American Library Association • July 17, 2015
Libraries Transform

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Program will connect public housing residents to the web

President Obama’s ConnectHome initiative

The Obama administration announced on July 15 a program, ConnectHome, to connect thousands of public housing residents across the nation to the internet at low prices or free. The effort is aimed at helping the many low-income Americans who have been left behind in an increasingly technology-driven nation. Overall, 275,000 households, including 200,000 children, will be eligible for free internet connections or, in some areas, broadband hookups that cost as little as $9.95 a month. US libraries and ALA will play a role in the program....

New York Times, July 15; ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, July 15

Senate passes overhaul of No Child Left Behind Act

Too heavy, too light, just right: comparison of NCLB and ECAA by the Alliance for Excellent Education

The US Senate on July 16 passed an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law, an action that senators on both sides of the aisle agreed was long overdue. Senators voted 81–17 to pass the Every Child Achieves Act, which transfers more decision-making power to state and local authorities. The Senate also amended the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to include the Reed-Cochran Amendment, which explicitly authorizes school districts to use federal funds to develop and foster effective school library programs. Here are five things to know about congressional efforts to replace No Child Left Behind....

The Hill, July 16; ALA Office of Government Relations, July 16; Associated Press, July 17

Digital publishing: In praise of pioneers

Image from My Dog, an interactive ebook from Rosen Publishing

James LaRue writes: “Disruption clears a path for pioneers, visionaries who see an opportunity where others see a threat. When it comes to ebooks, a few publishers are worthy of note. They not only experiment with technology in ways that significantly enhance the product, but they also reach out to libraries as potential new partners. One of my favorite examples is Rosen Publishing. They not only converted their books to EPUB, they also added levels of interactivity.”...

AL: E-Content, July 16

ALA delegation to Finland in October

Finland scenery

ALA Past-President Courtney Young will lead a delegation of ALA members to Helsinki, Finland, October 11–16. Delegates will visit innovative libraries, learn and share experiences with Finnish colleagues, and meet with the leadership of Suomen Kirjastoseura, the Finnish Library Association. Travel arrangements will be arranged through Professionals Abroad....

ALA International Relations Office

Nominations open for 2015 I Love My Librarian Award

2015 I Love My Librarian Award

The New York Public Library has joined as one of the cosponsors of the I Love My Librarian Award. The award invites library users nationwide to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. The award will be funded through 2017 thanks to a $200,000 grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York, which has been the award’s primary sponsor since ALA took over administration of the award from The New York Times in 2008. Nominations will be accepted through September 28....

Campaign for America’s Libraries, July 16; I Love Libraries

Special reports in the 2015 LBTA

Cover of 2015 Library and Book Trade Almanac

Alan Inouye writes: “The future of libraries and publishers attracts a lot of debate and writing. But what have we learned overall from the efforts to date? This question of synthesis and looking ahead is the theme of the Special Reports in the just-released 2015 Library and Book Trade Almanac, formerly known as the Bowker Annual, for which I served as the consulting editor. In her article ‘Rethinking the Roles of US Libraries,’ Larra Clark brings together three major activities that focus on the future of libraries.”...

District Dispatch, July 16

Data, data everywhere, but do we want to drink?

Data overload

Yasmeen Shorish writes: “Ask around and you’ll hear that data is the new bacon. It’s the hot thing that everyone wants a piece of. It is another medium with which we interact and derive meaning from. It is information, potentially valuable and abundant. But much like bacon, unmoderated gorging, without balance or diversity of content, can raise blood pressure and give you a heart attack. To understand how best to interact with the data landscape, it is important to look beyond it.”...

ACRL Tech Connect, July 16

Kid’s books about the Middle East raise concerns

Cover of The Librarian of Basra

Caitlin McCabe writes: “Duval County, Florida, is including two books set in the Middle East in the elementary school curriculum. A few parents are concerned that the books will encourage children to read the Koran and pray to Muhammad. The children’s books are The Librarian of Basra and Nasreen’s Secret School, both of which revolve around free speech and free access to information.”...

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, July 15

A look at Muslims in comics

Sooraya Qadir aka Dust (Marvel Comics)

Ardo Omer writes: “Eid Mubarak, readers! For most Muslims, July 17 marks the end of Ramadan, roughly 30 days of fasting. Eid al-Fitr is a celebration of the end of Ramadan, and marks the start of a new Islamic month, Shawwal. I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate by showing some fellow Muslims in comics to mark the occasion. If you happen to see a Muslim today, greet them with Eid Mubarak.”...

Panels, July 17

The 50 best nonfiction books from the past 20 years

Cover of Paris 1919, by Margaret MacMillan

QwikLit writes: “The world of nonfiction is as vast as it is varied. Combining hard-hitting journalism with pioneering works of academia, while also leaving room for deeply personal memoirs and rich histories, this list of the 50 best books is intended for those seeking a new books to read. The selections represent the diversity of the nonfiction canon from the past 20 years, and I have been mindful of showing variations of the genre.”...

QwikLit, Mar. 9

New LC video series: Every Photo Is a Story

Beacon Hill House, photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1917. One of the lantern slides Sam Watters identified through his research

Barbara Orbach Natanson writes: “A wonderful new series of videos demonstrates that every photo is a story waiting to be discovered. LC Prints and Photographs Division Reference Librarian Kristi Finefield discusses strategies for researching photographs with historian Sam Watters. Sam and Kristi illustrate how using techniques for examining the fronts and backs of photographs and looking at every detail yields questions to explore.”...

Picture This: Library of Congress Prints and Photos, July 16

Parents dedicate new college safe space (satire)

The calming, new-idea-free zone will be open around the clock to comfort students who have read or heard opinions that are at odds with their preexisting worldview

The Onion notes: “In an effort to provide sanctuary for Lynnfield (Mass.) College students exposed to perspectives different from their own, a new campus safe space was dedicated Wednesday in honor of Alexis Stigmore, a 2009 graduate who felt kind of weird in class one time. The $2 million space reportedly features soothing music, neutral-colored walls, oversized floor cushions, fun board games, and a variety of snacks.”...

The Onion, July 15

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