American Library Association • February 27, 2015

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Libraries explore a variety of mobile options

K-Ready app icon

Greg Landgraf writes: “As mobile devices continue to gain prominence, libraries are recognizing their value in providing service to patrons. While there are vendors who offer apps that libraries can customize to their needs, some libraries have taken the step of developing mobile apps in-house. The Orange County (Fla.) Library System’s Shake It! was one of the first library-developed apps. Shake It! offers randomized recommendations of library materials based on age group, genre, and material type. More recently, OCLS released K-Ready, an app for tablets that helps young children get ready for kindergarten.”...

American Libraries trend, Feb. 24

FCC passes strong net neutrality rules

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler celebrates the net neutrality vote with two other commissioners

The Federal Communications Commission for the first time classified internet providers as public utilities on February 26 in a landmark vote that officials said will prevent cable and telecommunications companies from controlling what people see on the web. The move, approved 3–2 along party lines, was part of a sweeping set of new net neutrality rules aimed at banning providers of high-speed internet access, such as Verizon and Time Warner Cable, from blocking websites they don’t like or auctioning off faster traffic speeds to the highest bidders. ALA applauded the vote as a “win for students, creators, researchers, and learners of all ages.” However, the fight for net neutrality is far from over. According to Jason Abbruzzese, the new rules are not a solution but rather a patch, using old legislation in a way that looks to address a current need....

Washington Post: The Switch, Feb. 26; ALA Washington Office, Feb. 26; Mashable, Feb. 27

ISIS burns rare books and manuscripts in Mosul

Burning manuscripts

Islamic State (ISIS) militants have reportedly ransacked the library of Mosul, Iraq, burning or confiscating as many as 100,000 rare manuscripts and documents spanning centuries of human learning. Initial reports said approximately 8,000 books were destroyed by the extremist group. However, Al Rai’s chief international correspondent Elijah J. Magnier reports that a Mosul library official believes as many as 112,709 manuscripts and books, some of which were registered on a UNESCO rarities list, are among those lost. Mosul Public Library Director Ghanim al-Ta’an said ISIS militants then demolished the building using explosive devices. Reports also indicate the militants may not have destroyed all the books; some Mosul residents said they had seen trucks with Syrian license plates loaded with documents driving off in the middle of the night....

The Independent (UK), Feb. 27
Recorded Books

New report: Cultivating Global Library Leadership

Cover of Cultivating Global Library Leadership

Research conducted by Arabella Advisors has identified 30 leadership programs around the world that together have played a critical role in cultivating more than 6,000 library leaders. This recently released report, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shows that access to leadership training is limited, particularly in less economically developed regions; that significant variation exists in program structure and content; and that programs and participants are not well connected, limiting the opportunities to learn from one another. Recommendations include increasing access to virtual training opportunities, identifying successful models to scale, and increasing training on library advocacy and impact measurement....

University of Washington iSchool

In praise of libraries

In Praise of Public Libraries

Joe Queenan writes: “The public library is the only civic institution in my community that is uncompromisingly successful. Not everyone in my small town is crazy about the police force, and not everyone is all that pleased with the public schools. No one ever seems terribly happy with the planning board, the architectural review board, the board of trustees. Some people think the volunteer firemen get too much money for new equipment, though no one ever dares say it out loud. The public library is different. The public library is the community’s kindly grandmother: helpful, patient, understanding. Nobody in my town ever stands up and says he dislikes the public library. Nobody in your town does, either. Grumpy old librarians who keep shushing you, sure. But not the library itself.”...

The Rotarian, Mar.
ALA Annual Conference

Neiburger to speak at AASL President’s Program

Eli Neiburger

Self-proclaimed geek, gamer, dork, and doofus Eli Neiburger (right) will headline the AASL President’s Program on June 27 as part of the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. An engaging and entertaining speaker, Neiburger has spoken across the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand about libraries, gaming, ebooks, publishing, and the web. Neiburger is currently the deputy director of the Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library where he was hired as a helpdesk technician in 1997....

AASL, Feb. 26

The near and far future of libraries

Shushing robot librarian

Whitney Kimball writes: “Recently, Google vice president and ‘father of the internet’ Vint Cerf warned that we might be headed for a digital Dark Age, a massive loss of information with obsolete file types and hardware. That’s an especially dire prophecy in an era when digitization is rapidly eclipsing print media, artificial intelligence is perfecting search queries, and drastic upheavals are quietly underfoot at the world’s historic libraries. All this leads to the question of what happens if we lose our traditional libraries? What is the future for libraries and archiving? Let us turn to human experts for answers.”...

Hopes&Fears, Feb. 24; BBC News, Feb. 13; New York Times, May 7, 2014

LSU library offers students free e-textbooks

A sampling of LSU Library e-textbooks

The Louisiana State University Library in Baton Rouge is promoting a new program that enables students in more than 100 courses to access electronic textbooks, rather than having to purchase costly printed ones. The change represents significant savings for students, who typically shell out several hundred dollars each semester on textbooks. These e-textbooks are free. Though the LSU library has been offering e-textbooks for a couple of years, fall 2014 was the first time the program was officially offered and advertised to students and faculty. In the spring semester, 113 courses are participating....

Greater Baton Rouge (La.) Business Report, Jan. 24

Top 10 graphic novels for the past year

Cover of The Undertaking of Lily Chen, by Danica Novgorodoff

Sarah Hunter writes: “This year’s top 10 graphic novels, reviewed in Booklist between March 1, 2014, and February 15, 2015, cover a broad array of genres, styles, and formats, from the ingeniously simple to the weird and woolly. For example, The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff: After Deshi accidentally kills his older brother, his parents order him to find a corpse bride, a recently deceased woman to accompany his brother in the afterlife. But the only candidate he can find is the very alive, and very alluring, Lily.”...

Booklist Online, Feb. 27

The origin of fair use in the US

Sample frame from comic: Folsom v. Marsh ended up in front of Justice Joseph Story, then Justice of the Supreme Court, Circuit Court Judge for Massachusetts, Harvard Law professor, and already a legendary jurist

Harvard University Library is once again celebrating Fair Use Week, an event inaugurated in 2014 by Kyle Courtney, the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication’s program manager and copyright advisor. It is now sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries. This year, Courtney and two colleagues wrote and illustrated a two-page comic (PDF file) that tells the story of how the doctrine of fair use developed in the United States....

Harvard University Library, Office for Scholarly Communication, Feb. 27

How to read after you adopt a dog

Dogs can be distracting

Nikki Steele writes: “Instead of taking the big leap towards children, you’ve gone out and adopted a sweet pup who is supposed to warm up your home and your soul. It’s easier than kids, right? (Answer: Yes.) Does that mean reading will be as easy as it once was with your new dog around? (Answer: No.) That doesn’t mean your reading life must end, though. Here are some tricks for reading with dogs in the house. Number one: It will be slower; don’t get discouraged.”...

Book Riot, Feb. 27

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