Wednesday News: Protecting library records for digital books, sexual harassment against librarians, self-published author’s new Kickstarter campaign, and cookies gone wrong
New Jersey Passes New Reader Privacy Act, Expanding Laws to Cover eBooks – New Jersey just became the third US state (along with California and Arizona) to pass a law that extends library patron privacy to digital books. I’m not sure how much attention those in the US paid to the privacy of their library records before the so-called PATRIOT Act, which not only spotlighted the possible vulnerability of this area of privacy, but also demonstrated how far federal power was being stretched through the crisscrossing network of laws that constitute the PATRIOT Act. Let’s see how long it takes to get the remaining 47 states to enact similar protections.
Working from the precedent that readers have a right to keep their library records private, the new Reader Privacy Act ( S-967) expands that right to include ebooks as well as paper books. The law, which you can read here, prohibits service providers (both bookstores and ebook retailers) from sharing a reader’s info absent a court order, explicit permission from the user, or in certain circumstances such as evidence of a crime against the service provider or user. –The Digital Reader
Librarians, too? – Speaking of libraries, here’s a depressing post about two women who are being sued for calling out a man for allegedly harassing behavior at library conferences. I guess it should not be a surprise that sexual harassment occurs among librarians, as it does in so many professional environments and conferences, but this case is particularly noteworthy because the accused harasser is suing for defamation. Of course, truth is the best defense to an accusation of defamation, so this should get interesting.
We both also believe that women calling out harmful the behaviour of men is an act of free speech and of resistance to a culture that regularly reduces our bodies to sexual objects existing only to serve men. We have decided to fight this lawsuit, at great financial and emotional cost to ourselves, because we believe that all victims of sexual harassment should be supported and believed. We believe that by speaking up and speaking out we are contributing to a change in culture whereby victims and survivors no longer have to be silent about our experiences. A culture where we can speak out and not be punished more severely than the men who engage in harassing behaviour. –Pharyngula
THE ARRANGEMENT INSTANT VIDEO SERIES – So you may already have seen this, but if not, behold a very successful self-published author (H.M. Ward) trying to raise over $2 million on Kickstarter to fund an “instant video” season of her Arrangement series. I’ve already seen some pretty strong opinions expressed on this venture (and not just about Ward calling her fan base “rabid”), but are we really surprised at something like this?
This has been a fan-driven series from the beginning, so here’s your chance to be involved again! If we fund this project, it allows me to produce the film as a series and retain complete control giving you the Sean Ferro you know and love, plus the rest of THE ARRANGEMENT characters. –Kickstarter
Mother Flips Out When Teacher Doesn’t Allow Her Vagina Cookies To Be Served To Second Graders – So a mother brings “vagina cookies” to her second grader’s classroom in a bid to “empower women” and “celebrate the vagina not be embarrassed by it.” Both admirable goals. Except for how the mother reacted when her gesture was rebuffed. Yeah, yeah, I know. But I had to post this story for the simple reason that it demonstrates perfectly the problem with trying to “empower women” by attacking them when they disagree with your worldview. Also? The cookies (if the picture is of the actual cookies) are actually kind of cool. –Downtrend [note: Snopes thinks this story, originally posted on reddit, which I hate linking to even more than a site like this one, thinks this story may be a fake. Wouldn’t surprise me either way. I still think the cookies are cool, though.]
Ugh, I’m a librarian and the harassment case is just disgusting. I just heard about it the other day and admit I was so so disappointed in my profession. I really hoped we’d be better than this, especially as a profession filled with women and concerned with equality in general. And when a code of conduct was proposed for ALA conferences people argued it just want necessary, but clearly there are assholes everywhere.
I would reconsider the DownTrend link; one of articles in the side bar is about how fake the “war on women” is, and the contributors seem to be random members of the public. They give no information about any basic reporting standards they follow, including requirements for accuracy in sources.
And frankly, any writer who starts by refering to their subject as a ‘dingbat’ woman, isn’t one who has even a passing association with the basic tenants of journalism.
Ward seems to have a long way to go yet to reach her funding goal. I suppose if I was a fan I *might* be interested in chipping in some money. I mean, how many Outlander fans do we think would have signed up if Gabaldon had tried it that way? And the Veronica Mars movie was crowd funded I think, so it’s been done before. I’ll be (mildly) interested to see if she reaches her funding goal.
There’s a great mystery series featuring Miss Zukas, a librarian, by Jo Dereske. One of the books hinges on Miss Zukas refusing to divulge who checked out a book found at a murder scene because of the patron’s right to privacy, even when faced with losing her job and the ire of the police chief, a man she’s in love with.
She’d approve of this new protection.
I miss that series. There was a wonderful slow romance over the course of the books, a cat I adored 9Boy Cat Zukas) and Helma Zukas really is a joy.
@Liz H.: Snopes has already posted something about the story. http://www.snopes.com/info/news/cookies.asp
Yea I was gonna say that the cookie story was a friend of a friend story posted on a anti women site. I believe its just crap to yet again bash women for speaking up.
@Jayne: Since the Snopes link specifies that the OP of the story denied there were pictures, I have to wonder if someone iced a bunch just to illustrate it.
The cookies are the best part! Also, I’ve clearly been watching too much of Bravo’s Extreme Parenting (although I really appreciated the passion the Bravo mother showed for shame-free sexual acceptance of female sexuality].
@Jane Davitt: Another Miss Zukas fan! That was a terrific series. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump recently, so I may pull these out again to read.
@KatieF: I love them so much. Miss Zukas grows and changes without ever losing an iota of her personality. She’s just so…Helma! Not so fond of the Ruby Crane trilogy, but I might give them another try. I can’t believe she had to self-pub the final Miss Zukas book to get it out there but I’m so glad she did.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with teaching kids about their bodies in creative, educational ways, but I pity the poor little gay boys who might have to suffer through those cookies. I seriously hope eating them is NOT mandatory. (And yes, most gay men knew they were gay at even younger ages.)
The cookie story is beyond absurd. Perhaps an inane attempt to outrage people so the perpetrators could enjoy their silly serving of snark?
I remember advice columnist Ann Landers occasionally wagging her finger at college kids when they fabricated bizarre problems, hoping for serious replies. Today it’s a different era with media that operate on different scales, but the impulse sounds the same.
The cookie story reminds me of 4chan’s #EndFathersDay and “free bleeding” hoaxes.
Umm, I might have tried to defuse the situation by treating them as Georgia O’Keeffe cookies. “Oh, it’s so helpful for you to bring a visual aid for our [art appreciation/horticulture/plant biology] lesson!”
I have to admit that H. M. Ward’s Arrangement series is just my sort of crack. I’m honestly glad to know exactly zero of these people, but I can’t help but find them compelling. I went through the entire sixteen volumes plus all the related books and series in about one week.
I admire that she wants the video to remain her vision, which is a really hard thing to do. That said, I’m just not as excited about it as reading the crack she’s peddling.
(I’d rather she hire a better copyeditor, frankly.)
My Everywoman book told me that the vulva was not the vagina. That was in Australia in the 70s, so things must have changed or just be different in the US.
@wendy: You’re correct, frequently Americans say vagina when we mean vulva. At least that’s my observation. I didn’t even think anything about it until your message. Thanks for the reminder.
The vulva vs vagina discussion reminds me of the story I heard about the father who was discussing his daughter’s latest visit to the doctor with friends over dinner. “The doctor says she has an unusually large vulva.” The guests’ forks stopped on the way to their mouths. His wife said gently, “You mean uvula, dear.”
@Jackie Barbosa: Bwahahahahahaha