Saturday, April 25, 2009

Find 2009 Pulitzer Prize Winners' Work at the Library

Attention, news junkies! The 2009 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced on Monday, April 20th.

The Pulitzer, widely considered to be the highest honor bestowed upon American journalists (and other types of artists, too), is awarded annually by Columbia University. Out of almost 2,500 nominations (that number includes other, non-journalism categories) each year, judges choose only 21 winners.

The Pulitzer is of great value to the reading public because it highlights work done not only by major newspapers but also that of smaller, regional papers. With rumors of impending doom haunting the newspaper industry this year, it is worth stepping back to celebrate the important work of the Fourth Estate.

The San Francisco Public Library has recently increased online access to regional newspapers from around the world with the addition of PressDisplay, a new database that adds dozens of papers to our already large online collection. It's worth taking a look at some of the regional papers from around the country; you never know, you may be looking at next year's Pulitzer winner!

Below, we've reproduced the list of winners with links to the library catalog record showing our electronic holdings for each title. The descriptions of the winners' work are adapted from the Pulitzer announcement.

To view the papers:
  1. Follow the link to the catalog record.
  2. Click "Click here for full text." (See example below.)
  3. Click on the link to the database containing the paper.
  4. Enter your library card number (if you are accessing the database from outside of the library).

Once you're inside the database, you have full access to the papers and can browse to or search for the winning work.

Public Service - Las Vegas Sun for coverage of high death rates among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip.

Breaking News Reporting - The New York Times staff for coverage of the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal.

Investigative Reporting - David Barstow of The New York Times for revealing that the Pentagon had influenced retired generals to drum up support for the war in Iraq during media appearances.

Explanatory Reporting - Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart of the Los Angeles Times for their close look at the costs and benefits of fighting wildfires.

Local Reporting - Detroit Free Press staff for breaking the Kwame Kilpatrick sex scandal (anyone else notice a trend?) and Ryan Gabrielson and Paul Giblin of the East Valley Tribune, Mesa, AZ (This is the only one that we don't have, so the link goes to their Web site) for revealing how the local sheriff's focus on enforcing immigration laws and neglect of violent crime investigations endangered the public.

National Reporting - St. Petersburg Times staff for their fact-checking initiative during the 2008 Presidential campaign.

International Reporting - The New York Times staff for risky reporting from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Feature Writing - Lane DeGregory of the St. Petersburg Times for the story of a neglected child moving from a filthy motel room to the home of her newly adoptive family.

Commentary - Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post for writing about the historic election of the first African American President of the United States.

Criticism - Holland Cotter of The New York Times for art reviews.

Editorial Writing - Mark Mahoney of The Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY, for covering local government and encouraging citizens to exercise their rights.

Editorial Cartooning - Steve Breen of The San Diego Union-Tribune for clear and funny political cartoons.

Breaking News Photography - Patrick Farrell of The Miami Herald for photos of hurricane devastation in Haiti.

Feature Photography - Damon Winter of The New York Times for photos of Barack Obama's campaign.

In addition to electronic access to hundreds of papers from all over the world, the Magazines and Newspapers Center has a pretty large collection of print newspapers (imagine that!) from around the country. Whether you're a true connoisseur of regional news coverage, or you just want to check out the paper from your hometown, we may very well have you covered. Drop us a line for more information.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Green Power

April marks a month for many green living, sustainability events and activities. This year, starting as early as March 28, many of us turned out the lights in an effort to conserve energy during Earth Hour. April 22 marks the arrival of Earth Day, and two days later, we have Arbor Day.

Last year, we featured some "green titles" in our "Going Green" posting to assist you with your personal green living needs. This year, we would like to showcase some more titles. At the Magazines & Newspapers Center, you'll find diverse magazines like Friends of the Earth, Mother Earth News, Plenty, and World Watch to help you adopt an environmentally conscious, green living lifestyle.

Friends of the Earth - For activists and inquisitive citizens who enjoy a mix of action news and information articles, this quarterly news magazine highlights online resources, blogs, environmental issues, and related news for preserving a safe and healthy environment. Published by Friends of the Earth--"a group of committed people who fight daily for a healthy and just world."

Mother Earth News - This bi-monthly magazine covers country lifestyle with articles dedicated to helping people with how-to information of home building and home improvement, organic gardening, small business development and wood-working projects. Other topics include natural health, green transportation, renewable energy, nature and community, and more.

Plenty - Written for environmentally conscious consumers, this magazine features articles and products in transportation, technology, food, home, family life, and more. Although this magazine has ceased publication as of January 2009, archived articles can still be accessed online.

World Watch - Published by the WorldWatch Institute, an independent research organization dedicated to achieving an "environmentally sustainable and socially just society," this bi-monthly magazine explores current issues in energy, population, biodiversity, agriculture, climate change, the economy, politics and sustainability in general.

Last but not least, look for the Green Stacks initiative at the San Francisco Public Library as we highlight even more online resources, reading lists, programs, and events to help you live and maintain a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle. In April, unleash your Green Power by keeping up to date with the latest news and happenings from these and other periodicals in the Magazines and Newspapers Center.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tax Time

According to the British poet and playwright Edward Young, "Procrastination is the thief of time." This statement may ring true for millions of Americans every year in April when they must carve out a huge chunk of time to either set up an appointment with an accountant or independently decipher reams of pages to embark on a mad rush to complete their federal and tax forms.

Our neighbors at the Government Information Center on the 5th floor have compiled a list of resources that can aid you in this annual chore. From this link you can find federal and state tax information and forms for all 50 states, volunteer income tax assistance, where to get free tax booklets, and more.

Don't forget that you can also use our California Legal Forms database if you just happened to misplace one of your state forms, need to review the instructions, or just browse through a list. To do this:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select "Government" then “California Legal Forms."

3. Select either "categories" or "titles" and enter a keyword or phrase such as "income statement" into the search box:
4. From your search results, you will find a series of forms based on your keywords:

5. Selecting any of these links will open up these forms in the PDF format.

The California Legal Forms database contains thousands of printable legal forms for personal, business, real estate, litigation, and federal purposes. Browse or search through a list of categories ranging from adoption and banking to small businesses and wills. Don't forget you can also obtain more tax information on the 5th floor of the Main Library, Government Information Center. Happy Tax Time!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Are You Using Databases Yet?

Libraries bridge time in a variety of ways. Library collections are a bridge to our past and our future. Collections in the Children's, Teen, and Adult departments bridge the span of our reading lives. Libraries also provide information resources for the span of research skills that patrons enjoy using.

To provide resources in a variety of formats, the library offers similar information in multiple formats, each format having different and unique strengths. An example of this in the Magazines and Newspapers Center is the provision of both print and database reference sources.

Are you using these databases? You can see a complete list of databases that the library provides by going to Articles and Databases from the library's Web site.

There are a variety of ways to explore and learn how to use a database at the library. You can explore on your own through the Web site. You can work with a reference librarian at the reference desk. You can also come to one of the library's free training classes.

As you learn more about using databases, you will discover some advantages to finding information this way. Databases provide the ability to quickly search for information in multiple sources and then show results in ways that can be manipulated. Information can often be printed, saved to a storage device, or e-mailed to you. Looking at database results also gives you feedback on how you are asking your original question and how you might change the wording of your question to get more precise answers.

If you have a question that you want to answer, the library probably subscribes to a database that will be of interest to you. Databases provide another important method to give you the information that you want. There has never been a better time to explore them.