Good times at the PLA 2016 Conference in Denver.

American Library Association • April 8, 2016

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PLA 2016 Conference opens with a drum line

A drum line energizes the crowd and opens the exhibit hall at the Public Library Association Conference in Denver

PLA President Vailey Oehlke danced down the auditorium steps to the Diana Ross tune “I’m Coming Out” as she opened PLA’s 2016 conference in Denver on April 6. ALA President Sari Feldman followed Oehlke’s remarks with a presentation of the new Libraries Transform video. In an open and nonpolitical conversation, Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor, talked about his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. African American entrepreneur Vernā Myers offered ideas on how to change personal biases, author Kari Chapin gave advice on how to get the most out of the conference, psychologist Sherry Turkle recommended face-to-face communication, and the How-To Festivals stage was packed with people learning how to apply a glitter tattoo, make meals for one, and breathe....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 6–8

Special pricing on finance-related ebooks

Cover of The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance, by Dave Kansas

Libraries celebrating Money Smart Week, April 23–30, will have the opportunity to take advantage of an offer from publisher HarperCollins to receive special pricing for access to seven finance-related ebook titles. From April 15 through May 15, participating libraries can obtain, at the price of $100, unlimited access to seven titles, including Real Money Answers for Every Woman by Patrice C. Washington, and The Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance by Dave Kansas....

ALA Public Awareness Office, Apr. 8

Sponsored Content

Recorded Books, Outlander

Outlander returns to the small screen

Libraries can expect a boost in readership with the return of the Golden Globe–nominated Outlander TV series to Starz on April 9. Based on Diana Gabaldon’s internationally bestselling series, Season 2 finds Jamie and a pregnant Claire joining French aristocratic society amid political turmoil.

Outlander won the 2016 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show for the second year in a row, and Davina Porter won a 2015 Voice Arts Award for her audiobook narration of the series’ eighth book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

Pew survey shows fewer Americans visit libraries

Library use by adults drops from 2012 to 2015

Fewer Americans are visiting libraries—which means they are missing out on many things libraries offer, according to results of a Pew Research Center survey released April 7 at the PLA Conference in Denver. Pew has been asking American adults whether they visited a public library in the past year. The first time, in 2012, 53% said yes; that has dropped steadily, to 44% in 2015. The study also found that many adults do not know they can borrow ebooks, study for high school equivalency tests, and take part in other programs at their libraries....

Associated Press, Apr. 7; Pew Research Center, Apr. 7

New School Library Snapshot tool

School Library Snapshot tool

In time for School Library Month, the Office for Library Advocacy, in collaboration with AASL, has introduced a new School Library Snapshot tool (PDF file). This tailored infographic allows school librarians to create a visual representation of how their library aligns with provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), from providing information literacy instruction to working with teachers and hosting enrichment activities....

Office for Library Advocacy, Apr. 5
Libraries Transform

Mississippi governor signs religious freedom bill

Protesters call for Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant to veto House Bill 1523 during a rally outside the Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, on April 4

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a controversial “religious freedom” bill into law. HB 1523 says the state government will not punish people who refuse to provide services to others because of a religious opposition to same-sex marriage, extramarital sex, or transgender people. Supporters say it protects the rights of those opposed to homosexuality, but who now live in a country where same-sex marriage is a legal right. Opponents say the bill amounts to a state sanction for discrimination....

NPR: The Two-Way Apr. 1, 5

Four lessons from the BiblioTech all-digital library

BiblioTech, Bexar County, Texas

Laura Cole writes: “Being first isn’t easy. There are no models to replicate, no best practices to follow. If there is any to be had, the confidence offered by research and planning looks more like mildly mitigated risk. In September 2013, Bexar County, Texas, launched BiblioTech, the first all-digital public library in the United States. While we do not know exactly what BiblioTech will look like in 10 years, the past 31 months has taught us that we are definitely on the right track.”...

CILIP, Apr. 6

Creative Commons certificates under development

Sandcastles, by Neil Turner. Used CC BY-SA

Paul Stacey writes: “With Creative Commons now being used by people all over the world to openly license over a billion pieces of content, a good working knowledge of what Creative Commons is and how it works is critical. Creative Commons is developing a series of certificates to provide organizations and individuals with a range of options for increasing knowledge and use of the license. Custom certificates are being designed for specific types of individuals and organizations, including librarians.”...

Creative Commons blog, Apr. 5
Latest Library Links

Website makes government data easier to find

Data USA website

Steve Lohr writes: “For years, the federal government, states, and some cities have enthusiastically made vast troves of data open to the public. A project coming out of the MIT Media Lab seeks to harness that data and make it available to a wider audience. The project, called Data USA, bills itself as ‘the most comprehensive visualization of US public data.’ It is free, and its software code is open source, meaning that developers can build custom applications by adding other data.”...

New York Times, Apr. 4

Isaac Newton’s lost alchemy recipe rediscovered

Isaac Newton copied the sophick mercury recipe by hand from a text by American-born alchemist George Starkey, then scribbled his own lab notes on the back

Michael Greshko writes: “Combine one part Fiery Dragon, some Doves of Diana, and at least seven Eagles of mercury, and what do you get? A key precursor to the Philosopher’s stone, according to a rediscovered manuscript handwritten by legendary physicist Isaac Newton. Held in a private collection for decades, the 17th-century document is now in the hands of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit based in Philadelphia. The recipe cryptically details how to make ‘sophick mercury.’”...

National Geographic, Apr. 4

Books to celebrate Earth Day

Cover of We Are the Weather Makers: The History of Climate Change by Tim Flannery, adapted by Sally M. Walker

Danielle Jones writes: “April 22 is Earth Day, celebrated around the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Started in 1970 and gaining momentum in the 1990s, Earth Day is great time to reevaluate the impact that we are having on the planet. Environmentalism has often been a cause taken up with passion by teens and new adults. In honor of Earth Day, here are some nonfiction and fiction titles that explore a variety of aspects of environmental issues and conservation actions.”...

YALSA The Hub, Apr. 8

21 underappreciated books

Cover of Voyage in the Dark (1934), by Jean Rhys

The editors of GQ write: “Ever come across a book that’s so energizingly rip-roaring, so envelopingly world-building, that you can’t really believe you’ve never heard of it before? A book that you find was admired in its time but is now shoved to the side and forgotten, except by the most trusted reader-friends in your life? Well, these are those books. And our reader-friends are 21 of our favorite writers from the past several years.”...

GQ, Apr. 6

From beer to books and tequila to technology

Interior of a crowded bar moments before midnight, June 30, 1919, when wartime prohibition went into effect in New York City

Megan Egbert writes: “Before I was a librarian I was a bartender. Or a mixologist, as we preferred to be called. Most people thought the job was pretty easy. They didn’t know that it wasn’t really about the drinks. It was about making people feel welcome, listening attentively to what they were saying, and pairing them with the perfect drink to match their mood and meal. Librarians are information mixologists. We sling information instead of drinks, but the rest is pretty much the same.”...

Huffington Post: Education Blog, Apr. 6

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