Perhaps you’ve noticed that ebooks are awful. I hate them, but I don’t know why I hate them. Maybe it’s snobbery. Perhaps, despite my long career in technology and media, I’m a secret Luddite. Maybe I can’t stand the idea of looking at books as computers after a long day of looking at computers as computers. I don’t know, except for knowing that ebooks are awful.
If you hate ebooks like I do, that loathing might attach to their dim screens, their wonky typography, their weird pagination, their unnerving ephemerality, or the prison house of a proprietary ecosystem. If you love ebooks, it might be because they are portable, and legible enough, and capable of delivering streams of words, fiction and nonfiction, into your eyes and brain with relative ease. Perhaps you like being able to carry a never-ending stack of books with you wherever you go, without having to actually lug them around. Whether you love or hate ebooks is probably a function of what books mean to you, and why.
Editor’s Note: I happen to love ebooks, public service announcement…
The model embraced by most public libraries for retrieving borrowed materials has historically been a simple one: forget to return the item, you pay the price.
The San Diego Public Library became part of a group of trailblazers when it abandoned this system in 2018, joining the less than 10 percent of American libraries around that time that’d done away with daily overdue fees, according to the Library Journal.
But the new policy, advertised on signs across the downtown branch that read, “Wave goodbye to overdue fees,” is not as straightforward as it sounds.
Local public school teacher Julie Ruble, who’s untimely book return resulted in a $1,426 debt to the city of San Diego, can attest. “This was just so much money and I didn’t think there were fines,” she said, “but it turns out the no-fines policy is misnamed.”
The above screenshot shows the “September 11th Resources” page, archived on the Internet Archive at the Source 1 link below. “This page is a collection of resources related to the events of September 11, 2001, as complied by Jessica Baumgart, Jennifer Jack, and other contributors. Links will open in new windows.” It was last updated 06/19/06 by Amy Disch. Some of the links may be broken or not archived separately, but the citations should be enough for researchers to find the materials.
The above screenshot shows the “The Park Library” page, archived on the Internet Archive at the Source 2 link below.
Sept. 11, 2001: NewsLib research queries following World Trade Center & Pentagon Attacks
The table shows a breakdown of the various queries by topic as researched by NewsLib librarians and members on 9/11/2001.
Likely, not updated since 2003. Some of the links may be broken or not archived separately, but the citations should be enough for researchers to find the materials. You can see the wide of range of information being sought, and the Query/Response portion shows the actual information provided. These query and responses were processed via the email list for the News Division of Special Libraries Association (SLA); though the list still exists, the News Division sadly is no longer a part of SLA.
There are a total of 60 queries and often multiple responses.
Editor’s Notes: Just days before 9/11, I had just been hired by San Diego Public Library to a position as Librarian II, and would start as Training Librarian. I was not working yet, still doing paperwork and processing by the City of San Diego Human Resources: badge, fingerprints, photographed (so I could be identified in an emergency).
I was living in San Diego at the time, and had my laptop computer, andInternet connectivity that morning/day on 9/11. You’ll see me responding in the responses, along with many others, over 20 times.My library colleagues, Shirley Kennedy and Gary Price, were also prominent in the responses.
Total NewsLib members, 2001: 1,352 Total International NewsLib members, 2001: 147
From a Pentagon rescuer’s uniform to a Flight 93 crew log, these objects commemorate the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy
By Meilan Solly, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Sept. 8, 2021, 8:43 a.m.
Following the tragedies that took place on September 11, 2001, curators at the Smithsonian Institution recognized the urgency of documenting this unprecedented moment in American history.
After Congress designated the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as the official repository for all related objects, photographs and documents, staff focused their attention on three areas: the attacks themselves, first responders and recovery efforts.
As time passed, curators expanded their purview to include the nation’s response to the tragedy, recording 9/11’s reverberations across the country. “This effectively put a net over the story, covering what happened on that day, then plus one month, plus one year,” says Cedric Yeh, curator of the museum’s National September 11 Collection.
“But [this net] had a lot of holes. I don’t mean holes in the curators’ work, but [rather], there were areas not covered because it was impossible to cover the entirety of the story.”
So what have we learned in the 20 years since 9/11?
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan encapsulated much of the past two decades. A war that began remarkably well for the U.S. had long since turned messy, frustrating and complicated, expanding to include a sprawling mix of goals and aspirations that never really went according to plan.
The global war on terror. The invasion of Iraq. Nation building. Black site prisons and Guantanamo Bay. Drone strikes across the Islamic world. Feuds over domestic surveillance and privacy. The rise of bitter partisan politics in the United States.
Many books have documented these developments, and more are on the way. Here we point to three strong new offerings that provide a detailed accounting of events that have largely defined the U.S. role in the world in the first part of the 21st century: The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden by Peter Bergen, The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War by Craig Whitlock, and The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence by Douglas London.
None makes for cheery reading, but all offer sobering lessons.