Library News

The Auschwitz escape : a novel /

New At the Library - 2 hours 21 min ago

    ISBN: 9781611062663
    Author: Rosenberg, Joel C., 1967-

Categories: Library News

The storied life of A.J. Fikry :

New At the Library - 2 hours 21 min ago

    ISBN: 9781616203214
    Author: Zevin, Gabrielle

Categories: Library News

Night diver /

New At the Library - 2 hours 21 min ago

    ISBN: 9780062132826
    Author: Lowell, Elizabeth, 1944-

Categories: Library News

The Problem with Stories about Amnesia (Solved by Robert Glancy and Jason Bourne)

Anyone who cares about narrative, movies, or both should be reading Matt Bird’s Cockeyed Caravan blog. He spends most of his time there deconstructing the narrative structure of Hollywood movies and explaining how and why movies do (and don’t) work. But while he only discusses movies (and usually big-budget Hollywood ones at that), his insights are invaluable for anyone interested in the way narrative works in any kind of fiction. I’ve cited his ideas many times over on my personal blog and in conversations with other book lovers.

For the last week or so, he’s been looking at The Bourne Identity, which, aside from the spying and car chases, has a very similar underlying structure to Robert Glancy’s Terms & Conditions, reviewed below. As I say in my review, it’s a very well-worn amnesia plot, which Matt describes much better than I did in my review:

There are lots of movies in which the hero has some form of amnesia or memory-tampering, only to discover that, in the life he can’t remember, he was actually, gasp, one of the bad guys…But don’t worry, there’s still time to do the right thing!

The problem with this plot, Matt says, is that it doesn’t make much sense. Why would someone change into a “good guy” just because he gets amnesia?

The idea that, if we could start again with a clean slate, we’d all naturally choose to be nobly heroic action figures, even it means rejecting everyone from our past life (indeed, entering into a “kill or be killed” relationship with them) seems utterly vainglorious.

The Bourne Identity solves this dilemma by reversing the order of events: rather than Bourne’s amnesia causing him to become a “good guy”, it is a mental crisis over the fact that he’s a bad guy which causes his amnesia. Interestingly, Glancy’s novel uses the exact same technique.

Of course, since the revelation of this solution to the “amnesia problem” occurs at the end of both works, we need something to keep us occupied in the meantime. Bourne offers us thrills, and Glancy offers us laughs. His idea of using a lawyer who writes terms and conditions as his protagonist is nothing short of brilliant, as it leads to endless variations on the theme of terms and conditions, and endless footnotes to clarify (or sometimes muddy) the narrator’s thoughts. I wouldn’t say this is the most teen-friendly title we’ve reviewed here–the narrator is a bit older, and spends a lot of time thinking about his job and his marriage. But the humor alone, along with the search for identity should be more than enough to appeal to literate teens.

GLANCY, Robert. Terms & Conditions. 272p. Bloomsbury USA. Apr. 2014. Tr $26. ISBN 9781620406434; ebk. ISBN 9781620406441.

Glancy takes a relatively standard-issue amnesia story–a man loses his memory; he begins to regain memory; he realizes he doesn’t like the person he was before he lost his memory; and he takes the opportunity of his amnesia to become a better person, usually through a relationship with a woman. Glancy brings his story crackling to life with his quirky sense of humor and an ingeniously designed metaphor embodied in the novel’s title. The amnesiac is Frank, a contract lawyer who specialized in making contracts unbreakable (or breakable, depending on the client) through fine print—-those “terms and conditions” that no one reads. Much of Glancy’s humor resides in his own version of terms and conditions–hilarious footnotes, many of which go on for well over a page and often directly contradict the main text. Meanwhile, Frank’s slow path back to memory revolves around the mystery of what caused the “little episode” he had just before his car accident. The solution to that mystery brings to the fore the novel’s central theme: what is it that makes a man—his actions or his intentions? Frank’s answer to that question and his path to full personhood should resonate well with teens on their path to adulthood.–Mark Flowers, John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, CA

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: April 16

LITA Blog - Wed, 2014-04-16 13:11

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Senior Network Administrator,  Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Categories: Library News

Evening stars /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:57

    ISBN: 9780778317210
    Author: Mallery, Susan

Categories: Library News

Irish eyes [sound recording] : a novel /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:57

    ISBN: 9781482992137
    Author: Andrews, Mary Kay, 1954-

Categories: Library News

Four friends /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:57

    ISBN: 9780778316817
    Author: Carr, Robyn

Categories: Library News

The wedding bees : a novel of honey love and manners /

New At the Library - Wed, 2014-04-16 05:57

    ISBN: 9780062252609
    Author: Lynch, Sarah-Kate

Categories: Library News

My Slides from Computers in Libraries 2014

David Lee King - Tue, 2014-04-15 09:00

Here’s what I talked about while at Computers in Libraries last week (really useful conference for me this year, by the way. Lots of great ideas!).

