American Library Association • February 6, 2015

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Graphic novels for Black History Month

Cover of Darkroom, by Lila Quintero Weaver

Sarah Hunter writes: “Need to refresh your Black History Month offerings? Here are some graphic novels, both fiction and nonfiction, that address Black History in dynamic, engaging ways. For example, for adults: Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White by Lila Quintero Weaver (University of Alabama, 2012). Perry County, Alabama, was a hotbed of segregationist strength into the early 1960s, and after Weaver’s Argentine family settled there, her father took his camera to the street and captured scenes from protest marches. The graphic-novel format Weaver chose for this memoir is fitting and absorbing, with soft pencil images that show her changing perceptions of race and visual evidence of the violence that her father was not permitted to record.”...

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 5

ALA Midwinter highlights

Midwinter Meeting attendees

With Chicago’s near-record snowfall swirling outside, 10,637 librarians, library workers, and library supporters (including 3,466 exhibitors) created their own indoor blizzard of ideas, insights, and energy at more than 1,800 meetings, events, and social gatherings that offered lively conversations, updates, productive problem-solving, and networking throughout McCormick Place and other venues during the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Chicago, January 29–Febrary 3. Watch the highlights video (2:07) and see in-depth coverage by American Libraries....

Conference Services, Feb. 5; YouTube, Feb. 3

Proposal due dates for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference

2015 ALA Annual Conference, San Francisco

2015 ALA Annual Conference attendees have the chance in San Francisco to inspire colleagues and move the needle forward for the profession in one-hour Conversation Starters, five-minute Ignite sessions, and 90-minute poster sessions. The poster session proposal deadline has been extended to February 28. Conversation Starters and Ignite proposals are accepted through March 1. Find out more about these opportunities and how to submit your proposals....

Conference Services, Feb. 5
Recorded Books

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlines net neutrality plan

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Larra Clark writes: “On February 5, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (right) circulated his network neutrality proposal to fellow Commissioners in preparation for a February 26 vote. While we can’t read the detailed draft as it is not yet public, Wheeler did outline his plans in a Wired op-ed and fact sheet (PDF file). He wrote: ‘I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.’” ALA President Courtney Young welcomed the strong protections in a February 5 statement. Here are five important points to note about the plan....

District Dispatch, Feb. 5; Wired, Feb. 4; Washington Post, Feb. 4; ALA Washington Office, Feb. 5; PC Magazine, Feb. 5
YALSA Teen Tech Week

YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults

Cover of Evil Librarian, by Michelle Knudsen (Candlewick). Think librarians are a yawn? Then you haven’t met Mr. Gabriel, the new librarian at Cynthia’s school. He’s not dull; he’s a demon!

YALSA has announced its 2015 list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. This year’s list of 58 books was selected from a group of 113 official nominations. The books, recommended for ages 12–18, meet the criteria of both quality literature and appeal to teens, while comprising a wide range of genres, styles, and subjects—including contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and novels in verse. The full list can be found on the YALSA website. The division has also issued its 2015 lists of Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers and Amazing Audiobooks....

YALSA, Feb. 3, 5

What the Obama budget means for higher education

2016 Budget of the US Government

Michael Stratford writes: “President Obama sent Congress a budget request on February 2 that would increase federal spending on many higher education programs and also aims to reap savings for the government by changing some student loan and repayment options. The administration’s budget features several big-ticket policy proposals that have been announced in recent weeks or previously proposed. Among them: free community college for some students, streamlining higher education tax breaks, and a bonus grant program to reward colleges that graduate large numbers of low-income students.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 3

Why are some cities cracking down on little free libraries?

Peter Cook's curbside library in West Los Angeles led to an anonymous complaint and city crackdown. Photo by Steve Lopez / Los Angeles Times

Alexander LaCasse writes: “Little free libraries are becoming more and more common to communities from Maine to California and all over the world. However well- intentioned the idea of offering free books for the enjoyment of others may be, little free libraries are becoming imperiled by some cities’ zoning laws. These libraries have pushed the boundaries over what is and what is not subject to zoning codes of late in both Los Angeles and Shreveport, Louisiana.”...

Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 5
ALA Midwinter Meeting

Top 10 multicultural reference sources

Cover of Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography

Rebecca Vnuk writes: “Booklist’s first Top 10 made up of multicultural reference titles encompasses subjects ranging from peace and the Buddha to the violence that often erupts from religious controversies. The titles selected were reviewed in Booklist between January 2013 and January 2015.” One title is the Berkshire Dictionary of Chinese Biography, edited by Kerry Brown (Berkshire, 2013). This monumental three-volume set lists noteworthy Chinese persons from the Xià and Shang dynasties (2100–1045 BCE) through the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, ending in 1979....

Booklist Online, Feb. 1

Five romantic books to read in February

Cover of Oscar and Lucinda, by Peter Carey

Susie Rodarme writes: “It’s that time of year again: red, heart-shaped boxes full of generic chocolate candy and stuffed animals that play stupid songs and the pressure to get a restaurant reservation, or a date at all. Valentine’s Day might be a totally manufactured holiday at this point, but I can see the point: By the time February rolls around, we’re all ready for springtime. What’s more romantic than springtime? Ergo, bringing a little romance to February helps stave off the winter blues. Here are some crazy-romantic books to read in February, even if you don’t like romance novels.”...

Book Riot, Feb. 3

10 reasons why printed books matter

Bible de l’Enfance. Miniature and abridged versions of the Bible were a popular way of introducing children to Christian teachings; this 1815 French offering has 48 hand-colored engraved plates

Timothy Young writes: “I recently gave a talk to a library group about why the printed book still matters. I had been asked to address the subject of ‘Books in a Digital World,’ but I chose to focus much more closely on the characteristics of printed objects that are not effectively represented in facsimile. That is, what cannot be captured in a scan. I’ve been carrying this list in my head for years, adding to it one reason at a time. In my profession, as a librarian and a curator, this list (of which what follows is only a portion) functions as an apologia pro vita mia—rational defenses for the continued existence of the printed codex—and my involvement with them.”...

Design Observer, Feb. 2

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