Librarian must-dos at Comic-Con.

American Library Association • July 29, 2016

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Five things every librarian should do at Comic-Con

Dolly Goyal, branch manager at San Mateo County (Calif.) Library, with Beetlejuice cosplayers

Angela Ocana writes: “Don’t think of San Diego Comic-Con, which ran July 21–24, as just another comic book convention. Since its inception in the early 1970s, it has grown into one of the largest annual celebrations of all things pop culture. The size alone makes you feel like you’ve stepped outside the real world and into a small village of costumed crusaders and oddities in the San Diego heat. If you think the ALA conference is a wild ride, strap on your seat belt for the top five things every librarian needs to do at Comic-Con.”...

AL: The Scoop, July 29

Letters to (and from) Amy

Cover of A Letter to Amy, the 1968 picture book by Ezra Jack Keats that was Sophia Hanson’s inspiration for the “Letters to Amy” project

Megan Perrero writes: “Many people dream of sending fan mail to someone they admire, but few could ever fathom the possibility of getting something in return. With the help of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the Garfield Park Lending Library in New Castle, Delaware, a group of elementary school kids got to experience the sheer joy of just that. Sophia Hanson, general manager of New Castle County Public Libraries, got the idea to start a letter-writing summer program for kids called ‘Letters to Amy.’”...

AL: The Scoop, July 27

AASL defines “effective school library program”

President Obama signs the Every Student Succeeds Act

Jen Habley writes: “As the national association for the school library profession, AASL has provided a definition for ‘effective school library program’ to assist with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) at the state and district level. The definition is part of a new position statement, Definition for Effective School Library Program, published by AASL as guidance for administrators, school boards, and school librarians in the implementation of ESSA.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, July 27

Obama chooses presidential library site

Proposed site in Chicago for Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have selected historic Jackson Park, just east of the University of Chicago, as the site for the Obama Presidential Center, a source confirmed July 27. A formal announcement is expected in early August. The site allows for the creation of a museum campus in the heart of the park, accented by an existing lagoon, lush woods, and greenery. The winding 543-acre park is an oasis on the South Side....

Chicago Tribune, July 27

Rikers Island gets unofficial NYPL branch

The library at the Rikers Island correctional facility

The (unofficial) 93rd branch of the New York Public Library is now open for business, and it’s the first permanent public library on Rikers Island, New York City’s main correctional facility on the East River. The collection, which is housed in the women’s Rose M. Singer Center and sits below a poster of Beyoncé as Rosie the Riveter, is as varied as the people who will be reading from it: The Hunger Games books share space with To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Misérables, and an extensive James Patterson collection....

AM New York, July 27

Programming in prison libraries

Jessup (Md.) Correctional Institution (JCI)

Trish Burns writes: “A typical library scene: Parents and children use Skype to read to each other, and people learn the basics of a foreign language, knit yarn into a scarf, and discuss basic financial concepts. But this is not your typical public library setting—it is a prison library. Surprised? While prison librarians all over the country have a unique set of challenges, they are also coming up with an abundance of programming aimed at assisting prisoners in learning lifelong skills.”...

Public Libraries Online, July 28
ALA news

Syria’s secret library

Anas Ahmad

Mike Thomson writes: “Down a flight of steep steps, as far as it’s possible to go from the flying shrapnel, shelling, and snipers’ bullets above, is a large, dimly lit room. Buried beneath a bomb-damaged building, it’s home to a secret library that provides learning, hope, and inspiration to many in the besieged Damascus suburb of Darayya in Syria. For the past four years, Anas Ahmad (right), a former civil engineering student, and other volunteers have collected more than 14,000 books on every subject imaginable.”...

BBC News Magazine, July 28

The Smithsonian’s natural history archivists

The Botany Department Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, with displays of algae specimens, including coraline algae, wet specimens, and herbarium sheets. Featured researchers: Dr. James Norris (right front), research assistant Bob Sims (left front), and associate researcher Katie Norris (left back)

Rob Alderson writes: “‘This is a fascinating place; it’s chock-full of interesting people doing really neat stuff.’ That’s how Chip Clark once described the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where he worked as a photographer for 37 years. Over the course of 20 years, he photographed the famous museum’s archives and the archivists who keep them organized. This is no mean feat—the Smithsonian has 30 million insects, 4.5 million plant samples, and seven million fish preserved in jars.”...

WeTransfer: This Works, Apr. 26
Latest Library Links

Beware the filter bubble

Cover of The Filter Bubble, by Eli Parser

Lynn Lobash writes: “In the 1990s, libraries put significant effort into building web guides—curated and vetted lists of web resources. Ten years later, web guides went out of fashion and patrons were referred to Google, whose algorithms had grown so sophisticated that vetting the web seemed unnecessary. Fifteen years later, these trusted algorithms have learned so much about our personal preferences that they may be getting in the way of our ability to see differing views on critical problems in society.”...

NYPL Blogs, July 28

Iron gall ink and the destruction of paper

Example of iron gall ink damage and subsequent 20th century repair on Add MS 38599 ca. early 17th century

Alexandra Ault writes: “Iron gall ink is slowly destroying itself and the paper on which it sits. Words are literally eating themselves into oblivion. Even the ink’s composition and ingredients are a result of irritation and death. A sting, a bite, a reaction, a tiny extinction. Three of our conservators have made a study of the ink, and their knowledge and research on the subject is amazing. These are a few images of manuscripts that show iron gall ink damage.”...

British Library: Untold Lives, July 28

Is the Billboard Hot 100 broken?

Billboard’s Hot 100

Justin Charity writes: “Billboard publishes 111 different weekly charts that track the current popularity of songs and albums across a broad variety of genres and distribution platforms. To find out what the hottest songs are, you’d typically consult Billboard’s flagship chart, the Hot 100. The questions now are whether and how the Hot 100 can sustain its usefulness in a marketplace that contains multitudes. The musical ecosystem is more fractured than ever, and Billboard is trying to create a coherent statement from all the pieces.”...

The Ringer, July 26

Closing Wikipedia’s gender gap

Minneapolis Institute of Art Library Affinity Group Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Rick Paulas writes: “While the proliferation of the internet has dramatically disrupted the establishment—it’s not hard to draw a line from the rise of social media to the proliferation of Black Lives Matter, the campaign of Bernie Sanders, and the lobby for transgender rights—there’s one distinct area where those varied voices are lacking, and it happens to be a website of record: Wikipedia. But Wikipedia editors are predominantly white and male, and the site needs to find more women and minority editors.”...

Pacific Standard, July 28; OCLC Next, July 27

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