American Library Association • January 5, 2016
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2015: The year in review

Skip Prichard, OCLC president and CEO, files a card from the last batch of catalog cards printed

A look back at stories that affected libraries in the past year, among them: the Google Books ruling, the Librarian of Congress retires, library tech consolidation, the final printed catalog card, diversity in youth literature, and Kentucky libraries get a favorable ruling on tax-related funding....

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

Referenda Roundup: How the states performed

Referenda Roundup

Kathy Rosa writes: “During the 2015 election year, the ALA Office for Research and Statistics tracked 88 library referenda across 21 states. More than three-quarters of the measures passed, with 69 wins and only 18 losses (an additional one was advisory). Ohio and New York showed their strong support of libraries by passing 20 and 23 referenda respectively. Here are the success stories.”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

Sponsored Content

Gale digital humanities

Connecting with faculty through digital humanities: Panelist added

As academic libraries continually shift to keep up with the changing needs of research and scholarship, many are looking at the digital humanities as an opportunity for closer partnership with faculty and other campus stakeholders.

Join Jon Cawthorne, dean of libraries at West Virginia University; Thomas Padilla, digital scholarship librarian at Michigan State University Libraries; Stephanie Orphan, director of publisher relations for Portico; and others for a discussion around the ways libraries can evolve to overcome these challenges and meet the changing needs of faculty and students in the digital humanities. Sunday, January 10, 1–2:30 p.m., ALA Midwinter Meeting, BCEC Room 105.

Librarians nationwide protest Michigan elections bill

Michigan State House

A campaign finance reform bill that would ultimately affect Michigan residents’ access to campaign information was roundly criticized by librarians across the country in late December. Senate Bill 571 was passed on December 16, with several last-minute amendments from the House that included a provision that would prevent government employees from using public funds to distribute information about a local ballot proposal 60 days before it appears on the ballot....

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 22

A body in a library

Eiko Otake begins her performance in the courtyard of Russell Library

Rolande Duprey writes: “In September, choreographer and performance artist Eiko Otake performed at Russell Library in Middletown, Connecticut, as part of her series, ‘A Body in Places.’ Her performances included ‘A Body in Fukushima,’ in which Otake danced in the vacant areas surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, damaged during the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, and ‘A Body in a Station,’ first performed at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Amtrak Station in 2014.”...

American Libraries feature, Dec. 31
AL Direct 10th anniversary, January 2016

Authors Guild files to take Google to the Supreme Court

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California

The Authors Guild has officially asked the Supreme Court to hear its case against Google—a long-running dispute over whether copyright law allows for Google to scan and post excerpts from books for its Google Books service. The group filed a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court on December 31. The Authors Guild states it does not want to shut Google Books down, but it does want Google to pay copyright fees....

Washington Post, Dec. 31

Court: Anne Frank’s diary can be copied for research

Anne Frank’s original diary

The original text of Anne Frank’s famous World War II diary may be copied for academic research, the Amsterdam district court ruled on December 29. The Basel-based Anne Frank Fund, which owns the copyright to Frank’s work, had asked the court to ban the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation from copying the texts and publishing them for academic research. The court said that in this case at least, scientific freedom is more important than protecting copyright....

Dutch News, Dec. 29
Libraries Transform

Jewish-Palestinian romance novel rejected in Israel

Cover of Gader Haya

The Israeli government on December 31 removed a romance novel depicting an interfaith Jewish-Palestinian relationship from school curricula. The education ministry ruled that Dorit Rabinyan’s novel Gader Haya (Borderline), which tells the story of an Israeli translator and a Palestinian artist who fall in love in New York, cannot be used in high schools, claiming the love story threatens “the identity and the heritage of students in every sector.” It was among the winners of the Bernstein Prize for young writers, an annual Israeli award for Hebrew literature. Numerous Israeli politicians and authors criticized the decision....

