DOPA Reincarnated

Just when we thought the Deleting Online Predators (DOPA) issue was over at the end of the last Congress, it’s back! Remember last year — the bill, which required any library or school receiving federal $$$ to block access to social networking sites and blogs, flew through the House of Representatives with nary a blink but died when it didn’t receive a final vote in the Senate.

The new version, called the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act, was introduced this time first in the Senate by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). The bill is numbered S. 49. — or DOPA Jr., as dubbed by Andy Carvin of PBS Teacher Source

While too few took the bill seriously last year, it passed in the House quickly. We need to watch this closely.

Text of S. 49
ClickZ DOPA Rises from the Grave (Maybe)

Libraries learn from bookstores

INFOcus is the e-newsletter publication of the Librarian’s Yellow Pages. Today’s issue contains a great textbook on marketing, displays, and signage. It reminds me of my first days working in a library (where I had accidentally landed before I became a card-carrying MLS Librarian). My assignment was to build displays around Chase’s Calendar of Events. For instance, who would have ever thought (without Chase’s) that today is “Belly Laugh Day.” Anyway, it sure made me mad when I worked all afternoon to pull out all the little-circulated books on a particular topic to find the display bunker emptied out following the 5:00 after-work rush. I quickly learned the wisdom of showcasing our wares.

What libraries can learn from bookstores: Applying bookstore design to public libraries gives a whole lot of ideas – new as well as some I’ve forgotten. The article includes an interview with a former supervisor of a Barnes and Noble children’s section. Some great ideas:

  • Everyone is cross-trained. Workers in the cafe area can provide direction to customers.
  • Lists of bestsellers posted in strategic places.
  • Everyone is expected to know the top ten bestsellers and where they are.
  • Staff receive sheets on release dates and expected arrival dates.
  • Everyone works the checkout.
  • Staff spend days in assigned areas shelving new books.
  • Customers are connected with and help is offered.
  • Customers smell coffee & pastries.
  • Music favors targeted customers (B&N targets baby boomers, plays classical music; Borders targets Gen X, plays jazzier music).
  • Barnes & Noble stores have brighter lighting than other stores. Experts say brighter light suggests lower prices.
  • Power aisles lead customers to all parts of store. Displays line the power aisles.
  • Reduce information overload. Shelve by genre, use shorter shelves.
  • Booklists and recommendations

Lots more on signage and displays. Good resource.

Teaching game about tags

A great idea for teaching and learning about tagging from Joyce Valenza’s NeverEndingSearchBlog. The game is called Fastr, developed by Scott Reynen of The game generates a group of ten Flickr images and you guess the common tag. As Joyce warns, probably not real appropriate for younger children, given what may pop up in Flickr, although when I tried it I didn’t see anything inappropriate (I only guessed about half).


I found this morning, thanks to Chris Sherman at Search Engine Land. Chris says the search engine is “. . . really a select directory of 5,000 sites most popular among users 45 and older, simplifies search results by only presenting you four links and specially created annotations, along with ads served by partner”

A linked article from CNN Money says the site is aimed at Baby Boomers and Seniors who get cRANKy from getting lost in too many search results. Building on the word “rank” in the middle of the word, the search site attempts to bring more relevant results through only using those sites most popular with seniors.

I predict early demise.

Incidentally, I checked it out — the entry page lists the top 10 searches. When I checked it, the #1 listing was “sex” followed by “brain builders” and rounding out the top ten with “arthritis.”

Classics, or just old?

Lots of interest today in the Wall Street Journal’s editorial by John Miller, Checked Out, about libraries throwing out books not checked out in the past two years, especially classic literature. One of our library media specialists forwarded it via E-mail lists this morning and my colleague MB wrote about it on Impromptu Librarian.

While I agree with everything said about the role of libraries in the preservation of great thoughts, I am also mindful of the condition of many of these sacred cows on library shelves. Many are as old as their copyright date. Personally, I cannot get past the revulsion I feel in even touching the yellowed, musty smelling things. While some libraries have made a concerted effort to periodically replace the classics, more do not allocate any of their limited budgets to replace a book which statistically doesn’t get read anyway. And, if one truly wants to read one of the classics, they can go to an online or mall bookstore and buy something from the Barnes and Noble Classics Series, many available for less than $5.00 with a member discount.

Additionally, many of the classics are now in the public domain and can be acquired through one of the online repositories like Project Gutenberg, which incidentally also has audio books.

Interesting (and scary) — read the comments to the Miller editorial on For example:

Shut the Doors
Roger Hutchinson – Silver Spring, Md.
Maybe libraries should be subjected to the same scrutiny as its books. If less than 25% of the voters use a library in two years, close the library.