May 30th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

JoylandFor 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It’s a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. “It wanted to be a story, but it wasn’t a story,” he tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called “Joyland” located just a little farther down the beach.

King’s new thriller is set in North Carolina in 1973. Joyland has a horror house and a torture chamber, but it’s not exactly a horror novel. The park’s fun house may be haunted by a ghost — which may explain the dead bodies — but the book isn’t exactly a supernatural thriller, either. Instead, the book combines elements of crime, horror and the supernatural. The main character is a college student who aspires to write for The New Yorker. After his heart is broken by his girlfriend, he wants to get away from New England and takes a job in North Carolina, at the Joyland amusement park, where he enters a different world.

As King — who is also the author of such horror, mystery and crime classics as Carrie, The Shining and It — began writing the book, the amusement park atmosphere he began with turned more lurid, more “carny,” more influenced by the state fairs and local carnivals of his youth in rural Maine.

“The more carny it got, the better I liked it, actually,” he says, “and I started to go to websites that had various carny language, some of which I remembered a little: pitchmen called ‘shy bosses’ and their concessions called ‘shies,’ and the little places where they sold tickets and sometimes sat down to rest called ‘doghouses,’ and other stuff I just made up, like calling pretty girls ‘points.’ “

Read the full article and listen to the interview @

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December 30th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

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July 4th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Last week I listened to an episode of The Diane Rhem Show titled “The Changing Role of Public Libraries” which featured Sari Feldman, executive director, Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library; president, Public Library Association, John Hill, president of the D.C. Public Libraries Board of Trustees; CEO of the Federal City Council and Camila Alire, president, American Library Association.

While the show was well done, and informative, by the end I kept thinking that there was something missing. The panelists talked about “branches” closing, and budgets being cut, and their library’s unionized workforce, I kept thinking that almost none of that applied to the vast majority of libraries here in Nebraska.

In Nebraska (and also in Iowa and maybe in other states) almost all public libraries are local institutions in single buildings without any branches at all. Forget unions, in many cases the library is lucky if the librarian has an MLS. There are annual book budgets out there that can be measured in the hundreds of dollars.

I’m all for national exposure of the problem, but how about some representation from the little libraries that have been struggling all along next time?

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September 10th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

You can of course download it from the KCUR site, or you can listen to it (or download it) right here.

Download the MP3

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September 8th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

Here’s the promo from the KCUR site:

Many of us use it every day and have trouble remembering life without it.  The usefulness and ubiquity of the Internet has made looking for information as easy as pushing a button.  The personal computer created an Internet where anyone with a keyboard could be master and commander of the World Wide Web. Now,Internet-centered products — such as iPhones, Xboxes, and TiVos — can’t be easily modified by anyone except their vendors and are killing the innovation of the once-open Internet according Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

In a new book titled The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It, Zittrain argues that the Internet’s current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Zittrain reasons that the seemingly endless Internet is on a path to tighter security— such as car GPS systems reconfigured at the demand of law enforcement to eavesdrop on occupants.

Today Michael Sauers, the “Travelin’ Librarian” from the Nebraska Library Commission talks with guest host Stephen Steigman about how the salvation of the Internet lies in the hands of the users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, we’ll discuss how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, and participate in solutions.  We’ll look at the role technology is playing in library services (both good and bad) and we’ll examine search engines and how to use the latest Web 2.0 – from improving basic search skills and evaluating search results to making the best use of search engines. We’ll also discuss digital rights management, creative commons, and other copyright issues.

Image: (cc) Danard Vincente
Michael Sauers speaks this evening at 6:00 at the Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering & Technology, 5109 Cherry St.  This event is free and open to the public. Click here  or call 816.926.8716 for more information.

Additional Information:
Michael Sauers is currently the Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission in Lincoln, NE. For nine years prior to moving to Nebraska, Michael was the Internet Trainer for the Bibliographical Center for Research in Aurora, CO. He has been a public library trustee, a bookstore manager for a library friends group, a reference librarian, serials cataloger, consultant, bookseller, and has worked with the New York State Assembly. He is also the Webmaster for the Greece, NY Historical Society and for the fan site of the SF/Fantasy author L.E. Modesitt, Jr. As an amateur photographer, Michael has had his photographs published in both domestic and international publications. He earned his MLS from the University at Albany’s School of Information Science and Policy in 1995, and has a BS in American Studies from SUNY Brockport. Michael’s ninth book, Searching 2.0 will be out in the summer of 2008. He has also written dozens of articles for various journals and magazines. In his spare time he reads about 130 books per year.
Photo (cc) cindiann,

The guest host is the show’s producer that I spoke with about the interview on Friday. He sounds like a pretty tech-say guy (he even asked me about Google Chrome) so it should be a pretty smooth hour.

As for the rest of the day, as it mentions I’ll be at the Linda Hall Library for a librarian brainstorming session (a mini unconference that will include Mr. Joshua M. Neff) and then the public talk about the Zittrain book in the evening. Check out more details about the public event on the Linda Hall Library site.

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September 7th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

image For those interested I’ll be making an appearance on Kansas City’s NPR affiliate KCUR tomorrow morning from 11-Noon CDT. The show is up/to/date and we’ll be discussing may issues possibly including Copyright, Creative Commons, DRM, Searching, Filtering, & Privacy. I don’t know specifically what we’ll get to until it happens.

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June 18th, 2007 by Michael Sauers

Arizona Library Shuns Dewey System
Weekend Edition Saturday, June 16, 2007 · When a public library in Gilbert, Ariz., opened this month, the books had no Dewey decimals on their spines. The library is organized like a bookstore. Library official Marshall Shore explains why.
Listen to this story…

My response, every reason he gave for why they got rid of Dewey could have been down without getting rid of Dewey.

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