American Library Association • September 29, 2015
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Banned Books Week roundup, 2015

Challenged and banned books, 2015

George M. Eberhart writes: “As Banned Books Week is celebrated September 27–October 3, it’s helpful to remember that there is still a need for vigilance to ensure the freedom to read. Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, says that librarians and teachers often feel frustrated by these efforts to restrict the scope of reading. Here is a roundup of recent instances of book challenges in US school libraries (as well as one public and one academic library) and two book-bannings overseas.”...

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 29

Locked up with Vonnegut

DePauw University Dean of Libraries Rick Provine reads Dav Pilkey’s The Adventures of Captain Underpants, a regularly challenged book, for Banned Books Week at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial LibraryRick Provine writes: “I am at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, locked up with Vonnegut (literally) for Banned Books Week. So here I am, in the window of the KVML in downtown Indianapolis all week, missing the Great British Baking Show (hardly similar, but you know what I mean). Sunday was Day One, and it was a day filled with lots of people and lots of questions. It’s kind of overwhelming. Like sleeping in a window.” Watch for more of Provine’s Banned Books Week posts on The Scoop....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 28

Banned Books Week: The origin

Banned Books Week Resource Book, 1986

Cara Bertram writes: “Banned Books Week was first inspired by the success of the Banned Book Exhibit at an American Booksellers Association convention in 1982, which featured almost 500 banned and challenged books. On July 7, 1982, Allan Marshall from the ABA reached out to Judith Krug, of the Office of Intellectual Freedom, inviting the ALA to endorse and cosponsor the event. The ALA Executive Board was quick to vote on and approve of joining the event, making a decision days after Marshall wrote to Krug.”...

ALA Archives Blog, Sept. 24

Sister Cities programs build bridges

(left to right) Andy Cardimen, BMO Harris Bank managing director; Jackie Nytes, Indianapolis Public Library chief executive officer; Chris Cairo, director of project development at Indianapolis–Marion County Public Library; and Greg Ballard, mayor of Indianapolis, hold the One Book, Two Cities book selection, Vienna by Eva Menasse, at the program’s launch in December 2013

Chris Cairo writes: “Characterized by Midwestern roots and viewpoints, Indianapolis, like many American cities, nonetheless welcomes a broader worldview. With advanced technology and the ability to connect globally, the Indianapolis Public Library formed partnerships with the eight international cities that are part of Indianapolis’s Sister City Program. IPL has made connections so far with Campinas, Brazil; Hangzhou, China; Cologne, Germany; and Piran, Slovenia.”...

American Libraries feature, international supplement
Libraries Transform

Fulbright scholar in Poland

Richard E. Sapon-White (far right) and friends in Lodz, Poland

Richard E. Sapon-White writes: “In 2012–2013, I had the privilege of spending a 10-month sabbatical teaching library science courses at the Institute of Information and Book Studies at the University of Warsaw in Poland as a Fulbright Scholar. I taught four courses in English: subject analysis, resource description and access, introduction to metadata, and ebooks in libraries. This incredible experience was made possible by a Fulbright Scholarship.”...

American Libraries feature, international supplement

LC’s Billington to retire September 30

James H. Billington

James H. Billington announced on September 25 that he will retire as the 13th Librarian of Congress on September 30, not January 1 as previously announced. Deputy Librarian of Congress David Mao will serve as Acting Librarian of Congress until a presidential appointment is made and is confirmed by the Senate....

Library of Congress, Sept. 25, June 10
2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting

New design standards for government websites

Example of new web design standards applied at

Alexander Howard writes: “Today, many government websites are hard on the eyes and confusing to navigate, but that might be about to change. New design standards released September 28 for federal sites provide a common resource to standardize and improve what we find online, hopefully saving taxpayers time and frustration in the process. This is not a minor issue in the 21st century.”...

