Friday, July 3, 2015

Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library Blog: LGBT Collections moving to new call number area

LGBT Collections moving to new call number area
By Linda Rudell-Betts, Senior Librarian, Social Science, Philosophy and Religion Department
June 16, 2015

A number of years ago, a young man came to the reference desk with a question for the Social Science, Philosophy & Religion department librarians. He asked me why books about gay men were next to the shelves with incest and sexual bondage books. He said that wasn't how he was at all. His face showed deep hurt and from his expression, I read that as a gay man who came of age in the 21st century, he had never experienced the kind of marginalization, ostracization and ridicule I had seen my friends fight when I was his age. It had likely never occurred to him that the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) itself would assign lesbians, gay men, bisexual people and transgender people (LGBT people) to a call number, 301.4157, as a kind of "abnormal sexual relations" (modified 14th edition of the DDC). But, as a librarian and classificationist, I knew that earlier call numbers had been more demeaning.

That patron encounter, one of thousands I've had in my fifteen years as a reference librarian LAPL, affected me deeply and I resolved that when the appropriate time came, I would do my best to implement reclassification of LAPL library materials to the current version of the Dewey Decimal Classification call numbers applicable to LGBT life. While we librarians can't take away the history of discrimination and neglect of civil rights of LGBT people, we can reflect the world increasingly made right and fair in how we group our books, DVDs and other materials on the library shelf.

Library catalogers, classificationists and LGBT academic community continue to debate how materials on LGBT life should be represented in libraries. The time may come when there is general agreement that sexual orientation does not adequately or appropriately represent the LGBT community and a new classification structure will be created. As progress is made on that front, LAPL will bring its collection into the currently agreed upon classification.

With that, I invite you to review the small, but growing, reclassified LGBT collection at Social Science, Philosophy & Religion department at Central Library and at your local branches. Thanks go to the heroic efforts of the LAPL Catalog department, the cooperation of Science & Technology department which collects works on sexuality, and the LAPL LGBT Services Committee. Our many dedicated clerks who affix new call number stickers, revise penciled entries and move the books from the old location to the new are also to be thanked in this venture.

And the new numbers from the 22nd edition of the DDC (with LAPL modifications) are
306.76 - Sexual orientation
306.762 – Asexuality
306.764 - Heterosexuality
306.765 - Bisexuality
306.766 - Homosexuality
306.7662 - Male homosexuality (gay men)
306.7663 - Lesbianism
306.768 - Transgenderism
306.7681 - Transsexualism

Source: Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library Blog

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Times Colonist: Behind Bars, Books Make A Difference

Behind Bars, Books Make A Difference
by Amy Smart
June 28, 2015

Carl Cavanagh saw an immediate problem with the books available to inmates at Wilkinson Road jail on his first visit: About two-thirds of them were Harlequin romance novels.

“Some good-hearted person probably donated them,” the Greater Victoria Public Library outreach librarian said. “You can just imagine 300 guys sitting around and reading these romances.”

Cavanagh visited the provincial jail, officially called Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, at the request of a chaplain interested in providing books on spirituality to the inmates. The facility houses both sentenced offenders and inmates on remand, such as those denied bail, while they await trial.

But as a librarian, he saw an opportunity to fill a wider need: Creating the first formalized library service at the correctional centre in 100 years.

The service is expected to begin in the coming weeks, and inmates will be able to take out GVPL books using a shared corporate account.

“There’s a lot of eager readers there. There’s only so much TV they can watch and there’s no Internet in there, so they don’t have a lot of access to information,” Cavanagh said.

It’s a project some say should be copied throughout the justice system, which often relies on volunteer initiative for literacy and education programs.

The project has been a work-in-progress since Cavanagh’s first visit, alongside Madeline Bakker of Literacy Victoria, in 2011.

During that visit, they found the “book room,” which looked more like a storage room, where clear plastic garbage bags filled with poor-quality paperbacks were kept alongside other material.

Cavanagh and Bakker volunteered to restore it.

“The guard thought it was a bit of a hopeless case,” he said. “We looked at each other and we said: ‘Well, we’d like to try.’ ”

Within four months, inmates had constructed bookshelves and Cavanagh had collected about 2,000 books — primarily taken from the GVPL’s surplus donations and the Times Colonist Book Sale. They sorted them into five genres — general fiction, mystery, sci-fi, literature and non-fiction — and began a rotation system.

