Members of the ALA Policy Corps.

American Library Association • January 30, 2018
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Meet the 2018 ALA Policy Corps

ALA Policy Corps team

Marcus Banks writes: “On January 4, ALA announced the inaugural members of its Policy Corps, a new initiative that aims to develop political advocates for conveying the importance of libraries. The Policy Corps team will meet at the Midwinter Meeting in Denver, attend a workshop about political activism in March, and attend ALA’s National Library Legislative Day in May. Meet the first members of Policy Corps, a dozen people with diverse backgrounds and experiences who are united by their belief in libraries.”...

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 29

Celebrating the E-Rate

USAC E-rate funding program

Katherine Dean writes: “Last week marked the 20-year anniversary of the implementation of the E-Rate program. ALA joined several other organizations on the Hill to celebrate the program’s success and consider its future. The program began with remarks from Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and former Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who returned to the Hill for the occasion, his first time back since he left office in 2015. Evan Marwell, founder and CEO of EducationSuperHighway, provided an overview of the program’s progress.”...

District Dispatch, Jan. 29
Geico discount

Librarians as cultural warriors

Cover of Libricide

Lisa Hoover writes: “In Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the 20th Century, Rebecca Knuth argues that when authoritarian ideologues come to power, they threaten both their citizens and their cultural heritage. In case studies from Nazi Germany, Serbia, Iraq in Kuwait, China during the Cultural Revolution, and Tibet, Knuth describes the destruction of books and libraries and the rationale for it. What interested me most was Knuth’s discussion of the role librarians play in all of this.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Jan. 29

13 writers who grew to hate their own books

St. Dominic and the Cathars

Emily Temple writes: “If you know any writers, you may know that almost everyone hates their own book at some point. Usually it’s between draft 13 and draft 37, when there’s no end in sight. But some authors grow to dislike, disown, resent, or regret their books after publication—whether because of an unexpected critical or popular response, changes in their own views, or simple aging. Here is a list of 13 writers who wound up disavowing their own earlier works—some of them famous and even beloved by millions.”...

Maclean’s, Jan. 25

Libraries are bringing small-town news back to life

A woman reads a newspaper at the Bloomingdale branch of the New York Public Library

David Beard writes: “Librarians understand the value of accuracy. They are familiar with databases. Americans by and large trust librarians, actually much more than they trust journalists. And in a nation where traditional local news outlets are cutting back, where else can a citizen go? In some cities, libraries are partnering with established news sources, teaming up in Dallas to train high schoolers in news gathering. In San Antonio, the main library offers space to an independent video news site that trains students.”...

The Atlantic, Jan. 28; Local News Lab, Oct. 19, 2017; Poynter, Jan. 19; May 23, Nov. 20, 2017; American Libraries feature, June 2016
ALA news

Sacramento’s homeless crisis

A homeless man waits for the Sacramento library doors to open. Photo: Randy Pench

For many homeless men and women, the Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library is a haven from harsh weather, a primary source for bathroom facilities, a place to rest from the stress of the streets. Library Director Rivkah Sass welcomes them all, as long as their behavior is not disruptive. But as the homeless crisis deepens in the capital city and around the country, libraries increasingly are seeing people with untreated mental illnesses that cause them to act oddly, or put themselves or others in danger....

Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, Jan. 29

Man admits smuggling guns through Vermont library

Inside the Haskell Free Library, the US-Canadian border is marked by a solid line

Alexis Vlachos of Montreal has admitted to smuggling handguns from the US into Canada, including some that were left in the Haskell Free Library that straddles the border of Vermont and Quebec in the village of Derby Line. He pleaded guilty January 29 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont. Between 2010 and 2011, Vlachos worked with others to get about 100 handguns into Canada. Some of the weapons were left in the library by an accomplice. Vlachos then retrieved them and took them into Canada....

Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, Jan. 29
Latest Library Links

Former library director sentenced for embezzlement

Cheryl A. Paul-Bradley

A former library director has been sentenced to three years of probation for embezzling $50,000 in library funds. Cheryl A. Paul-Bradley (right), a librarian in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, for almost 30 years, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and four other charges January 29 in Worcester Superior Court. She was charged with the embezzlement of money from the Stevens Memorial Library. Along with probation, she forfeited her pension rights and agreed to pay $19,556 in restitution....

Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette, Jan. 29

Innovative K–5 art programs

Art Sparks program, Kenosha (Wis.) Public Library

Heather Thompson writes: “Linda Potter, an early literacy specialist at the Kenosha (Wis.) Public Library, has turned the tables on ordinary art programs at the library. On one particular Friday, children lie on their backs, painting paper that’s been taped beneath the meeting room tables. Why? They’re learning what it’s like to be Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. This is just one program in a popular series called ‘Art Sparks,’ a drop-in program for children in grades K–5 that runs for 2.5 hours once per month.”...

ALSC Blog, Jan. 27
Dewey Decibel podcast

Staunch Book Prize launched

Staunch Book Prize logo

From Before I Go to Sleep to The Girl on the Train, the trope of the woman in danger from a man has powered novel after novel to the top of the book charts. But amid claims that violence against women in fiction has reached “a ridiculous high,” a new prize has been launched for the best thriller “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped, or murdered.” Founded by author and screenwriter Bridget Lawless, the Staunch Book Prize will open to entries in February, with the winner to be announced on November 25....

The Guardian (UK), Jan. 26

Do you realize how much you share your location?

Location-tracking apps

Cameron Summerson writes: “Do you know how private your location data is? Do you even know which apps are tracking your location and sharing it publicly? The absolute first and foremost rule where digital privacy is concerned: Assume that everything you do is public until you set it otherwise. Every app that you install has to request access to certain features—like location. Fortunately, you can easily find a list of all the apps that have access to your location and turn them off as needed.”...

How-To Geek, Jan. 30

Six Google Translate tips

Just point your camera at a sign, and Translate can tell you what it says instantly

Ryan Whitwam writes: “Decades ago, Star Trek introduced the idea of a universal translator, a small baton that let crew members converse with aliens in their native languages simply by flipping a switch. And now we’re almost there, thanks to Google Translate. This app isn’t part of the preinstalled loadout on most phones, but it’s indispensable for travel. Here are the six most useful things you can do with Google Translate on your smartphone.”...

PC Magazine, Jan. 30

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