Caution: This Post may cause a Trigger Warning

Caution Sign

I hadn’t heard of Twigger Warnings before the other day but it seems like a hot topic today.

For all of their reputation for free thinking, universities can be governed by well-meaning but stifling liberal orthodoxy. The latest example comes in the form of the push on several campuses for “trigger warnings” — statements that advise students that a particular book or other work includes disturbing content that might trigger traumatic reactions in certain people. – Warning, this editorial may upset you: Our view

As you might expect, Rich Lowry doesn’t mince words.

It is profoundly infantilizing. If someone can’t read Crime and Punishment (warning: includes scenes of near-madness, violence, sexual exploitation, cruelty to animals, and smoking) or Hamlet (warning: includes poisoning, drowning, stabbing, and intense intra-familial conflict) without fear of being offended, he or she should major in accounting. – Warning: Literature Ahead

And here is the opposing view.

Trigger warnings in the classroom don’t censor material. Neither are they an excuse to avoid challenging subjects; instead, they offer students with post-traumatic stress disorder control over the situation so that they can interact with difficult material. They don’t protect “fragile personal sensibilities” or remove offensive content. They recognize and validate a real mental issue. – Trigger warnings avert trauma: Opposing view

Here I think is the obvious problem: There is simply no way for someone to anticipate something that will someone else will find to be a Trigger. That is what Mental Health Professionals do in one-one-therapy sessions, it is never going to work on a large scale. And I have to admit that I find it interesting that the advocate is a College Sophomore.

The Increase in Translated Books

EJ Van Lanen

A major change is going in for Translated Works.

Consistent powerhouses such as Dalkey Archive Press and – this may surprise you – AmazonCrossing (Amazon’s translation imprint) make up the bulk of publications, but a wealth of smaller presses are rethinking the process of publishing in translation, traditionally a laborious process involving government-sponsored reading lists, recommendations from foreign friends, unreliable readers’ reports and dashed-off sample translations. These difficulties are a legacy of fierce competition between big players, but in a marketplace increasingly populated with small, digital-only publishers, it’s possible to take a different approach. – Why translated ebooks are no longer foreign to publishers – how to pick and choose the best


This really makes sense to me in a world where traditional boundaries are breaking down thanks to the Internet.

Smashwords expands Overdrive deal

Overdrive Smashwords

Digital self-publishing site Smashwords is making its ebooks available to more libraries through a partnership with Overdrive, the country’s largest digital library distributor. Through the partnership, Overdrive library clients — the company works with about 28,000 libraries and schools worldwide — will be able to purchase about 200,000 ebooks by 88,000 Smashwords authors and lend them out to their patrons. – Self-published ebook site Smashwords expands to more libraries in deal with Overdrive

Anything that gets more books into the hands of more Libraries is a good thing. It sounds like this will definitely do that.

Italy wants Prisoners to Read

Prison Library

In Calabria, a southern region of Italy, Prisoners who read books can actually decrease their prison sentences.

The regional council of Calabria, in southern Italy, has approved a bill to reduce jail time for three days for each book read. It would be capped at 48 days in one year – amounting to 16 books in 12 months. According to local newspaper Corriere della Sera, inmates’ progress would be tracked by prison officers to stop abuse of the system. – Italian prisoners get cut sentences for reading as UK ‘book ban’ continues

It makes sense to me. It isn’t like it is going to make that big a difference in terms of time served but it could do some good in the long run.

The article also talks about the policy in the UK which doesn’t allow prisoners to receive packages. To me, it seems like there ought to be a way of families buy things from an approved third-party vendor.

Europe and the Right to be Forgotten

Forget Me Not

The European Court of Justice has ordered Google to remove Information from their Search Results of anyone who asks.

The court’s decision means that individuals can ask Google or other search operators to take down links to web pages that are published by third parties, such as newspapers, containing information relating to them. That doesn’t mean that the article or website has to be removed or altered by the original publisher. It would only affect search results compiled by search engine operators like Google. – Google’s Legal Blow: What ‘the Right to Be Forgotten’ Means

Of course, this could ramifications for Libraries because we have all sorts of Databases to choose from? Will Lexis/Nexis have to remove Legal Cases that someone doesn’t like? What about the Polk Street Directory? And there is another aspect.

Given the U.S. now defines corporations as people too, can future regulations intended to protect individual right to privacy be used by corporations to erase past transgressions from Internet searches so that researchers, journalists, attorneys and others cannot find that information? And what of politicians? Can they cover up criminal arrests and investigations and other information voters should know on the grounds that such information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant?” – Google must purge search results on demand, says EU court

I can understand the desire but I think the decision itself was ill-considered.

Note: If you don’t get the significance of the flowers, they are “Forget-Me-Nots.”

Brooklyn is Back

Clinton Hill Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library

Here’s the Good News!

From Coney Island on up to Clinton Hill, all 60 Brooklyn Public Library branches have reopened following a lengthy string of repairs that have stretched for nearly two years. – Brooklyn bibliophiles rejoice! All 60 public library branches now open after lengthy repairs

The Bad News is two branches will be closing in a few months and there is still $300 Million in additional repairs backlogged. But still, this is an accomplishment and a start.


Do Stacks make the Library?

Colby College’s Miller Library is only the latest example of a library reducing the amount of space utilized by books. And some people are very upset about that.

The Bookies are quite right to want to save the stacks—but not just for the reasons they give, all of which could be dismissed as the sentimental drowning cries of Luddites. We must also save the stacks for another, more urgent reason altogether: Books, simply as props that happen also to be quite useful if you open them up, are the best—perhaps the only—bastions of contemplative intellectual space in the world. – Rebecca Schuman

I think you can make a case either way although I am pretty sure it will be a while yet before most Libraries go completely stack-free. But is a healthy debate to have.

Public Libraries of Jefferson County get Grant from Daniel Foundation of Alabama

Hugh Daniel

The Jefferson County Library Cooperative needs new Circulation Software.

“Our previous software was in desperate need of an upgrade,” Ryan said in an email to “The majority of the funds came from State Aid to Public Libraries, appropriated annually by the Alabama Legislature.” “However, we are indebted to the Daniel Foundation for providing us with the [funds] that allowed us to purchase this software. Until Jefferson County cut the Library Cooperative’s funding, due to the loss of the occupational tax, we were able to fund the local match required for most grants within our budget.” Ryan said that PLJC received $93,975 from State Aid. The software is Sierra Services, which was created by Innovative Interfaces, Inc. In addition to checking out items online, Sierra Services also “serves as a back office” for processing, cataloging items and annual statistical reporting. – Public Libraries in Jefferson County received $15,000 grant for software update

Thankfully, they found a solution for this but it sounds like there are still some longer-term issues.

Property Tax Drop hit Kanawha Libraries

Kanawha Library

And it is a hit they really aren’t in a position to take. Last year, a decision by the State Supreme Court impacted funding for the library system, causing a building plan to be put on hold. And now:

The Kanawha County Public Library will receive slightly less funding from the county and city next year because of reductions in property values. On Monday, the library board of directors requested the city of Charleston sponsor a levy that would produce $1,025,385 for library operations and the Kanawha County Commission sponsor a levy that would produce $3,131,858. Those amounts, set for the 2015 fiscal year, are calculated based on a 1957 act that created the Kanawha County Public Library system and authorizes the city and the county to provide funding to libraries each year. – Drop in property values another blow for Kanawha libraries

Hopefully, the West Virginia State Legislature will come up with some solution. And soon.