Huffington Post, Sept. 28; Gizmodo, Aug. 12, 2014

ALA congratulates NEH on its 50th anniversary

ALA congratulates the National Endowment for the Humanities, one of the largest funders of humanities programming in the United States, on its 50th anniversary. Founded on September 29, 1965, NEH promotes excellence in the humanities and conveys the lessons of history to all Americans by awarding grants for top-rated proposals to cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, archives, and colleges and universities. Through millions of dollars in funding for libraries, NEH has made possible numerous ALA public programming initiatives over the years....

ALA Public Programs Office, Sept. 29

Help the Copyright Office understand mass digitization

Form letter to Copyright Office

Dave Hansen writes: “Wouldn’t libraries and archives like to be able to digitize their collections and make the texts and images available to the world online? Of course they would, but copyright inhibits this for most works created in the last 100 years. The US Copyright Office recently issued a report (PDF file) and a request for comments (PDF file) on its proposal for a new licensing system intended to overcome copyright obstacles to mass digitization. While the goal is laudable, the office’s proposal is troubling and vague in key respects.”...

DPLA Blog, Sept. 25; Register of Copyrights, June; Federal Register, June 9

Six easy ways to tell if that viral story is a hoax

Reverse Google Image search

Pete Brown writes: “News in the digital age spreads faster than ever, and so do lies and hoaxes. Just like retractions and corrections in newspapers, online rebuttals often make rather less of a splash than the original misinformation. As I have argued elsewhere, digital verification skills are essential for today’s journalists, and academic institutions are starting to provide the necessary training. Outlined here are six free, simple tools that any curious news reader can use to verify digital media.”...

The Conversation, Sept. 18; MediaShift, June 25; Medium, Sept. 14

Three awesome astronomy apps

Rebuild the Universe app

Chris Strobing writes: “There are many fun and interactive experiences that let anyone with a decently powerful PC to go zipping, flying, and rocketing through the stars of the Milky Way and beyond. With the help of new procedural generation technologies and the dedication of a few passionate space explorers/gaming developers, there are a slew of entertaining and educational games that can let you see the solar system and the rest of the universe in detail like never before.”...

How-To Geek, Sept. 27

The best drones of 2015

3D Robotics Solo drone

Jim Fisher writes: “Even if you have no good reason to justify buying one, you have to admit that drones are cool, and the tech has come a long way in a very short time. There are models on the market now that put last year’s copters to shame in terms of video quality and stabilization. We’ve tested many of the ready-to-fly models on the market to determine what’s important to look for and the best models available.”...

PC Magazine, Sept. 19

How artificial intelligence will change our lives

Scene from Ex Machina

Chris Strobing writes: “If you’ve been paying any attention to the media, you might get the impression that it’s only a matter of time before the threat of artificial intelligence comes to destroy us all. But is any of this fear of the machines justified? In this feature, we’re going to examine the world of AI from the perspective of scientists, engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs working in the field today and boil down what they believe could be the next great revolution in human and computer intelligence.”...

How-To Geek, Sept. 28

Privacy is doomed, warns UC Berkeley librarian

Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

Surveillance and privacy are waging a full-on arms race as technology advances, says Jeffrey MacKie-Mason (right), UC Berkeley’s incoming university librarian and chief digital scholarship officer. And surveillance is winning. Speaking September 23 at the School of Information, MacKie-Mason warned that in a developing world of “radical transparency,” everyone “should get used to the fact that we can’t count on any information about ourselves being private.”...

Berkeley News, Sept. 25

YA books dealing with social issues

Cover of Mosquitoland, by David Arnold

Dawn Abron writes: “In my library, I see homeless teens, teens with alcoholic parents, teens living with a dying parent, and teens dealing with gender identity and body image. I used to feel powerless, but after I recommended Grasshopper Jungle, I realized that I could be an effective adult in the lives of teens. Here is a list of good books that blend popular genres with social issues. Gone are the days of feeling helpless. You now possess the power of reader’s advisory in a flash.”...

YALSA The Hub, Sept. 28

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