American Library Association • December 2, 2014

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The 10 winners of this year’s I Love My Librarian Award

The 2014 I Love My Librarian Award winners. Top row: Michael Beller, Cherry Hamrick, Jessica Elaine Holmes, Lynn Hancock Hurt, David Lopez. Bottom row: Christine Payne, Kevin M. Ray, Ciro Scardina, Sarah A. Sugden, Frances Yates

On December 2, 10 librarians are being honored with the 2014 Carnegie Corporation of New York / New York Times I Love My Librarian Award for demonstrating the critical role librarians play in transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. Library patrons across the country who use public, school, college, community college, or university libraries submitted nominations. The nominations detailed stories about how local librarians made a meaningful difference in their lives. Each winning librarian will receive a $5,000 prize at an award ceremony and reception held this week in New York City, hosted by the New York Times....

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 2

Rolling the dice in an academic library

A Twister tournament kicks off the Welcome Week Game Night at Rodney A. Briggs Library at the University of Minnesota Morris. The challenge is one of the library’s most popular events, attracting 75-100 students on average

Jayne Blodgett and Peter Bremer write: “Academic libraries usually take their mission seriously, and at the University of Minnesota Morris’ Rodney A. Briggs Library, we’re no different. We offer research assistance, quiet spaces for study, technology, instruction, rich scholarly resources, opportunities for collaboration, and of course, the opportunity for students to challenge our library director to a Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots battle. It may all be fun and games, but there’s a deeper motive. We saw a need to provide a fun campus activity on Friday nights and the opportunity to engage with students and the wider campus in a new way.”....

American Libraries feature

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Newsmaker: Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin

Science fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin—who turned 85 on October 21—received an honorary National Book Award in September, joining the company of writers like Toni Morrison and Norman Mailer. Le Guin, author of The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series, has supported ALA’s “Authors for Library Ebooks” campaign since it launched in June 2013. She sits on a digital publishing advisory committee for the Multnomah County (Oreg.) Library and is a founding member of Book View Café, a cooperative publisher with a policy of discounting ebook sales to libraries. She spoke with American Libraries about sometimes having to stick your neck out for an important cause....

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.
AL Live

Publishers Weekly honors ALA for ebook advocacy

Sari Feldman and Bob Wolven

Jazzy Wright writes: “On December 1, Publishers Weekly lauded ALA Digital Content and Libraries Working Group former cochairs Sari Feldman and Bob Wolven in the publication’s annual ‘Publishing People of 2014’ recognition for their role in advocating for fair library ebook lending practices. In 2011–2014, Feldman, ALA president-elect and executive director of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library, and Wolven, associate university librarian at Columbia University, led meetings with some of the world’s largest book publishers.”...

AL: E-Content, Dec. 1; Publishers Weekly, Nov. 28
ALA Midwinter Meeting

Philadelphia school libraries are essential for learning

Julia R. Masterman School principal Marjorie Neff sits in the school's library, which was closed last year due to budget cuts. Photo by Tom Gralish, Philadelphia Inquirer

Carol Heinsdorf and Debra Kachel write: “In 1991, there were 176 certified librarians in Philadelphia public schools. This year there are 11, and only five are known to be actually doing what they were trained to do. Five librarians for the nation’s eighth-largest school district. Leaving Philadelphia’s public school libraries without professional staffing is a grave mistake. It will have consequences for the students for the rest of their lives. Study after study shows a clear link between school libraries staffed by certified librarians and student achievement.”...

Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 1

Ferguson Public Library director does an AMA on Reddit

Ferguson (Mo.) Public Library Director Scott Bonner

Brittany Levine writes: “During an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit November 29, Scott Bonner (right), the director of the Ferguson (Mo.) Municipal Public Library—which has become a symbol of resilience in a community rocked by protests—mentioned that The Fault in Our Stars is among the top-read YA novels currently at the library. As an unexpected result, the author of the popular book-turned-movie, John Green, offered to send signed copies of his works to the library, which has been providing extra programming in the wake of violent protests earlier this week.”...

Mashable, Nov. 30

Duluth library’s seed program hits a hurdle

The Duluth Seed Library

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has given a thumbs down to a Duluth Public Library seed-sharing program that allows members to borrow vegetable seeds from the library in the spring and later return seeds they collect from their gardens. State agriculture regulators say the exchange—one of about 300 in the US—violates the state’s seed law because it does not test the seeds. That could jeopardize the popular program, which attracted 200 members who borrowed 800 packets of seeds in its first year, Library Manager Carla Powers said.....

Minnesota Public Radio, Nov. 30

Fresno County’s Library Without Walls program

One of Fresno County Public Library's WoW cars

Seven librarians from Fresno County (Calif.) Public Library are fanning out in brand new Toyota Priuses to meet one-on-one with business owners or nonprofits, attend community events, and inform the public about free services the library system offers. The Library Without Walls (WoW!) program has been under way for about nine months but reached full staffing in September. It grew out of an analysis of library services and users that showed only 35% of county residents used the system. The program costs about $800,000 annually, paid for with revenue from voter-approved Measure B and the library system’s annual taxpayer funding. And it is gaining attention statewide....

Fresno (Calif.) Bee, Nov. 27

The web is getting slower

Mobile phone user. Photo by Ariel Zambelich/Wired

Jim Rapoza writes: “One thing you can always rely on technology to do is speed things up. Everything, from processors to phones to networks, gets faster. So when at a recent Akamai analyst event a speaker made the offhand comment that the web is getting slower, it pretty much made me sit up in my seat and say ‘what?’ But once that initial instinct passed, I had to admit, it sure did seem that many of my recent web browsing experiences were less than satisfactory from a performance standpoint. The reason the web is slowing down for so many of us isn’t a problem with the web itself, but with how many of us now use the web.”...

Wired, Nov. 28

The softer future of wearables

Piezoelectric dress designed by Amanda Parkes

Rebecca Greenfield writes: “Amanda Parkes is a fashion-tech consultant with her company Skinteractive Studios, which she founded in 2009 to help develop wearables. A product engineer by training, Parkes engages with both the conceptual and practical. Wearables of the future will cover the entire body and do a host of things. Instead of making a pretty wrapping for a limited edition FitBit, Parkes wants to create entire new categories of yet-to-be imagined products. She’s working with Google, for example, to create the first-ever interactive textile. Recent projections from Gartner predict that ‘smart garments’—currently just a blip in the wearables market—will outsell ‘smart wristbands’ and become a regular part of our wardrobes. The projects Parkes is working on now may very well be what you are wearing in five years.”...

FastCompany, Dec. 2; ZDNet, Nov. 14

Orkney Library’s humorous Twitter feed

Don't forget: It's National Visit The Library Dressed As A Member Of Whitesnake Day tomorrow

Orkney Librarian Stewart Bain writes: “We seemed to gain a sizeable number of Twitter followers quite quickly. Very soon after we started using Twitter we were having tweets read out on BBC Radio 2 and our content was being widely retweeted. After 18 months on Twitter we had over 1,600 followers and @OrkneyLibrary was already being used as an example of best practice in case studies and at conferences. What we hadn’t thought about was how beneficial it would be for the service in terms of direct contact with authors, publishers, and journalists. Our popularity on Twitter has also resulted in a surprising number of people on holiday or visiting Orkney, popping in to say hello.”...

BuzzFeed, Dec. 1

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