American Library Association • October 27, 2015
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Slavery’s hidden history

Eric Foner

Eric Foner (right)—Pulitzer Prize–winning historian, author of Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (W. W. Norton, 2015), Columbia University professor, and author of more than 20 history texts—spoke to American Libraries about his latest book and his plans for the future. Foner’s specialty is the American Civil War and Reconstruction, and he has been teaching a popular course on that topic to Columbia undergraduates for more than 30 years....

American Libraries feature, Oct. 27

Libraries Transform campaign launches October 29

Screenshot of ALA President Sari Feldman from Libraries Transform videoOn October 29, ALA President Sari Feldman (right) will officially launch “Libraries Transform,” a national public awareness campaign that will highlight the transformative nature of our nation’s libraries and elevate the critical role libraries play in the digital age. As part of the national launch, Feldman will tour a variety of libraries in Washington, D.C., to view the power of libraries in action and to gather best practices that will be shared with the library profession and the public at large....

ALA Public Awareness Office, Oct. 23
Recorded Books

Vote on cybersecurity bill imminent

President Obama using a computer

Adam Eisgrau writes: “The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 reemerged this month in the Senate in new and, to be fair, somewhat improved guise. The bill in its current form is still being misadvertised by its sponsors as a means of preventing serious cyberattacks like those perpetrated recently against the Office of Personnel Management, the Pentagon’s non-classified email system, and Sony.” The White House endorsed the bill on October 22 as opposition from Silicon Valley mounted....

District Dispatch, Oct. 23; Government Executive, Oct. 23; CNET, Oct. 26

2015 Teens’ Top Ten titles

Screenshot of Bella Thorne from video

YALSA has announced the official titles of the 2015 Teens’ Top Ten. Teens all over the world voted from August 15 through Teen Read Week (October 18-24). Altogether, more than 27,000 votes were cast for the 24 nominees (PDF file). A video (1:56) features 2015 Teen Read Week spokesperson Bella Thorne (right) announcing the winning titles. The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year....

YALSA, Oct. 27

Why Americans love their public libraries

Library ditches hero pilot's fine for book sunk in Hudson

Wayne A. Wiegand writes: “Americans love their public libraries, but why? Historical research shows reasons fit into three broad categories: for the useful information they make accessible; for the public spaces they provide that help construct community; and for the transformative potential that reading, viewing, and listening to the commonplace stories that public libraries provide in a variety of textual forms. Historical examples for each abound, including this story about hero pilot Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger (above).”...

Oshkosh (Wis.) Northwestern, Oct. 24

LC acquires Robert Dawson’s public library photos

Library built by ex-slaves, Allensworth, California, 1995. The library is a re-creation of the original in what is now called Col. Allensworth State Historic Park

The Library of Congress has acquired 681 photographs from “The Public Library: An American Commons,” a photographic survey by Robert Dawson of public libraries in the United States. The photographs, taken from 1994 to 2015, significantly expand LC’s holdings describing the American public library—as architecture, community space, and a reflection of the contemporary social landscape. The collection is the largest acquisition of library photography by the Library of Congress since the early 1900s....

Library of Congress, Oct. 26
2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting

Ex-librarians collect Tokyo air raid maps

Gen Yamazaki studies a map of the city of Hachioji, west of Tokyo, on which U.S. air raid damage is marked. The map is held at the National Diet Library in Tokyo, where he once worked as a librarian

Former librarian Gen Yamazaki (right) fixes his eyes on a map he found in the stacks at the National Diet Library in Tokyo in 1981. It shows Hachioji, a city on the outskirts of Tokyo, outlined in red. The 86-year-old Yamazaki knows the red markings indicate areas burned down in US air raids in the final days of World War II, and he recalls the hardships he and others suffered at that time. Yamazaki thinks this map and others should be made public as reference materials for the wartime period....

Japan Times, Oct. 27

Pilot project to boost science literacy

Samantha Duckworth, science and technology team leader at the Portland (Maine) Public Library, demonstrates how to use a microscope available at the library

The Portland (Maine) Public Library will be a pilot site for a project to enhance public exposure to science. The project, funded in part by a $1.1 million grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, will help the library and five others bring science literacy to the community. To build this capacity, the library will offer access to scientific tools and equipment, books, media, and professionals within the scientific community....

Falmouth (Maine) Forecaster, Oct. 27

Modernized Wayback Machine to launch in 2017

Wayback Machine website

Chris Welch writes: “The Wayback Machine, an essential and amazing tool that’s preserved 19 years of the web’s history, is getting a big redesign. The Internet Archive expects to launch a rebuilt and modernized Wayback Machine sometime in 2017, promising that it ‘will have more and better webpages that are easier to find.’ The existing resource already offers over 439 billion captures of web content, including websites, video, and images.”...

The Verge, Oct. 22

Found: Tolkien’s annotated map of Middle-earth

A recently discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by JRR Tolkien

A recently discovered map of Middle-earth annotated by J. R. R. Tolkien reveals The Lord of the Rings author’s observation that Hobbiton is on the same latitude as Oxford, and implies that the Italian city of Ravenna could be the inspiration behind the fictional city of Minas Tirith. The map was found loose in a copy of illustrator Pauline Baynes’s copy of The Lord of the Rings. Baynes had removed the map from another edition as she began work on her own color map of Middle-earth for Tolkien....

The Guardian (UK), Oct. 23

UC scholarly articles to be open access

University of California open access policy

On October 26, the University of California expanded the reach of its research publications by issuing a Presidential Open Access Policy, allowing future scholarly articles authored by all UC employees to be freely shared with readers worldwide. Comprising 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national laboratories, and nearly 200,000 employees, the UC system is responsible for more than 2% of the world’s total research publications....

University of California Office of Scholarly Communication, Oct. 26

Alexia Casale fights to get teens into libraries

Alexia Casale

Like most authors, Alexia Casale (right) is fiercely passionate about the value of libraries and the transformative power of books, so she developed YA Shot, a library-based teen literature festival and a year-long program of author visits, and she wants to roll it out throughout the UK. She writes: “Anecdotal evidence suggests the group who use public libraries the least are teenagers, despite the creation of specific spaces for them and careful thought given to activities and resources likely to appeal.”...

The Guardian (UK), Oct. 23

New short film, The Library, by Jason LaMotte

Screenshot from The Library, featuring Missy Keating as Emily

Director Jason LaMotte was profoundly affected by his neighborhood library in Houston, Texas, and the magical feeling it carried was the inspiration behind The Library (20:32), his new short film shot in the Memorial Library of Bedales School in Steep, Hampshire, UK. LaMotte says the film is the “story of a 13-year-old girl, Emily (played by Missy Keating) who rides her bike to the library each day after school. She begins receiving notes slipped to her by a secret admirer, one of the two boys she regularly sees in the library—or so she thinks.”...

The Guardian (UK), Oct. 25; Vimeo

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