Cavanagh quickly learned that when you deliver library services to inmates, there are a few extra restrictions.

No hardcovers, which could be used as weapons. No books by bank-robber-turned-author Stephen Reid, or anything that might glorify a life of crime. No inappropriate content like sexual violence. And don’t expect books to be returned in perfect conditions; every once in a while a cover would be torn up to make substitute poker chips.

“I often tell people they’re pretty sharp reviewers. If they didn’t like a book, they’d wreck it.”

By 2013, the program had evolved again. Inmates began making requests for certain books and, where possible, Cavanagh would find them.

For the most part, requests reflected the same trends as the library’s general readership, he said. Mysteries and non-fiction are particularly popular and you could tell when Game of Thrones became a cultural phenomenon, he said.

Law books were also popular among inmates hoping to learn about their own cases.

“In one case, I had a letter mailed to me directly at the Central Library with a request. The guy said he and his common-law wife were expecting a baby, and could I find them a baby-names book?” he said.

The GVPL library service at Wilkinson Road jail won’t be the only one in the region. Kim Rempel has served as librarian for 26 years at William Head Institution — the federal minimum-security facility sometimes derided as “Club Fed.”

Whatever your perspective on the purpose of the justice system, books should be part of it, said Rempel, who is an advocate for better prison libraries under the Association of Law Libraries.

“They challenge individual values and ideas and they do it in a very subtle, effective way. Why wouldn’t you put the best one you could in every prison?” he said.

At William Head, inmates nearing the end of life sentences can find everything from self-help and philosophy texts to gardening magazines.

A 39-year-old convicted of second-degree murder said reading has been an important part of his rehabilitation process.

“Reading gives us a different world, away from being locked up,” he said.

“This is that one-foot-in-the-door and one-foot-out place. It’s where we learn to get back into society.”

A 51-year-old serving a life sentence for first-degree murder said the library materials will make it easier for him to re-integrate into society, when the time comes.

“For me, it’s information,” he said. “I’ve been [incarcerated] for more than 30 years. I wouldn’t know much about computers if it weren’t for [library materials].”

Libraries are about more than hobbies or entertainment, Rempel said. Sixty per cent of federal inmates lack a high school education, and 30 per cent of those haven’t advanced beyond Grade 8, Rempel said.

“Forty per cent of the population is doing life sentences. This becomes their opportunity to work on themselves. You might as well facilitate that and really, this is one of the best ways,” he said.

“You’re giving them nothing, but you’re giving them everything.”

Libraries have been part of the Canadian prison system since the mid-19th century, when religious texts were brought into Kingston Penitentiary. And while they’ve received more support when some approaches to corrections are in vogue compared with others — like those emphasizing the value of educating inmates — libraries have never been treated as a priority, Rempel said.

“We bring information to inmates. That’s not a model that the prison system is used to. They are very much dedicated to the notion of penitence, isolation and removal from society,” Rempel said.

That said, there’s a wide range of what “library service” means. While all federal prisons have some form of library, few rival William Head’s 25,000 books, 48 magazine subscriptions and five computers for a population of as many as 180 inmates.

Provincial jails tend to have much poorer libraries, Rempel said, largely due to a more transient population with varying degrees of risk, who will spend a maximum of two years in the facility.

While the Ministry of Justice says all nine correctional centres have in-house libraries, it also counted Wilkinson’s pre-makeover book room. The books were not organized and sorted, but would be randomly selected and sent to living units for inmates to read, a spokeswoman said.

Rempel said that what Cavanagh is doing is particularly important for prisoners in remand who might not understand the charges against them. Without Internet access, it’s a way to educate themselves about their cases.

“I think it’s a human-rights issue,” he said.

In addition to Cavanagh, outreach librarians in Surrey and Nanaimo are working to co-ordinate library services to inmates, the Ministry of Justice said.

The jail program is just one of many outreach initiatives of the GVPL, including working with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria and other groups to meet the needs of what it identified as “underserved populations.”

Other organizations are also working to fill gaps for inmates. The READ Society is working with the Cowichan Valley School District to revitalize a program started by Literacy Victoria, which ended last August. The program involves literacy tutoring and allows inmates to obtain school credits.

