Stay serene under stress.

American Library Association • June 16, 2017

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Mindful librarianship

Books on mindful therapy

Ellyn Ruhlmann writes: “Across the country, mindfulness is helping workers relieve on-the-job stress and improve workplace relationships. But what is mindfulness, and what are its benefits for librarians? The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as ‘moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.’ Mindfulness practitioners use meditation and breathing exercises to pay attention to the present moment, without letting distractions, worries, and opinions creep in.”...

American Libraries feature, June

The Library of Things

The Library of Things, illustration by Brian Mead

Libraries loaning “stuff” isn’t a new concept. Framed paintings were available for checkout at the Newark (N.J.) Public Library in 1904. “Libraries were sharing before sharing was cool,” said Miguel Figueroa, director of the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries. Here are some of our favorite unusual items circulating at libraries in North America (illustration by Brian Mead)....

American Libraries feature, June
University of Nebraska

Happy birthday, Harry Potter!

Gala attendees enjoy the Harry Potter-themed photo booth at the New Lenox (Ill.) Public Library District

Hanako Maki writes: “Bundle your broomsticks, wave your wands, and head to Hogwarts—J. K. Rowling brought magic into the world with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 20 years ago. Libraries across the US and worldwide are celebrating the anniversary by hosting events from Quidditch practice to themed galas. The first book of the seven-book series by J. K. Rowling was published on June 26, 1997, in the United Kingdom. The series has since been translated into 67 languages.”...

AL: The Scoop, June 16

In Practice: Beautiful music together

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “Most libraries have collected music for decades. When I was a teenager with limited funds, the public library offered me the opportunity to explore genres and artists I probably would never have taken the risk to buy at a store. While the formats in which libraries collect music have evolved over time, many libraries are still focused on providing a diverse music selection similar to what you’d get at a music retailer.”...

American Libraries column, June

Library websites for all

JAWS screen reading software

Marcus Banks writes: “Librarians take pride in assisting all users who come through their doors, even as these doors have become increasingly virtual. Although many people still visit libraries in person, it is now commonplace for users to access databases and ebooks through a library’s website or through e-readers. Some of those patrons have visual impairments and require specific support to make full use of a library’s online resources.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

Aiding elders on a Native American reservation

In her position as tribal aide to elders, Judi Bridge helps the senior citizens of Winnebago, Nebraska, make the most of the library

The Winnebago Reservation in northeastern Nebraska lies about 20 miles from the nearest drugstore. Long on farmland and short on commercial services, this rural area is a place where it’s easy for people who are elderly, homebound, or both to become isolated. Seven years ago, though, the local community college and public library created the position of tribal aide to elders. And the woman who fills it, Judi Bridge (right), does her best to keep the community connected....

American Libraries Spotlight, June

ALA awards 60 Spectrum Scholarships

Spectrum Scholarship program

On June 14, the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services awarded 2017–2018 Spectrum Scholarships to 60 exceptional students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies. Since 1997, the ALA has awarded more than 1,000. In the 2017 application cycle, the Spectrum Scholarship program received three times as many applications as there were available scholarships, and the majority of this year’s applicants were deemed highly fundable....

Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, June 14

LC names Tracy K. Smith poet laureate

Tracy K. Smith

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced on June 14 the appointment of Tracy K. Smith (right) as the Library’s 22nd poet laureate consultant in poetry, for 2017–2018. Smith will take up her duties in the fall, opening the library’s annual literary season in September with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium. Smith, a Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and a professor at Princeton University, succeeds Juan Felipe Herrera as poet laureate....

Library of Congress, June 14

Reading between the lines

Example of poor cover letter

Anne Akers writes: “In teaching this summer the final class students take in our program, I invited students to submit draft cover letters they might write to potential employers for critique. Well written, I believe the cover letter is the most important part of the application. So I was surprised by the bland and nondescript language that some students used in their letters and dismayed at what I was reading between the lines.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, June 15
ALA Annual Conference

Supporting library makerspaces over time

Makerspace tools

Barbara Ray writes: “The start-up phase of any project is often the most heady—long hours, innovative breakthroughs, visionaries with big ideas. But it is often the next stage of maturing and growth that makes or breaks a new project or idea. Library makerspaces are no different. Libraries that launch a makerspace encounter a set of common start-up issues. But four or five years later, the libraries often encounter an entirely different set of issues and problems, and this ‘post-emergent’ stage is still new to many.”...

Educator Innovator, June 13

The Internet of Things: The next digital evolution

Internet of Things

Lee Rainie writes: “The next digital evolution is the rise of the internet of things. This refers to the growing phenomenon of building connectivity into vehicles, wearable devices, appliances, and other household items such as thermostats, as well as goods moving through business supply chains. It also covers the rapid spread of data-emitting or tracking sensors in the physical environment that give readouts on everything—crop conditions, pollution levels, open parking spaces, and babies’ breathing rates in their cribs.”...

Trend Magazine, June 12

The hidden treasures in Italian libraries

The Salone Monumentale in the Biblioteca Casanatense in Rome. Photo by Susan Wright

David Laskin writes: “Why go to the library in Italy when all around you there is fantastic art, exalted architecture, deep history, and intensely passionate people? Because, as I discovered in the course of a rushed but illuminating week dashing from Venice to Rome, Florence, and Milan, the country’s historic libraries contain all of those without the crowds. I hit six libraries in a literary Giro d’Italia. Not once were we shushed or told not to touch.”...

New York Times, June 13
ALA News

Popular authors: Keep the old copies?

Four Blind Mice (2002), by James Patterson

Matt Smith writes: “Libraries have different ways of dealing with extra copies. After these books are 6–8 months old, they’re ready to retire to the regular stacks. But how many copies should we hold on to? And for how long? Browsing through our stacks, it’s hard not to notice the many copies of older Pattersons and Baldaccis. Do we really need two copies of a Patterson novel from 2002? That’s a lot of real estate, after all. Turns out, yes.”...

Library Lost & Found, June 16

12 inspiring STEM books for girls

12 STEM books for girls

Emelina Minero writes: “Representation matters: Girls do better on science tests when their textbooks include images of female scientists. A 2017 survey by Microsoft found that girls in Europe begin to show interest in STEM fields at 11 years old but lose it at around 15—and a lack of female role models is one reason for the drop in interest. That’s why we’ve created this list of books showing girls and women who are passionate about STEM fields.”...

Edutopia, May 15; CNN Tech, Feb. 28

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