ACRL opens in Baltimore.

American Library Association • March 24, 2017
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The ACRL Conference opens in Baltimore

Data journalist David McCandless keynotes at the 2017 ACRL conference in Baltimore

Information and storytelling emerged as major themes at the biennial ACRL Conference, which opened in Baltimore on March 22 with a keynote address by British data journalist David McCandless (right). McCandless uses colorful, interactive data visualization and information design charts and graphs as vehicles to clarify enormous sets of information. He explained how designed information can help us understand the world and reveal patterns, connections, and stories. Other major themes were social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and the ACRL Conference presented a great opportunity to examine how this evolving conversation influences developments in academic libraries. And on the second day of ACRL, Roxane Gay and more frank conversations on technology, postcards, and open access....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 23–24

NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition

Cover of the NMC Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition

Spreading digital fluency is now a core responsibility of academic libraries, and artificial intelligence and the internet of things are poised to amplify the utility and reach of library services like never before. These are just two of the revelations of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Report: 2017 Library Edition, released at the ACRL Conference in Baltimore. The report aims to help leaders seeking inspiration, models, and tactical insight around strategy and technology deployment for academic libraries....

eCampus News, Mar. 24

Ask your representative to support LSTA and IAL funding

Let your voice be heard: Contact Congress

Library champions in the House have begun circulating what are called “Dear Appropriator” letters to their colleagues. Right now, there are two letters—one that asks appropriators to support Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding and a second for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant funding. Please call your representatives and ask that they sign on to both letters. The House deadline is April 3. Use ALA’s Legislative Action Center to ask them to sign both letters....

District Dispatch, Mar. 22

After you call Congress, write a letter to the editor

Action: Letter to the editor

The single most significant action you can take to save funding for libraries right now is to contact your member of Congress directly. Once you’ve done that, there is another action you can take to amplify your voice and urge public support for libraries: Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. If you’ve never done it before, don’t let the following myths get in the way of your advocacy....

District Dispatch, Mar. 22
ALA news

Senate votes to kill FCC online privacy rules

Online privacy: Not

The US Senate on March 23, in a 50–48 party line vote, decided to eliminate broadband privacy rules that would have required ISPs to get consumers’ explicit consent before selling or sharing web browsing data and other private information with advertisers and other companies. The rules were approved by the FCC in October 2016, but are opposed by Republicans in Congress. The Senate used its power under the Congressional Review Act to ensure that the FCC rulemaking “shall have no force or effect” and to prevent the FCC from issuing similar regulations in the future....

Ars Technica, Mar. 23; Oct. 27, 2016; The Hill, Mar. 23; American Civil Liberties Union, Mar. 23

Bill makes Register of Copyrights a POTUS appointment

Seal of the US Copyright Office

The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 was introduced late on March 23. The bipartisan bill, cosponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.), would make the position a presidential appointment, requiring confirmation by the Senate, and with a term limit of 10 years. Currently it is an appointment of the Librarian of Congress and has no term limit. The Library Copyright Alliance opposes the bill....

Broadcasting & Cable, Mar. 23

Virginia governor vetoes parental notification bill

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoes legislation

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (right) vetoed House Bill 2191 on March 23, which would have required schools to notify parents if their child is enrolled in a course in which the instructional materials include sexually explicit content. McAuliffe said that the Virginia Board of Education had determined that existing state policy regarding sensitive or controversial instruction material is sufficient and that additional action would be “unnecessarily burdensome on the instructional process.”...

WSET-TV, Lynchburg, Va., Mar. 23
ALA Annual Conference

When politicians become bullies

Cover of Jacob's New Dress

April Dawkins writes: “On March 21, Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Schools voluntarily chose to pull Jacob’s New Dress from a lesson on anti-bullying because Republican legislators in the state’s General Assembly were up in arms. The book was intended to be part of a lesson piloted in first grade classes in four elementary schools as part of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The lesson is a part of a series from a new program called Welcoming Schools, sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Mar. 23; New York Times, Mar. 24

The importance of understanding data and research

Validity and reliability in research methodology

Su Epstein writes: “Losing the ability to understand and value scientific research can be a matter of life and death. Recently I’ve heard the words ‘data’ and ‘research’ batted around many situations. People with little understanding of the process and seemingly no knowledge of the reasons behind research methods toss around terms and numbers with great pretense. As librarians we are not only on the front line of information sharing, we are also its guardians. We need to start treating data with respect, or all information will soon become meaningless.”...

Public Libraries Online, Mar. 21

The rising tide of educated aliteracy

Hand surrounded by books and papers

Alex Good writes: “Many believe we live in a post-literate age, one in which, writer Douglas Glover concludes, ‘books have become irrelevant.’ Others disagree, some vehemently. What I find of most concern and significance is the rise in aliteracy—the growth of a population that can read but simply doesn’t want to. It is this exercise of choice that makes our own time different from previous eras of mass illiteracy, when the vast majority of people couldn’t read.”...

The Walrus, Mar. 16
ALA Midwinter Meeting

Libraries are making comic conventions accessible

Scene at a library comic con

Matt Baume writes: “Traditionally, comic cons are expensive, multi-day affairs at big-city convention centers and airport hotels. But over the past few years, comics fans have begun forming small, low-pressure conventions in collaboration with local libraries. For their part, libraries have responded with delight to discover entirely new ways to reach readers. Typical library comic cons boast many of the familiar trappings of traditional cons: book sales, artist alleys, costume contests, and author signings.”...

Vice, Mar. 21

A scholarly sting operation

Dr. Fraud's CV

The applicant’s nom de plume was not exactly subtle, if you know Polish. The middle initial and surname of the author, Anna O. Szust, mean “fraudster.” Yet when Dr. Fraud applied to 360 randomly selected open-access academic journals asking to be an editor, 48 accepted her and four made her editor in chief. Little did they know that they had fallen for a sting, plotted and carried out by a group of researchers who wanted to systematically document the seamy side of open-access publishing. The open-access model has spawned a shadowy world of what have been called predatory journals....

New York Times, Mar. 22; Nature News, Mar. 22

LC to host disco party with Gloria Gaynor

LC's Bibliodiscotheque party

In May, Gloria Gaynor (singer of the 1978 hit “I Will Survive”) is coming to the Library of Congress, where she will perform in the Great Hall as part of the Library’s “Bibliodiscotheque,” a series of films, lectures, and events celebrating the disco era, capped with a late-night dance party in the historic Jefferson Building. All events are free and open to the public. Tickets will be available beginning March 30. This is the first time the library has honored one particular music genre with this level of programming....

Washington Post, Mar. 23; Library of Congress, Mar. 23

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