The Ministry of Justice did not grant the Times Colonist’s request to visit Wilkinson Road jail or interview any inmates or staff directly.

It submitted a statement on behalf of warden Peter Fitzpatrick: “We are constantly looking for new opportunities to help inmates continue to learn and grow while they’re in custody. Expanding our library program through this partnership is one more way we can build their literacy skills and open their minds to behavioural change with the hope of improving their outcomes after release.”

David Johnson, executive director of the Victoria John Howard Society, said advocates and volunteers are crucial in a climate of cutbacks.

With all of the other expenses in correctional facilities, it’s easy to see how libraries can be pushed aside.

“It’s one of those programs where, while it’s very needed, when the going gets tough and the money gets tight, it’s much more difficult to continue the funding,” he said.

“With a library, whether it be at Wilkie or William Head, it needs those champions.”

Source: (BC) Times Colonist

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mr. Library Dude: A Little Library History: 1912 Library Director's Report

A Little Library History: 1912 Library Director's Report
by Joe Hardenbrook
April 20, 2015

Last week was National Library Week. Our library director shared with us her predecessor’s library report from 1912. I was struck by how many of the report’s themes are still integral to today’s libraries.

Library Director's Report from 1912 - photo courtesy Carroll University Archives

Authored by Amanda Flattery, who worked as college librarian from 1905-1915 and who was described as possessing “outstanding scholarship, high ideals, and ready humor” (see her obituary – page 2), starts her report by describing the the juggling of multiple duties. Sound familiar, librarians? It then moves on to the year’s major activities and issues. Here’s where I see parallels to today’s library work:

  • Creating bibliographies: Aren’t those today’s LibGuides?
  • Students unable to find desired information: Yep, even in today’s info-rich environment, this is still a hallmark of what we do.
  • A course in reference work and bibliography: That has morphed into information literacy.
  • Issues with organizing information and providing access: A key issue in the 21st century!

Below are some excerpts relating to the main themes:


“Many hours of time are required for research work for students who are ignorant of books, or unable for find information.”

“Exhaustive bibliographies have been prepared by the librarian for all inter-collegiate debates.”

Check out some of the topics that students were researching at the library:

  • Japanese social classes
  • Witchcraft in England
  • Student government at Princeton
  • Statistics on condensed milk
  • Visiting nurses
  • Hamlet’s insanity
  • National music of Scotland
  • Description of a cash register
  • Municipal aid for the unemployed
  • Headache powders
Information Literacy

“a course in reference work and bibliography has been given, consisting of lectures, with criticism of practice work done by the class.”

Collection Development

“A notable addition to the resources of the library consists of about 350 pamphlets on up-to-date subjects…prove to be excellent materials for debate work.


“To establish cordial relations with the women of the town, the librarian has given help to different members of the women’s clubs…”

Organization of Information

“Of the 3000 vols…only 1183 had been recorded in the accession book. There was no shelf-list, and the cataloging had been done in a confused and imperfect manner. It was impossible to build upon such a flimsy superstructure. It was absolutely necessary to go back to the very beginning and make the records correct and complete.”

Consistent Core Services

Years pass by, technology changes, people come and go, but a library’s core duties remain the same:
  • Providing access to information
  • Organizing information
  • A place to learn and get help
  • Materials for your community

PDF of the 1912 Library Director’s Report.

Source: Mr. Library Dude

Monday, June 29, 2015

The New York Times: Transgender Children’s Books Fill a Void and Break a Taboo

Transgender Children’s Books Fill a Void and Break a Taboo
By Alexandra Alter
June 6, 2015

Sam Martin was browsing in a Boston record store 23 years ago when an unusual photography book caught his eye. Mr. Martin flipped through its pages, which featured portraits and interviews with women who had become men, and started to cry.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’m not the only one,’” said Mr. Martin, 43, who started transitioning to male from female after he bought the book. “When I was growing up, I never saw people like me in movies or books.”

Mr. Martin is now on a mission to change that. He belongs to a small group of emerging authors who are writing children’s literature that centers on transgender characters, hoping to fill the void they felt as young readers. His debut work of fiction — a semi-autobiographical story about a transgender teenage boy who falls in love with an older boy on the beach in Cape Cod — will be published in a collection this month by Duet, a new young adult publisher that specializes in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer fiction.

