American Library Association • April 21, 2015
ALA Annual conference

For daily ALA and library news, check the American Libraries website or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Pinterest icon YouTube icon RSS icon

ALA, BCALA respond to Michael Brown tree vandalism

Michael Brown memorial stone

On April 18, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association dedicated a living memorial tree to the city of Ferguson, Missouri. The tree was planted in January-Wabash Park with a memorial stone at its base honoring Michael Brown Jr., the black teenager fatally shot August 9, 2014, by a Ferguson police officer. Less than 24 hours later, the tree was found vandalized and the memorial stone stolen. ALA President Courtney Young and BCALA President Kelvin A. Watson released a joint statement April 20 regarding the vandalism....

ALA Public Information Office, Apr. 20; St. Louis Riverfront Times, Apr. 20

It takes a university to build a library

Let the transformation begin

Dane Ward writes: “Academic libraries are undergoing a public, challenging, and frequently contested transformation. The change and obsolescence of academic libraries as we know them represents an event of unprecedented magnitude in higher education. Moving forward, the process of recreating the library must be one that involves many people in many roles on campus. It will take a university community to shape a future library that meets the specific needs of learning and research at that institution.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Apr. 21
Recorded Books

Pew Research Center report: Open government data

Opinions on the possible impact of government data sharing

A new Pew Research Center survey on open government data finds that few Americans think governments are very effective in sharing data they collect with the public. Only 5% say that federal and state governments do this very effectively, while 7% say local governments are very good about sharing data. Relatively few Americans reported using government data sources for monitoring student or teacher performance (20%), performance of health care providers (17%), and government contracts (7%)....

Pew Research Center, Apr. 21

IMLS announces National Medal recipients

An adult and child look at an exhibit together at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The Institute of Museum and Library Services on April 21 announced the recipients of the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. Five libraries were honored: Cecil County (Md.) Public Library; Craig (Alaska) Public Library; Embudo Valley Library and Community Center in Dixon, New Mexico; Los Angeles Public Library; and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City....

Institute of Museum and Library Services, Apr. 21

Libraries are eligible for NEH Common Heritage grants

Photographs of the Darlington family

The National Endowment for the Humanities has announced a new grant program, called “Common Heritage,” intended to bring to light privately owned historical records and artifacts and make them digitally available to the wider public and for posterity. Libraries are eligible to apply for the grants, which will support day-long events that invite the public to share materials important to their family or community histories. Apply by June 25....

National Endowment for the Humanities, Apr. 20

2015 Pulitzer Prizes announced

Cover of All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The award, announced April 20, went to Doerr’s bestselling World War II novel that tells the parallel stories of a blind French girl and a young German soldier. Elizabeth A. Fenn’s Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People won the Pulitzer Prize for history, Gregory Pardlo’s Digest won for poetry, and David Kertzer’s The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe won for biography....

Los Angeles Times, Apr. 20

2014 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes

Cover of Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts

On April 18, the best books of 2014 were recognized in 10 categories at the 35th annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes ceremony held at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium. The winner in the fiction category was Siri Hustvedt for The Blazing World (Simon & Schuster), and the winner in the biography category was Andrew Roberts for Napoleon: A Life (Viking). The science and technology prize went to Elizabeth Kolbert for The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Henry Holt). The winners of the 2014 Robert Kirsch Award (T. Coraghessan Boyle) and Innovator’s Award (LeVar Burton) were also celebrated....

Los Angeles Times, Apr. 18

The five best ebook readers

Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

Alan Henry writes: “If you like taking your books on the go, you’ve never had more options. The best e-readers are slim, have batteries that last for weeks, come in both E Ink and color varieties, have multiple screen sizes to suit you, and offer different price points. Let’s look at five of the best.”...

Lifehacker, Apr. 19

New Duke University collection on women’s history

Virginia Woolf's writing desk, painted by her nephew Quentin Bell

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University has acquired one of the largest and most significant private collections on women’s history. Carefully assembled over 45 years by noted bibliophile, activist, and collector Lisa Unger Baskin, the collection includes more than 8,600 rare books and thousands of manuscripts, journals, ephemera, and artifacts, including author Virginia Woolf’s writing desk (right)....

Duke Today, Apr. 20

The little-known Library of Congress Overseas Offices

A January 2011 issue of an Iraqi daily newspaper is set out on a table of African and Middle Eastern Reading Room and Division; daily newspapers are items the Library of Congress' overseas offices collect

Rachel Roubein writes: “They’re always searching. Maps, magazines, music, posters, books, and videos—a never-ending hunt for history. It takes them across the globe, through war zones and political unrest, the types of places where it’s best to blend in—or occasionally travel in an armored car. And they race to do it, hoping to snap up artifacts before they are lost or intentionally destroyed. These are the librarians of the Library of Congress’s Overseas Offices.”...

National Journal, Apr. 15

14 things everyone gets wrong about librarians

Misconception: That your job is stress-free

Arianna Rebolini writes: “We recently asked librarians in the BuzzFeed community to tell us the most frustrating misconceptions people have about a librarian’s job. Here are the enlightening results.” Number 1: That your job is stress-free. “I hate when people say, ‘It’s so quiet in here. Your job must be so relaxing.’ Or they assume you have three hours at work to just read whatever books you want.”—Jackie DeStefano....

BuzzFeed Books, Apr. 17

AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Tuesday and Friday to personal members of the American Library Association.

Send news and feedback:

Direct ad inquiries to:

AL Direct FAQ:

All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site.

American Libraries
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext. 4216

ISSN 1559-369X
ALA Publishing