American Library Association • December 12, 2014

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FCC approves massive funding hike for E-rate program

The FCC votes to approve a tax increase that will fund a $1.5 billion cap increase for E-Rate. Photo by Nichole Dobo, The Hechinger Report

The Federal Communications Commission voted December 11 to increase fees on phone users in order to boost funding for a program that provides internet connections for schools and libraries. The rule would increase the funding cap on the E-rate program by $1.5 billion, to a total of $3.9 billion per year. The move, which would cost customers an extra $2 per year per phone line, is meant to increase high-speed broadband and Wi-Fi access for education, especially in low-income communities. ALA President Courtney L. Young issued a statement applauding the decision....

The Hill, Dec. 11; ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, Dec. 11

American Libraries apps now available

Contents page from the Nov./Dec. 2014 issue, as viewed on the iOS app

You can now read issues of American Libraries magazine on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device with two newly released apps. The current issue is available, along with previous issues going back to July/August 2012. Each issue can be read on your device or downloaded for later browsing. The iOS app is downloadable from iTunes, and the Android app is available from Google Play. The display is from PageSuite, the same page-flip software that appears on the American Libraries website....

American Libraries

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Julianne Moore is spokesperson for School Library Month

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore, award-winning actress and bestselling author, will serve as the national spokesperson for the 2015 observance and 30th anniversary of School Library Month. Celebrated in April and sponsored by AASL, School Library Month honors the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career. Moore is the author of the Freckleface Strawberry series, inspired by her childhood as a redheaded girl covered with freckles. Moore said, “School libraries are the best. I grew up spending most of my time in them. I really depended on librarians to guide me, and I am forever in their debt.”...

AASL, Dec. 11

Robert Downs Award given to Orland Park Public Library

Orland Park (Ill.) Public Library

The staff and board of trustees of the Orland Park (Ill.) Public Library are the 2014 recipients of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award, given by the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Graduate School of Library and Information Science. The library is being honored for its defense of intellectual freedom, despite some strong opposition to its policy of not filtering adult Internet access. The protracted controversy elicited an intense public response and received a great deal of attention nationwide....

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign GSLIS, Dec. 9
ALA Midwinter Meeting

Participate in the Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge

Students making bookmarks

Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation, has launched a global effort to help children become successful life-long readers and learners. To participate in the Students Rebuild Literacy Challenge, young people simply make and mail in bookmarks. For each bookmark sent in, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $1—up to $300,000—to Save the Children’s Literacy Boost program in Latin America (Peru), Africa (Mali), and Asia (Nepal). The Challenge launched on International Literacy Day and will close March 31, 2015; already 400 teams from 26 countries have signed up to participate. The foundation will donate $2 for all bookmarks that are postmarked between January 15 and February 14....

Students Rebuild

49 libraries closed in the UK in 2014

Birmingham Library in the UK, built in 2013

The UK has lost nearly 50 libraries over the past year, according to figures released December 11 by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. The total number of libraries fell from 4,194 in 2012–2013 to 4,145 in 2013–2014, a loss of 49 libraries and a drop of 1.2%. The new statistics also paint a bleak picture of patrons turning away from libraries in droves, dwindling staff and collections, and a huge decline in lending. Even libraries that have managed to stay open, like the new Birmingham Library (above), are faced with reductions in staff and hours....

The Bookseller, Dec. 11; The Guardian, Dec. 10; Birmingham Post, Dec. 10

The 15 best novels by black authors in 2014

Cover of Every Day Is for the Chief, by Teju Cole

Hope Wabuke writes: “How do you speak when you speak of our literature? Do you say ‘African-American authors’ and leave out the brilliant work of Zadie Smith, Helen Oyeyemi, and countless others who are African but not American? Do you say ‘black authors’ without pausing to think about how this term relates to authors from Mexico, Brazil, and other Latin American countries who are black but who identify as Latino? Any terminology is inherently flawed, by necessity forcing unequal comparisons and leaving out beautiful, important voices. There were many impressive books written by our people this past year, but here, from a list of more than 200 novels, we highlight 15 books that were stunning for specific reasons.”....

The Root, Dec. 10

The rise of digital poster sessions

We created a market for digital poster sessions at #Virginiatech. History students about to share their research

Brian Mathews writes: “On December 9, I posted this tweet (right) and it received a lot of attention so I’ll expand my thoughts. About a year ago, Virginia Tech opened its Multipurpose Room in the library. We framed it as a gathering place for creative, cultural, academic, and social experiences. The one major rule is that everything has to be public: no private events. Since it opened in January, we have seen an increase in digital poster sessions. The room has eight large monitors on the walls and two additional mobile monitors that can be utilized. Think of a poster session, but with 70-inch monitors instead of tack boards.”...

Chronicle of Higher Education: The Ubiquitous Librarian, Dec. 10

10 places to watch educational videos online

Learn through educational videos

Mihir Patkar writes: “The internet is full of great videos, some of which can be quite educational. In 2012, we rounded up a few choice websites with informative videos to expand your mind. There have been many other great options since then, so here is a second round of fun and educational videos—five aggregation websites and five original video makers on YouTube.”...

MakeUseOf, Dec. 11; Apr. 18, 2012

2014 Librarian Lump of Coal Gift Guide

What therapy? A librarian saved my sanity

Travis Jonker writes: “Time is running out to get gifts for the insufferable librarian in your life. With help from Etsy, the 2014 edition of the Librarian Lump of Coal Gift Guide has your back. For example, for the librarian who is somehow more effective at diagnosing and treating mental illness than a professional in that field, you might consider these ‘What Therapy?’ letterpress cards (above).”...

100 Scope Notes, Dec. 9

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