“My goal was to write stories that would have helped me feel less alone at that age,” said Mr. Martin, who works as a Starbucks barista in Washington and writes at night.

A few years ago, gender fluidity was rarely addressed in children’s and young adult fiction. It remained one of the last taboos in a publishing category that had already taken on difficult issues like suicide, drug abuse, rape and sex trafficking. But children’s literature is catching up to the broader culture, as stereotypes of transgender characters have given way to nuanced and sympathetic portrayals on TV shows like “Orange Is the New Black” and “Transparent.”

Recently, the highly publicized transformation of the reality TV star and former Olympian Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner — revealed to the world via a glamorous portrait on the cover of Vanity Fair — brought even more visibility to the movement for transgender equality.

More writers and publishers have started tackling the subject, not just with memoirs and self-help guides tailored to transgender youth, but through novels aimed at a broad readership. This year, children’s publishers are releasing around half a dozen novels in a spectrum of genres, including science fiction and young adult romance, that star transgender children and teenagers. “In our culture, it was really something that was in the shadows, but suddenly people are talking about it,” said David Levithan, vice president and publisher of Scholastic Press. “As our culture is starting to acknowledge transgender people and acknowledge that they are part of the fabric of who we are, literature is reflecting that.”

Several of the movement’s debut authors have published books drawn from their own experiences. Last fall, a transgender teenager named Jazz Jennings published “I Am Jazz,” a picture book she co-wrote about a transgender girl. Simon & Schuster released dual memoirs by Katie Rain Hill and Arin Andrews, two transgender teenagers from Oklahoma who met and fell in love.

Mr. Andrews, 19, said that books for young adults on the subject were scarce when he began transitioning to male from female in 2011.

“When I first started transitioning, I mostly had YouTube as a source,” he said. “I wanted to write a book to help others because there were not a lot of sources out there, and I thought that one book could save a person’s life.”

Mr. Andrews says he receives 15 to 20 Facebook messages a day from readers about his memoir, “Some Assembly Required,” including notes from children as young as 8 and readers in their 60s and 70s who say the book helps them navigate questions about their gender identity.

The body of children’s literature on the subject is still tiny and relatively new. When Julie Anne Peters published “Luna,” a novel about a teenage girl whose brother wants to be a girl, in 2004, it was the first young-adult novel with a transgender character to be released by a mainstream publisher. Since then, more than 50 novels with transgender characters have been published, mostly for teenagers, according to Talya Sokoll, a librarian who compiled a reading list of children’s books with trans characters.

Some of the writers who are exploring the topic have faced criticism and online attacks. A blistering Amazon review for “I am Jazz,” written for 4- to 8-year-olds, called the story of a transgender girl “inappropriate material for young readers,” while another reviewer scolded, “We should not be indoctrinating young kids about ‘trans.’ ”

But writers and publishers have been undeterred, noting that child psychologists and L.G.B.T. advocacy groups argue that very young children can question their gender identity and that families should be open to discussing the subject. The next frontier for authors writing about transgender people seems to be middle-grade literature, or books aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds. In November, Disney Hyperion published “Gracefully Grayson,” a novel for readers ages 10 and up about a sixth-grade boy who feels like a girl.

In August, Scholastic will publish “George,” a middle-grade debut novel about a boy who knows he is a girl but doesn’t know how to tell his family and friends. George decides to try out for the part of Charlotte in a school production of “Charlotte’s Web” in hopes that it will help others see him the way he sees himself. For readers, it’s not much of a leap. From the first paragraph, an omniscient narrator refers to George as “she,” so that when other characters use male pronouns to refer to George, it feels jarring.

The author, Alex Gino, who grew up in Staten Island and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, identifies as genderqueer, a gender identity that falls outside of the male/female binary, and goes by the pronoun “they.” Alex started writing “George” 12 years ago, while working as a tutor, and wrote more than a dozen drafts.

“I wrote it because it was the book I wanted to read,” Alex said. “I wanted trans voices telling trans stories.”

In the first draft, Alex didn’t even use the word “transgender.” “I was like, how would a 10-year-old ever come across that word, but now I’m like, of course they would,” Alex said.

