Highlights from ALA Annual Conference.

American Library Association • June 27, 2017

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Sarah Jessica Parker unveils Book Club Central

Author Stephanie Powell Watts, Booklist editor Donna Seaman, and Book Club Central Chair Sarah Jessica Parker discuss Watts's novel No One is Coming to Save Us

Before you knew her as relationship columnist Carrie Bradshaw, the youngest spell-casting Sanderson sister, or even a Square Peg, Sarah Jessica Parker was unknowingly preparing for the roles of a lifetime: book club ambassador, literacy advocate, and library supporter. Parker was on hand on Friday at the Annual Conference in Chicago to launch ALA’s new online platform of reading resources and recommendations, Book Club Central, for which she serves as honorary chair. Alongside ALA President Julie B. Todaro, Parker unveiled the website and the club’s inaugural fiction selection: No One Is Coming to Save Us (Ecco, 2017) by Stephanie Powell Watts. For more ALA Annual Conference coverage, visit the American Libraries website....

AL: The Scoop, June 26; Public Awareness Office, June 24

To Mars and back

Bestselling author Andy Weir delivers his Auditorium Speaker Series presentation

Andy Weir (right) grew up surrounded by science: His father was an accelerator physicist, and his mother was an electrical engineer. He also worked for more than 20 years as a computer programmer at places as wide-ranging as Sandia National Laboratories, AOL, and Blizzard (where he helped develop the second Warcraft video game). Weir seems to have been predestined to have a long career in a STEM field. But another dream pulled at him: Weir wanted to be a writer. And it was the pursuit of that dream over many years that led him to pen the bestseller The Martian, which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film....

AL: The Scoop, June 27
Drexel University

Fighting the battle for a livable planet

Bill McKibben

Noted author and environmentalist Bill McKibben (right), whose 1989 book The End of Nature is said to have been the first popular exposé of man-made climate change, spoke on Saturday afternoon to a dedicated audience of concerned librarians brought together by the Social Responsibilities Round Table and the Sustainability Round Table. McKibben minced no words. “We are currently losing the battle for a livable planet,” he said....

AL: The Scoop, June 24

The Tougaloo Nine remembered

Geraldine Edwards Hollis of the Tougaloo Nine

Geraldine Edwards Hollis (right) was one of nine young African American students at the historically black Tougaloo College in Mississippi who were arrested for entering the whites-only public library in Jackson on March 27, 1961. In a Sunday program titled “Desegregating Public Libraries,” Hollis told what happened that day, when they requested books not held by the “colored” branch of the library and were arrested by police because they did not belong there. A local newspaper called the read-in the “first move to integrate public facilities in Jackson.”...

AL: The Scoop, June 26'; American Libraries feature, June

How dare the sun rise

Sandra Uwiringiyimana

Speaker Sandra Uwiringiyimana (right) smiles broadly and talks with an upbeat lilt. Many people are surprised by this, she says, considering the unthinkable atrocities she has experienced in her short life. At age 10, Uwiringiyimana witnessed the murder of her younger sister, several family members, and scores of others at the hands of rebels who mercilessly slaughtered 166 refugees living in a camp in Gatumba, Burundi. Thirteen years later, she’s chronicled that night and its continued effect on her life....

AL: The Scoop, June 24

All about the man buried in Grant’s tomb

Ron Chernow

Historian Ron Chernow (right), author of the acclaimed biography Hamilton that became the basis for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, presented the keynote address following ALA President Julie Todaro’s Awards Ceremony on Sunday afternoon. Chernow’s next book is Grant (Penguin, due out in October), a biography of Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War general and the 18th president of the United States. “Grant was an extraordinarily important figure in American history,” Chernow said, “but he has faded into obscurity.”...

AL: The Scoop, June 26

Navigating fake news

Joanna Burkhardt

Differentiating between a legitimate news story and one that has been generated to mislead and contains biases or errors can be difficult, especially in an era where social media and news outlets inundate readers with content at ever-increasing rates. What can be trusted, and how can we be responsible news consumers? Joanna Burkhardt (right) began the session “Helping Library Users Navigate Fake News” by documenting infamous instances of fake news from the past....

AL: The Scoop, June 25
Latest Library Links

Intellectual freedom and open access

Fron left: Marguerite Avery, April Hathcock, and Jamie LaRue

How do the principles of intellectual freedom and open access intersect? That was the topic of the “Intellectual Freedom and Open Access: Working Toward a Common Goal?” panel discussion, sponsored by the Intellectual Freedom Round Table, which addressed the relationship from several different perspectives. Marguerite Avery, senior acquisitions editor at Trinity University Press in San Antonio, Texas, spoke from a publisher’s point of view....

AL: The Scoop, June 25

Doing away with fines

From left: Panelists Ryan Buller, Crystal Boyce, Kara Kohn, and Ann Snowman share opinions and experiences regarding library fines

LLAMA’s Technology Committee of Practice held a session on Sunday morning that addressed the overdue question: “To Fine, or Not to Fine?” Four panelists of varying backgrounds explained how their libraries ultimately chose to do away with fines for overdue materials and how the policy was put into place. Kara Kohn of the Plainfield (Ill.) Public Library District described the fine-free initiative that some libraries in Illinois have adopted....

AL: The Scoop, June 25

LITA Top Tech Trends: Advice for makerspaces

From left: Tara Radniecki, Emily Almond, Marshall Breeding, Veronda Pitchford, and Vanessa Hannesschläger

LITA’s annual Top Technology Trends panel presents the current and future technology that will be affecting library services for years to come. This year’s session included perspectives from resource sharing (Veronda Pitchford), public libraries (Emily Almond), library consultants (Marshall Breeding), European libraries (Vanessa Hannesschläger), and academic libraries (Tara Radniecki). Here are some helpful tips Radniecki shared regarding managing makerspaces....

AL: The Scoop, June 25
ALA News

Free eclipse glasses coming to US libraries

Over 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses will be distributed by libraries and library organizations across the U.S. for the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse

Public libraries across the US will distribute more than 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses to skywatchers for the total solar eclipse that will sweep over the country on August 21. The glasses will be provided by a major outreach program initiated by the Space Science Institute. The so-called Great American Eclipse will pass over the US along a stretch of land from Oregon to South Carolina. Some 4,800 library organizations throughout the country will be giving away the glasses as part of the outreach....

Space.com, June 26

New TSA policy on reading material

TSA screener

The TSA is testing new requirements that passengers remove books and other paper goods from their carry-on baggage when going through airline security. Given the sensitivity of our reading choices, this raises privacy concerns. Tests of the policy are underway in some airports. The rationale for the policy change is that the imposition of growing fees for checked baggage by the airlines has prompted passengers to more densely pack their carry-ons, and that this has made it harder for screeners to identify particular items....

ACLU, June 23; Wall Street Journal, May 25; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, June 26; The Week, June 1; Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, June 9

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