Converting nonlibrary spaces to public libraries.

American Library Association • September 18, 2018
Adam Matthew

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Repurpose with a purpose

Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library used a vacant space in a shopping center for its Sterling branch

Fred Schlipf and John A. Moorman write: “When a community needs a new library building, people frequently suggest converting existing—usually vacant—structures into a library. Converting nonlibrary spaces into libraries has much in common with remodeling and expanding existing libraries, but it’s a far different undertaking. In all conversion situations, one of the major problems involves the building shaping the library rather than the library shaping the building.”....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

Subcommittee calls for library funding increases

Fund libraries

Kevin Maher writes: “Late on September 13 the House and Senate Appropriations Committees released a conference committee report on fiscal year 2019 funding for programs under the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee—which controls spending levels for many federal library programs—and the Defense Subcommittee. The news is good: The conference committee has recommended increasing funding levels for many programs. Here are some highlights.”...

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 14

I Love My Librarian Award nominations close October 1

I Love My Librarian Award 2018

Library users have only two weeks left to nominate their favorite librarians for the 2018 I Love My Librarian Award. This year’s nominations will close October 1 at midnight Central time. Library users across the US can nominate librarians who have transformed lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. The national award recognizes the public service accomplishments of exceptional librarians working in public, school, college, community college, or university libraries in the US....

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Sept. 17

Trustees vote to keep Rumford’s banned books display

Display of banned books at Rumford (Maine) Public Library

A display of banned books will remain at the Rumford (Maine) Public Library, according to the library’s board of trustees, who met on September 17 to listen to community members voice their opinions. Three members of the local clergy had sent a letter saying some of the books in the display were inappropriate for a public library serving local families, including the LGBTQ-themed graphic novels My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan....

Lewiston (Maine) Sun Journal, Sept. 17; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Sept. 17

Fear will come to Berkeley Springs after all

Cover of Fear, by Bob Woodward

Connie Perry, the president of the trustees of the Morgan County (W.Va.) Public Library in Berkeley Springs, said September 14 that the library will indeed carry Bob Woodward’s Fear. Perry said the library board did not know that the library director had refused to accept a donated copy of Fear a few days earlier until the issue was raised in media reports. Perry noted that the library’s initial decision not to carry Fear had become a major issue in Berkeley Springs. “More and more people want to read it now,” she said....

Washington Post, Sept. 14

Want to defend democracy? Start with your public library

Benning Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C., in 2011. Photo by Astrid Riecken / The Washington Post

Katrina vanden Heuvel writes: “In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the character Ron—channeling his friend Hermione—says to Harry Potter: ‘When in doubt, go to the library.’ In the US today, there is plenty to doubt. Lies have become too commonplace, so the American people need a place where they can go to get the truth. Ron is right. Go to your public library. Public libraries provide information in an era of misinformation. They offer facts and nuance. They offer the opportunity for enlightenment. They offer every visitor the resources they need to find answers.”...

Washington Post, Sept. 18
ALA news

Congressional Research Reports now publicly available

Congressional Research Service fact sheet on NASA appropriations

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden writes: “For the first time, the Library of Congress is providing Congressional Research Service reports to the public. The reports are available online at Created by experts, the reports present a legislative perspective on topics such as agriculture policy, counterterrorism operations, banking regulation, veterans’ issues, and much more. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 directs the library to also make the reports publicly available online.”...

Library of Congress Blog, Sept. 17

NEA study: Fiction reading down, poetry up

Cover of U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance and Literary Reading: 2002–2017

The number of adults in the US reading novels and short stories has hit a new low, with the decline of almost 8% in the last five years seen mainly among women, African Americans, and younger adults, according to a major new survey. Run in conjunction with the US Census Bureau at regular intervals since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts surveyed almost 30,000 adults. It found good news for poetry, with 11.7% of adults saying they had read poetry last year, an increase of 76%—equivalent to 28 million people—from 2012....

The Guardian (UK), Sept. 17
Dewey Decibel podcast

Reclaiming reference

Sari Feldman

Sari Feldman writes: “Where is reference headed, and how is it being practiced in 2018? I asked some of my colleagues, and I heard a fairly consistent message: With so much information available online today, the value librarians add comes through their connection to the community. John Szabo, city librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library, said his library is capitalizing on the ‘reference reimagined or reinterpreted’ theme. He is focusing on putting librarians in a better position to interact with customers.”...

Publishers Weekly, Sept. 14

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Jonathan Dolce writes: “Let’s celebrate! National Hispanic Heritage Month comes every year, from September 15 to October 15. National Hispanic Heritage Month is about bringing everyone together to recognize everything that Hispanic Americans have brought to American culture. The Library of Congress has a page complete with its own calendar that you can adapt to your own programming. The Smithsonian Latino Center has a wonderful page, where you can take your youngest patrons on a virtual field trip.”...

ALSC Blog, Sept. 18
Latest Library Links

Librarians must weed

Overflowing books

Sarah Ullery writes: “Like a gardener, librarians must also weed. Our crabgrass might be forgotten celebrity biographies; sow thistle could be outdated technology manuals; purslane, books that haven’t been checked out in three years; poison ivy, the multiple copies of a single book that had its 15 minutes of fame; prickly lettuce might be old books that have been treated like classics. If a gardener does not pluck out an invasive weed, the entire garden could be smothered. The same goes for a library.”...

Book Riot, Sept. 17

More museums are digitizing their fossil collections

Once digitized, information about a fossil is available worldwide, while the specimen itself remains available to visiting researchers to make crucial observations or measurements. Photo by Deniz Durmis, contract photographer for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, used CC BY-NC-SA

Charles Marshall writes: “The great museums of the world harbor a secret: They’re home to millions upon millions of natural history specimens that almost never see the light of day. But now museums are collaborating to digitally bring together their data from key parts of the fossil record. The University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley is one of 10 museums aggregating their fossil data. The Integrated Digitized Biocollections site hosts all the major museum digitization efforts in the US.”...

The Conversation, Sept. 17; Science, May 13, 2016

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