Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

American Library Association • December 11, 2018
ALA Midwinter Meeting

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How libraries celebrate human rights around the world

The Department of Library and Information Science, Madonna University, Nigeria, has organized an interactive session to mark the anniversary of the Universal Declaration. Students, lecturers, and the staff at the LIS Department all participated, using pictures depicting each of the rights as a basis for candid discussion

December 10 marked the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is an opportunity to read and reflect on a document that includes many of the key values of libraries in advancing human rights for all. What do these rights mean and what is their impact? IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner asked libraries worldwide to share what they are doing to celebrate this event; you can find some examples here, showing how libraries are agents of freedom of information and icons of social commitment to achieve a better world....

IFLA Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression, Dec. 10–11

Controversial statue moved from Louisville library

The Prentice statue is removed from the library grounds

A controversial statue of an anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic figure was removed December 11 from the grounds of the downtown Louisville (Ky.) Free Public Library. Workers used a crane to pull the statue of George Dennison Prentice, the founder and editor of the Louisville Journal in the mid-19th century, from its spot. The statue, vandalized in February with orange paint, will be placed temporarily in a city storage facility until the city determines what to do with it. Cave Hill Cemetery, where Prentice is buried, declined to take the statue....

Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, Dec. 11

Yale’s Beinecke Library acquires David Sedaris papers

An example of an assignment for a class at the Art Institute of Chicago, where Sedaris was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1987. His papers often took the form of the artist’s book—with the texts typed on a typewriter and images pasted alongside the texts. Photo by Tubyez Cropper

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library has acquired the papers of David Sedaris, noted American humorist, author, and essayist. Sedaris, who grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, and graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 1987, is the author of the works Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, and Calypso, among others. He is also known for his many contributions to This American Life, a weekly radio show. The papers contain writings, correspondence, personal papers, artist books, printed material, AV materials, electronic files, and other papers by or relating to Sedaris....

Yale News, Dec. 10
ALA news

Slave bible purposely omitted key passages

Slave bible used by British missionaries

On display now at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is a special exhibit centered on a rare bible from the early 19th century that was used by British missionaries to convert and educate slaves. What’s notable about this Bible is that it excludes any portion of text that might inspire rebellion or liberation. Anthony Schmidt, associate curator of bible and religion in America at the museum, says the first instance of this abridged version, Parts of the Holy Bible, Selected for the Use of the Negro Slaves, in the British West-India Islands, was published in 1807....

NPR: All Things Considered, Dec. 9

First edition of Britannica goes online

Camel from the first edition of Encyclopædia Britannica

An online copy of the first edition of Encyclopædia Britannica was published December 10 by the National Library of Scotland. It was exactly 250 years ago that the first pages of Britannica were published in Edinburgh. With a distinctly Scottish viewpoint, the first edition emphasized two themes: modern science and Scottish identity. Britannica was conceived by printer Colin Macfarquhar, engraver Andrew Bell, and William Smellie, who edited the first edition. Originally issued in 100 weekly parts, it took three years to produce and consisted of three volumes when it was completed in 1771. Daniel Hautzinger notes Britannica’s connections with Chicago figures and institutions....

National Library of Scotland, Dec. 10; WTTW-TV, Chicago, Dec. 6

Penn library to return 9th-century documents to Italy

Waldipertus land grant document, 9th century

The University of Pennsylvania has voluntarily agreed to return two ancient parchment documents to the archives of La Trinità della Cava, an abbey near Salerno, Italy, where they had been stolen, apparently in the 1990s. The heist was the work of an unknown thief and happened years before the papers surfaced at Penn. The documents, which record land transactions in the 820s in southern Italy, had been acquired in the late 1990s by the late collector Lawrence J. Schoenberg....

Philadelphia Daily News, Dec. 10

Your apps know where you were last night

Apps tracked a user’s visit to the dermatologist’s office

The millions of dots on the map trace highways, side streets, and bike trails—each one following the path of an anonymous cellphone user. At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the US, about half those in use last year. The database reviewed by the New York Times reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day....

New York Times, Dec. 10
Latest Library Links

Digital tools are unused in many US schools

Proportion of ed-tech licenses used intensively

Sean Cavanagh writes: “A new analysis breaks down how often schools and teachers are using the ed-tech tools bought by their districts. The findings are not pretty. A median of 30% of the ed-tech licenses purchased by K–12 districts—as tracked through a proprietary platform—are never used. And a median of 97.6 ed-tech licenses are never used intensively, according to a report by Brightbytes, a San Francisco-based company focused on data use and analytics in schools.”...

EdWeek Market Brief, Dec. 7; BrightBytes, Nov. 8

Milwaukee PL adapted brand logos to promote its services

Milwaukee Public Library’s adaptive branding

“Your local library can provide you with free information and resources that match that of brands like YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, and more. The difference? Your subscription is free.” That’s the point the Milwaukee Public Library made earlier this fall when it hijacked those brands’ logos. In an effort to get people to reconsider what the library could do for them, MPL and creative shop BVK revamped the logos. Then it created print promotions with copy identifying the library’s similar offerings and posted the work at local restaurants and bars. The result? It worked....

Adweek, Dec. 10
Dewey Decibel podcast

Assistive technologies: Equity and inclusion for all

MAGic screen magnification software

Jason Broughton writes: “When you see someone wearing a hearing aid, using a prosthetic limb, employing speech-to-text software or other tools, they are using assistive technology. There are different types of disabilities that may be encountered every day in your library. The most common disabilities fall under these categories: physical, sensory, cognitive, psychiatric. Not sure what types of assistive technologies can improve access for your library users? Here are some of the many technologies that can aid persons with disabilities.”...

ALSC Blog, Dec. 10

Atheist characters in fiction

Cover of Heretics Anonymous, by Katie Henry

Mya Nunnally writes: “As someone whose religious identity fluctuates between labels like atheist, agnostic, or just plain spiritual on a daily basis, I enjoy books that explore atheist characters. It’s always nice to see someone like you represented on the page. But wow, they are hard to find. These works approach atheism in different ways. Some are a little didactic, some are incredibly nuanced, and some are subtle in their discussion of faith. But all of them feature atheist characters without having them eventually convert to Christianity.”...

Book Riot, Dec. 10

The 1890s are having a literary moment

Cover of Weird Fiction in Britain 1880–1939, by James Machin (Palgrave Macmillan)

Michael Dirda writes: “This past year has been an excellent one for any devotee of the British 1890s. In this period aesthetes and decadents such as Oscar Wilde, Count Stanislaus Eric Stenbock, and Max Beerbohm celebrated art for art’s sake, while flaunting their outrageous personalities and flouting the bourgeois establishment. This was the era of that notorious quarterly, The Yellow Book, and of the grotesque Pierrots and courtesans depicted in its pages by Aubrey Beardsley. It was, in many ways, the first colorful flowering of modern gay culture.”...

Washington Post, Dec. 5

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