Salon, Dec. 31; The Times of Israel, Dec. 31

The Library Digital Privacy Pledge

Https protocol

James LaRue writes: “The Library Freedom Project has launched a most worthy initiative called the Library Digital Privacy Pledge. The idea is this: If we’re serious about the values expressed in the third article of the ALA Code of Ethics, we should at least stop using the internet protocol that lets people eavesdrop on library patrons. Instead of using ‘http’ at the beginning of our web addresses, we should adopt the more secure, encrypted ‘https’ protocol.”...

AL: E-Content blog, Dec. 29
2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting

How “Do Not Track” ended up going nowhere

Former Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz

Dawn Chmielewski writes: “In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission pledged to give internet users the power to determine if or when websites were allowed to track their behavior through a ‘Do Not Track’ initiative. But five years out, the same agency whose ‘Do Not Call’ initiative failed to stop unwanted telemarketing calls once again has little to show for its efforts. We thought it would be instructive to review just how the best intentions of the FTC’s ‘Do Not Track’ initiative went so wrong.”...

Re/code, Jan. 4

Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grants

Voices of the Revolution: Digitizing 30,000 French Pamphlets from the Newberry Library was one of the projects funded by CLIR

The Council on Library and Information Resources has selected 18 projects for 2015 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grants. The program, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is the successor to the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program created in 2008. The program funds projects in which locally executed protocols contribute to a national good, using methods that are cost-efficient and subject to wider adoption....

Council on Library and Information Resources, Jan. 4

The opulent Gould Memorial Library in decay

Interior of Gould Memorial Library's dome, Bronx, New York

David W. Dunlap writes: “To reclaim Gould Memorial Library at Bronx Community College, architect Stanford White’s most dazzling extant structure in New York, its admirers must invent new uses for a building that was intended by a much different institution—New York University—to serve a now-antiquated form of scholarship. Under the chairmanship of Samuel G. White (Stanford’s great-grandson), a group called Save Gould Memorial Library is studying conditions in the largely empty, little-used, 116-year-old building and will try to preserve it.”...

New York Times, Nov. 18

Shakespeare’s First Folio goes on tour

One of the Folger's First Folios

Susan Stamberg writes: “One of the world’s most precious volumes starts a tour January 4, in Norman, Oklahoma. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is sending out William Shakespeare’s First Folio to all 50 states, to mark the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death. Published seven years after he died, the First Folio is the first printed collection of all of Shakespeare’s plays. The Folger has 82 First Folios—the largest collection in the world.”...

NPR: Morning Edition, Jan. 4

The British Library is digitizing George III’s maps

The Klencke Atlas

The British Library is a quarter of the way through a major project to recatalog, digitize, and preserve a 50,000-strong map collection assembled by Britain’s famous collector-king, George III (1738–1820). Among the objects to be digitally photographed is the world’s second largest atlas, which measures a huge 6 by 7.5 feet. The Klencke Atlas, named after the Dutch sugar merchant Johannes Klencke who presented it to Charles II in 1660, contains 41 large-scale maps made in the 1620s and 1630s, bound into one giant book....

The Art Newspaper, Dec. 31

The secret life of the public library

Cover of Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library, by Wayne A. Wiegand

Wayne A. Wiegand writes: “Scholars and public intellectuals have always been friends of libraries, but too often their personal experiences skew perceptions of what libraries have done for their communities over the generations. In a recent New York Times op-ed, Alberto Manguel is especially worried about ‘preserving the centrality of the book’ in librarianship. As important as public libraries are in this role, they have been equally—sometimes more—important as public places.”...

History News Network, Dec. 24; New York Times, Oct. 23

Bill Gates: Billionaire book reviewer

Recently reviewed books on Gates Notes

Katherine Rosman writes: “For years, Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft who now focuses on philanthropic work, had been scribbling notes in the margins of books he was reading and then emailing recommendations to friends and colleagues. Then he began to post these recommendations and critiques on his blog, Gates Notes. Gates says he reads about 50 books a year, eschewing digital readers for books on paper. On the blog, he often recommends books in science and public health.”...

New York Times, Jan. 2

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