Hurricane Florence and libraries.

American Library Association • September 14, 2018
Adam Matthew

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Hurricane Florence recovery efforts

ArcGIS map showing archives in the path of Hurricane Florence

ALA and its chapters in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia are working to assist libraries affected by Hurricane Florence. Support efforts will involve most Atlantic Seaboard libraries in serving as a lifeline for residents in dire need of FEMA and insurance forms, and access to electrical power, internet, heat, or important information about storm relief and recovery efforts. An ALA LibGuide contains information on organizations that provide disaster assistance, disaster recovery resources, and a bibliography of print resources. A list of resources for dealing with natural disasters is also available through the Libraries Respond page. Anyone interested in donating to ALA’s work to support library recovery efforts can do so online. ALA members can also visit chapter websites for information on donations and volunteer opportunities. A continually updated map of archives and libraries in the path of the storm is available through Repo Data....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 14; Repo Data, Sept. 12

Library design and renovation on a budget

As part of its DIY makeover, Francis W. Parker School in Chicago added beanbag chairs to its library. Photo by Francis W. Parker School

Phil Morehart writes: “Library renovations can cost several million dollars or more. For some libraries, funding a project that size—or even half that size—isn’t an option. Luckily, design options are available at a minimal cost for libraries that want to change the look and feel of their space. The first step in any design project, big or small, is intense self-reflection. Brian Lee, architect and design partner at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, stresses the importance of research and an inward gaze when trying to design on a budget.”...

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

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NYPL’s own album of children’s songs

Emily Elizabeth Lazio and Sean R. Ferguson perform a song from NYPL Sings! Songs for Our Children. Photo by Sumie Ota

When New York Public Library solicited suggestions for its annual Innovation Project—which finances programming and ideas generated by library staff and is made possible with funding from the Charles H. Revson Foundation—Emily Elizabeth Lazio (right), then a children’s librarian at the Tompkins Square branch, envisioned tapping the multiple talents of NYPL staffers to make an original album of children’s songs. The idea came about after Lazio made a guest appearance on NYPL’s podcast, The Librarian Is In....

American Libraries Spotlight, Sept./Oct.

Community coalitions promote digital inclusion

Staff members of Charlotte Mecklenburg (N.C.) Library assist seniors at a YMCA DigiLit class designed to help bridge the digital knowledge divide. Photo by Everett Blackmon

Andrew Amelinckx writes: “Libraries have long been on the front lines of the digital divide—the gap between those who have reliable access to high-speed internet and devices and those who do not. Now to help solve an old problem, many libraries are trying a new approach: forming alliances with public and private organizations to spur resource sharing and innovative programming.”...

American Libraries Trend, Sept./Oct.

Plan now for a STEAM-y summer

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “Summer has ended, and the new school year is under way. Still, experts suggest that libraries start planning for summer reading in September, so now is the perfect time to explore other models. A growing number of libraries offer STEM and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) programming for young learners. Integrating STEAM learning gets students observing, writing, experimenting, and creating as well as reading, leading to greater gains across many academic areas.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

Banned Books Week: Author and reader activism

Speak out for banned books

Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. This Banned Books Week (September 23–29), readers are encouraged to raise their voices in support of the freedom to read by participating in engaging activities. Learn more about how to get involved with Banned Books Week at the Facebook Live event “6 Ways to Express Your Inner Activist for Banned Books Week” on September 17....

Office for Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 13; Intellectual Freedom Blog, Sept. 11
ALA news

Eric Carle Museum: Coretta Scott King Awards exhibit

Painted acrylic illustration by George Ford in Coretta Scott King Award–winning Ray Charles (1973)

An exhibition depicting African American life, history, and culture by some of the most notable picture-book artists in the field is coming to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. Featuring more than 30 illustrators, “Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards” opens October 21 and will remain on view through January 27, 2019. The touring exhibition kicks off the 50-year anniversary of the King awards....

Fine Books and Collections, Sept. 14

New European Copyright Directive approved

European Union flags

Europe’s controversial Copyright Directive was approved by the European Parliament on September 12. Although intended to protect the rights of copyright owners, it’s likely to prove a headache for both Google’s search engine and its YouTube video platform. The controversy centers on two articles, 11 and 13, described as a “link tax” and “upload filter” respectively. The Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) is also concerned that a lack of support for critical technologies such as text and data mining and artificial intelligence imply a bleak future for research and innovation in Europe. The vote does not pass the directive into law just yet. That happens following a final vote in January, after which individual EU member countries will decide how they want to implement it....

9 to 5 Google, Sept. 12; European Parliament News, Sept. 12; The Verge, Sept. 12; Association of European Research Libraries, Sept. 14
Dewey Decibel podcast

Pennsylvania stalls books-for-prisoners programs

Pennsylvania prison books and mail policies draw protests, petitions, and possible legal challenges. Photo by David Swanson / Inquirer

In the West Philadelphia office of Books Through Bars, dozens of packages of books addressed to prisoners in Pennsylvania state institutions have been sitting for weeks—ever since August 29, when the Department of Corrections announced a temporary statewide lockdown to prevent drugs coming into the prisons. On September 10, the lockdown was lifted—but those books aren’t going anywhere. As part of new security measures, the DOC is cutting off inmates’ access to longstanding, volunteer-run free books programs....

Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 13; American Libraries Trend, June

Experiments with OCR and early modern texts

Letter from Henry Cavendish, Tutbury, Staffordshire, to Elizabeth Hardwick Talbot, countess of Shrewsbury. December 31, 1605

OCR technologies were first developed to read printed text, so early modern handwriting poses new challenges. The Folger Shakespeare Library’s Early Modern Manuscripts Online project provides access to some of the Folger’s 16th and 17th-century English manuscripts through images and highly accurate transcriptions, along with related metadata. This summer the Folger gave the GoogleOCR team a dataset of 100 early modern manuscript letters to experiment with....

The Collation, Sept. 13
Latest Library Links

The packhorse librarians of eastern Kentucky

A packhorse librarian in Kentucky

During the Great Depression, the Appalachians were hit hard. Coal mines were being shut down. Many people were living in dire poverty. In 1936, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Kentucky WPA began to hire packhorse librarians, mostly women, to carry books to isolated cabins, rural school houses, and home-bound coal miners. The bookwomen followed creek beds and fence routes, their saddlebags and pillowcases stuffed with Robinson Crusoe, Women’s Home Companion, and Popular Mechanics....

NPR: Morning Edition, Sept. 13

Stephen King: Crime writer

Cover of Roadwork, by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman

Max Booth III writes: “While it’s true that the majority of Stephen King’s work features supernatural elements, there’s no denying the fact that many if not all of them can also be classified as thrillers. Just because you throw in a ghost or child-eating subterranean monster, it doesn’t mean you still don’t have a thriller on your hands, too. People sometimes forget that Stephen King has been writing crime fiction long before the recently released Bill Hodges trilogy. This list attests to his diversity of approach.”...

Crime Reads, Sept. 13

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