Scholastic is facing resistance from some teachers and librarians who question whether third and fourth graders are ready for the discussion. About a month ago, the publisher sent 10,000 early copies to teachers around the country to get feedback, and the responses were largely positive with some mixed reactions.

But Scholastic is aiming to turn the book into a mainstream success. It increased the first printing to 50,000 from 35,000 based on strong preorders and sent Alex to meet with booksellers and librarians at the ABC Children’s Institute in Pasadena, Calif., and at BookExpo in New York. They hired Jamie Clayton, a transgender actress, to narrate the audiobook.

So far, early responses from parents of young readers have been encouraging. Marietta Zacker, a literary agent who lives in South Orange, N.J., picked up a copy of “George” at the expo and read it with her 11-year-old daughter, Natalia, who loved it.

“It was not shocking to her,” Ms. Zacker said. “It’s the story of every person, the quest to be your own self.”

Carolyn Mackler, a young-adult novelist who lives in Manhattan, gave a copy of “George” to her 10-year-old son to read. She told him that it was about a transgender child and explained what that meant. After he read it, she asked him what he thought.

“I said, ‘If you met George, would you be friends with him?’ ” she recalled. “And he said, ‘Mom, it’s her, and I would be friends with her if she was nice.’ ”

Source: The New York Times.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Mississauga News: Creating space in Canada’s cultural fabric, a story at a time

