Libraries are exploring virtual reality devices.

American Library Association • March 2, 2018
APA PsycBooks

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In a virtual world

Virtual reality

In the past several years, virtual reality technology has finally begun to fulfill what had long been promised. Traditional VR, which creates environments that allow people to be “present” in an alternative environment, has been advanced by offerings from Oculus, Sony, Google, and Samsung. At the same time, products like Google’s Cardboard have led the growth of 360-degree video. Instead of just games and entertainment, VR content is exploding with news, information, and educational content....

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

Fight for school libraries

From the President, by Jim Neal

ALA President Jim Neal writes: “We must all fight the closing of school libraries, the reductions in professional staffing, the erosion of budgets for resources and technology, and the consequent weakening of the librarian–teacher partnership in the classroom. We must advocate for the federal funding that supports network access in schools. We must continue to document and demonstrate the powerful link between student success, educational enrichment, and well-supported school libraries.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

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ALA selects real estate consultant

Cushman & Wakefield logo

ALA has appointed Cushman & Wakefield as its real estate advisory firm to help develop strategic real estate options that support the mission, business, and financial goals of the Association. The company will provide consulting services to optimize the value of its current headquarters at 40-50 East Huron Street in Chicago. ALA Executive Director Mary Ghikas said that “the firm has the requisite deep experience with not-for-profits and the right resources to help us identify and secure the best real estate options.”...

ALA Public Awareness Office, Feb. 28

60 years of National Library Week

Artwork for the 1958 National Library Week campaign

Greg Landgraf writes: “ALA and the American Book Publishers Council formed the National Book Committee in 1954 to fight the decline in reading. One of their ideas was a National Library Week. The concept wasn’t new. At the 1922 ALA Annual Conference, the Publicity Committee had proposed a weeklong celebration of libraries. It took more than 35 years for the idea to go national, however. The NBC drew up plans for the first NLW to be held March 16–22, 1958.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.; Library History Buff; American Libraries, Apr. 13, 2016

Finding love in the ALA Archives

A photo of a Box 6 VHS tape from the Patricia G. Schuman Papers (Record Series 2/1/32), accurate as of February 275

Salvatore De Sando writes: “Although a significant amount of an archivist’s work is spent communicating with donors and researchers, in addition to arranging and preserving a continuous influx of documents, there is always time for a little fun too. Archives are not exclusively repositories for records of historic value; but they are also home to a great variety of documented human experience. Don’t believe us? Then read on about finding love in the ALA Archives.”...

ALA Archives Blog, Feb. 28

Washington State passes strict net neutrality law

Washington State Capitol building, Olympia. Photo by Cacophony, used CC BY 2.5

Just days after the Trump administration finalized its repeal of national net neutrality regulations, Washington State has passed sweeping legislation to regulate internet access for its residents. The bill cleared the state senate on a 35–14 vote, with bipartisan support. It had already blown through the house of representatives by 93–5 on February 9, and Gov. Jay Inslee is on record as ready to sign it. Meanwhile in D.C., a low-profile alliance is working to save net neutrality from the FCC....

Fast Company, Feb. 22, 28; Ars Technica, Feb. 28; The Switch: Washington Post, Feb. 28

Looking for Alaska pulled in Meridian

Cover of Looking for Alaska

The parent of a Galileo STEM Academy student complained to administrators of the West Ada School District in Meridian, Idaho, about John Green’s YA novel Looking for Alaska being available in the school library. When officials received the complaint, they launched an administrative review instead of following district policy, which requires “reconsideration of supplemental learning and library resources,” including input from other parents. The book was pulled from all middle school library shelves....

Boise (Idaho) Weekly, Feb. 28
ALA news

Read Across America Day, March 2

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss, Springfield (Mass.) Museums

Meagan Smith writes: “This week, teachers, librarians, and students will be looking around their homes for tall, striped top hats and red ties. They will be searching for well-loved books—perhaps one about a cat who isn’t quite cut out to be a babysitter, or another about an elephant who saves a teeny tiny town. This is the 20th year that libraries will be decked out like Whoville in celebration of Read Across America Day, an event that aims to get children excited about reading, often through the books of Dr. Seuss.”...

