The best in library design.

American Library Association • September 1, 2017

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2017 Library Design Showcase

2017 Library Design Showcase, with the Vaughan (Ont.) Civic Centre Resource Library

Here is the 2017 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These are shining examples of innovative architectural feats that address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Renovations and expansions dominated this year, showing that libraries are holding on to and breathing new life into spaces already cherished by their communities. And check out the winners of the 2017 Library Building Awards, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and LLAMA....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

Tropical Storm Harvey update

The HCPL Kingwood branch library took on about four feet of water during the storm

Nineteen of the 26 branches of the Harris County (Tex.) Public Library reopened on September 1 for emergency relief purposes to assist residents affected by Tropical Storm Harvey. The Katherine Tyra, Barbara Bush, and Kingwood (right) branches sustained some flood damage and remain closed. Two branches of the Houston Public Library, HPL Express Southwest and Vinson, have reopened with limited hours. The Texas Library Association and Texas State Library and Archives Commission are working together to coordinate a response to damage caused to libraries and archives across the Houston and Gulf Coast region....

Harris County (Tex.) Public Library, Aug. 31; Houston Public Library, Sept. 1; Texas Library Association
Dewey Decibel podcast

Clovis teen had planned to shoot up his high school

Clovis residents show their unity with purple bows

The teenager accused of gunning down two employees inside the Clovis-Carver (N.Mex.) Public Library August 28 and seriously wounding four others, including a 10-year-old boy, had planned to shoot up his high school but went to the library instead. Nathaniel Jouett told police he did not know why he picked the library and that he did not know anyone there. People from all around Clovis are showing their pride by placing purple bows on the courthouse, local businesses, and, of course, the library (right). Doctors at the University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, where the wounded are recovering said that two of them, Alexis Molina, 20, and Howard Jones, 53, were “heroes, because both of these people helped other people not get killed in this incident.”...

Associated Press, Aug. 30; KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, N.Mex., Aug. 30; KCBD-TV, Lubbock, Tex., Aug. 31

ALA tells FCC to protect net neutrality

Because ISPs shouldn’t have VIPs

Ellen Satterwhite writes: “On August 30, ALA told federal regulators that rolling back strong, enforceable net neutrality rules that keep the internet open would hurt libraries and the communities they serve. In comments to the FCC, ALA reiterated the fact that 120,000 libraries depend on the open internet to carry out their missions. ALA has been on the front lines of the net neutrality battle with the FCC, Congress, and the federal courts for more than a decade.”...

District Dispatch, Aug. 30
ALA news releases

How to distinguish between protesting factions

Public discourse should draw finer distinctions than can fit on a protest sign

Conor Friedersdorf writes: “As protesters clash in occasionally violent street confrontations that spread via online video, provoking emotional conversations that could touch almost anyone, millions of Americans feel pressure to pick a side, to support or denounce a faction, knowing that whatever they say about white supremacists, Antifa, or Black Lives Matter, they risk being criticized for failing to condemn violence on their side, or for suggesting a false equivalence between groups. How can a conflicted observer find clarity?”...

The Atlantic, Aug. 31

The Nazis in your library

Charlottesville (Va.) Public Library

Lane Wilkinson writes: “Let me tell you about Walter. You know, the 68-year-old retiree who volunteers at your library. The older white gentleman who’s been faithfully reading to the kids at Saturday Storytime every week for six years. Kids love Walter. The way he makes silly voices. The knowing grin when the pigeon can’t find his shoe or the mouse somehow gets into the bear’s house for the umpteenth time. The way he reminds them of Santa Claus, maybe. Walter is a great volunteer. He also happens to be a Klan member.”...

Sense and Reference, Sept. 1

A brief history of book burning

Hitler Youth members burn books. Photograph dated 1938

Lorraine Boissoneault writes: “When al-Qaida Islamists invaded Mali, and then Timbuktu in 2012, among their targets were priceless manuscripts—books that needed to be burned. But the damage could’ve been much worse if not for men like Abdel Kader Haidara, who risked their lives to protect the medieval works. He and others succeeded in smuggling out 350,000 manuscripts, proving the lengths to which ordinary people were willing to go to save them. It was a remarkable victory in the long history of books threatened by would-be arsonists—and a relatively rare one at that.”...

Smithsonian, Aug. 31; NPR: All Things Considered, Apr. 23, 2016
Latest Library Links

Cambridge changes its mind on China censorship

Cover of The China Quarterly

Cambridge University Press is reposting journal articles that it had earlier blocked online in China at the request of the Beijing authorities. The retraction was announced by Cambridge University, which owns the publisher and the journal China Quarterly at the heart of the dispute. It said the academic leadership of the university had reviewed the publisher’s decision and agreed to reinstate the blocked content to “uphold the principle of academic freedom on which the university’s work is founded.”...

The Guardian (UK), Aug. 21

What Americans get out of public libraries

Millennials more likely than older generations to say libraries help them find trustworthy information, learn new things, and make informed decisions

Americans struggle to determine what news and information sources they should trust and how to discern reliable information online. About 61% of adults say they would be helped at least somewhat in making decisions if they got training on how to find trustworthy information online, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data from 2016. What’s more, a majority of Americans say public libraries are helpful as people try to meet their information needs....

Pew Research Center, May 10, Aug. 30; Sept. 20, 2016

The white face of library leadership

Cover of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity

Lindsay McKenzie writes: “On August 30, Ithaka S+R released a new survey on the diversity of library staff at four-year colleges and universities in the United States. Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity: Members of the Association of Research Libraries found that over three-quarters of library employees at ARL institutions were white. Additionally, the report said that “as positions become increasingly senior, they also become increasingly white.” The report found that 89% of librarians in leadership roles were white and non-Hispanic.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 30; Ithaka S+R Blog, Aug. 30

I get by with a little help from my listservs

A library listserv

Patricia Sarles writes: “I’ve been a school librarian for 24 years and until very recently I’d been a solo librarian for the last nine of those years. I have frequently posted to my listservs both to make queries and to share. Working alone is sometimes a lonely existence and it was always nice to know that someone was on the other end of the bandwidth ready to help. By being an active poster on the listservs, I have met many kind people that I would never otherwise have gotten a chance to meet.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Sept. 1

Meditate on this

TCC West Campus Librarian Megan Donald sits in the Meditation Room

Starting a new semester is a stressful time for everyone, especially new students. Luckily, Tulsa (Okla.) Community College’s West Campus has recently added a Meditation Room to its library in order to promote mental and physical health among students, as well as boost TCC’s message of diversity and inclusion. Students are encouraged to use the space to pray, meditate, engage in self-reflection, or just relax and ease their minds after a stress-filled day. Other colleges have installed similar rooms....

The TCC Connection, Aug. 31

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