American Library Association • May 26, 2015

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On My Mind: Biometric access

Deborah Canovai gets her finger print scanned into the Biometric Finger Identification System by Circulation Clerk Robyn Sayre at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort, Kentucky. The system allows library patrons to check out books and other library materials by using their fingers instead of a library card

Ernest Dixon writes: “As libraries embrace their modern identities as technology hubs, the methods of providing access to their services must constantly adapt. The evolving high-tech options we provide to patrons require that we also keep these options safe and secure. Although in widespread use in the private and public sector, biometric security options have been slow to reach libraries—whether because of a lack of understanding of the technology or because of misinformation about the system.”...

American Libraries column, May

ALA delegation to Finland in October

Finland scenes

ALA 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
Amazon webinar

Task force to clarify academic library definitions in IPEDS

IPEDS: Academic Libraries Component

ACRL and the Association of Research Libraries have formed a joint advisory task force to suggest changes to the current definitions and instructions accompanying the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Academic Libraries Component for FY 2015. The ARL/ACRL task force will work to provide formal recommendations to IPEDS by early July and offer virtual opportunities to engage and inform the larger community of this work....

ACRL Insider, May 26

ALA’s first visit to the Pacific Coast in 1891

Samuel Swett Green, ALA President, July-November 1891

Cara Bertram writes: “On October 12–16, 1891, the first ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco was held. It was the first ALA conference held on the Pacific Coast and 83 people were in attendance, with Samuel Swett Green (right) presiding as president. Even after 124 years, some of the topics discussed then are not out of place at the 2015 Annual Conference: library architecture, library administration, the use of libraries in schools, library legislation, and public support for public libraries.”...

ALA Archives Blog, May 26
ALA Annual Conference

Senate blocks NSA reform bill

NSA building complex

The Senate struggled to prevent an interruption in critical government surveillance programs early May 23, rejecting both the House-passed USA Freedom Act and a short-term extension of the USA Patriot Act. The back-to-back votes left lawmakers without a clear fallback, although current law doesn’t expire until midnight May 31. The White House pressured the Senate to back the House bill, which would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic phone records. Instead, the records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review. The vote was 57–42, short of the 60-vote threshold to move ahead. The next Senate vote is scheduled for May 31....

Associated Press, May 23; The Hill, May 23; District DIspatch, May 23

UT Austin iSchool helps flood victims salvage documents

University of Wisconsin-Superior flood damage from June 2012

Conservators and students at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information are available to provide advice and limited disaster-recovery assistance to help this weekend’s flood victims salvage damaged family treasures. Wet papers and photographs, textiles, scrapbooks, books, and other sentimental objects should be frozen, if possible, and not thrown out. Flood victims are urged to contact the iSchool for advice on conservation....

UT News, May 26

An open letter to school principals

A 1948 library

Jennifer LaGarde writes: “Dear Principal: Hiring and supporting awesome people to work with the students who go to your school is the most important part of your job. In my experience most principals have developed a pretty good system for hiring new classroom teachers. They have a team of go-to instructional leaders to serve on the committee, a list of finely tuned questions to ask, and enough gut instinct to know when they’ve found ‘the one.’ When it comes to hiring new school librarians, however, the process is often a little less efficient. As you prepare to interview and select candidates for this role, here’s what you do.”...

The Adventures of Library Girl, May 25

Mobile isn’t killing the desktop internet

Chart showing mobile and desktop use, 2013-2015

Jack Marshall writes: “People are increasingly accessing online content on mobile devices, but that doesn’t mean the desktop is in decline. A theory sometimes bandied about the media industry says audiences are deserting desktops and ‘going mobile’ instead. But actually, data from online measurement firms doesn’t seem to support that view, at least at the aggregate market level. Desktop web usage isn’t dropping. In fact, it might be increasing.”...

Wall Street Journal: CMO Today, May 26

British Library: Libraries could outlast the internet

Roly Keating

Roly Keating (right), director of the British Library, said he was shocked at how many smart people still question whether libraries are still viable in the digital age. Saying that libraries have countless values worth defending, including trust, he argued that libraries could prove the most “powerful and resilient network yet.” “These values predated the internet,” he said, “and if we get it right, may yet outlast it.”...

The Telegraph (UK), May 25

An inclusive Summer Reading list for children and teens

Cover of Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, by Erika T. Wurth

Debbie Reese writes: “Are you looking for books to add to your summer reading list? Ones written or illustrated by Native Americans or people of color? Ones that include characters that are people of color, with disabilities, or LGBTQ? This annotated list is divided into three categories: picture books, middle grade, and young adult. Though we didn’t compile the titles using a checklist, we ended up with a list that includes contemporary and historical fiction.”...

American Indians in Children’s Literature, May 25; Crazy QuiltEdi, May 21

Get your galactic hot dogs

Cover of Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway

Allison Santos writes: “Cosmoe’s Weiner Getaway is the first book in a three-part series called Galactic Hot Dogs, written by Max Brallier and published by Aladdin. The book has taken off on, a popular gaming website for children that has been a launch pad for some of the biggest blockbuster hits in children’s book publishing. Other titles are gaining wider audiences due to their popularity on Funbrain and its sister site Poptropica.”...

ALSC Blog, May 25

LC acquisition helps people see the Civil War in 3D

Unknown, “Freedom on the Plantation” (1863-1866), Charleston, SC, Osborn & Durbec’s Southern Stereoscopic & Photographic Depot, 223 King Street

In the late 1850s, the Massachusetts writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. invented the hand-held stereoscope, a contraption that allowed two slightly different images to be viewed together three-dimensionally. Photographers soon began trekking out to exotic locales like Niagara Falls to shoot stereoscopic images. Recently the Library of Congress purchased 540 of them from Robin G. Stanford, an 87-year-old grandmother from Houston, Texas, who’s spent the past four decades doggedly collecting them....

Hyperallergic, May 25

Belmont Public Library for the Birds

Avian patrons at the Belmont Public Library for the Birds

Kelly Jensen writes: “What happens when a librarian who spends her summers running a nonprofit literacy program and her woodworking, bird-loving boyfriend combine their passions? You get the Belmont Public Library for the Birds. Rebecca Flowers and Kevin Cwalina, of the Belmont neighborhood of Charlottesville, Virginia, were inspired by a bird feeder created in Norway and themed after a bar. The bird library was designed by Cwalina, with design help from Flowers, and it’s located at a private residence. There is also a Twitter feed, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.”...

BookRiot, May 19

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