The year’s most impressive new and renovated libraries.

American Library Association • September 4, 2018
Adam Matthew

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2018 Library Design Showcase

New Joplin (Mo.) Public Library

Welcome to the 2018 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These shining examples of innovative architectural feats address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Renovations and expansions continued to dominate submissions, showing how communities are finding novel ways to conserve and honor existing spaces while moving them well into the 21st century....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

From local to global

From the President, by Loida Garcia-Febo

ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo writes: “Our profession is essential in helping transform lives and communities. Through multicultural understanding and resources, we are actively collaborating to make our planet a better place for everyone. Take, for example, Los Angeles Public Library, which partners with the city to provide patrons access to free classes to obtain a high school diploma. Or librarians in Alaska, who have partnered with the state to use devices to identify bats in danger of extinction.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

Fire destroys Brazil’s National Museum

Rio’s National Museum of Brazil destroyed by fire

A massive fire that raced through Brazil’s 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro on September 2 has destroyed much of its collection of more than 20 million items, ranging from archaeological finds to historical memorabilia, as well as its substantial scientific library. Firefighters battling the flames were joined by dozens of museum employees who tried to salvage invaluable artifacts and documents. Librarian Edson Vargas da Silva said at the scene that “There is too much paper, the wood floor, too many things that burn quickly.” Many blamed government funding cuts and inadequate maintenance....

Associated Press, Sept. 2; O Globo (Rio de Janeiro), Sept. 3; The Guardian (UK), Sept. 3; BBC News, Sept. 3; Reuters, Sept. 2
Latest Library Links

ALSC on the road in Athens, Greece

Children’s Library of Larissa Station, Athens

Jamie Campbell Naidoo writes: “On September 3, I returned from the 36th IBBY International Congress in Athens, Greece, where ALSC Executive Director Aimee Strittmatter and I engaged with librarians, book creators, researchers, and educators from around the globe. With a theme of ‘East Meets West Around Children’s Books and Fairy Tales,’ the congress was an amazing opportunity to learn about numerous children’s books and literacy programs from colleagues in Asia, Europe, and beyond.”...

ALSC Blog, Sept. 4

Ex Libris debuts on PBS today

Screenshot from Ex Libris showing a user at the NYPL Chinatown branch

Director Frederick Wiseman’s 2017 documentary on the New York Public Library, Ex Libris, premieres September 4 on PBS stations. Featuring Patti Smith, Richard Dawkins, and Elvis Costello, as well as librarians, library staff, and patrons young and old, the documentary makes a valiant effort at covering the breadth and depth of the NYPL’s 92 branches in just over two hours. One reviewer called it “The Best Thing to Happen to Libraries Since the Dewey Decimal System.” Watch a two-minute preview....

Fine Books Blog, Sept. 4; IndieWire, Sept. 3, 2017

Dewey Decibel podcast: New library design

Dewey Decibel podcast

In Episode 29, American Libraries associate editor and Dewey Decibel podcast host Phil Morehart talks with two architects—Jim Stufflebeam from Sapp Design Architects and Derek Jones from the architecture firm Perkins + Will—whose work with libraries was featured in American Libraries’ 2018 Library Design Showcase. Get behind-the-scenes perspectives on the buildings’ design, construction, and effect on their communities....

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 31
ALA news

Every book tour should include a public high school

High school students

Jess deCourcy Hinds writes: “Every year, I meet more and more writers like me—writers happily employed in the New York City public schools. I’m the library director at Bard High School Early College Queens, where I work alongside several other writer-educators. About three years ago, I began dreaming about bringing more writers into the school. What if my students and I got to read some of the most exciting books published today, and then meet their creators?”...

Literary Hub, Sept. 4

Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

Annie Proulx

At the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., on September 1, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction to acclaimed writer Annie Proulx (right), author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Shipping News and the short story “Brokeback Mountain.” The prize, one of the library’s most prestigious awards, honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished for its mastery of the art, originality, and imagination....

Library of Congress, Sept. 1
Dewey Decibel podcast

Crime fiction and the prison-industrial complex

Crime fiction inspired by real life events

Molly Odintz writes: “How easy is it for those behind bars to access works of crime fiction, a genre that frequently profits off their experience? The more mundane subject of access to literature may seem trivial as the issues of mass incarceration reach the national stage. Censorship, however, always accompanies more violent acts aimed at social control, and to examine those works banned by the prison system is a fascinating glimpse into the same indiscriminate paranoia that led to mass incarceration in the first place.”...

Crime Reads, Aug. 30

Reel archivist in Blade Runner 2049

The archivist scans the evidence in Blade Runner 2049

Jennifer Snoek-Brown writes: “My husband alerted me to an extended archives scene in 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, a scene that helps set in motion the background and plot for the film. And it felt like perfect timing, as I recently deep-dived into real-life archivists critically examining portrayals of reel archivists. Ryan Gosling stars as K, a police officer assigned to track down a rogue replicant. He begins by going to the Wallace Corporation’s Earth Headquarters archives.”...

Reel Librarians, Aug. 1, 29

Google Lens does what human brains can’t

Google Lens identifies a labradoodle

Lauren Goode writes: “AI-powered visual search tools, like Google Lens and Bing Visual Search, promise a new way to search the world. One area where I’ve found visual search useful is outside, in the natural world. Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of using Google Lens to identify the things I see on hikes. I point my phone’s camera—in this case, an Android phone with Lens built into the Google Assistant app—at a tree or flower I don’t recognize. The app suggests what the object might be.”...

Wired, July 29

How to choose the best mechanical keyboard

Cooler Master’s QuickFire series keyboard

Ryan Whitwam writes: “If you spend any amount of time at your computer working or playing games, you may very well be missing out on one upgrade that can improve your computing experience: using a mechanical keyboard. A mechanical keyboard can make you a much more effective typist, thanks to the precise and consistent feel of the keys. Many switches also have high tactility that helps you estimate when a press will register, allowing you to release and move on to the next key without bottoming out.”...

ExtremeTech, Sept. 4

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