O Say Can You See?, Feb. 27

Once it was overdue books, now it’s overdoses

Matt Pfisterer, the director of the Middletown Thrall Library in New York, who once revived a woman with the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Photo by Ryan Christopher Jones / New York Times

Annie Correal writes: “Matt Pfisterer, director of the Middletown (N.Y.) Thrall Library, calls his assistant and security guard Starsky and Hutch. They have been trained to spot signs of overdose in library patrons—paleness and shortness of breath when it is heroin; sudden collapse when it is fentanyl—and administer the drug naloxone. They patrol the library bathrooms and stacks, checking on anyone who is dozing. The opioid epidemic is reshaping life in America, including at the local public library.”...

New York Times, Feb. 28
Latest Library Links

Water damages rare books at California State Library

Books water-damaged at the California State Library. Screenshot from KCRA-TV newscast

The California State Library in Sacramento is working to salvage some rare books damaged during a February 26 rainstorm. The third-floor ceiling had a water leak, damaging around 250 volumes from the 19th century. The extent of the damage is unknown, but the library is working quickly to prevent further damage. Most of the damaged books were taken to the State Museum Collection Center and will go through a freeze-drying process....

San Francisco Chronicle, Mar. 1

Shawnee Mission’s Reading Empathy Initiative

Shawnee Mission Northwest High School students hold up novels of their choice at their school library

Lately, Shawnee Mission (Kans.) Northwest High School librarian Meghan Stigge has had to scramble to keep up with orders for book titles in hot demand from students. During the first two quarters of the 2017–2018, students checked out more than twice the number of books from a year ago. The reason: The Reading Empathy Initiative, an effort to teach students to find books they want to read using online review sites such as Goodreads, retailer recommendations, and digital catalogs....

Kansas City (Mo.) Star, Feb. 28

The remarkable growth of shared print resources

GreenGlass, by Sustainable Collection Services

Rick Lugg writes: “At the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting, Sustainable Collection Services introduced GreenGlass, an application to help libraries manage and share print monograph collections. As of February 2018, 12 shared print groups have used it to reach 23 million long-term monograph retention commitments. When combined with other efforts in the community, notably HathiTrust and FLARE, we are now aware of long-term retention commitments on more than 40 million monograph holdings representing some 8–10 million unique titles.”...

OCLC Next, Mar. 1
Dewey Decibel podcast

A Booklist editor’s idea became The Shape of Water

Daniel Kraus

Janet Potter writes: “Booklist Editor Daniel Kraus remembers the exact moment the idea hit him. He was 15 years old, standing on a tennis court in Fairfield, Iowa, where he grew up. ‘The extent of the idea,’ he says now, ‘was the Creature from the Black Lagoon is put in a lab; a janitor finds him and decides to break him out and put him in her tub.’ 20 years later he met Guillermo del Toro, who turned it into the 2017 film The Shape of Water, which was recently nominated for 13 Academy Awards.”...

Chicago Reader, Mar. 1

Project Mars film and art competition

Project Mars competition

Science educational nonprofit SciArt Exchange is partnering with NASA on the global Project Mars competition. Young adults, college students, and early career professionals are invited to submit a five-minute film or a poster by August 31 that showcases NASA’s Mars exploration. Cash prizes will be awarded. Videos can be submitted as private Vimeo or YouTube links. Posters should be submitted as PDF files optimized for on-screen viewing. NASA images, videos, and 3D models may be used. Sign up for updates and further information....

Project Mars competition

2017 report on diversity in romance novels

80% of romance publishers had fewer than 10% of their books written by people of color

Annika Barranti Klein writes: “The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, California, is the only romance-only brick and mortar bookstore in the US. Owner-sisters Bea and Leah Koch are taking on the romance publishing industry by providing a yearly report on the state of racial diversity in romance, focusing on authors. They would be the first to say that racial diversity is not the only kind of diversity that matters, but it’s where they chose to start and their reports—in my opinion—do not make publishers look great.”...

Book Riot, Mar. 1

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