Creating space in Canada’s cultural fabric, a story at a time

Apr 09, 2015

The SPACE women are invading Mississauga next week.
On Tuesday they land on the stage of the Noel Ryan Auditorium at Central Library to tell us, in their own words, what it’s like being a creature from outer space, or at least, from outside Canada’s boundaries.
The members of the Shoe Project Alumni Collective Educational are highly-educated, highly-motivated educators, psychologists, scientists, writers and professionals who have been brought together to find their individual voices through the far-sighted work of former Sheridan College teacher and novelist Kathryn Govier.
Through the conceit of telling a story about what they have worn on their feet at various times of their lives, the women develop powerful, evocative expressions of how their homelands and their adopted lands have changed their lives and how their former and current lives reverberate through one another.
Gathered in a circle they tell stories about how they came to be in Canada, shape them into short essays and performance pieces and help themselves, and their receiving Canadian family, figure out what’s going on with this whole intriguing immigrant business.
“It distills your thought process,” says Teenaz Javat, a 46-year-old Churchill Meadows resident who will be one of those presenting the array of song, dance and stories. “It just distills your story through the lens of a shoe. Nobody came to Canada barefoot, These are real shoes and they are our own.”
Javat describes herself as Indian by blood, Pakistani by bond (she moved there after marrying her husband) and Canadian by choice.
Although she’s a writer by profession, who pens the 65-character crawls that snake the bottom of your TV screen as you watch CBC News Network on weekends, the Mumbai native has never written personal memoir before.
Her first story was about the black baby shoes that her then-eight-month-old daughter wore June 22, 1997 when she and her doubting husband first arrived in Canada. The shoes hang on her Christmas tree each year and remind her of the nine years she stayed at home caring for her two children.
Her latest story features a pair of shiny dress sandals known as chappals, covered with “bling” that she bought a couple of years ago on a return visit to India to see her mother, who still clips and saves all the stories her daughter writes as a freelancer for two major newspapers in India.
Titled I Missed the Bus And Survived, it tells the story of how Javat’s dream of becoming a civil servant by attending Nehru University in New Delhi was shattered before it began when her mother refused to let her attend the school after visiting Delhi, which she termed “the thug capital of India.” Her mother turned the cab around even before her university tour was to start.
It was at a bus stop near Nehru University where the infamous bus gang rape took place in 2012.
“She would have worn chappals similar to mine. They look good and are even quite comfortable, But they are no good for running. They would not have helped her escape,” the story ends.
Sitting in a Tim Hortons across the street from the low-rise building at The Collegeway and Glen Erin Dr. where the family lived for five years when they came to Canada, Javat says “I wanted to go to that university so badly and it changed the course of my whole life.”
Different choices were made, choices which introduced her to the joys of pushing a stroller through the snow from The Collegeway to Woodchester Plaza to cash in the beer bottle empties, which gave you $1.20, the perfect amount to buy a coffee at the Tim Hortons next door.
She didn’t know what Tim Hortons was when she came to Canada but she figured out quickly, from the constant mentions, that it was some kind of touchstone of national culture.
Writing her story was liberating for Javat, especially since she was in complete control of how she presented her story for consumption. It wasn’t filtered by mainstream media.
Saima Hussain was the book editor at The Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper to which Javat often submitted reviews.
Now they both live in Mississauga and participate in The Shoe Project.
Hussain was a shy 19-year-old introvert when she came to Canada to get undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Toronto.
Embarrassed by her accent, she wore baggy dark clothes and tried her best to be invisible on campus. After nine years here, she moved back to Pakistan with her family.
On her brother’s wedding day there, she wore a ruby red outfit and decided to forego the hijab that previously covered her “thick, frizzy hair.”
Her story, This Time in Technicolour details how she returned to Canada four years ago to study publishing at Ryerson University with a bright pink pair of highly symbolic footwear called khussas in her luggage.
The freelance writer is now coordinator of the Shoe Project, which she likens to an English immersion program whose real effect is to “draw people out of their shells.”
The stories and the process that produces them is much more powerful than she anticipated, says Hussain. “It makes me realize just how privileged we are to have these people here.”
As project coordinator for George Brown College’s program for internationally-trained newcomers to Canada, Chi Diep “is humbled every time I see their resum├ęs.”
Diep’s family escaped Vietnam, sponsored by a Port Perry church, and came to Canada when she was eight-years-old. Now in her early 40s, the Cooksville resident used the Shoe Project to write Traces, a story of a troubling childhood incident, a street suicide she witnessed as a five-year-old on the day Saigon fell to North Vietnam.
Every day on her way to school she would stop at the site of the shooting, grinding her heel into the ground, acknowledging what happened, though unclear of its meaning.
There’s no admission price to The Shoe Project Tuesday, unless it’s surrendering your preconceptions and opening your eyes to how broad the Canadian experience is.
And there’s one more reason why Saima Hussain and her colleagues call themselves SPACE women.
“We are making a space for ourselves” in this country’s narrative, she says.
It’s no longer a quiet space told via translation by mainstream media. It’s a real space told by the authentic voices you can hear Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
• Teenaz Javat still feels a warm attachment to the Erin Mills neighbourhood she lived in for five years when she first came to Canada. Some of the community organizations that we might take for granted were godsends to her, she says, That includes PLASP which offered preschool and post school programs so she could go back to school. The old Knob Hill Farms outlet in Dixie Mall had the cheapest groceries in town. She’s also a big fan of the Tender Years pre-school program which “was a like a seque into Canadian society. “If I ever win the lottery I’m going to give them a lot of money,” she says with a laugh.
• Javat had a BA from her hometown university in Mumbai in political science and economics and a master’s in economics from the University of Poona but she knew she had to retrain to try to get into journalism here. She had started as a cub reporter at the Dalal St. Journal (equivalent to the Wall St. Journal), covered politics and business for the Observer. She moved to Pakistan after marrying her husband, becoming a Pakistani citizen so she could work for The Dawn Economic Business Review. She then branched out into writing broader material on everything from food to Bollywood.
She’d been out of the work force for almost eight years when she found a course called Canadian Journalism for Internationally-Trained Writers at Sheridan College. That’s where she met Katharine Govier, who established and taught the program along with Joyce Wayne. It was a one-year program designed to allow for easy transition from foreign to Canadian newsrooms. “We were like as mini-UN,” says Javat, who has warm memories of the program and still is in touch with some former classmates. There were participants from Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Japan, India, Pakistan and Nigeria to name but a few.
The program ran five years, with mixed results, says Javat. From her class just she and one other woman, who works at the BBC, got jobs in mainstream media. They were already very proficient at speaking English. For those who weren’t so well-versed in the language, it was much harder. While they did get internships which often do lead to permanent jobs, their media supervisors were usually to preoccupied with trying to get their own impossibly busy jobs done to find time for the appropriate mentoring, Javat says.
• Javat has taught convergent media writing for four years and has taken advantage of her experience with The Shoe Project to become a teacher and mentor herself, working with at-risk pregnant and young mothers in Toronto in the Literature For Life program who gain clarity and perspective by writing about their own changing lives.
• “Even with a kid, when I went back to school I wasn’t going to take any McJobs,” says Javat, who points out that immigrants were often condemned to job ghettoes in the past, despite their eminent qualifications to do more challenging work.
While immigrants traditionally came here to escape war and make a better life for her children, today’s new Canadians don’t want to wait. “I didn’t come here fleeing the potato famine,” she says. “I was not fleeing war. I came here for my life. I had already invested in my education.”
Coming to Canada may have been hardest for her husband, who left his family behind in Pakistan. An auto mechanic, he was able to get a job right away and support his wife while she stayed home. When she went back to work it was “one job - three students” as her husband liked to remind her.
• Pavat likens the Shoe Project to adult “show and tell.” It’s so empowering because the participants get to tell their unfiltered stories. “We all had stories to tell but no one in the mainstream media was willing to listen at the time,” she says. “We needed a platform for sharing, so we decided to create our own platform. I will forever be grateful to Katharine for that.”
• Liz McQuaig, the librarian in the arts and history department of Central Library who is bringing The Shoe Project to town for the second time (it was at the Srt Gallery of Mississauga on its first sojourn) says “we wanted to bring it to Mississauga because it will resonate with a lot of people here,” since more people who live here were born outside Canada’s boundaries than within them. The message of The Shoe Project is “very welcoming.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015

