Design and conquer.

American Library Association • May 16, 2017

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Dispatches: Create compelling graphics

Dispatches, by Hsuanwei Michelle Chen

Hsuanwei Michelle Chen writes: “As information professionals, we collect a ton of data. Information visualization can help us leverage that data to provide relevant content to our users and stakeholders. When creating graphs, charts, maps, or other graphics, you want to make certain that the data depicts your message with clarity and precision so your target audience can gain useful insights and discern relevant trends. Here are some tips to help you create effective graphics.”...

American Libraries column, May

In Practice: Information literacy toolkits

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “Librarians in academic settings are often focused on outreach to disciplinary instructors. The dream many of us have is for information literacy instruction to be organically embedded into all academic curricula. Real curricular integration is rare, and most instruction happens in a single session requested by the faculty member. However, if information literacy instruction was embedded in all courses in which it made sense, we wouldn’t have enough librarians to teach it all.”...

American Libraries column, May
University of Nebraska

Some libraries consider dropping overdue fines

Library book return

The New York Public Library has joined the growing ranks of public library systems contemplating the end of overdue fines for children. Library President Tony Marx would like to motivate kids to be good library users without charging them for failures. ALA President Julie Todaro explained, replacing a lost or stolen book eats up more library resources than delinquent borrowers may realize—not just in the price of the new book, but in costly human labor to acquire and process it....

HuffPost, May 15; WNYC News, May 8

Cincinnati library settles transgender employee lawsuit

Rachel Dovel

Rachel Dovel (right) didn’t mean to become a crusader for transgender rights. But the library employee found herself cast in that role last year when the library’s health insurance refused to pay for her gender confirmation surgery—and the library’s board wouldn’t budge. She underwent surgery in December, and on May 15 she and her legal team announced she settled a lawsuit against the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. PLCHC will now cover include transgender surgery and other medical care for transgender people....

Cincinnati Enquirer, May 15; Apr. 11, 2016
Latest Library Links

Last Douglas County library to close May 31

Douglas County (Oreg.) libraries are closing

Inside the big wood-paneled downtown library in Roseburg, Oregon, a sign spells out the future in four words. Come June 1, “All services will cease.” Last fall, Douglas County residents voted down a ballot measure that would have added about $6 a month to the tax bill on a median-priced home and saved the libraries from a funding crisis. So this spring, it has been lights out, one by one, for the system’s 11 branches. The Roseburg central library is the last to go....

New York Times, May 13

Five libraries selected for 2017 National Medal

Richland Library, Columbia, South Carolina

The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced on May 15 the 10 recipients of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. The five library winners are: Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library; Long Beach (Calif.) Public Library; Richland Library (right), Columbia, South Carolina; University of Minnesota Libraries; and Waterville (Maine) Public Library....

Institute for Museum and Library Services, May 15

LC offers largest release of digital records in history

Hack-to-Learn workshop

The Library of Congress announced May 16 that it is making 25 million records in its online catalog available for free bulk download. This is the largest release of digital records in LC history. The records also can be accessed at, the open-government website hosted by the General Services Administration. Until now, these bibliographic records have only been available individually or through a paid subscription. The free data sets cover more than 45 years, ranging from 1968 to 2014. The Library is also cohosting a Hack-to-Learn workshop on May 17–18 to explore how the data can be used....

Library of Congress, May 16

2017 Wolfson History Prize

Cover of Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts

Christopher de Hamel, former librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, has won the £40,000 Wolfson History Prize for his book on why medieval manuscripts matter. Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts (Allen Lane), is part travel book, part detective story, part conversation with the reader, which conveys the fascination and excitement of encountering some of the greatest works of art in our culture which, in the originals, are to most people completely inaccessible....

The Bookseller (UK), May 16
ALA Annual Conference

Lost libraries along the Silk Road

Abigail Reynolds filming at the Library of Celsus, Ephesus, Turkey

Sarah Lazarus writes: “Abigail Reynolds is in Hong Kong to showcase her latest exhibition, ‘The Ruins of Time: Lost Libraries of the Silk Road.’ The mirrors are set into Stelae, a sculptural form made of square grids broken down into geometric shapes. This, and the other works on show, are the outcome of an epic set of journeys Reynolds made to the sites of 16 lost libraries along the Silk Road. Shattered by natural disasters, destroyed by war or dismantled by competing rulers, the libraries span half the globe, and over 2,000 years of history.”...

South China Morning Post Magazine (Hong Kong), May 12

In praise of academic librarians

Collins Library, University of Puget Sound

Jane Carlin writes: “It’s that time of year when academic libraries across the country see a startling increase in the number of users—final exam time. Reflecting on exam week, after a lifelong career in libraries, I wonder, can’t we do better? Students come to us with panic written all over their faces. They often have three to four final research papers to complete, and they worry about how to approach this. Are final papers and exams truly beneficial?”...

Collins Unbound, May 12
ALA News

Resources for media literacy and research

Yewno, a contextual search engine

Concern about “fake news” is currently inescapable, but libraries hold the key to providing reliable sources, context, and multiple perspectives. These new resources offer support to those who are navigating the world of information, providing researchers with primary source documents with a global scope, students with news and news analysis, and academics with a recently developed contextual search engine....

American Libraries column, May

26 Google Maps tricks

Google Maps can help you remember where you parked

Evan Dashevsky writes: “In 2007, Google Maps introduced Street View. Not only does Maps allow users to take a stroll through most neighborhoods in the world, it can be used to conduct local business searches, find real-time traffic conditions, and even see local bike trails. Google Maps (and the newly revamped Google Earth) remain powerful and versatile tools—and most of us are only scratching at the surface of what they have to offer. Here, we present 26 cool things you didn’t know Google Maps could do.”...

PC Magazine, Apr. 18, May 11; Aug. 30, 2012; Aug. 20, 2013

Route 1 Reads

Route 1 Reads

Connecting the 2,369 miles of US Route 1 from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, the Route 1 Reads initiative is a partnership between 16 affiliate Centers for the Book to promote books that illuminate important aspects of their states or commonwealths for readers traveling this major, meandering highway. The initiative was launched at the 2015 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Follow #Route1Reads on Twitter....

Route 1 Reads

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