Little Free Libraries: Boon or bane?

American Library Association • January 9, 2018
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The question of Little Free Libraries

A Little Free Library at the LaSalle-Ford Park in Detroit. Photo: Detroit Little Libraries

Megan Cottrell writes: “They have been popping up in droves. On front lawns and street corners. In parks, community centers, and hospitals. You can even find them at beaches, malls, and barbershops. What started in 2009 with a box on one man’s lawn has spawned 60,000 Little Free Libraries around the globe. The ubiquitous book-exchange boxes now outnumber public library branches in the US about three to one. But are these wholesome book boxes helping or hurting staffed libraries?”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

Management lessons learned late

Another Story, by Joseph Janes

Joseph Janes writes: “I had a rare opportunity in November to spend a morning in conversation with local library leaders about some of the issues, challenges, and opportunities around contemporary public libraries and librarianship. These were smart, experienced, and talented people, and the day wound up, for me at least, as a master class in a variety of approaches to leadership and vision. Here are a few impressions, lessons, and anecdotes from the morning.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.
Geico discount

Creating space for agency

On My Mind, by Rachel Altobelli

Rachel Altobelli writes: “Agency helps students navigate an increasingly digitized world, but it does not spring from a vacuum. It grows from a sense that one is real and present and valued. LGBTQ students are not the only ones to feel underrepresented and alone. When students look around their schools and libraries, they need to see their diversity, their intersectionality, and the richness of their personal stories, in print and online. What are some of the ways we can do this?”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

The 20th anniversary of E-Rate

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) delivering opening remarks in May 2017 at the E-Rate briefing in the Russell Senate Office building

Emily Wagner writes: “This month, ALA is teaming up with the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training to celebrate the 20th anniversary of E-Rate. An E-Rate Summit is scheduled for January 24 in the Capitol Visitor Center, Room 202/3. The summit will begin with a welcome from NCTET President Amanda Karhuse, followed by remarks from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Evan Marwell, CEO of Education SuperHighway, will open a panel session on ‘E-Rate Past, Present, and Future.’”...

District Dispatch, Jan. 5
ALA news

New Jersey prisons lift ban on The New Jim Crow

Cover of The New Jim Crow

The New Jersey Department of Corrections lifted a ban at some state prisons on Michelle Alexander’s acclaimed 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness following scrutiny that began with an ACLU public records request. NJDOC said it would lift the ban in all facilities where it had been in effect and would review the department’s policy and current banned books lists. The restriction had been notable, given the book’s focus on what it characterizes as a racial caste system perpetuated through harsh drug laws and mass incarceration....

Talking Points Memo, Jan. 8

Citizen group reacts to library’s LGBT display

Temple (Tex.) Public Library

A group of residents in Temple, Texas, is continuing its crusade against the summer 2017 LGBT displays at the Temple Public Library. Concerned Christian Citizens has a petition that calls for library and city officials to “refrain in both policy and practice from further advocacy regarding sexual and moral issues and practices.” The library had two LGBT displays up in June: a bulletin board decorated with rainbows, and informational sheets on books with LGBT themes. About 20 residents spoke both in favor of and against the displays at an October meeting of the library board....

Temple (Tex.) Daily Telegram, Jan. 5

Suburban Chicago libraries are helping homeless persons

Executive Director of Hesed House Ryan Dowd has held training sessions for area libraries on how to deal with the homeless. Photo by Denise Crosby / The Beacon-News

Public libraries in Lombard, Aurora, and Naperville, Illinois, have joined others across the country in receiving training from the director of a homeless shelter on how to work with homeless patrons, particularly when tough issues arise. The library system in north suburban Evanston hired a social worker to help homeless individuals and others who might need assistance. Libraries are one of the few places where everyone is likely to mix, said Ryan Dowd (right), executive director of Hesed House in Aurora....

Aurora (Ill.) Beacon-News, Jan. 6
Latest Library Links

National Day of Racial Healing, January 16

National Day of Racial Healing

ALA will join the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and other organizations in observing the National Day of Racial Healing on January 16. The event is a call for a celebration of our common humanity and a call to action to create a more just and equitable world. ALA invites library professionals to offer programs about race and equality, and post images and comments using the hashtag #LibrariesRespond, #NDORH (National Day of Racial Healing), and #TRHT (Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation)....

ALA Public Programs Office, Jan. 5

Germany and Elsevier are still working on an agreement

Elsevier logo

The Dutch publisher Elsevier has granted access to its paywalled journals for researchers at around 200 German universities that had refused to renew subscriptions at the end of 2017. The institutions had formed a consortium to negotiate a nationwide license and sought a collective deal that would give most scientists in Germany full online access to about 2,500 journals at about half the price. But talks broke down. Elsevier now says that it will allow the German scientists to access its journals without a contract until an agreement is hammered out....

Nature, Jan. 4; Dec. 5, 2017
Dewey Decibel podcast

What does a library accessibility specialist do?

Stephanie Rosen, University of Michigan library accessibility specialist

Stephanie Rosen (right) writes: “Academic librarians are quietly converting print materials into accessible files, testing databases for usability, and applying principles of universal design to services, spaces, and instruction. Most of us do this work under unassuming job titles like director of access services. But a few of us occupy new positions explicitly devoted to library accessibility. The way I see it, the work of advancing library accessibility consists of education, strategy, advocacy, and research.”...

College and Research Libraries News 79, no. 1 (Jan.): 23

Picturebooks aren’t just for kids

Three picturebooks with teen appeal

Jessica Schwartz writes: “Picturebooks are the perfect art form. Every word and every image plays a crucial role, and the ways in which the text and the pictures interact can take a simple story to a whole new level. Many teachers and librarians have figured out that picturebooks aren’t just for kids. They can be used in the classroom to introduce complex ideas to older kids and teens. There are many ways to share picturebooks with teen readers. Here are a few ideas.”...

Teen Services Underground, Jan. 5

Skyping with astronauts

Astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer on the International Space Station

Allison Murphy writes: “When I decided to become a librarian, I never thought that I’d be speaking to astronauts in outer space. This incredible experience was Wallingford (Conn.) Public Library’s 20-minute Skype session with astronauts. We were honored to speak with Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer, who were orbiting the earth on the International Space Station. On April 24, Whitson broke the record for the most days spent in space by any NASA astronaut, and on July 6, more than 200 people gathered in our community room to ask them questions.”...

ALSC Blog, Jan. 5

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