Laughing could disrupt Congress.

American Library Association • May 9, 2017
Carnegie Fellows

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Former librarian faces jail time for laughing

Desirée Fairooz, activist and retired librarian, in 2013

Tim Inklebarger writes: “Activist and former librarian Desirée Fairooz made national headlines with the news of her conviction for disruption of Congress, which could land her a year in jail and $2,000 in fines. The reason for her arrest: laughing during the January 10 Senate confirmation hearing of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She was found guilty on May 3 of charges of disorderly and disruptive conduct, and obstructing and impeding passage on US Capitol grounds. Fairooz, who earned her MLIS from the University of North Texas, worked as a children’s librarian at the Fort Worth (Tex.) Public Library until 2006, when she moved to Washington, D.C., and began organizing for Code Pink full-time.”...

AL: The Scoop, May 9

Youth Matters: Summer reading reboot

Youth Matters, by Abby Johnson

Abby Johnson writes: “When was the last time you looked critically at your summer reading program? Have you fallen into the trap of running it the same way every year because that’s the way it’s always been done? Repeating a program saves work, even if it’s not the best thing for your youth participants or staff. Though your plans for summer reading are probably set, now is an opportune time to take inventory of what you’re doing, what is and isn’t working, and what to change in your program when it wraps.”...

American Libraries column, May

Sponsored Content

OCLC celebrates 50 years

OCLC at 50: Your memories, our history, our shared future

The OCLC Library, Archive, and Museum isn’t just a list of items about OCLC—it’s a glimpse into half-a-century of library history. Keeper of that collection Kem Lang (OCLC’s library manager and corporate archivist) invites you to share your memories of the last 50 years with OCLC. What does 50 years of library cooperation look like? Email us a photo at to let us know! Details available at OCLC Next.

Newsmaker: Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is busy. The author spent the spring crisscrossing the country on book tours and speaking gigs, including a keynote session at the ACRL conference in March. Her short-story collection, Difficult Women (Grove Press), was released in January, and Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (HarperCollins) is due out in June. Gay took a break to talk with American Libraries about social media, her many projects, and the role of libraries throughout her life....

American Libraries feature, May; AL: The Scoop, Mar. 24
ALA News

Last chance for 2017 Design Showcase submissions

The new Tukwila branch of the King County (Wash.) Library System

The deadline to submit designs for American Libraries’ 2017 Library Design Showcase, our annual feature celebrating new and newly renovated or expanded libraries of all types, is May 31. The showcase will be featured in the September/October issue. We are looking for libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways—such as the new Tukwila branch (right) of the King County (Wash.) Library System that opened April 29....

American Libraries, May; Curbed Seattle, May 8

Early registration deadline for the IFLA congress

IFLA WLIC 2017 Wroclaw logo

May 15 is the early registration deadline for the IFLA World Library and Information Congress, August 19–25 in Wroclaw, Poland. ALA members should register using the ALA IFLA member code of US-0002 for an IFLA member discount....

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

Gloria Gaynor turns LC into a disco inferno

Guests raise their phones like lighters during Gloria Gaynor’s set. Photo by Kate Warren / Washington Post

Kate Warren writes: “Go-go boys in gold lamé shirts, sequin-bedecked grandmothers, and the freshest-looking librarians you’ve ever met made up the unlikely crowd dancing into the night at the Library of Congress‘s first after-hours party on May 6. Billed as a celebration of the history of dicso, LC’s ‘Bibliodiscotheque’ featured a symposium hosted by singer Gloria Gaynor and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. The evening, which culminated in a performance by Gaynor, was a collaboration between LC and the cultural-media company Brightest Young Things.”...

Washington Post, May 7; Nevada Public Radio, May 9

Controversy over Thirteen Reasons Why in Colorado

Cover of Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

Leigh Grasso, a Mesa County Valley (Colo.) School District official, ordered librarians on April 28 to remove a book about teen suicide from circulation in April, a move that circumvented the district’s process for reviewing such materials and raised concerns about censorship. The order to restrict Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher came even though no one had officially challenged it. The order was reversed later the same day after librarians insisted that administrators follow the process for reviewing challenged materials....

Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel, May 8
ALA Annual Conference

Does meeting authors make us better librarians?

Author Gene Luen Yang with Sara Stevenson

Sara Stevenson writes: “Does being an author groupie inform me in a way that makes me a better librarian? Absolutely. When I go to conferences or author readings, or better yet, when I sponsor authors at my school, I get the opportunity to interact with writers on a personal level. When I attend panels, I always come away with lists of new authors and books to explore or a deeper understanding of an author I’ve already read. What I love about meeting authors up close and personal is that it demystifies the writing process.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, May 8

University of Reading finds pages printed by William Caxton

A page from the Sarum Ordinal

The University of Reading has discovered two pages of one of the first books printed in England, dating from the 15th century. The pages of a medieval priest’s handbook, the Sarum Ordinal or Sarum Pye, dating to between 1476 and 1477, were found in the university’s archives by Special Collections Librarian Erika Delbecque while she was cataloging thousands of items showing the history of print. They were produced by English printer William Caxton and are valued at around £100,000....

The Independent (UK), May 8
Latest Library Links

Google and Facebook aren’t fighting fake news correctly

Detail from The Fin de Siècle Newspaper Proprietor, an illustration featured in an 1894 issue of Puck magazine

Matthew A. Baum and David Lazer write: “Academics have been studying fake news, and how to combat it, for decades. Unfortunately—as a conference we recently convened at Harvard revealed—the solutions Google, Facebook, and other tech giants and media companies are pursuing aren’t the ones social scientists and computer scientists are convinced will work. Reducing acceptance of fake news means making it less familiar. Editors and aggregators need to stop repeating these stories, especially in their headlines.”...

Los Angeles Times, May 8; Harvard Shorenstein Center, May 2; Google: The Keyword, Apr. 7; Facebook Newsroom, Apr. 6

Submit comments to the FCC on net neutrality

Screenshot of John Oliver on net neutrality

Rainey Reitman writes: “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made a dangerous proposal to destroy the FCC’s net neutrality rules—the same rules that keep internet providers from choosing which websites you can access and how fast those websites will load. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a tool that will help you craft a unique comment to the FCC: Using custom-generated text, it helps internet users develop and submit personal comments to the official docket with just two clicks.” For a refresher course on why net neutrality is important, see comedian John Oliver’s May 7 discussion on the importance of the open internet....

Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 8; The Verge, May 8

Is it impossible to remain neutral as a librarian?

The Creed of a Librarian: No Politics, No Religion, No Morals, by D. J. Foskett

Stacie Williams writes: “I love working the reference desk. Like most people, it was my first introduction to librarians as a little kid: the smiling person behind a desk, asking me if I needed help finding anything. Working in such a visible position, over the years, I have been constantly reminded that my interactions with patrons are a reflection of my body: my black, female-presenting body. In ways small and large, I have been reminded that nothing about libraries is neutral.”...

Literary Hub, May 4

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