American Library Association • November 13, 2015

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Improving health literacy

Marilynn Lance-Robb, branch manager at the Carvers Bay Branch Library in Georgetown, South Carolina, assists a patron with health information

Lea Radick writes: “More than 90 million adults in the US have low health literacy—how well a person can get needed health information and services, and how well he or she understands them—according to the National Library of Medicine. NLM produces MedlinePlus, a National Institutes of Health website that’s just one of several consumer health resources available to the public. A recent health information outreach project in New England trained public librarians to use MedlinePlus.”...

American Libraries feature, Nov./Dec.

Wild Colorado wildlife discovery app

Wild Colorado app

Joseph Sanchez writes: “Mesa County (Colo.) Libraries is blazing a new trail with Wild Colorado, a wildlife discovery app. Users will be able to create collections of animals, add notes and photos, and share their experiences with friends and family via social media. Photos are licensed from Colorado photographers, and the library has partnered with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to provide species-level information. The app goes beyond traditional field guides, with its personal and social functionality.”...

American Libraries Trends, Nov./Dec.
Libraries Transform

11 questions with Jody Gray

Jody Gray

Meet Jody Gray (right), ALA’s new director of the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, who took the helm on November 2. Gray is no stranger to the issues of diversity and inclusion. Before joining the Association, she was diversity outreach librarian at University of Minnesota Libraries, where she helped bolster dialogue using training and curriculum, and facilitated staff development workshops....

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 13

When the subject is death

A death café meets in the Ann Stevens Room in the Anchorage (Alaska) Public Library. Photo by Kris Green

Tim Inklebarger writes: “The prospect of one’s own death is not exactly a topic for casual dinner conversation. But a movement that encourages group discussion of this weighty subject is growing, and organizers are finding that local libraries are one place where they won’t be silenced. Since the first gathering, named death café, was held in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2012, the forums have spread across the nation. Many are beginning to appear in libraries, according to Lizzy Miles, an organizer for”...

American Libraries Trends, Nov./Dec.
ALA Editions

A librarian’s take on the Amazon bookstore

Amazon Books, Seattle

Joseph Janes writes: “When I got an email confirming rumors that the new building at the University Village shopping center in Seattle was, indeed, the first brick-and-mortar Amazon bookstore, I had to go, if for no other reason than to say I was there on Day One, November 3. All the books are face-out, with customer reviews and occasional five-star ratings on labels. No price tags, though each shelf label has a barcode that you can scan with the handy Amazon app or at price-check stations.”...

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 11

National Diversity in Libraries Conference

NDLC16 logo

The 2016 National Diversity in Libraries Conference, cosponsored by the University of California, Los Angeles Library and the Association of Research Libraries, will take place on the UCLA campus August 10–13, 2016. The NDLC ’16 Program Committee invites presentation proposals that address the conference’s theme of “Bridges to Inclusion,” highlighting issues related to diversity and inclusion that affect staff, users, and institutions. The deadline for submissions is November 30....

Association of Research Libraries, Nov. 12
2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Queens Library celebrates Hip Hop History Month

Hip Hop History Month at Queens LibraryLegendary DJ, VJ, producer, and pioneer hip-hop personality “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels has joined Queens (N.Y.) Library as its first hip hop coordinator. McDaniels will be working with the library beginning in November, Hip Hop History Month, to build relationships within the hip-hop community and encourage the creation of archival collections. He will also coordinate programs of local cultural interest. The library began an initiative to preserve and celebrate Queens’ hip-hop heritage in 2014....

Queens (N.Y.) Library, Nov. 10; The Monarch Review, Oct. 7

Fairfax County director position proving hard to fill

Students walk into the newly renovated Woodrow Wilson Library in Fairfax County, Virginia

With stellar health benefits and an annual salary of as much as $183,665, the job overseeing Virginia’s largest library system would seem easy to fill. But several candidates being considered by Fairfax County have decided that they don’t want the job—a reflection, officials and advocates say, of the challenge of finding a top-notch leader when budgets are tight, experts are in high demand, and the public is divided over the extent to which libraries should embrace a more digital approach....

Washington Post, Nov. 11

Reinventing study spaces for tech-savvy students

First floor, UC Berkeley’s Moffitt Library

In the 1930s, the University of California, Berkeley’s Moffitt Library was known as the place to go to get a date. In 2015, the library, while still an active meeting space, is becoming known as an intellectual hub or incubator, thanks to renovations currently happening to the venerable building. Libraries like Moffitt reflect a changing trend of student study spaces that are creating environments where students can prepare themselves for the rigors of the 21st-century workforce....

