Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians sponsored by my bulk
mail provider,


#286, September 8, 2006

SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for previous presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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My Writings
A bibliography of my published articles and columns, with links to those available online.

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Order My Books

Net Effects: How Librarians Can Manage the Unintended Consequences of the Internet, and The Quintessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint.

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine

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E-Mail Subscription?

For a combined subscription to Neat New Stuff and ExLibris, please click HERE, complete the form, and click on "subscribe." To unsubscribe, use the same form but click on "unsubscribe." To change addresses for an existing subscription, unsubscribe from that form and return to the page to enter the new address.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. Corollary: Who Cares?
  3. The answer depends on the question
  4. Research is a multi-stage process
  5. Ask a Librarian
  6. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence
  7. Information can be true and still wrong
  8. Pay attention to the jokes

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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin
  15. John Guscott
  16. Brian Smith
  17. Darlene Fichter
  18. Brenda Bailey-Hainer
  19. Walt Crawford
  20. Molly Williams
  21. Genie Tyburski
  22. Patrice McDermott
  23. Carrie Bickner
  24. Karen G. Schneider
  25. Roddy MacLeod, Part I
  26. Roddy MacLeod, Part II
  27. John Hubbard
  28. Micki McIntyre
  29. Péter Jacsó
  30. the "It's All Good" bloggers
  31. the "It's All Good" bloggers, part 2

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes from all previous issues are at

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When and How To Search the Net

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 750 and 1000 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Write me at: marylaine at

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related.

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How To Find Out of Print Books
Suggested strategies, resources, and finding tools.

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Best Information on the Net
bestinfo/default.htmThe directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
an occasional column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

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Book Proposal

Land of Why Not: an Appreciation of America. Proposal for an anthology of some of my best writing. An outline and sample columns are available here.

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My personal page


by Marylaine Block

Are you gearing up to provide information on upcoming state, local and congressional elections? Here are some of the sites I find most informative and generally nonpartisan.

The easiest kind of news to find is about the horse race - who's up and who's down in the polls in any given day. You can take your pick among the New York Times 2006 Election Guide <>, the Washington Post's Elections, Campaign 2006 <>, and <>, a new site that tracks state polls for candidates for senate and governor.

For the substance of campaigns, we have some weightier resources. Probably the best all-around source for congressional candidates is Project Vote Smart <>, where you can find biographical information, campaign finance information, issue positions, interest group ratings, voting records, and public statements. It also offers minimal information on ballot issues.

Congresspedia <> also offers a lot of information about candidates, including, when available, bio, top contributors, controversies, congressional committees, affiliations, voting record, official web site, and articles about the candidate. Though it's "a not-for-profit, collaborative project of the Center for Media and Democracy and the Sunlight Foundation," and "overseen by an editor to help ensure fairness and accuracy," I recommend this with reservations, because conservatives view it as a liberal source.

Campaign Network <> is a joint effort of C-SPAN and the venerable political publisher CQ, which combines C-SPAN's videos of candidate debates and speeches, and roundups of campaign ads, with CQ's news, analysis, and interviews. CQ's own site, <> offers political news for the 2006 election campaigns for House, Senate, and Governors. It includes CQ articles and a regularly updated election forecast map.

The Hill, the inside scoop source for Congress, offers Campaign 2006 <>, featuring news items on candidates, occasional state by state round-ups of polls and articles, and columns by pollsters from the right and left.

You can track the voting records of sitting legislators in the Washington Post's Congress Votes Database <>, and while you're at it, check out its report on Eight Issues That Will Shape the 2006 Elections <>.

There is, God knows, a plentiful supply of political opinion, and Politics Line - Political Commentary Updated Daily <> supplies commentaries from over 150 pundits from the right and left, updated daily.

For governors' races, statehouse races, and ballot issues, I recommend these sources:

The 2006 Election Preview at BallotWatch <> includes a state-by state rundown of ballot issues.'s 2006 Governors Guide <> offers a description of the candidates, and links to polling results, candidates' web sites, to details of Congressional Quarterly's "Governor Balence of Power Sorecard Details," and to state newspapers covering the campaign. Also, Governing's Blog, The 13th Floor <> has links to blogs covering politics within individual states.

The National Conference of State Legislatures <> offers a look at "Top Ten Statehouse Election Battlegrounds," and "High Profile Ballot Measures." There's also extensive background information on the Elections, Campaigns & Redistricting page <>. Stateline: Elections <> links to news stories about candidates and issues in campaigns for state-wide office.

If your governor is running for re-election, the National Governors Association <> provides profiles of sitting governors, and you can check out their past State of the State Speeches at Stateline <>.

Finally, for general public opinion data, you'll want to point to <>, an "independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion," where you can compare poll results on a wide variety of topics (Congressional job approval, direction of the country, national security, stem cell research, etc.), both with each other and over an extended time period. Polling Point <> conducts surveys about political issues over the internet, though there's no way to assess validity of the results.

The internet has made it lots easier to find voter information, but lots harder to know which information can be trusted. That's where librarians come in. I hope these sites make the task a bit easier for you.

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Edward Abbey once said of wilderness "we may need it someday not only as a refuge from excessive industrialism but also as a refuge from authoritarian government, from political oppression." I think we need public libraries in the same way we need wilderness. Both are sanctuaries of a king. Both are storehouses of diversity.

Anna Kirkpatrick, quoted in Beyond Words: BC's Public Libraries Are Changing Lives.

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You are welcome to copy and forward any of my own articles (but not those by my guest writers) for noncommercial purposes as long as you credit ExLibris and cite the permanent URL for the article. Please do NOT copy and post my articles to your own web sites, however. Instead, please copy a brief excerpt and link to the URL for the remainder of the article.

Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
Copyright, Marylaine Block, 1999-2006.

[Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.]