Library News

Two Takes on Environmental Destruction

Today, we review two books that examine the environmental destruction of small towns, and the ensuing fallout in the community at large. In Rene Steinke’s Friendswood, the eponymous town has been the victim of chemical leaks from a nearby oil refinery. Most of the town seems ready to move on once the EPA has cleared the town for redevelopment, but protagonist Lee (whose daughter may have died from exposure to the chemicals) continues to crusade against the refinery, a crusade which leads eventually to tragedy.  Meanwhile, in Christopher Scotton’s The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, a small Appalachian town is being strip-mined for coal, and the opposition (much more organized than Lee’s one-man stand) once again leads to tragic results.

Both novels ask the reader to consider the ways in which rural American towns are seen by urban America: not just as fodder to be used and abused by large corporations, but as essentially worth less than our large “modern” cities.  And both use their broad narrative of environmental disaster as a setting for the more mundane tragedies of daily life in these towns.

STEINKE, René. Friendswood. 368p. Riverhead. Aug. 2014. Tr $27.95. ISBN 9781594632518. LC  2014012106

Many years ago, Lee’s daughter Jess succumbed to a brain tumor that Lee believes resulted from the effects of chemicals left behind by a nearby refinery. Since then, she has been fighting City Hall to create awareness of those chemicals and the damage they have done to the residents of their town, Friendswood, Texas. The protagonist’s research and reports about multiple incidents of cancer, brain tumors, and unexplained rashes have fallen on deaf ears. When the EPA clears the way for new building upon that site, Lee is determined to fight even harder. But to most townspeople the refinery dump-site is not an issue. Hal, a realtor, looks forward to the possibility of selling many homes in the area, and teens Willa, Cully, and Dex are just trying to understand their lives. Told from these five character viewpoints, Friendswood takes readers into the lives of these people who live under the shadow of a resurfacing superfund site. Hal grapples with his faith and ambition; Willa has strange hallucinations; Cully rethinks his life in the aftermath of violent bad choices; and Dex struggles with understanding his family. Lee’s eco-terrorism sparks a climax that allows each character to discover that maybe life has something to offer them, while opening the eyes of this small town to the destruction in their backyard. Young adults can identify with the teen characters and for those who like environmental activism, this book will get them thinking.—Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

SCOTTON, Christopher. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth. 468p. Grand Central. Jan. 2015. Tr $26. ISBN 9781455551927. LC 2014012917.

It’s been two months since Kevin and his mother witnessed the horrific death of his little brother. They have moved to Appalachian Kentucky to spend the summer with Pops, Kevin’s maternal grandfather, with the hope of healing.  This is a tall order as Kevin’s mother is so grief-stricken she can hardly function, and his absentee father, who blames him for the death, provides no support. Luckily, Pops is a wise and lovable man who is the best candidate to aid in the teen’s redemption. The protagonist meets Buzzy whose friendship is immediate and fast. However, there is a dark underbelly to this 1985 coal mining town, including a murder and an evil coal mine owner who is destroying the area. Pops, Kevin, and Buzzy set out for a trip into the remote areas of the hollows to experience the beauty of the region. They see a person watching their every move who soon begins firing at them. Buzzy is convinced the shooter is after him, so he takes off to confront him. Pops is shot and it is up to Kevin to save him. This is a treacherous, page-turning journey and one can only admire Kevin’s pluck and bravery. Overwritten, wordy, and full of caricatures, this debut is also highly readable and has some appealing, authentic characters. Teens might find 14-year-old Kevin overly sophisticated, but the action and setting are intriguing and credible.—Jane Ritter, Mill Valley School District, CA

Categories: Library News

LibLime to Exhibit at ALA Midwinter

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 16:04
(January 29, 2015). ibLime, a division of PTFS, will be participating in the 2015 American Library Association (ALA) MidWinter Annual Conference. LibLime will unveil the first look at DLS 3.0, LibLime Academic Koha plus digital content management, geospatial discovery, and a new cataloging editor. DLS 3.0 includes manynew functional features.
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22 ATLA libraries now using OCLC WorldShare Management Services

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 16:04
(January 29, 2015). Twenty-two member libraries of the American Theological Library Association are now using OCLC WorldShare Management Services as their library management sy
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DynaMed supports partners infectious disease images with grant

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 16:04
(January 27, 2015). A grant from DynaMed will enable healthcare professionals to continue to have the opportunity to learn from interesting and instructive infectious disease cases. The EBSCO Health resource has made a donation to support the Partners Infectious Disease Images web site, a free database for healthcare trainees and providers that contains thousands of clinical images and hundreds of in-depth cases.
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OverDrive Rated Number 1 eBook app for libraries and schools by users

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 29, 2015). OverDrive continues to be rated the best eBook app for libraries based on user ratings in the iOS (Apple) and Google Play (Android) app stores. Based on user ratings in the iOS and Android app stores, OverDrive has consistently been rated the highest compared to other library eBook apps. In addition, OverDrive has received significantly more ratings, further validating its leadership position. As of January 15, 2015, the OverDrive app had 40,806 ratings in the iOS app store with an average of 4 stars, and 63,272 ratings at 4.4 stars in the Google Play store. The current version of the OverDrive iOS app was rated 1,021 times with an average rating of 4.0. By comparison, the current version of the 3M Cloud Library iOS app averaged 1.5 stars on 82 ratings, and 3.1 stars in the Google Play app store.
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A New Axis 360 Mobile Experience is Here

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 29, 2015). Baker and Taylor introduced the new Axis 360 app! This free mobile app is our latest advancement toward a unified, easy-to-use experience for listening and reading.
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Innovative's Open Library Experience at ALA Midwinter Meeting