CBC News: E-book prices marked up too high, libraries protest

E-book prices marked up too high, libraries protest

With markups of up to 8 times retail price, libraries say they can't afford a good range of content

By Emily Chung, CBC News Posted: Jun 22, 2015 5:33 PM ET
Why aren't there more e-books on your library's virtual shelves? Libraries say it's because publishers are sometimes charging them more than $100 per copy — and they can't afford it.
The Kindle edition of Lena Dunham's bestselling memoir Not that Kind of Girl retails for $14.99 at But the book's publisher, Random House, charges Canadian libraries $85 per copy of the e-book — five times more, according to the Canadian Library Association. You can buy the Kindle version of Donna Tartt's Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Goldfinch for $12.99, but publisher Little, Brown and Company charges libraries $114 per copy or nearly nine times more.
'Libraries are basically at the publishers' mercy.'- Michael Kozlowski, e-book website owner
Despite the premium, only one borrower can access each copy of the book at a time.
The Canadian Library Association launched a public campaign at earlier this month trying to draw attention to the huge markup and what it means for the public.
"We want the public to understand why they don't see all the e-books maybe they would like to see when they go to the public library website," said Vickery Bowles, city librarian for the Toronto Public Library, which is leading the campaign.
"We're very concerned about what this means for mandate of the public library in providing universal access to a diverse collection in a range of formats … we need to be able to provide customers with access to e-content in the same way that we've always provided access to other forms of content in books and DVDS and CDs et cetera."
That's a big concern because demand for e-books among library users is soaring.
With print books, libraries have traditionally paid less than retail price for copies. With e-books, it's the opposite.
Some publishers charge libraries up to eight times retail price for "perpetual access," where the book remains in their collection forever. Others charge a more "reasonable" price, such as $30 per copy, but allow access for a limited period of time, such as a year, or a limited number of borrowers. Once the limit is reached, the book disappears and the library has to repurchase it.
"Those are not sustainable models," Bowles said.

Soaring demand

The end result is libraries can buy much less digital content than traditional content for the same price.
Meanwhile, Bowles said demand at the Toronto Public Library for digital content has increased 4,200 per cent since 2008. In 2014, he said Toronto residents borrowed 3.5 million e-books, e-audio books and e-videos – "mainly e-books."
Vickery Bowles
'We want the public to understand why they don't see all the e-books maybe they would like to see when they go to the public library website,' says Vickery Bowles, city librarian for the Toronto Public Library. (Shawn Benjamin/CBC)
That still only represents 11 per cent of overall library use, she added, but demand continues to grow as more digital content becomes available and more people have devices like e-readers and tablets to read it on.
The Canadian Publishers' Council, which represents the Canadian branches of the large international publishers, including HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Simon & Schuster, chose not to comment for this story despite being given ample time to respond to CBC's queries.
So why are the e-book prices charged to libraries so high? It's not because e-books cost more to publish than print books, said Michael Kozlowski, editor in chief of, a website devoted to e-book and e-reader news. With print books, publishers need to pay for paper, printing, warehousing and shipping — costs that don't exist with e-books, he added.
He said what's happening is that there's no clear "ownership" of a digital file like an e-book the way there is with print books.
"So publishers can do what they want to libraries and libraries are basically at the publishers' mercy."

