ALA’s new Policy Corps.

American Library Association • January 5, 2018
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New 12-member ALA Policy Corps

ALA Policy Corps members

ALA President Jim Neal on January 4 announced the 12 library and information professionals (right) selected to participate in the inaugural ALA Policy Corps, which aims to develop a cadre of experts with deep and sustained knowledge of national public policies in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals. The corps is a signature initiative of Neal, who launched the program in October as an extension of the “Libraries Transform; Libraries Lead” campaign, and is designed to build on other ALA professional development programs....

ALA Washington Office, Jan. 4

ALA plans review and reinvention

From the Treasurer, by Susan H. Hildreth

ALA Treasurer Susan H. Hildreth writes: “Preliminary ALA financial results for fiscal year 2017 reflect what continues to be a tough environment for ALA. Operating revenues for the entire Association were $48.7 million and operating expenses were $51.1 million. ALA is beginning a period of internal review and reinvention, with changes in both key leadership positions and the way in which we view publishing, membership, and conferences.” ALA President Jim Neal will also be advancing collaboration with key outside organizations....

American Libraries columns, Jan./Feb.; AL: The Scoop, Dec. 28

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Hurricane Maria: The aftermath

Flooding damage to a reading room at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao. Photo by Evelyn Milagros Rodríguez

Hurricane Maria, the 10th most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, causing widespread flooding and damage. Three months later, 35% of all residents still lacked power and 14% had no tap water. ALA President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo, who was born in Puerto Rico, said that “all types of libraries are basically destroyed. The buildings are standing but plagued with mold, rotten carpets, and collections that are irretrievably lost. Archives, historical documents, and books are all in dire condition.” Garcia-Febo will be visiting libraries on the island January 16–19 and offering resources to those in need....

American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.; StatusPR; ALA Public Awareness Office, Jan. 5

Experience Denver’s cuisine at Midwinter

Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs

Eric Peterson writes: “The Mile High City has emerged as a hot spot for chef-driven, farm-to-table restaurants. Numerous standout eateries have hung a shingle and earned one rave review after another. As author of the Frommer’s EasyGuide to Colorado, I was lucky enough to take my taste buds on a tour of Denver’s rising restaurants and enjoy every cuisine, from vegan to wild game. It’s a remarkably dynamic community that continues to grow and evolve, and I’m happy to be your guide to its flavors.” The ALA Midwinter Meeting, February 9–13, will also feature many speakers and programs to whet your appetite....

American Libraries features, Jan./Feb.
ALA news

Dewey Decibel: Looking back at books

Dewey Decibel Looking Back at Books podcast

In Episode 21, Dewey Decibel looks back at some highlights from the book world in 2017. First, American Libraries Associate Editor Terra Dankowski talks with author Stephanie Powell Watts, whose book No One Is Coming to Save Us is the first selection in ALA’s Book Club Central. Then Associate Editor Phil Morehart speaks with Andy Weir, author of The Martian, about his latest novel, and talks to Booklist Books for Youth Editor Daniel Kraus to discuss the Booklist list of the 50 best young adult novels of all time....

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 29

2018 Carnegie Medal read-alikes

Cover of The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen L. Carter

Annie Bostrom and Donna Seaman write: “As we await the announcement of the winner of the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver at the RUSA Book and Media Awards event on February 11, we trust readers are immersing themselves in reading the three finalists. For further Carnegie reading recommendations, we’re happy to provide this list of three-for-three Carnegie read-alikes.”...

The Booklist Reader, Jan. 3

A digital library for North Carolina kids

NC Kids Digital Library logo

Sedley Abercrombie writes: “When I first heard about the launch of the NC Kids Digital Library in February 2017, I knew it was going to be great. But I didn’t know what a game changer it would be. Public library directors Ruth Ann Copley (Davidson County) and Jennifer Sackett (Lincoln County) worked very closely with a committee of other directors and OverDrive to launch this program that is the first of its kind in the US.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Jan. 5
Latest Library Links

Middle schoolers get real-time data on reading

Hommocks Middle School library’s digital reading data display

A gaggle of students entered the Hommocks Middle School library in Larchmont, New York, and immediately gravitated toward a large screen that greets visitors. The monitor displays in real time the number of books middle-schoolers have read, what the most-read titles are, the number of books read by each grade, and what genres are most popular. Hommocks began having students fill out online forms about books they read during the school year, then added the feedback to get students more involved in the data....

Lower Hudson Valley (N.Y.) Journal-News, Jan. 2

No, libraries are not about to disappear

Screenshot from 24/7 Wall St. video

Lindsay McKenzie writes: “On December 9, 2016, 24/7 Wall St. published an article titled ‘America’s 25 Dying Industries.’ Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the article analyzed how employment levels in various sectors changed between 2007 and 2016. Widely reprinted and quoted since then, the article ranked libraries and archives as one of the fastest-declining industries in the US, second only to video rentals. Its publication prompted a strong response from librarians, who questioned the validity of the analysis.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 5
Dewey Decibel podcast

The enclosure of the literary commons

Palmer Memorial Library, Texarkana College

Gus Bagakis writes: “Our public libraries, our literary commons, are gradually being enclosed—sealed off to the public by a series of acts of our government as it bows to the dictates and priorities of corporations. The public library is one of the few settings where people can enter for free, access materials for free, and stay without being expected to buy anything. The value of public libraries not only exists in the materials they lend and the noncommercial model they embody, but in the commons that they represent.”...

Truthout, Jan. 3; CityLab, July 13, 2013

The rise of skeptical reading

“I’m Skeptical” by Georgie Pauwels, licensed CC BY 2.0

Pablo Boczkowski writes: “There is a quiet revolution in the making. It’s about how people make sense of the news. Barely perceptible amidst the loudness of commentary about bots, trolls, fake news, echo chambers, filter bubbles, confirmation bias, artificial intelligence, and so on is the realization that readers, listeners, viewers, and users are becoming ever more skeptical about the information they encounter in the news and social media. And that’s a good thing.”...

Nieman Journalism Lab, Dec.

Meltdown and Spectre bugs affect all computers

Meltdown and Spectre security flaws: so big they have their own logos. Photo by tcareob72/Natascha Eibl

Serious security flaws that could let attackers steal sensitive data, including passwords and banking information, have been found in processors designed by Intel, AMD, and ARM. The flaws, named Meltdown and Spectre, were discovered by security researchers at Google’s Project Zero in conjunction with academic and industry researchers from several countries. Combined, they affect virtually every modern computer, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs from all vendors and running almost any operating system....

The Guardian (UK), Jan. 4; Google Security Blog, Jan. 3; Graz (Austria) University of Technology

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