The Library of Congress hosted a party celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Telecommunications Act.

American Library Association • February 12, 2016
ALA Editions

For daily ALA and library news, check the American Libraries website or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Pinterest icon YouTube icon RSS icon

Celebrating 20 years of the Telecom Act

Linda Lord, former Maine state librarian, accepts the inaugural Access to Opportunity award from Senator Angus King (I-Maine) on behalf of Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

Nancy Gravatt writes: “On February 11, the Library of Congress hosted a party celebrating the 20th anniversary of the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act. The event was coordinated by Colin Crowell, a former staff member of Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and current head of global public policy for Twitter, and was attended by members of Congress, senior Hill staff, tech leaders, Federal Communications Commission staffers, and of course, librarians.”...

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 12

Things you didn’t know about ALA history, 1876–1900

ALA members attending the Annual Conference in Montreal made a side trip to McGill University, where they posed for this photo on June 9, 1900

George M. Eberhart writes: “Attendees of the ALA Annual Conference in Montreal, Canada, visited the campus of McGill University on June 9, 1900. It was the first ALA conference held outside the United States. Among its accomplishments were the establishment of an informal Club of Children’s Librarians, the forerunner of ALSC; and the formation of a Canadian Library Association, which ultimately became the Ontario Library Association. Follow along on Pinterest as we celebrate ALA’s 140th anniversary.”...

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 11
AL Direct 10th anniversary

A Birthday Cake for George Washington: The author’s take

Cover of A Birthday Cake for George Washington

Ramin Ganeshram writes: “On January 17, Scholastic withdrew my book A Birthday Cake for George Washington from publication stating it provided a ‘false impression of the reality of the lives of slaves.’ The company claims otherwise, but certainly public outcry determined its decision. In halting the publication of this book, the publisher silenced the story of George Washington’s enslaved chef, Hercules, a remarkable man whose talent and self-possession earned him unusual status in his own time.”...

Huffington Post: Books blog, Feb. 11

Report your challenges

Defend the freedom to read

If your library has experienced challenges to books or other materials recently, you can report them to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom by February 29 to be included in this year’s confidential database. ALA will release only the title being challenged and the reason. To report a challenge, submit an Online Challenge Database Form. Alternately, you can print the Challenge Database Form (PDF file), complete it, and fax it to OIF at 312-280-4227....

Office for Intellectual Freedom
Libraries Transform

Homeless patrons and the Columbus library renovation

Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library closed for renovation

Debbie Briner writes: “When Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library officials decided to close the main Downtown branch during its $35 million renovation, patrons were sure to be put out. None, perhaps, felt it more than the homeless population. Library officials anticipated the hardships the library’s 16-month closure could cause. So a coordinated effort with the Capital Crossroads and Discovery special improvement districts sought a temporary location for the outreach resources the library had provided.”...

Columbus Monthly, Feb.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Mikhail Baryshnikov, pictured here in a 1979 production of The Four Seasons, was among the honorees at the 50th-anniversary gala of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Sarah Larson writes: “On February 8, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, at Lincoln Center, held its 50th-anniversary gala at the NYPL mothership at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The gala honored the LPA’s benefactors Lewis Cullman, Barbara Fleischman, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation, as well as three artists: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Angela Lansbury, and Jessye Norman.”...

The New Yorker, Feb. 10
Latest Library Links

Patent coloring book from the National Archives

1884 patent for a submarine

The National Archives recently released a free PDF of a coloring book depicting 16 favorite patents from their holdings. Most of the illustrations date back more than a century, and they range from the practical (the actual troop lander used on D-Day) to the bizarre (protective goggles for your chickens). The illustration on the right shows a submarine patent from 1884....

Mental Floss, Feb. 9

Best resources for studying Shakespeare

Shakespeare interactive folios

Rob Nightingale writes: “2016 marks the 400th death anniversary of the world’s favorite playwright. Despite the passing of four centuries, his influence, and people’s ambition to get to know his work, still remains. That’s why we’ve put together this list of top 13 resources to help you learn more about Shakespeare, the times he lived in, and the work he is famous for. They will help you get to grips with the Bard, and to understand what enabled him to stand the test of time as well as he has.”...

MakeUseOf, Feb. 11; American Libraries feature, Dec. 11, 2015

Steal this book?

Fair use: It’s the law

Kevin Smith writes: “Last week I was researching a copyright and fair use issue for a faculty member, and needed to see a copy of a book held by Duke’s Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. As I explained the issue and what material I wanted to use to the Rubenstein staff, a researcher sitting nearby listened intently. As soon as we finished, she told me that she was the president of the Authors Guild and that they were suing Google over fair use.”...

Scholarly Communications @ Duke, Feb. 11

The 10 best smartwatches of 2016

Pebble Time smartwatch

Alex Colon and Timothy Torres write: “The infamous calculator watch has been around since the 1970s, but smartwatches have finally reached the point that they’re, well, smart. And now that the Apple Watch is out capturing the hearts and heartbeats of users around the world, the smartwatch is no longer an accessory associated primarily with tech geeks. We’ve rounded up our 10 top-rated smartwatches to help you decide.”...

PC Magazine, Feb. 9

Books to celebrate Galentine’s Day

What is Galentine’s Day?

Molly Wetta writes: “Galentine’s Day is a very special holiday from Parks and Recreation, where Leslie Knope and her lady friends have brunch on February 13. ‘It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst, plus frittatas.’ Basically, it’s a time during the season very focused on romantic love to take some time and recognize other relationships in your life, like female friendship. In honor of Galentine’s Day, the following YA titles focus on strong friendships between young women.”...

YALSA The Hub, Feb. 12

20 humorous romance novels

Cover of And the Miss Ran Away with the Rake, by Elizabeth Boyle

John Charles and Shelley Mosley write: “A romance novel that delivers a generous measure of both humor and passion is almost always guaranteed to find a ready audience. These readers know there are more than a few grins, giggles, and guffaws on the road to happily-ever-after. This list of 20 of our favorite humorous romances proves there really is a romance out there that is certain to tickle any reader’s funny bone.”...

The Booklist Reader, Feb. 11

AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Tuesday and Friday to personal members of the American Library Association.

Send news and feedback:

Direct ad inquiries to:

AL Direct FAQ:

All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site.


AL Direct will not sell your email to outside parties, but your email may be shared with advertisers in this newsletter should you express interest in their products by clicking on their ads or content. If the advertisers choose to communicate with you by email, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future emails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. Read the ALA privacy policy.


American Libraries
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext. 4216

ISSN 1559-369X
ALA Publishing