Monday, March 16, 2009

"The State of the News Media 2009"

The introduction to the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism's annual report on the State of the News Media says it all: "This is the sixth edition of our annual report on the State of the News Media in the United States. It is also the bleakest."

This is hardly a surprise given the economy, the rising cost of newsprint, a decrease in advertising and a myriad of other factors I'm sure you've been reading about.


NPR's "Talk of the Nation" devoted a segment to the report today.

SLA Information Professional of Tomorrow video contest

My colleague Stan Friedman has created a video, "Info Pros Top 10," one of 16 videos vying to win the SLA Information Professional of Tomorrow video contest. If Stan's video wins, he receives a cash prize and the News Division and New York Chapter will receive $1,000 to aid in programming. As the News Division's program planner for this year's annual conference, I can tell you that $1,000 would come in handy.

SLA members have until March 31 to cast their votes. Videos can be viewed as much as you would like, but only one vote is allowed in each category. (professional and student).

Vote at

Here's Stan's video:

Sunday, February 22, 2009


While I didn't watch most of the Oscar ceremony, I did tune in around 11:30 to watch the awards for Best Actress and Best Actor be presented. I knew Kate Winslet would win, but was torn between Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn for Best Actor. In case you're living under a rock and haven't heard, Penn won for playing Harvey Milk in "Milk."

So in the big six categories this year, I'm five for six, missing out on Actor since my original prediction was Rourke and it's only fair that I admit that.

Amanda and I chatted online for a bit about the length of the ceremony, the fashions and the acceptance speeches. We agreed that per usual the show was way too long and that the idea of having five presenters come out to make comments about each nominee in the acting categories got old after a while, even though I think Sophia Loren looks fantastic! We also agreed that Beyonce's dress was awful.

I thought Penn gave a great acceptance speech that was parts humorous and socially conscious and liked the nod he gave to fellow nominee Rourke. Very classy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Historic movie posters

I sure wish it was possible for me to take a trip to California to see this exhibit before it ends March 8. Alas, this page of movie posters from the Los Angeles Public Library exhibit "The Fine Art of Film Posters: Selections from the Los Angeles Public Library Collection," will have to suffice.

Among my favorites are the posters for "Montana Moon" (1930), which starred Joan Crawford, "The Woman Accused" (1933) with a very young Cary Grant and "White Shoulders" (1931).

Directionally challenged and hopeless

The hopeless part refers to me rather than my friend Kristine, who has shown unending patience with my pathetic inability to get from point A to point B without a combination of Google maps and cell phones.

Kristine detailed our latest adventure on her blog, so I'll let her take it from here.

Carter Museum renovation

The Jimmy Carter Museum in Atlanta, Georgia will be undergoing a $10 million renovation beginning this spring. It will close April 27 and reopen on October 1, President Carter's 85th birthday.

Speaking to a crowd gathered at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, the former president said his hope was that "the new, interactive exhibits would encourage visitors to get involved in public service or the type of work the Carter Center is known for —- relieving poverty, working for democracy and eradicating disease."

Link courtesy of LISNews.

"What kind of information technology user are you?"

The Pew Internet & American Life Project offers a quiz where you can find out. (I'm a connector.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Hollywood Librarian" DVD now available

After a long wait, "The Hollywood Librarian" is finally available for purchase. Viewing party anyone?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shameless self-promotion alert: special librarians podcast

Last fall the University of Tennessee's student chapter of the Special Libraries Association hosted a brownbag featuring three special librarians: Martha Earl,
Reference Coordinator at Preston Medical Library; Mark Dickey, Engineering
Research Librarian at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Research Library and Leslie Duncan, Manager of Information Services at the National Limb Loss Information Center.

Their presentations are now available for online listening and can also be downloaded as podcasts to your portable media player.

A second podcast is available featuring yours truly. I speak about my career path to becoming a librarian, the importance of becoming involved in professional organizations and my involvement in the Special Libraries Association and its News Division.

I say "um" a bit too much when I speak, but overall I'm pleased.

Many, many thanks to Anna, who asked me to participate. Anna was a student in my management class last summer and I was thrilled when she asked if I'd consider speaking.

And thanks to Sarah Wright, the student chapter's president, who introduces me in the podcast.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

An early special librarian: Hazel Ohman Oille

Last week at work, my colleague Linda showed me a great photo from our library's collection of a librarian named Hazel Ohman, who worked in the Music and Research Library of NBC. The photo was dated 1931.

My curiosity kicked into high gear and I started poking around for information on Hazel, who later became Hazel Ohman Oille/Ollie. I've seen both spellings but am leaning toward the former since I've seen Hazel with that name in two separate issues of Special Libraries, the "official journal" of the Special Libraries Association from 1910 to 1996. (As an aside, all issues of the journal have been scanned and are available in PDF format on the SLA Web site.)

I found an article Hazel wrote for the February 1942 issue of "Special Libraries" titled "Employment Opportunities for Special Libraries." At that time, Hazel was working as a Research Librarian in the Division of Placement and Unemployment Insurance in the Department of Labor in New York City. News libraries get a mention toward the end of her article when she writes "There also seems to be somewhat of a shortage of male librarians for newspaper libraries." (The article begins on page 9.)

In 1943, Hazel was working as the Assistant Director in the Bureau of Planning at the New York Division of Commerce in Albany, New York. She spoke at the SLA Wartime conference in June of that year on the topic of "Basic Social Insurance Literature."

Hazel is mentioned in a 1996 publication commemorating the 50th anniversary of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. In an entry dated 1945 it states "Hazel Ohman Ollie, library consultant, begins organization of the ILR Library." (Note the different spelling of her last name.)

It sounds like Hazel had a very interesting career. I'm still looking for what else I can find about her and will probably contact SLA to see what they have in their archives. In the meantime, it's fun reading old articles about special libraries and thinking about the practices that are similar, completely different and have significantly evolved.

Student award to attend SLA annual conference

Applications are now being accepted for the Vormelker-Thomas Student Award, an annual honor given by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association to students or recent graduates in library science. The $1,500 stipend enables a student to attend his/her first SLA conference, which is being held June 14-17 in Washington, D.C.

The deadline is coming up quickly, March 4th, so please encourage any interested students to apply.

News preservation

The Winter 2008-09 issue of The Center for Research Libraries publication "Focus on Global Resources" discusses the various issues involved in news preservation, which was the topic of a conference entitled "On the Record: A Forum on Electronic Media and the Preservation of News," which was held in October 2008 at the New York Public Library.

Thanks to Gary at ResourceShelf for posting the link and thanks Kristine for sending it to me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Special Libraries Association annual conference preliminary program

SLA has posted the preliminary program for its annual conference, which will be held June 14-17, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Yours truly is planning the program for the News Division. More details will be forthcoming. (I have lots to do before June gets here.)

Interactive Oscar ballot

The New York Times is offering an online, interactive Oscar ballot that will be scored "in real-time on Oscar Night," Feb. 22.

Link courtesy of