Library News

Miss a Meet the Author talk?

The Library’s Programming and Communications Committee has been working to get our Meet the Author talks recorded and available for viewing online. On February 12, Pulitzer Prize Winner Geraldine Brooks discussed her latest novel, People of the Book. Watch along here. (And you’ll see a small cameo by me in the first minute :-))

The latest book, coming to a hand-held device near you

A few weeks ago, when Northeastern was on Spring Break, I stayed with a friend in Northern New Jersey for the last two nights of break. He lives in a beautiful area, with gorgeous lakes, mostly composed of weekend homes for those who work in the City during the week. Coincidentally, there is no cell phone service, and few places offer Wi-Fi connections. So despite my laptop, cell phone and multiple email accounts, I was cut off from the rest of the world.

And it felt great.

But, by the last day, both Joe (my friend) and I were ready to get on the Internet. After all, our Facebooks had gone untended to for days! As Joe checked his email and other online forms of communication, I looked around his father’s handsome computer/ TV room. Being the fidgetting/nosy/curious guy that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder what electronic device (I saw a charging cord snaking out the back) would be around the size of a medium-sized paperback book.

Opening the leather case, I saw a blank screen. But it wasn’t black, it was white. And when I turned it on, it opened to the page of a book.

Electronic books have come a long way since the first text files exchanged over slow networks. The newest and most promising development is the electronic reader.

The screens use a different technology than your average LCD, and do not require additional energy once an image is on-screen. Which works perfectly for reading a book, where you might spend 5 minutes reading an especially difficult passage.

For some reason, this new display also makes the words clearer – instead of pixellation around the edges of letters, each looked just like it had been printed on paper.

So let’s think about this: its energy efficient, more portable (especially because with expandable memory, you can have hundreds of books with you at all times), and reads just as well as a real book.

With a high price for electronic book readers of this vein, the future has not quite arrived for all. But I expect that cheaper versions, as well as other products that use these technologies will eventually render paper obsolete.

At least for books.

Learning Something New

In the April, 2008 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, the cover article is about the lives of paprazzi who follow Britney Spears in order to catalog almost every occurance in her increasingly chaotic life.  One might think that a reputable publication such as The Atlantic having a story about Ms. Spears is a sign of a new low for the news media, I certainly did.  So I read the article, and wouldn’t you know it, it really opened my eyes to something I didn’t even realize I knew nothing about.  Paparazzi work really hard.  I mean it.  These guys are camped out all hours of the day and night hoping to get a shot that will make them a lot (and I mean a lot) of money.  In addition, the paps (as they are called), and the company they work for, sell these pictures to every news outlet in the world.   I’m not really going to get into it in this blog but I recommend that you read the article.  If you do read it please note the language is graphic at times.

Meet Author Beth Helms

Beth Helms is the next featured speaker in the Library’s Meet the Author series. She’ll be discussing her novel Dervishes Tuesday, March 18 at 6 pm in the ISSI, 405 Ell Hall. Dervishes explores the lives of the wife and daughter of an American diplomat living in Ankara, Turkey in 1975. Helms, winner of the 2003 Iowa Short Fiction Award, draws on her childhood experiences living abroad in the Middle East to write this compelling story. Turkish cuisine will be served at the event! This talk and book-signing is sponsored by NU Libraries, the International Student and Scholar Institute (ISSI), and the NU Bookstore. A campus map is available here. Ell Hall is building 52.

Feds Order Public Libraries to destroy law books!

The attorney general for the US Federal Government has issued this order… “The Department of Justice has called for these five public documents, two of which are texts of federal statutes, to be removed from depository libraries and destroyed, making their content available only to those with access to a law office or law library. The topics addressed in the named documents include information on how citizens can retrieve items that may have been confiscated by the government during an investigation. The documents to be removed and destroyed include: Civil and Criminal Forfeiture Procedure; Select Criminal Forfeiture Forms; Select Federal Asset Forfeiture Statutes; Asset forfeiture and money laundering resource directory; and Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).” See this Link for more details. They have rescinded the order but the fact that the issued such an order in the first place is truly chilling.