The Connecticut Four reunite.

American Library Association • September 30, 2016

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

The Connecticut Four reunite against FBI overreach

Left to right: Barbara Bailey, Jan Nocek, ALA President Michael Gorman, Peter Chase, George Christian, receiving the Robert Downs Award in 2006

Presented with a National Security Letter and gag order in 2005, four executive board members of a Connecticut library consortium called The Library Connection refused to cooperate with the FBI and, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, challenged the letter and order in federal court. The Connecticut Four have united for the first time since then to oppose new efforts to attack our civil liberties. On September 28, they wrote a letter in the Hartford Courant newspaper....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 28; Hartford (Conn.) Courant, Sept. 28

Rebuilding in Malawi

A fire destroyed the library of Mzuzu University in Malawi in 2015

Paul Hover writes: “The call for action came from Michael Dowling, director of the ALA International Relations Office. According to Dowling, the library of Mzuzu University in Malawi was ‘in dire, dire need’ after a devastating fire on December 18, 2015. Nothing was left of the library, the only one at the principal institution of higher learning in the least-developed region of this very poor African country. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was one of the first to hear about the fire.”...

American Libraries, international supplement, Sept.

School librarians in three states unpack ESSA

ESSA workshops

On September 17, more than 70 school librarians and educational stakeholders in Delaware, Massachusetts, and Michigan attended workshops dedicated to unpacking the provisions for school libraries in the Every Student Succeeds Act. Presented by AASL in collaboration with the ALA Office for Library Advocacy and the Washington Office, the workshops are part of an outreach effort to AASL state affiliates to highlight ESSA opportunities for school libraries to be addressed in state and local plans....

AASL, Sept. 27
Latest Library Links

Libraries as hubs for 21st-century learning

Teen at computer

Crystle Martin writes: “Traditionally, libraries have been viewed as repositories of resources. Today, however, they are centers for 21st-century learning. Libraries have evolved into places that support the entire community and the lifelong learning of individuals. Libraries function as a community hub. They can connect communities (whether rural, urban, or suburban) to a global community. Libraries also help many youth close the gap through access to high-speed internet and computers.”...

Education Week: Global Learning, Sept. 23; YALSA; Pew Internet and American Life Project

ALA initiates Our Voices

Our Voices

On September 27, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom and Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services launched Our Voices, an initiative to offer a template to interested libraries to promote the growth of diverse, quality content in library collections. The initiative will document successful approaches to identify small, independent, and self-published content creators; connect with those content creators and other members of the reading ecosystem; and develop collections of reviewed, diverse, quality content....

Office for Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 27

Rutgers libraries launch open textbook project

Rutgers Open and Affordable Textbooks

Rutgers University has become the first of New Jersey’s institutions of higher education to take action against the rising cost of textbooks by launching the Open and Affordable Textbooks Project. The initiative includes a grant program, administered by Rutgers University Libraries, that will give incentives to faculty or department groups that replace a traditional textbook with a free, low-cost, or open alternative. Students could save as much as $500,000 within its first year....

Rutgers Today, Sept. 30
ALA news

Architectural Record’s top 125 buildings since 1891

Interior, Sendai Mediatheque. Photo by Yuichi, used CC 2.0 BY-SA

To commemorate Architectural Record’s 125th anniversary, the editors chose to honor 125 of the most important works of architecture built since the magazine’s founding in 1891. Five of those buildings are libraries: J. P. Morgan Library, New York City; New York Public Library; Stockholm City Library, Sweden; Sendai Mediatheque, Japan; and the Seattle (Wash.) Public Library. The editors write: “While many inclusions are obvious, others may be surprising, or a little controversial—as are some omissions.”...

Architectural Record, Sept. 1

Pew survey: Americans’ views on religious liberty

Pew Research Center survey results on transgender bathrooms

National debates over contraception, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights have highlighted the growing tension between protecting religious liberty and guaranteeing nondiscrimination. Conflicts have arisen over whether religious business owners must provide contraception to employees or wedding-related services to same-sex couples. Americans also are grappling with the question of which public restrooms transgender people should use. A new Pew Research Center survey finds the public divided....

Pew Research Center, Sept. 28; Digg, May 16; Huffington Post, Nov. 24, 2015; New York Times, Mar. 23
2017 Midwinter Meeting

This rant is for social scientists

Cover of Evicted

Barbara Fister writes: “I’m reading Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by urban ethnographer and writer Matthew Desmond. It’s a model of narrative nonfiction and ethical storytelling about people whose stories reveal a lot about exploitation and poverty. I don’t know how else to put this: It’s immoral to study poor people and publish the results of that study in a journal run by a for-profit company that charges more for your article than what the household you studied has to buy food this week.”...

Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, Sept. 29

Emergency alert texts are getting an upgrade

Wireless Emergency Alerts system

Brian Barrett writes: “First implemented in 2012, the Wireless Emergency Alert system is why everything from AMBER alerts to weather warnings appear uninvited on your smartphone. Currently, WEAs can only be 90 characters long, but the FCC annuonced on September 29 it will allow them to quadruple, hitting up to 360 characters on 4G networks. It also requires carriers to include embedded phone numbers and URLs in alerts, meaning relevant photos will be just one tap away, and geographic targeting will become more precise.”...

Wired, Sept. 29

The death of the telephone call

Old telephone and book

Timothy Noah writes: “The phone call died, according to Nielsen, in the autumn of 2007. During the final three months of that year the average monthly number of texts sent on mobile phones (218) exceeded, for the first time in recorded history, the average monthly number of phone calls (213). A frontier had been crossed. The primary purpose of most people’s primary telephones was no longer to engage in audible speech. It’s a lonely business, this life without telephone calls.”...

Slate, Sept. 18; Nielsen Newswire, Sept. 22, 2008

Digital displays on a budget: Content

An example of content for your digital display

Marlon Hernandez writes: “In my previous post I showed how we turned a Raspberry Pi into a digital display device by installing a Video Looper application. Now let’s take a look at how to fill that display with content. I went with PowerPoint, as it met two major requirements: low cost and user familiarity. With that said, I will look at export capability, templates, working in PowerPoint, Raspberry Pi, and fine-tuning the project.”...

LITA Blog, July 25, Sept. 29

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