret Olivia Told Me,” by N. Joy, illustrated by Nancy Devard, published by Just Us Books, and “Jazz On A Saturday Night,” by Leo and Diane Dillon, published by Scholastic Blue Sky Press.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award; “Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It,” written by Sundee T. Frazier is the Steptoe winner. The book is published by Delacorte Press.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. “Kami and the Yaks,” written by Andrea Stenn Stryer, illustrated by Bert Dodson and published by Bay Otter Press of Palo Alto, Calif. wins the award for young children (age 0 to 10).

“Reaching for Sun,” by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, New York is the winner in the middle grades category (age 11-13).

“Hurt Go Happy,” written by Ginny Rorby, a Starscape Book, published by Tom Doherty Associates, is the winner in the teen category (age 13-18).

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers. “There Is a Bird on Your Head!,” written and illustrated by Mo Willems is the 2008 Geisel Award winner. The book is published by Hyperion.

Four Geisel Honor Books were named: “First the Egg,” written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and published by Roaring Brook/Neal Porter; “Hello, Bumblebee Bat,” written by Darrin Lunde, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne and published by Charlesbridge; “Jazz Baby,” written by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and published by Harcourt; and “Vulture View,” written by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins and published by Holt.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Orson Scott Card is the recipient of the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his outstanding lifetime contribution to writing for teens for his novels “Ender's Game” and “Ender's Shadow.”

The Pura Belpré Award honoring Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children's books. Yuyi Morales, illustrator of “Los Gatos Black on Halloween,” written by Marisa Montes and published by Holt is the winner of the 2008 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award. Margarita Engle, author of “The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano,” illustrated by Sean Qualls and published by Holt, is the 2008 Pura Belpré Author Award recipient.

Two Honor Books for illustration: “My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo gabito: La vida de Gabriel García Márquez,” illustrated by Raúl Colón, written by Monica Brown and published by Luna Rising and “My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo,” written and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez and published by Children's Book Press.

Three Author Honor Books were named: “Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life!” by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and published by Marshall Cavendish; “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale,” retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Michael Austin and published by Peachtree; and “Los Gatos Black on Halloween,” written by Marisa Montes, illustrated by Yuyi Morales and published by Holt.

Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children. “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” written and illustrated by Peter Sís, is the 2008 Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Farrar/Frances Foster.

Two Sibert Honor Books were named: “Lightship,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca, published by Simon & Schuster/ Richard Jackson and “Nic Bishop Spiders,” written and illustrated by Nic Bishop, published by Scholastic/Scholastic Nonfiction.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children's video. Producer Kevin Lafferty along with executive producer John Davis, and co-producers, Amy Palmer Robertson and Danielle Sterling, are the 2008 recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video - for the production of “Jump In! Freestyle Edition.”

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children's book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States.

VIZ Media is the winner of the 2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for “Brave Story.” Originally published in Japanese in 2003 as “Bureibu Sutori,” the book was written by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Alexander O. Smith.

Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: “The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity,” published by Milkweed Editions, originally published in German as “Die Katze,” and “Nicholas and the Gang,” published by Phaidon Press, originally published in French as “Le petit Nicolas et les copains.”

The first-ever Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production is Live Oak Media for “Jazz.”

Five honor titles were named: “Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary 'Jacky' Faber, Ship's Boy,” produced by Listen & Live Audio; “Dooby Dooby Moo,” produced by Scholastic/Weston Woods; “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” produced by Listening Library; “Skulduggery Pleasant,” produced by HarperChildren's Audio; and “Treasure Island,” produced by Listening Library.

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences “American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China,” by Matthew Polly, published by Penguin/Gotham Books; “Bad Monkeys,” by Matt Ruff, published by HarperCollins; “Essex County Volume 1: Tales from the Farm,” by Jeff Lemire, published by Top Shelf Publications; “Genghis: Birth of an Empire,” by Conn Iggulden, published by Delacorte; “The God of Animals,” by Aryn Kyle, published by Scribner; “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” by Ishmael Beah, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Sarah Crichton Books; “Mister Pip,” by Lloyd Jones, published by Random/Dial Press; “The Name of the Wind,” by Patrick Rothfuss, published by DAW; “The Night Birds,” by Thomas Maltman, published by Soho; and “The Spellman Files,” by Lisa Lutz, published by Simon & Schuster.

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture recognizing an individual of distinction in the field of children's literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site. Walter Dean Myers, widely acclaimed author of picture books, novels, poetry and non-fiction for children and young adults, will deliver the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children's literature experts, the awards encourage original and creative work. For more information on the ALA youth media awards and notables, please visit the ALA Web site at