Library design podcast: Dewey Decibel 5.

American Library Association • August 30, 2016
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Dewey Decibel podcast: Library design

Dewey Decibel episode 5, on library design

Episode five of American Libraries’ Dewey Decibel podcast tackles a topic close to host Phil Morehart’s heart: library architecture and design. As editor of the annual Library Design Showcase, Morehart was primed and perfectly suited to talk to this episode’s three guests: Brian Lee from Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill; Kimberly Bolan, the library consultant behind Kimberly Bolan and Associates; and Fred Schlipf, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign....

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 30

Helping veterans

Alan S. Inouye talks with Los Angeles Public Library’s Edwin Rodarte about Veterans Make Movies

Alan S. Inouye writes: “One of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s major projects is preparing for the next presidential administration, and one of the issues on which we’re focusing—veterans and military families—is a stated priority for both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. We are developing a three-page document to brief the campaigns and transition staffs as well as national policy advocates about how and why libraries can help reach and provide assistance to veterans.”...

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 26; District Dispatch, July 18

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Stand up for your right to read

Helen Adams writes: “Each September, librarians, teachers, and students celebrate their right to read and fight censorship by observing Banned Books Week. For 2016, BBW will occur from September 25 to October 1. Using the tagline, ‘Stand up for your right to read,’ the 2016 Banned Books Week theme focuses on diverse content. Celebrating Banned Books Week is just the first step in protecting your students’ First Amendment right to read. Here’s what else you can do during the school year.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Aug. 30

2016 MAGIRT Honors Award

Katherine Hart Weimer

The ALA Map and Geospatial Information Round Table selected Katherine Hart Weimer as the recipient of its 2016 MAGIRT Honors Award. Weimer is head of the Kelley Center for Government Information, Data, and Geospatial Services in the Fondren Library at Rice University, and was 2009–2010 chair of MAGIRT. She encouraged discussion on the goals and identity of the round table, both historically and into the future, which led to a name change and a new MAGIRT logo....

base line, Aug., p. 24

The Chicago letter and its aftermath

Letter to freshmen from John Ellison

Scott Jaschik writes: “Those tasked with writing letters to incoming freshmen frequently wonder if anyone reads them. John Ellison, dean of students at the University of Chicago, need not worry. His letter to new students has been read and scrutinized by professors and pundits nationwide. To many, the letter distorted programs on which many students rely, ignored the hostility many students feel on campus, and belittled the sincerity of faculty members who work to make higher education more inclusive.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 25, 29; Chicago Tribune, Aug. 30

The good news about educational inequality

Academic performance gap between low- and high-income students

Sean E. Reardon, Jane Waldfogel, and Daphna Bassok write: “Here is some good news about educational inequality: The enormous gap in academic performance between high- and low-income children has begun to narrow. Children entering kindergarten today are more equally prepared than they were in the late 1990s. We know this from information collected over the last two decades by the National Center for Education Statistics. From 1998 to 2010, the school readiness gap narrowed by 10% in math and 16% in reading.”...

New York Times, Aug. 26; AERA Open, Aug. 26
ALA news

The changing world of library reference

The reference desk area inside the Pomona (Calif.) Public Library, ca. 1900

Andrew Richard Albanese and Brian Kenney write: “One year ago, columnist Brian Kenney wrote a piece for PW titled ‘Where Reference Fits in the Modern Library.’ It addressed his frustration with the gulf between reference work as he experienced it in the White Plains (N.Y.) Public Library, and how reference is discussed in the library profession and taught in library and information schools. We wanted to continue that conversation, so we reached out to a group of librarians and asked them to revisit Brian’s 2015 column.”...

Publishers Weekly, Aug. 23; Sept. 11, 2015

Huntington Library to decode Civil War telegrams

Anson Stager's telegraphic code book

The 15,971 telegrams—hidden in a wooden footlocker for more than a century—scrolled like a Twitter feed through the Civil War. The coded messages from the Union side carried the urgings and reflections of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and other prominent players. But most echo with the thoughts and schemes of ordinary soldiers. The telegrams were part of papers kept by Thomas T. Eckert, head of the telegraph office at the War Department. The Huntington Library has started a Decoding the Civil War crowdsourcing campaign that relies on volunteers using cipher charts to unravel secret texts....

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19
2017 Midwinter Meeting

Victorian cloth bindings

This binding is indicative of the lavish use of gilt that prevailed in the 1850s and 1860s

Briony Harding writes: “The art of covering a book in cloth was invented in the early 1820s. The first materials used were dress materials such as silk and satin, but these were unsuitable for everyday use as the glue came through easily and the lack of ‘body’ or stiffness made them difficult to work with. Archibald Leighton is generally credited with the invention, in 1825, of the cotton cloth material we know so well today, impervious to an ordinary application of glue or paste.”...

Echoes from the Vault, Aug. 25

The mysterious ancient origins of the book

A model of a Nag Hammadi codex, made in the style of a cache of 4th Century books found in Egypt in 1945. Credit: Irina Gorstein (book model), Adam Kellie (photography)

Keith Houston writes: “Sometime in or before the first century CE, a new kind of book appeared that promised to address the shortcomings of the scroll. The evidence is sparse but telling: Archaeologists have discovered a few key scraps of papyrus whose text unexpectedly continues from the front to the back, and whose neat margins one might expect to find in a paged book. And that is exactly what these fragments are: They are leaves from the first paged books the world had ever seen, something the Romans called a codex.”...

BBC Culture, Aug. 22
Latest Library Links

Art conservation blends the creative and scientific

Conservators, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Conservators preserve artwork. They make sure paintings or sculptures will last as long as possible. They examine, clean, and restore. Through the dueling disciplines of science and art, conservation allows art to be enjoyed by generations. A conservator’s job starts with an artwork. Before she sets to work, however, she needs to understand what the piece is made of and what its history is. Conservators often turn to scientific testing to excavate these mysteries, using infrared reflectography, x-ray fluorescence, or ultraviolet illumination....

Indianapolis Star, Aug. 9

Now arriving on the New York subway: Free ebooks

New York subway map showing stations with Wi-Fi

James Barron writes: “On August 28, Subway Reads started delivering free novellas, short stories, and excerpts from full-length books to the cellphones and tablets of passengers on the New York subway. The idea is for riders to download a short story or a chapter and read it on the train. Subway Reads will even let riders choose what to read based on how long they will be on the subway. The service, which lasts only eight weeks, celebrates the installation of Wi-Fi service in 175 underground stations, and is run by Penguin Random House.”...

New York Times, Aug. 28

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