American Library Association • February 17, 2015

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Digital books take flight in airports

Boise (Idaho) Mayor David H. Bieter at the opening of the Boise Airport library facility on September 10, 2014

Timothy Inklebarger writes: “Digital resources in the form of ebooks, audiobooks, and other media are beginning to take flight across the country by way of airport library branches. Branches have popped up in airports around the country, including Philadelphia International; Seattle–Tacoma International; Manhattan (Kans.) Regional; Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood (Fla.) International; Boise (Idaho); and San Antonio International, over the last couple of years, and more are in the works. Library officials say these branches are cost-effective and promote not only the library’s digital resources but also encourage travelers to visit their local branches when they return home.”...

American Libraries feature

Update on the Email Privacy Act

Trust me: This is for your own protection. Illustration by Nick Anderson

Jazzy Wright writes: “Ever have the feeling when it comes to reform of the nation’s privacy and surveillance laws that you might as well cancel your online news subscription and just put this year’s date on that copy of last year’s story you saved in the cloud? You know the file we mean: It’s the one—along with all of your emails, texts, tweets, photos, or cloud-stored info—that the government doesn’t need a warrant to get without your permission if it’s more than six months old. The Email Privacy Act is the latest wrinkle in the multi-year fight to update the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to finally bring it—and all of our Fourth Amendment rights—out of the Bronze and into the Digital Age.”...

District Dispatch, Feb. 16

Seal named Academic/Research Librarian of the Year

Robert A. Seal

Robert A. Seal (right), dean of university libraries at Loyola University Chicago, is the 2015 ACRL Academic or Research Librarian of the Year. The award, sponsored by YBP Library Services, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development. Seal will receive a $5,000 award during the keynote session on March 26 at the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland, Oregon. Known as a staunch advocate for international library cooperation, Seal’s ability to share information in a bilingual environment has made him a strong advocate for breaking down barriers and extending partnerships....

ACRL, Feb. 13
Recorded Books

Apply for a Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant

A scene from the PBS series Latino Americans with the labor activists Eliseo Medina, left, and Dolores Huerta in Chicago in 1971

ALA and the National Endowment for the Humanities are accepting applications for Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public programming initiative for libraries and other cultural institutions. Latino Americans: 500 Years of History will support the American public’s exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group. The cornerstone of the project is the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film Latino Americans, created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The deadline to apply is May 1....

Public Programs Office, Feb. 17
YALSA Teen Tech Week

Take part in the annual PLDS survey

Public Library Data Service Statistical Report

PLA is encouraging all public libraries in the U.S. and Canada to participate in the annual Public Library Data Service (PLDS) survey. The survey collects information from public libraries on finances, resources, service usage, and technology. A summary of the survey data is published annually in the PLDS Statistical Report. The survey closes on March 31. Participants will have special access to the summary reports and discounts on access to the complete reports later in the year....

PLA, Feb. 17
ALA Annual Conference

Princeton receives bequest of rare books worth $300 million

This sketchbook used by Ludwig van Beethoven is believed to be from 1815 and is the only notebook of this composer in a library in the United States. Photo by Natasha D’Schommer

Musician, musicologist, bibliophile, and philanthropist William H. Scheide, a 1936 Princeton University alumnus who died in November at age 100, has left his extraordinary collection of some 2,500 rare printed books and manuscripts to Princeton University. With an expected appraised value of nearly $300 million, it is the largest gift in the university’s history. The Scheide Library has been housed in Princeton’s Firestone Library since 1959 and holds the first six printed editions of the Bible, the original printing of the Declaration of Independence, Beethoven’s autograph music sketchbook for 1815–1816 (right), and many other treasures....

News at Princeton, Feb. 16

Information literacy in the wild

Mel Gibson in Braveheart, one of Hollywood's most inaccurate movies

Barbara Fister writes: “This morning, catching up on the Sunday New York Times (which often takes me the better part of a week), I felt as if a lot of synapses were firing, making connections in unexpected places. It started with an op-ed piece by Jeffrey M. Zacks, a Washington University psychology professor who studies the way we tend to absorb beliefs from the movies. ‘Our minds are not well-equipped to sort good sources from bad ones,’ he writes, because we forget where we originally encountered information. A vivid piece of make-believe might be more easily recalled and consulted than a whole shelf of carefully documented histories studied in class.”...

Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, Feb. 16

What is a librarian?

The Steam Man of the Prairies, by Edward S. Ellis (1868)

Bryan Brown writes: “When people ask me what I do, I have to admit I feel a bit of angst. I could just say I’m a librarian. After all, I went to library school, got a library degree, and I now work at FSU’s Strozier Library with a bunch of librarians on library projects. It feels a bit disingenuous to call myself a librarian though, because the word ‘librarian’ is not in my job title. The average friend or family member has a vague understanding of what a librarian is, but phrases like ‘web programming’ and ‘digital scholarship’ invite more questions than they answer. The true answer about ‘what I do’ lies somewhere in the middle of all this, not quite librarianship and not just programming.”...

LITA Blog, Feb. 11

10 books that changed the face of black history

Cover of Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe (1958)

Dara Plath writes: “With the aid of the ALA’s Top Banned Authors lists, NCAC has compiled this list of 10 books that excite our minds and hearts with their powerful stories—and were nonetheless challenged or banned in school and libraries. While we work with school boards in the hopes of engendering discussion about the educational value of such books, you too can do your part in upholding freedom of speech and cementing their place at the forefront of literary history. These authors tell important stories of survival in the South during slavery, black struggle in the North during the bustling 1920s and 1930s, and the search for identity that many faced in the 20th century.”...

National Coalition Against Censorship, Feb. 5

How children learn to read

Child reading

Maria Konnikova writes: “Why is it easy for some people to learn to read, and difficult for others? It’s a tough question with a long history. We know that it’s not just about raw intelligence, nor is it wholly about repetition and dogged persistence. We also know that there are some conditions that, effort aside, can hold a child back. But how do we learn to translate abstract symbols into meaningful sounds in the first place, and why are some children better at it than others?”...

The New Yorker, Feb. 11

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