ALA established its Library War Service in 1917 to provide books and library services to US soldiers.

American Library Association • February 19, 2016
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The Library War Service

Poster, ALA United War Work Campaign, Week of November 11, 1918

Wayne A. Wiegand writes: “‘Decent, but not too highbrow.’ That’s how one volunteer described the kind of fiction he and his colleagues solicited from their Hibbing, Minnesota, neighbors for the second of three book collection campaigns the ALA sponsored for servicemen during World War I. ALA established its Library War Service in 1917 to provide books and library services to US soldiers and sailors both in training at home and serving in Europe. This second book drive in early 1918 generated 3 million books.”...

American Libraries feature, Feb. 18

Meet me in St. Louis

Stereoscopic card showing the Ferris Wheel at the 1904 World’s Fair, St. Louis

George M. Eberhart writes: “Imagine an ALA Annual Conference where you meet in one large room from 9:30 a.m. to only half past noon for six days, after which you are free to go wandering around an exhibit and amusement area 13 times the size of Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. Imagine a conference where, after listening to a ‘characteristic address’ by Melvil Dewey, you venture out to ride on the biggest Ferris Wheel in the world. October 17–22, 1904, was ‘American Library Association Week’ at the St. Louis World’s Fair.”...

American Libraries feature, Feb. 19
AL Direct 10th anniversary

Adventure experiences in Orlando

Orlando Balloon Rides

Vandy Pacetti-Donelson writes: “We may be librarians, but that doesn’t mean we spend all our time behind a circulation desk. If you have a sense of adventure or a need for speed, maybe one of these activities is just the ticket for a break from ALA Annual Conference in Orlando: indoor trampolines, indoor skydiving, tandem skydiving, hot air balloon rides, small plane rides, zip-line adventures, or off-road riding.”...

YALSAblog, Feb. 17

Apple challenges FBI order to unlock the iPhone

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook (right) is challenging a federal court order demanding his company help investigators unlock an iPhone used by an assailant in the San Bernardino attack. Apple’s response sets up a battle that could provide a high-profile stage for a long-simmering debate over technology companies’ role in assisting law enforcement groups. On February 16, Cook posted a letter on Apple’s website, arguing that building a backdoor will make every other iPhone more vulnerable to hackers and thieves....

Time, Feb. 17; Apple, Feb. 16
Libraries Transform

What would happen if everything were encrypted?

Encryption everywhere?

Evan Dashevsky writes: “At the same time that authorities are seeking to enhance their digital surveillance powers, privacy advocates are pushing for more default encryption in order to protect the civil liberties of users who are often more than willing to exchange privacy for convenience. We spoke with several digital privacy experts for a thought experiment about what the internet would look like if strong, ubiquitous encryption was the rule rather than the exception (and if that were even possible).”...

PC Magazine, Feb. 17

Chicago’s historic African-American collection in jeopardy

Woodson Regional Library, Chicago Public Library

Chicago’s Carter G. Woodson Regional Library is home to the Midwest’s largest collection of black literature. Its gems are a part of the Vivian G. Harsh Collection, named after Chicago’s first black librarian. The collection features slave and genealogy records, as well as original manuscripts from notable black authors. It’s now at risk because the building, in dire need of attention, is literally falling apart. The Washington Heights community is crying foul and demanding that action be taken....

Chicagoland Television, Feb. 18
Latest Library Links

The National Library: The coolest spot in Jerusalem

Gershom Scholem collection at the National Library of Israel

Liel Leibovitz writes: “The National Library of Israel is currently nestled in the Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus in Jerusalem. Until not too long ago, very few people, if any, would stop by to admire Gershom Scholem’s desk, Franz Kafka’s notebook, or any of the library’s other gems. In 1996, a master plan was hatched to digitize as much of the collection as possible and make the library attractive to the public at large. The library exceeded its goals in both cases.”...

Tablet, Feb. 19

Caught between journal pirates and publishers

Carolyn Gardner, a librarian at the U. of Southern California, says of tension between librarians and publishers: “We are probably both their biggest consumer of the materials they sell as well as their biggest critics”

Corinne Ruff writes: “The rise, fall, and resurfacing of a popular piracy website for scholarly journal articles, Sci-Hub, has highlighted tensions between academic librarians and scholarly publishers. Academics are increasingly turning to websites like Sci-Hub to view subscriber-only articles that they cannot obtain at their college or that they need more quickly than interlibrary loan can provide. That trend puts librarians in an awkward position.” Kenneth Sawdon weighs in, and Gavia Libraria suspects that there are some unreliable assumptions in the article....

Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 18; Intellectual Freedom Blog, Feb. 19; Gavia Libraria, Feb. 18

Free tools to block web trackers

Disconnect app

Brian X. Chen and Natasha Singer write: “Digital ads are able to follow people around the internet because advertisers often place invisible trackers on the websites you visit. Their goal is to collect details on everywhere you go on the internet and use that data to serve targeted ads. We researched and tested four tracker blockers and found their results varied widely. In the end, the app Disconnect became our anti-tracking tool of choice.”...

New York Times, Feb. 17

10 Google Docs hacks every teacher should know

Edit Google Docs files offline

Jennifer Carey writes: “Google Docs is a popular word processing tool because it allows ready access to your documents and files from any internet-connected device. It permits users to readily share documents and easily collaborate on materials. If you are already familiar with Google Docs, try out these 10 hacks to up your Google game.”...

Daily Genius, Jan. 25

Things to tell my newbie self

I'm a noob

Mike Cendejas writes: “Depending on the day of the week, I don’t really know what I am. Am I a librarian with a strong interest in tech? Or am I a techie who happens to work in the library field? What I have come to realize is that it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is that I am, I enjoy it, so I should focus on that. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself about this. So, here are the top four things that I would tell my younger self, given the opportunity.”...

LITA Blog, Feb. 11

“Problematic Internet Use” is now an official addiction

Internet users

Susan M. Snyder writes: “Problematic Internet Use is now considered to be a behavioral addiction with characteristics that are similar to substance use disorders. Individuals with PIU may have difficulty reducing their internet use, may be preoccupied with the internet, or may lie to conceal their use. A recent study that I coauthored with UNC Chapel Hill doctoral students Wen Li and Jennifer O’Brien and UNC professor Matthew O. Howard examines this new behavioral addiction.”...

The Conversation, Feb. 15; PLOS ONE, Dec. 11, 2015

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