3-hour pre-conference session on Technology Trends for 2014:

Technology Trends in Libraries for 2014 from David King

Website Redesign:

Redesigning – a library website from David King

Digital Hangouts (basics of using social media for organizations):

Digital Hangouts: Reaching Outside the Building from David King


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Categories: Library News

A LITA Guide to responsive web design

LITA Blog - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:53
A LITA guide to responsive web design


“Responsive Web Design for Libraries: A LITA Guide”

“Streamlining Information Services Using Chatbots”

“The Comparative Guide to WordPress in Libraries: A LITA Guide”

For Immediate Release
Fri, 04/11/2014

Contact: Rob Christopher Marketing Coordinator ALA Publishing 312-280-5052

CHICAGO — Tablets, desktops, smartphones, laptops, minis: we live in a world of screens, all of different sizes. Library websites need to work on all of them, but maintaining separate sites or content management systems is resource intensive and still unlikely to address all the variations. By using responsive Web design, libraries can build one site for all devices—now and in the future. In “Responsive Web Design for Libraries: A LITA Guide,” published by ALA TechSource, experienced responsive Web developer Matthew Reidsma, named “a web librarian to watch” by ACRL’s TechConnect blog, shares proven methods for delivering the same content to all users using HTML and CSS. His practical guidance will enable Web developers to save valuable time and resources by working with a library’s existing design to add responsive Web design features. With both clarity and thoroughness, and firmly addressing the expectations of library website users, this book:

  • shows why responsive Web design is so important, and how its flexibility can meet the needs of both today’s users and tomorrow’s technology;
  • provides in-depth coverage of implementing responsive Web design on an existing site, steps for taking traditional desktop CSS and adding breakpoints for site responsiveness and ways to use grids to achieve a visual layout that’s adaptable to different devices;
  • includes valuable tips and techniques from Web developers and designers, such as how to do more with fewer resources and improving performance by designing a site that sends fewer bytes over fewer connections;
  • offers advice for making vendor sites responsive;
  • features an abundance of screen captures, associated code samples and links to additional resources.

Reidsma is Web services librarian at Grand Valley State University, in Allendale, Mich. He is the cofounder and editor in chief of Weave: Journal of Library User Experience, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal for library user experience professionals. He speaks frequently about library websites, user experience and responsive design around the world. Library Journal named him a “Mover & Shaker” in 2013. He writes about libraries and technology at Matthew Reidsma.

The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of ALA, educates, serves and reaches out to its members, other ALA members and divisions, and the entire library and information community through its publications, programs and other activities designed to promote, develop, and aid in the implementation of library and information technology.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5418 or

ALA Units: Library and Information Technology Association ALA Publishing ALA TechSource Filed Under: PR Category: Publications
Categories: Library News

Keep quiet /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9781466842045
    Author: Scottoline, Lisa

Categories: Library News

I've got you under my skin /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9781476749068
    Author: Clark, Mary Higgins

Categories: Library News

Frog music /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9780316324687
    Author: Donoghue, Emma, 1969-

Categories: Library News

Destroyer angel /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9781466841680
    Author: Barr, Nevada

Categories: Library News

The collector of dying breaths :

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9781451621556
    Author: Rose, M. J., 1953-

Categories: Library News

Cavendon Hall /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9781250032355
    Author: Bradford, Barbara Taylor, 1933-

Categories: Library News

Blossom Street brides : a Blossom Street novel /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9780345549860
    Author: Macomber, Debbie

Categories: Library News

And the dark sacred night /

New At the Library - Mon, 2014-04-14 11:17

    ISBN: 9780307908636
    Author: Glass, Julia, 1956-

Categories: Library News

Where the Dystopian Craze meets Literary Fiction

On Such a Full Sea was published in January, so we are a bit behind here. Truth be told, we did not receive a copy for review, nor did we assign the book to a reviewer. I mention this because it’s such a great example of two of the strengths of presenting book reviews in a blog format. One, we have a group of savvy reviewers behind us–AB4T is hardly just Mark and me talking about the books we’ve read. Two, the blog format allows us the flexibility to include a book we might have missed, at the last minute. Diane read On Such a Full Sea for her own pleasure, recognized its potential and recommended it for the blog. I love having smart librarians watching our backs!

Much like Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, On Such a Full Sea is a genre book by a writer known for the literary. You have probably heard of The Surrendered, Chang-Rae Lee’s last novel, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, which one of my English teacher colleagues named his favorite novel of 2010 but stopped short of recommending for the school library. Too dark. Too sad. How fortunate that we can now comfortably share the work of this extraordinary author with our readers.

Ron Charles of the Washington Post compares it to 1984, The Handmaid’s Tale and Fahrenheit 451, classics that reflect our society back at us in a guise that illuminates its faults in new ways.

Maureen Corrigan doesn’t show quite as much enthusiasm in her NPR review. She goes straight to a comparison with the most popular YA dystopian series, and declares Katniss much better company than Fan!

LEE, Chang-rae. On Such a Full Sea. 368p. Riverhead. Jan. 2014. Tr $27.95. ISBN 9781594486104.  

Sixteen-year-old Fan lives in harmony with the close-knit residents of B-More, a labor enclave that produces fish for wealthy consumers. She cares for the fish in her large tank with elegance, capable of staying underwater for seemingly impossible lengths of time, sensitive to the tiniest changes in their environment. She is in love with Reg, a tall boy who tends vegetables near her tank. Their love story is woven into the fabric of B-More as if it were shared by all—until the day that Reg disappears. This is when Fan becomes the heroine of B-More, the adventurer whose story is known and told again and again, by leaving their cloistered world and venturing into the unknown chaos beyond. No one has ever walked out before. But she must find Reg, for she is pregnant with his child. Her  long journey is told by the collective residents of B-More in an eerily omniscient voice. Their love and admiration for Fan gives the tale a resonance of legend, how she walked away from their predictable world and experienced the unknown. This unusual narrative voice, paired with an absence of quotation marks, may challenge some readers, but Lee’s gorgeous writing continually pulls them forward, eager to join in Fan’s great adventure. The dystopian setting, an America many years into the future, populated with colonists who have long forgotten their Chinese ancestry, works well to grant Fan access to all the possible fates of a wanderer. Recommend this to teens who appreciate literary, nuanced work such as that of Cormac McCarthy or Margaret Atwood.–Diane Colson, Nashville Public Library, TN

Categories: Library News
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