"jessamyn west"

Social justice is a library issue; libraries are a social justice issue

Radical librarian (and warrant canary inventor) Jessamyn West (previously gave this year's Alice G Smith lecture at the University of South Florida's School of Information. It's called "Social Justice is a Library Issue; Libraries are a Social Justice Issue." Read the rest

Librarians must resist trumpism

Radical librarian Jason Griffey (previously) wants librarians to continue their 21st century leadership in the resistance to surveillance and persecution -- a proud record that includes the most effective stands against GW Bush's Patriot Act -- by pledging to make libraries safe havens from trumpism and its evils: electronic surveillance; racial and gender-based discrimination; and the assertion that ideology trumps empirical reality. Read the rest

Trademark Office gives not one fuck for "No Fucks Given" trademark application

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused the mark on grounds of it being "scandalous" in what must surely be the most brilliant trademark determination of all time. Read the rest

Do we really need this call?

Jessamyn West is a freelancer, and that means that she has to talk on the phone to earn her crust. This sucks. Read the rest

Librarians on the vanguard of the anti-surveillance movement

The American Library Association's code of ethics demands that library professionals "protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality" and they've been taking that duty seriously since the first days of the Patriot Act. Read the rest

Zigzag bookcase shows Ikea a thing or two about not shipping air

"REK is a bookcase that grows with your book collection," writes Reinier De Jong Design on its official website. "The more books the bigger the bookcase gets. The zigzag shaped parts slide in and out to accomodate books in the resulting voids. REK will always be full, regardless of the quantity of books. Also the books can be arranged according to their sizes. The narrow spaces are excellent for magazines."

Price is "on request", unfortunately, which suggests I'll be sticking with my cheapo Billies for the time being.

REK bookcase [via Jessamyn West] Read the rest

Welcome, guestblogger Jessamyn West!

Our next guestblogger is the incomparable activist geek librarian Jessamyn West, who, along with other library-hackers like Jenny Levine are part of a movement to redefine librarianship in the information age. I've been enjoying Jessamyn's projects and thoughts for years and it's a delight to have her here. Here's her official bio:

I'm a library technologist working in rural Vermont teaching people on the back end of the digital divide how to use computers.

I also help run MetaFilter.com, especially Ask MetaFilter and travel around the world talking about library technology issues. My blog, librarian.net talks a lot about the intersection of libraries, technology and politics.

I'm grumpy about the USA PATRIOT Act, threats to open access and bad laws shaping bad culture.

I like moss, snowshoeing, old books and the color orange.

Not only that, but she co-edited Revolting Librarians Redux, one of the most exciting books I've read in the past ten years.

Welcome, Jessamyn! Read the rest

Update on "DHS visits student over Little Red Book" story

UPDATE: Report confirmed as hoax, Link to BB update.

Here's the original Boing Boing post, and here's yesterday's batch of update links.

Today, Boing Boing reader Gary McGath, a software engineer with the Harvard University Library, writes:

Just to add more confusion to the situation of Homeland Security and the unidentified UMass Dartmouth student: in a reader comment on a previous BB post, Jessamyn West reported that the Mao book "was from a library in nearby Providence." But SouthCoastToday is now saying it came from UMass Amherst -- Link.

A random stranger on a train told me that UMass Dartmouth does use SSN for student ID and claimed they'd issued a press release acknowledging that. I can't find any such press release on Google news, though.

Anonymous says,

Note that the UMass Dartmouth Library Dean states that her library did not process the interlibrary loan. It went through another library -- they were not involved. Note also that neither the reporter nor the professors ever seemed to try to verify any part of the story with the UMass Dartmouth Library or with Homeland Security for that matter. Neither people professionals at research bothered to even try to do the research for the facts. Odd, very odd. This is aside from the unlikely elements requested in the so-called form...like the SSN. Link.

N.Pepperell says,

The followup quotes some very skeptical DHS and FBI staff, and indicates that neither the student nor the student's parents have agreed to speak directly with Nicodemus.

Read the rest

Big controversy over Little Red Book / "DHS visits student" story

UPDATE: Report confirmed as hoax, Link to BB update.

Librarians, reporters, and bloggers are today debating whether this story about a student visited by DHS agents over a famous book of Mao Tse-Tung quotes is real or hoax.

Standard-Times reporter Aaron Nicodemus, who filed the article, maintains it is "is real and factual to the extent [he] reported."

But Jessamyn West, an elected Councilor of the American Library Association, says "The jury is still out... parts of the newspaper story don't add up."

Link to updated Boing Boing post with details. Read the rest

DHS agents visit student over Little Red Book - HOAX DEBATE

UPDATE: Report confirmed as hoax, Link to BB update.

Widespread debate today over whether the South Coast Today story "DHS visits student over Little Red Book" is a hoax, or contains unsubstantiated non-facts. But the reporter who filed it maintains otherwise; update and details at bottom of this post.

A Massachussetts paper is reporting that a college student was visited by Department of Homeland Security agents in October after requesting a copy of Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung -- better known as "The Little Red Book" -- from a university library:

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

Link to news report.

Attention, comrades! Subversive cesspool Amazon.com sells copies of this watchlisted terrorist manual. Here's the link where you can buy a copy before you invite the DHS over for eggnog. (Thanks, Nat, and the approximately ten gajillion other fellow travelers who suggested this item. Read the rest