Michelle Obama and Carla Hayden at Annual Conference.

American Library Association • June 5, 2018
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Carla Hayden and Michelle Obama: A conversation

Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will moderate a conversation with former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama during the Opening General Session of the 2018 ALA Annual Conference on Friday, June 22. This session will take place 4–5:30 p.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Obama’s memoir Becoming, about the experiences that have affected her life, her family, and the country, will be published by Crown Publishing Group on November 13....

AL: The Scoop, June 5

Dining in New Orleans

Shrimp and grits at Surrey’s. Photo by Paul Broussard

Diana K. Schwam writes: “Let’s be real: New Orleans’ reputation for good times, good music, and good food wasn’t exactly a deterrent when it came to booking your trip to the 2018 ALA Annual Conference. But where to start? Go for traditional Creole cuisine or opt for a modern take? Where best to splurge on an extravagant dinner or grab a healthy lunch near the convention center? As the author of numerous travel guides, including Frommer’s Easy Guide to New Orleans, I’m here to help.”...

American Libraries feature, June

Modernizing ALA

From the Executive Director, by Mary Ghikas

ALA Executive Director Mary Ghikas writes: “Ten months ago, I stepped into the role of interim ALA executive director and then into the executive director role. Much of my focus has been on working with the Executive Board, ALA members and staff, and professional colleagues in many areas to examine the Association and its mission during a period of significant change. At the 2018 Midwinter Meeting, members of ALA Council, members of the Planning and Budget Assembly, and others responded to three questions.”...

American Libraries column, June

Addressing the troubling aspects of Melvil Dewey’s legacy

Melvil Dewey with the 1888 class of the School of Library Economy at Columbia College, New York City

Anne Ford writes: “Though his name is absent from modern headlines, there’s one harasser whose name is well known to librarians: Melvil Dewey. In the #MeToo era, how should the library profession handle Dewey’s legacy, tainted as it is by sexism and racism? Dewey made numerous inappropriate physical advances toward women, including library colleagues and his own daughter-in-law, over a period of many years. Eventually, Dewey was ostracized by ALA as a result of what one librarian of the period called his ‘outrages against decency.’”...

American Libraries feature, June
Dewey Decibel podcast

Incredibles to use powers for Library Card Sign-up Month

The Incredibles poster

The Incredibles are joining ALA and libraries nationwide to encourage the public to obtain a free library card as honorary chairs of Library Card Sign-up Month this September. The superheroes will use their powers to remind families, students, and people of all ages that signing up for a library card is a great step toward a truly super lifestyle. Posters, bookmarks, and stickers are available. Later in June, the Incredibles will appear in Library Card Sign-up Month print and digital PSAs available for libraries to download....

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, June 5

The Top 10 Most Challenged Books FAQ

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017

Kate Lechtenberg writes: “Every spring, I look forward to the day when the Office for Intellectual Freedom releases its annual ‘Top 10 Most Challenged Books.’ What questions, issues, and topics sparked conversations for communities, schools, and the nation? So how does this list, this snapshot of our literary and civic psyche, come about? I sat down to talk with Kristin Pekoll, OIF assistant director, to hear more about how the office compiles the list and the questions that staff wrestle with along the way.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, June 4

2018 Wolfson History Prize

Cover of Heretics and Believers

Peter Marshall of Warwick University has won the 2018 Wolfson History Prize for Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation (Yale University Press)—a book seven years in the making and based on more than two decades of research. The £40,000 prize, which recognizes books that fuse “excellence in historical research with readability for a wider general audience,” was awarded in London on June 4....

The Bookseller (UK), June 5
ALA news

Turning a library theft into a fundraising event

Screenshot from American Animals trailer

Michael Stillman writes: “Here is the ultimate example of turning lemons to lemonade. A book theft from Transylvania University library in 2004 was turned into a movie, American Animals, which is now being used to raise funds for that library. Four college students, aged 19–20, hatched a less than well-considered plan to steal some books from the library’s special collections in Lexington, Kentucky. The event was sufficiently absurd and amateurish to warrant the making of the film. Watch the trailer (2:36).”...

Rare Book Monthly, June; Rolling Stone, May 31; ONE Media YouTube channel, Apr. 18

2018 Congressional App Challenge

Some 2017 winners of the Congressional App Challenge

The annual Congressional App Challenge launched on June 4. The challenge is a congressional initiative to encourage student engagement in STEM and computer science. Middle and high school students from across the US are invited to participate in the congressional district where they live or the district where they attend school. Participating students are encouraged to register before Labor Day. High school seniors can participate as long as they submit their app before they graduate....

Congessional App Challenge, June
Latest Library Links

Technology Petting Zoo at Austin Public Library

The Technology Petting Zoo at the Austin (Tex.) Central Library

Omar L. Gallaga writes: “On the fifth floor of the Austin (Tex.) Central Library is the Technology Petting Zoo, an area where patrons can check out some gadgets they might be curious about, but haven’t owned or tried out. These items include tablets, a voice-activated Google Home device, Phillips Hue smart Wi-Fi lights, and even a large-scale 3D printer that can churn out fabricated artwork and models. This month the zoo is adding a Spire Studio device that the library will have on hand for visitors to try out.”...

Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman: 521tech, June 1

200-year-old almanac offers insight into magic in Tasmania

“A certain cure for the rhumatism [sic]” and “a sacred charm” in the pages of the 1811 almanac

For more than 40 years a clue to Australia’s little-known history of folk magic sat undisturbed in the State Library of Tasmania in Hobart—Vox Stellarum, an almanac from 1811 owned by William Allison, a farm manager at a property called The Lawn. It turns out that Allison, who came from England, was what was known as a “cunning man,” a practitioner of folk magic and medicine. Allison’s handwritten notes detail “sacred charms” and remedies for ailments including rheumatism, “a pain in the head,” and a “burn or scald.”...

ABC News (Australia), May 24

15 default privacy settings you might want to change

Your Amazon wish list is public by default. Open your list, then under share list, find the manage list setting and change it to private

Geoffrey A. Fowler writes: “Facebook, Google, and other tech giants are counting on you to not change your default privacy settings. 95% of people are too busy, or too confused, to change a darn thing. Give me 15 minutes, and I can help you join the 5% who are actually in control. I dug through the privacy settings for the five biggest consumer tech companies and picked a few of the most egregious defaults you should consider changing. These links will take you directly to what to tap, click, and toggle for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple.”...

Washington Post: The Switch, June 1

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