American Library Association • December 5, 2014

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ALA helps TNT promote The Librarians

Cleveland Public Library Director Felton Thomas is one of TNT's adventurous librarians

ALA has partnered with the TNT network to help promote its new series The Librarians, which premieres December 7. The show (trailer, 2:16) is about an ancient organization of librarians responsible for protecting the world’s greatest magical relics (like Excalibur) stored beneath the fictional Metropolitan Public Library. ALA helped TNT find six adventurous librarians to highlight on the show’s website and social media channels: They are Liana Juliano, Felton Thomas (above), Henry Mendelsohn, Jessica Zaker, Audrey Barbakoff, and Aaron Schmidt. ALA President Courtney Young attended a premiere party for the show in New York City on December 3 to present one of the stars, Christian Kane, with an honorary ALA membership. Kane promotes libraries in this video PSA (0:54)....

TNT: The Librarians; YouTube, Nov. 4, 6

How the Newbery Medal came to be

John Newbery Medal

ALA awards the Newbery Medal annually for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year. Frederic G. Melcher proposed the award on June 22, 1921, at the meeting of the Children’s Librarians’ Section at ALA Annual Conference and suggested that it be named for the 18th-century English bookseller, John Newbery. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the children’s librarians, and Melcher’s official proposal was approved by the ALA Executive Board in 1922. Read the story of the Caldecott Medal here....

ALSC Book and Media Awards

Sponsored Content

Books on Tape

Books on Tape

Travel is the number one reason why patrons choose to learn a new language. Books on Tape is offering this opportunity to expand your language programs at an affordable price with 50% off its Living Language Self-Study programs.

This discount offers nearly 50 self-study programs in durable library packaging starting as low as $10.50 now through December 31. Help your patrons find the language learning experience they are looking for with Living Language, described as “nothing short of delightful” by the New York Times.

AL Live

Ukuleles and guitars on loan

Jake Shimabukuro performed at Highland Park Public Library on November 18

Since the beginning of November, Highland Park (Ill.) Public Library patrons have been able to check out a ukulele and accompanying training materials. It’s an unusual addition to a library collection, but one that makes sense to the staff. Recognizing that music can be empowering and enhance lives, adding an instrument to the collection seemed like the logical next step to librarian Chad Clark, himself a ukulele player. The library got ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro (above) to make a special appearance on November 18 to introduce the service. Watch the video (9:40). The idea is spreading: The Newark branch of the Licking County (Ohio) Library is now loaning out guitars....

Chicago Tribune, Nov. 4; Vimeo, Nov. 28; Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, Dec. 5
ALA Midwinter Meeting 2015

Wake Forest library creates a tech-free room for napping

A student takes a nap inside the Wake Forest University library

Jake New writes: “Napping students, exhausted by long nights of studying for exams or writing term papers, are common in campus libraries. But at Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, sleeping students can now be found resting in comfortable recliners, instead of snoring into open textbooks. In November, the library unveiled a technology-free relaxation area called the ZieSta Room, which encourages students to turn off their electronics, put away their books, and take a quick study break, even if that means falling asleep.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 4

Censorware and spyware at Wayzata High School

Boing Boing's website was blocked by Wayzata (Minn.) High School's censorware

Nathan Ringo writes: “I’m a student at Wayzata (Minn.) High School, one of my favorite places to be. I enjoy learning and find almost all my teachers to be agreeable. I’m also a programmer and an advocate of free speech. In that role, my school holds a more dubious distinction: It’s the first place where my interests in computers and my rights were questioned. Like many other school districts, Wayzata puts censorware between students and the internet. However, Wayzata chose to implement an unsavory policy of blocking not just porn, but anything they feel is inappropriate in a school setting. Worse, I could not find out who makes the judgments about what is considered inappropriate.”...

Boing Boing, Dec. 3

Best practices in fair use of orphan works for libraries

Center for Media and Social Impact logo

More than 150 librarians, archivists, and other memory institution professionals have contributed to the development of this Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Collections Containing Orphan Works published by the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University in Washington, D.C. The statement provides clear and easily understood guidance for memory institutions that provide digital preservation and access to collections containing copyrighted orphan works under the doctrine of fair use....

Center for Media and Social Impact, Dec.

Five useful tools for YouTube enthusiasts

The Tubalr app helps you create playlists

Mark O’Neill writes: “Launched in 2005, YouTube currently hosts 100 hours of new video every minute, with 100 billion people visiting the site every month. That is a truly staggering figure that shows how much YouTube has infiltrated our lives. In internet terms, the site is an absolute Godzilla. This means that countless third-party tools and apps have been built around the YouTube API over the years. From downloading tools to scripts, from analytics to trends, the enthusiastic YouTube fan seems to have it all. Here are five that caught our attention.”...

MakeUseOf, Dec. 3

Give the gift of better gadgets

Anker USB 3.0 9-Port Hub

Patrick Allan and Whitson Gordon write: “Who doesn’t love getting a new gadget? Even if you can’t afford to give the latest smartphone or HDTV as a gift, you can probably find some gadgety accessories to go with them. Here are some of our favorites. For example, a multi-port USB hub. When you’ve got a bunch of sweet accessories, you need to be able to plug them all in. The Anker USB 3.0 9-Port Hub is a great way to easily add nine additional USB 3.0 ports—with transfer rates up to 5Gbps—and one 2.1A charging port.”...

Lifehacker, Dec. 5

10 best books by academic publishers in 2014

Cover of When Mystical Creatures Attack, by Kathleen Founds (University of Iowa)

Jonathon Sturgeon writes: “2014 was a great year for books all around, but academic publishing in particular branched out, with quality works in philosophy, poetry, fiction, and history. This was, of course, the year of Thomas Piketty’s broad, sweeping economic tome Capital, but it was also the year of smaller books like Julia Kristeva’s TheĀ Severed Head and Cecilia Corrigan’s excellent debut Titanic. For many readers, it’s too easy to forget academic presses, especially as more and more book purchasing goes online, but I hope this list will give you reasons to seek out books by these amazing publishers.”...

Flavorwire, Dec. 3

Checklist for a successful Skype with an author

A Skype session with author Jane Kohuth

Mary Amato writes: “Nothing beats a liveĀ visit, but Skyping with an author is a great alternative for two reasons: It’s cheaper and it provides an opportunity that is often intimate. Surprise guests, such as the author’s dog or cat or spouse, can make cameo appearances; authors can pick up their laptops and show a quick glimpse of their desk, the rocking chair, or their favorite place to write. No matter how you find your author, using these tips and tricks can make the entire experience run smoothly and enjoyably. From the author’s point of view, here’s what you can do to be a great Skype partner.”...

ALSC Blog, Dec. 4

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