San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 30

Pitt makes Murtha papers accessible

John Murtha (right) with Speaker of the House Jim Wright on Murtha's TV show, Capitol Commentary, 1979

The life and times of the late Congressman John Murtha (1932–2010, right), the longest-serving congressman in Pennsylvania history and one of its most prominent veterans, are reflected in a massive collection of Murtha’s personal papers that were donated to the University of Pittsburgh and have now been processed and archived by the university library. A new website features a small but compelling sampling of the materials, which reflect the longtime Democrat’s work and accomplishments....

University of Pittsburgh, Nov. 6

South Australia turns its collections inside out

Art projection on the State Library of South Australia showing Col. William Light, the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia

The State Library of South Australia in Adelaide has turned itself inside out, engaging a team of large-scale projection artists to illuminate stories from their bequest collections on the exterior walls of the building. The project, known as the Story Wall, is the first permanent projection art installation curated by a library in Australia. Library Director Alan Smith says the librarians have embraced their new roles as digital storytellers, working with the artists to curate the exhibition....

The Lead South Australia, Nov. 12

2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Cover of Fifteen Dogs

At a gala ceremony November 10 in Toronto, André Alexis was named the winner of the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s most prestigious literary award for fiction, for his novel Fifteen Dogs (Coach House Books). The novel, which also won the $25,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, is an allegory in which two Greek gods grant 15 dogs human consciousness to see if the maneuver will bring the canines happiness....

Publishers Weekly, Nov. 11

Simon & Schuster changes library ebook terms

Cover of Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After

Simon & Schuster has debuted new license terms for library ebooks. Where the publisher used to charge libraries an above-the-consumer-market price for an expiring one-year license, it’s now also offering a two-year license for 50% more. OverDrive says that the program is being tested with a limited selection of titles. For example, Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After is available for a one-year price at $12.99, or for a two-year term for $19.49. The same ebook can be found in the Kindle Store for $10....

The Digital Reader, Nov. 12; OverDrive Blogs, Nov. 12

What open-access publishing actually costs

Open access publishing

Ellen Wexler writes: “In academe, ideas cost money. But how much? Advocates for open-access journals say that academic research should be free for everyone to read. But even those proponents acknowledge that publishing costs money—the disagreement is over the amount. The Chronicle consulted with the Open Library of the Humanities, a nonprofit group that publishes seven peer-reviewed journals in the humanities and social sciences.”...

Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 9

The statistical dominance of Dr. Seuss

Who has sold the most children's books?

Dan Kopf writes: “Nearly 25 years after his death, Dr. Seuss continues to dominate the world of children’s books to an astonishing degree. Today, one in four of children’s first books is one penned by Theodor Seuss Geisel. The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, all published prior to 1970, remain among today’s bestselling children’s books. The Grinch might have stolen Christmas, but Geisel stole all our hearts.”...

Priceonomics, Nov. 11; BBC News

Interactive options in online learning

ACRL Instructional Technologies Committee Tips and Trends

Elizabeth M. Johns writes: “Online learning experiences, both synchronous and asynchronous, often rely heavily on passive engagement by the learner. However, web-based tools and techniques can transform a synchronous online session from a passive, webinar-style experience into an engaging, interactive online classroom with robust learning activities. To be effective in both synchronous and asynchronous settings, online instruction must incorporate different types of interactivity for students.”...

ACRL Instructional Technology Committee Tips and Trends, Fall 2015

Top 10 books on religion and spirituality, 2015

Cover of How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian

Ilene Cooper writes: “Ranging from Augustine to Pope Francis, ancient atheism to American utopianism, these titles were reviewed in Booklist from November 15, 2014, to November 1, 2015. For example, How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian by John Dominic Crossan, an expert on the historical Jesus, who urges readers to note the history and cultural background against which biblical events occurred and proposes viewing the nonviolent Jesus movement as Christian centrality.”...

Booklist, Nov. 15

Why librarians should love Fallout 4

Screenshot from Fallout 4

Erin Blakemore writes: “At first blush, ‘library’ and ‘Fallout 4’ don’t seem like they should belong in the same sentence. The former is all about reading, while the latter concerns itself with roaming through a hostile, post-apocalyptic Boston overrun by two-headed wild animals. But the two have more in common than you may realize, as Chris Jecks writes for Twinfinite. In the newly released video game, players are rewarded when they return overdue library books.”...

Smithsonian: Smart News, Nov. 12; Twinfinite, Nov.

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