The library is not the Fact Police.

American Library Association • March 22, 2016
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On My Mind: The fact police

On My Mind, by Jeffrey Meyer

Jeffrey Meyer writes: “A patron whipped out a book. It was Climate Change: The Facts, edited by Alan Moran. ‘Why is this in the library?’ she asked. This book challenger was a college-educated reader and her criticisms were probably accurate. The book is possibly a who’s who of climate change deniers. Here’s the problem with removing such a book from the collection. Just like the library isn’t the Morality Police, the library also isn’t the Fact Police.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

2016 elections are open

Online voting

Voting in the 2016 ALA elections is now open. Between March 15 and March 17, ALA sent emails to voters, providing them with their unique ballot URL and information about how to vote online. The polls will close on April 22 at 11:59 p.m. Central time. Voting may be completed in one sitting, or individuals may park their ballots and return at a later date; however, a ballot is not cast until the “submit” button is clicked....

Office of ALA Governance, Mar. 18
AL Direct 10th anniversary

The real X-Files: Archiving the unexplained

AFU Director Anders Liljegren and librarian Ingrid Collberg

On a residential street in Norrköping, Sweden, sits the Archives for the Unexplained (AFU). Its 30,000-volume collection is the world’s largest repository devoted to such controversial topics as UFOs, ghosts, unusual natural phenomena, parapsychology, mysteries of the mind, conspiracy theories, and much more. Librarian Ingrid Collberg came to AFU in 2008 after retiring from the city library where she had worked for 34 years....

American Libraries Bookend, Mar./Apr.

Annual Conference panel on the ethics of diversity

Loida Garcia-Febo, Anastasia Chiu, Jeffrey Sowder, and Sara Ahmed

The ALA Committee on Professional Ethics will present “No Room at the Library: The Ethics of Diversity” on June 26 at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Loida Garcia-Febo, Anastasia Chiu, Jeffrey Sowder, and Sara Ahmed will lead audience discussion after the committee performs three different skits that shed light on ethical dilemmas involving religious, cultural, and LGBTQ issues. One skit will address potential Islamophobia....

Office for Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 21
Libraries Transform

Elliot Shelkrot dies at 72

Elliot Shelkrot

Elliot L. Shelkrot, 72, who headed the Free Library of Philadelphia during the time it became a world-class operation, died March 21 at Pennsylvania Hospital from complications of heart disease. From 1987 until his retirement in 2007, Shelkrot set a high bar for what a big-city library system ought to be. Despite city budget cuts in the late 1980s and 1990s, he spearheaded an ambitious project to renovate all 55 branches, and devised ways to keep open the libraries six days a week....

Philadelphia Daily News, Mar. 22

Illinois cuts off funding for public universities

Chicago State University Library

Nova Safo writes: “A budget stalemate in Illinois, which has dragged on since last July, is offering a masterclass on the destruction that political gridlock can cause. At risk are the state’s 57 public universities and community colleges, which were once a model for access and diversity. Today, minority students are akin to collateral damage in a battle between the state’s Republican governor and Democrat-controlled legislature. Chicago State University recently announced that it is in danger of closing.”...

Marketplace, Mar. 18

School librarians serving LGBT students

Shannon M. Oltmann

Shannon M. Oltmann (right) at the University of Kentucky interviewed 31 school librarians and found strong support for collecting LGBT materials. These school librarians discussed meeting the needs of diverse students. In addition, they shared several ways that school libraries can counter bullying—by creating a bully-free zone, collecting LGBT and anti-bullying materials, collaborating with guidance counselors and teachers, suggesting particular books for certain students, and positioning the school library as a safe space....

Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, vol. 7 (Mar.)
Latest Library Links

Google embraces a version of the right to be forgotten

Erasing history

Mack Freeman writes: “Google Europe announced on its blog that it would adopt practices that amount to a global right to be forgotten. The new policy is not a complete win for those in Europe who would like a total right to be forgotten. The new process means that the access to information will become variable based on who is doing the searching and in what country they are doing it from. It also makes access to what used to be thought of as a hard public record as something that is variable and shifting.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Mar. 18; Google Europe Blog, Mar. 4

The Harvard pigment library

The pigments in the Forbes collection come from all over the world, and some are stored in their original delicate glass containers. Photo by Jenny Stenger

Diana Budds writes: “Much of what we know about how pigments relate to the art world comes from Edward Forbes, a historian and director of Harvard’s Fogg Museum from 1909 to 1944. Considered the father of art conservation in the US, Forbes traveled around the world amassing pigments in order to authenticate classical Italian paintings. Over the years, the Forbes Pigment Collection grew to more than 2,500 different specimens, each with its own layered backstory on its origin, production, and use.”...

Co.Design, Mar. 21; Harvard Gazette, Sept. 17, 2015

The best ebook readers of 2016

Kobo Glo HD e-reader

Alex Colon and Jamie Lendino write: “With prices starting at well below the magic $100 mark, it’s a good time to buy an ebook reader. But before you settle on a single device, you have some decisions to make. Here’s what you should consider when shopping for an ebook reader.”...

PC Magazine, Mar. 21

Feminist YA fiction

Cover of Asking for It, by Louise O’Neill

Anne Rouyer writes: “YA literature is filled with smart, strong, brave, butt-kicking female characters. So when I say ‘feminist’ I don’t just mean fiction with strong, female characters—that’s a given. What I mean are novels that feature strong, female characters who either confront sexism, defy the patriarchal order, subvert gender expectations, celebrate female solidarity, or all of the above. These characters are often flawed and don’t always come out the other end unscathed.”...

NYPL Blogs, Mar. 18

The library mixtape

The library mixtape

Christian Lauersen writes: “As I grew up in the 1990s, making mixtapes was one of the activities that brought the most pleasure and joy into my life. Making a mixtape in today’s digital age is far from the analog feeling from my childhood, but it still brings tons of joy—and especially the making of this little mixtape of library songs. The lyrics are worth noting: Apparently it’s a common belief that the library is a good place for romance.”...

The Library Lab, Dec. 8, 2015

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