American Library Association • December 15, 2015
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In the wake of tragedy

Opening image from The Story of the Stuff

Three years ago, on December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old man went on a shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, leaving 20 children and six adults dead. People around the world responded by sending hundreds of thousands of notes and artifacts. University of Tennessee Digital Humanities Librarian Ashley R. Maynor has created a multimedia web documentary, titled The Story of the Stuff, that looks at what motivates people to send physical memorials to the victims and survivors of such tragedies....

American Libraries feature, Dec. 14

Kentucky library suit ends

Campbell County (Ky.) Library

The method that Kentucky libraries use to set their tax rates will stand, despite protest from people who say they’ve been doing it illegally for decades. The Kentucky Supreme Court issued a decision December 11 that it will not hear arguments in the 2012 lawsuit objecting to the way Campbell and Kenton county libraries set their tax rates. ALA President Sari Feldman and PLA President Vailey Oehlke issued a joint statement on December 15 about the ruling....

Cincinnati Enquirer, Dec. 14; ALA Office for Library Advocacy, Dec. 15

Sponsored Content

Gale digital humanities

Connecting with faculty through digital humanities

As academic libraries continually shift to keep up with the changing needs of research and scholarship, many are looking at the digital humanities (DH) as an opportunity for closer partnership with faculty and other campus stakeholders. Some are investing in becoming “DH Centers,” offering not just content, but services, technology infrastructure, IT support, and even programming knowledge to scholars. Others want to engage in similar efforts but are constrained by lack of functional expertise, funding, or space.

Join Jon Cawthorne, dean of libraries at West Virginia University; Thomas Padilla, digital scholarship librarian at Michigan State University Libraries; and others for a discussion around the ways libraries can evolve to overcome these challenges and meet the changing needs of faculty and students in the digital humanities. Sunday, January 10, 1–2:30 p.m., ALA Midwinter Meeting, BCC Room 105.

Wong withdraws candidacy for ALA treasurer

Patricia (Patty) M. Wong, county librarian and chief archivist of the Yolo County Library in Woodland, California, has withdrawn her candidacy for ALA treasurer, citing a family health matter requiring her full attention. Susan H. Hildreth, executive director of the Califa Group, is the remaining candidate for ALA treasurer. Ballot mailing for the 2016 ALA election will begin on March 15....

Office of ALA Governance, Dec. 15

New ALA Public Awareness Office director

Jeff Julian

Jeff Julian (right) will be the new director of the ALA Public Awareness Office, effective January 4. Julian previously served as the executive director of communications at Elgin (Ill.) Community College; prior to joining the Elgin staff, Julian served as the director of communications and external relations at Joliet (Ill.) Junior College....

Public Awareness Office, Dec. 13

Schools continue to grapple with Huck Finn

Cover of the first US edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

After The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published in 1885, the book was boycotted in some places in the US for portraying friendship between a black man and a white boy. Today, Mark Twain’s classic—about a boy who flees his abusive father and travels down the Mississippi River with an escaped slave—is still sometimes challenged in American schools, but for nearly the opposite reason: Its liberal use of the N-word and perceived racist portrayals of black characters....

Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 11
Libraries Transform

Mount Horeb: Public education about transgenderism

Cover of I Am Jazz

Amanda Finn writes: “Soft sobbing could be heard from the living room when a Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, mother would find her child lying face down on the couch. ‘Why can’t I be a girl at school?’ the child had whimpered over a period of months. The 6-year-old had been talking with her parents and other adults about being able to attend school as ‘the person she really is.’ One of their options was a reading of I Am Jazz, a book about transgender teen and activist Jazz Jennings, to the student’s classmates.”...

Madison Wisconsin State Journal, Dec. 13

Creating a user-friendly library website

Top portion of EBSCO infographic

At the 2015 Charleston Conference, EBSCO Senior Technical Product Manager for eCommerce Khalilah Gambrell presented a poster titled “Eliminating Barriers: 7 Best Practices for Creating a User Friendly Library Website.” The poster was based on 18 months of work with the EBSCO User Research group conducting usability tests and a survey on how undergraduates conduct research. Here are some of the findings (and an infographic about how college students conduct research)....

EBSCOpost, Dec. 8
2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Ties the room together

Josh Hanagarne at work. Screenshot from videoJosh Hanagarne (right) is a librarian at the Salt Lake City Public Library who has written beautifully about his experiences with Tourette syndrome. KUER-FM in Salt Lake City had him on RadioWest to talk about his 2013 book The World’s Strongest Librarian. In this video (5:15), Hanagarne allowed KUER to tag along and see what he does all day....

KUER's VideoWest / RadioWest YouTube channel, Dec. 8

Have ebook readers given up on the library?

Cover of Digital Content in Public Libraries

James LaRue writes: “I recently downloaded and read the executive summary of Digital Content in Public Libraries: What Do Patrons Think? It’s the result of the first joint research initiative with ALA and the Book Industry Study Group. On the one hand, some important information from previous studies has been confirmed: We’re still helping people find ebooks, and they buy about half of them. The study also seems to confirm a general decline in the use of ebooks by library patrons.”...

AL: E-Content, Dec. 11

Books vs. ebooks: The science behind reading

Ebook vs. print book

Amy Kraft writes: “Books and ebooks both have their pros and cons, and choosing the best option depends on a number of factors. A portable e-reader can carry an entire library wherever you go, which is great for travelers or those who always want a choice of reading material. On the other hand, research has been stacking up to show that reading on paper has a number of benefits. Here is a look at some of the science to consider before you spring for a Kindle, a Nook, or a stack of new hardcovers.”...

CBS News, Dec. 14

Rebels in the campus bookstore

Free the textbook

Will Cross writes: “Readers who have been out of school for a few years might be surprised that many students rent, rather than purchase, their more expensive textbooks. Increasing at nearly triple the rate of inflation, textbook costs leave students with an expected bill of more than $1,200 a year. In the past several years, academic libraries have raised awareness about open educational resources (OERs), offering grants and collaborating with faculty authors to create a diverse body of open textbooks.”...

Scholarly Communications @ Duke, Dec. 15

10 types of tech tools that every librarian needs

Tech tools

Amanda Hovious writes: “Technology integration can be a daunting task, especially with the myriad of tools out there to choose from. I have come up with 10 types of tools that should serve as the foundation of a student-centered approach to technology integration. I chose the tools based on their ubiquity, multifunctionality, and potential for use across the curriculum. I also focused on function rather than specifically named tools. Here are the 10 tool types I recommend for every classroom and library.”...

Designer Librarian, Nov. 30

Two easy ways to access files on your PC remotely

Pushbullet app's Remote Files feature

Ian Paul writes: “We’ve talked before about how syncing files across all your devices is only as useful as your ability to put the files you need in the right place. When that doesn’t happen, it’s handy to have a back-up plan for accessing critical files remotely. Previously, we took a look a Chrome Remote Desktop as a potential solution. Here’s a look at two other ways you can get remote access using apps and services that might already be part of your everyday routine.”...

PC World, Dec. 15; May 13, 2014

21 Google Maps tricks

Find distances on Google Maps

Evan Dashevsky writes: “Google Maps and its cousin Google Earth remain powerful and versatile tools—and most of us are only scratching the surface of what they have to offer. (And we’re just talking about the web version; the mobile incarnations are a whole other bag of magic.) Here, we present 21 cool things you didn’t know Google Maps could do. Click on through and experience just a little bit of the power of the everyday.”...

PC Magazine, Dec. 9

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