Ebooks don't wear out

Krystyna Ross is chief executive officer of ebound Canada, a group that helps smaller, independent Canadian publishers with the transition to digital publishing. Most of the publishers she represents sell their books to libraries through a wholesaler called Overdrive. It only allows publishers to sell permanent or perpetual access to an e-book, but lets them set the price.
The Kindle edition of a recent bestseller would cost $14.99 at But publishers like Random House charge Canadian libraries $85 per copy.
Some publishers mark the price up for libraries, and some don't, Ross added.
Those that do may be concerned that making books available through the library will reduce the number of copies they sell, she said.
Bowles acknowledged this is a bigger concern with e-books because people don't have to physically go to the library to borrow and return them.
Ross said publishers also mark up copies because e-books don't wear out like print books do. When a print book wears out, a library may have to buy another copy, so having more e-books could lower sales.
"Honestly," she added, "many of my publishers are just looking at what else is happening in the market and emulating what the multi-national publishers do."
But she said like libraries, many smaller publishers would like to have access to more e-book pricing options.
Bowles said she understands that publishers are facing a "challenging business environment." Libraries are fine with paying a higher price for e-books than consumers, she added. They're just looking for a pricing model that's more reasonable and flexible. For example, she suggests libraries could buy 10 copies of a new release for $85 and have permanent access to those, then buy another 90 copies for a lower price that only last the first year — the year when demand is highest.
"What they [publishers] need to hear is that the pricing models they're using right now don't work for public libraries at all."
With files from Shawn Benjamin and Aaron Saltzman
From: cbcnews

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Atlantic: Yale's Rare-Books Library Is Saving Old Chipotle Cups

Yale's Rare-Books Library Is Saving Old Chipotle Cups

They join a collection of American poetry and fiction printed on pencils, postage stamps, paint chips, and other unusual materials.
Remember those little stories on the side of the Chipotle cups? Do you happen to have one lying in the backseat of your car?

You, then, have at least one thing in common with Yale.

Yale’s rare-book library has acquired a complete set of the Chipotle “Cultivating Thought” series—the series of short, “two-minute” essays and stories printed on the side of the company’s disposable paper goods. George Saunders, Jeffrey Eugenides, Toni Morrison, and Amy Tan all contributed to the series; Jonathan Safran Foer came up with the idea in the first place.

Like the idea of the“Cultivating Thought” series itself, the acquisition sounds like a punch line. Don’t throw out your trash—give it to Yale! But in fact it joins a large archive of poetry printed on material on which poetry is not often printed. The Beinecke Library’s rare-book and manuscript library has collected poetry printed on the side of pencils, postage stamps, bumper stickers, and commercial paint chips. It includes poems on posters by Amiri Baraka and Gwendolyn Brooks.

“The Yale Collection of American Literature collects American Literature in all its formats and in all media, documenting the ways great American writers reach diverse and unusual audiences beyond standard book publishing,” says a statement from the library.

So as much as it sounds like a joke, it fits into a tradition of American writers trying to reach unusual audiences through unusual (if brief) work—and of libraries collecting their labor. It is probably the most pecuniarily rewarding effort yet to be collected by the library, however—the same collection also contains 1980s mail art. And probably few other projects in the collection started when a writer found himself so bored in a fast-food joint that he pondered his own mortality: “I really just wanted to die with frustration,” Foer told Vanity Fairof the project’s genesis, when he was stuck in a Chipotle with nothing to read. (It’s not even close to being the only fast food-associated American literary contribution, however: At the very least, Nicholson Baker writes in a Friendly’s.)

The archive also speaks to the incredible material properties of paper. All of the items in the collection are unusual in some way, yet most are still made of dead wood or dead wood pulp. The thing meant to sell you on a different paint color,the containerboard box those paint chips come in,  is made of dead wood pulp. And here, even the thing structurally strong enough to hold a denser-than-you-want-to-think-about burrito and one pound of sugar water is made of paper.