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 29, 2015). Innovative will exhibit at booth #1811 in the ALA Midwinter Meeting featuring the Sierra Services Platform, Polaris ILS and Leap, SkyRiver, Vital, and more. Innovative staff will be on hand to answer your questions and talk about our new developments with APIs, the Cloud, and mobile technology including our new version of Mobile Worklists.
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Public libraries across the U.S. find reinvention and value through innovative education program

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 28, 2015). Public libraries across the country are finding innovative ways to deliver value to their communities, including presenting high school diplomas to adult residents through Career Online High School, an accredited high school completion and career certificate program. Career Online High School, brought to public libraries by Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is now available at more than a dozen libraries from coast to coast, with several launching this month, and has graduated its first library students.
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ProQuest joins BIBCO and ECIP cataloging partnership programs

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 28, 2015). ProQuest has become a partner in the Library of Congress' Electronic Cataloging in Publication (ECIP) Cataloging Partnership and BIBCO Programs. The company is the first publisher ever to partner in the ECIP program and joins academic libraries in cataloging pre-publication galleys of U.S. imprints received at the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress selects candidates for these programs that have demonstrated expertise in and commitment to cooperative cataloging.
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Vital Source builds upon recent growth with new offices in downtown Raleigh

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 28, 2015). Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Content Group Inc.'s leading educational technology company is responding to accelerating growth with a move to new, larger office space in the tech-centric hub of downtown Raleigh, N.C.
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Academic institutions select ProQuest Intota for transformative library management capabilities and industry-leading user experience

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 28, 2015). Academic institutions around the world are selecting the Intota library services platform, a transformational cloud-based service that simplifies two major challenges libraries face today: collection assessment and e-resource management. Released last June, Intota combines industry-leading discovery, linking, collection management and assessment in one system, built on a single, authoritative knowledgebase. Since the launch last year by ProQuest, more than 35 libraries around the world have chosen the first version of Intota.
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Ingram puts the power of data in libraries' hands with new Edelweiss Analytics tool

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 28, 2015). Ingram Library Services expands the services it provides libraries with the addition of timely analytics and data powered by Above the Treeline's Edelweiss Analytics, a web-based, interactive collection analysis tool. It gives libraries access to the most accurate and up-to-date information available on library circulation, retail sales data, title data and much more.
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Springer shifts journal Autoimmunity Highlights to open access

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 27, 2015). Springer has assumed control of the journal Autoimmunity Highlights, which was previously owned by A. Menarini Diagnostics, an Italian company. In doing so Springer has also elected to make the journal an open access (OA) publication, which will allow for its published findings to be immediately available. However, readers should not expect any changes in the high quality of the content
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3M Library Systems investing in growth for 2015

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 13:04
(January 27, 2015). Libraries around the country are kicking off 2015 with a bright outlook. 3M Library Systems is poised to meet the evolving demands with new product features for the 3M Cloud Library and the SelfCheck product lines that will be previewed at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, January 30 - February 3 in Chicago, Illinois.
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University of Iowa Libraries select Ex Libris cloud solutions

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:04
(January 29, 2015). Ex Libris announced that the University of Iowa has selected Ex Libris Alma for next-generation resource management services. Alma will replace a number of systems, including the Aleph integrated library system.
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Over 1,100 Libraries Select Innovative in 2014

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:04
(January 28, 2015). Innovative announced that its flagship products were selected by 144 library systems in 2014; 49 of them are new libraries joining the Innovative family. The systems represent over 1,100 libraries of all types in over 20 countries. All of the company's platforms - the Polaris ILS, the Sierra Library Services Platform, and Virtua - were selected in 2014. The libraries are either upgrading from Innovative's Millennium ILS to the Sierra Library Services Platform or migrating from competing systems such as Alma, Evergreen, Horizon, Koha, Voyager, and Symphony.
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ProQuest moves 12 million pages of History from archive box to search box in 2014

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:04
(January 28, 2015). ProQuest continues to lead worldwide digitization of content that improves research outcomes. In 2014, the company digitized approximately 12 million pages of historical documents, moving them from archive box to search box. The company's expert digitization and curation of vast and varied information is supported with advanced technologies. Now, these rare, previously inaccessible and unconnected documents can be discovered, explored and used by researchers in new and meaningful ways.
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University of Hertfordshire chooses the Koha library management system, hosted and supported by PTFS Europe.

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:04
(January 28, 2015). The University of Hertfordshire has chosen the Koha open source library management system to replace its existing library management system. PTFS Europe will implement the Koha system and provide on-going hosting and support services. The project also involves a tight integration with the University's new discovery platform.
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Improving Library ROI in Technology, Content, and HR

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:04
(January 28, 2015). RMG once again announces a roundup of key ILS, Discovery, and Content vendors from the global library industry to discuss the promise and problems of libraries' adapting and leveraging new paradigms to improve ROI in content, technology, and HR.
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SirsiDynix and Bibliotheca Continue Strategic Plans to Benefit Joint Customer Base

Library Technology Reports - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:04
(January 28, 2015). SirsiDynix and Bibliotheca, a leader in RFID and bar-code based self-service technology solutions, enhance their strategic partnership to expand future integration of the companies' products resulting in an improved experience for library customers worldwide. Since 2012, SirsiDynix and Bibliotheca have been strategic technology and sales partners, maintaining close development initiatives to ensure both library product lines work seamlessly together. Recently, both companies have expanded their commitment to strengthen this partnership. The result is that the library market can expect to see further integration throughout the coming year to move libraries into the future and thin the lines between both patron and staff solutions.
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