Anti-LGTBQ groups step up protests.

American Library Association • September 21, 2018
University of Denver

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Drag storytimes bring fierceness and fierce opposition

Khole Kash reads Stella Brings the Family at Mobile (Ala.) Public Library on September 8

Greg Landgraf writes: “Drag queen story hours have gained popularity in libraries in recent years, blending literary realness, strong queer role models, and positive exploration of differences. But while queens have proven their ability to turn the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Many programs held in libraries still draw protests, as organized opposition groups insist that these storytimes aren’t appropriate for children.”...

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 20

ALA is accepting scholarship applications

ALA Scholarship program

If you need financial assistance to get through your graduate program, scholarship funds are now available. ALA has more than $300,000 available to students who are studying in library science or school library media programs at the master’s degree level. The deadline to apply is March 7. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $7,000 per student per year. They include scholarships for students who are interested in children’s, youth, and federal librarianship, as well as new media and library automation. Scholarships are available for minorities, persons with disabilities, and people who are already employed in libraries but do not have an MLS....

Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, Sept. 18

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Empower students to gain an objective understanding about climate change and the ongoing crisis of ozone layer depletion. Digitized content from ProQuest, including videos, case studies, ebooks, newspapers, and more provide critical information and analysis to support evidenced-based research within this controversial subject area.

Read a blog post about why the ozone layer matters. And request complimentary trials of multimedia resources that inspire research and learning, including new Environmental Issues Online.

Police investigate alleged overtime scam at Boston PL

Former Boston Public Library custodian Calogero Russo and his mother Joanne discuss his termination from the library, which they say was unfair. Photo by Chris Burrell

Custodians at the Boston Public Library have routinely been paid for overtime hours they did not work, according to a library janitor who said he was terminated in July for leaving work early. Calogero Russo (right) told the New England Center for Investigative Reporting his firing has triggered a police investigation into the library’s overtime practices and the suspension of three of its senior managers. An official from the Boston Police Department acknowledged that there is an ongoing investigation at the library but would not disclose the subject....

WGBH-TV, Boston, Sept. 21

Toronto Public Library hires its first social worker

Rahma Hashi

In response to the rise in homeless people using its branches, the Toronto Public Library has hired Rahma Hashi (right), its first full-time social worker to deal with homelessness, a move that could be copied by big-city libraries across Canada. The social worker will help raise awareness among branch librarians on how to deal respectfully with vulnerable people who may suffer from mental health issues and addiction, as well as homelessness. Also, starting this fall, a librarian will serve two city-run homeless shelters....

Toronto Star, Sept. 19; Toronto PL Foundation YouTube channel, Sept. 12
Latest Library Links

Academic freedom and librarians: A natural fit

UC-AFT librarians

Barbara Fister writes: “People don’t know what librarians do for a living, but they think they know. This may be partly why, when librarians assert they should have academic freedom, people look puzzled. Why would you need that? UC librarians represented by UC-AFT began to realize their assumption that academic freedom applied to them was not spelled out explicitly, so they added language to a contract they are negotiating, expecting it to be non-controversial. If you are with the librarians on this, you might want to join the nearly 1,300 people who have signed a petition of support.”...

Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, Sept. 17; Journal of Academic Freedom 8 (2017); UC-AFT Librarians Blog

Kavanaugh’s stance on privacy, net neutrality

Brett Kavanaugh

Lisa Hoover writes: “Like a good portion of the country, I have been doing my best to catch bits and pieces of the Senate hearings regarding the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh (right), President Trump’s nominee to the US Supreme Court. When I sat down to write this blog post I wondered, what impact might Kavanaugh’s confirmation have on intellectual freedom issues? I’d like to share with you a summary of some cases that may shed light on Kavanaugh’s views. I’ll leave you to your own opinion on these cases and what they might mean for the future.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Sept. 18
ALA news

Trailer for documentary on public libraries

Screenshot from Free for All trailer

Free for All is a multi-platform documentary project exploring the history, spirit, and challenges of the free public library. With public libraries around the nation facing drastic budget cuts and even closures, Free for All investigates why so many Americans love their libraries and assesses the high stakes for democracy if public libraries become extinct. Set to premiere in 2019, the film seeks to inspire, entertain, and spark dialogue and engagement as communities debate the future of their public libraries. Watch the trailer (2:25)....

Serendipity Films; Vimeo, July

Long-lost Galileo letter rediscovered

The original letter in which Galileo argued against the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church has been rediscovered in London. Photo by the Royal Society

The original letter—long thought lost—in which Galileo Galilei first set down his arguments against the church’s doctrine that the Sun orbits the Earth was rediscovered in August at the Royal Society Library in London. Its unearthing and analysis expose critical new details about the saga that led to the astronomer’s condemnation for heresy in 1633. The seven-page letter, written to a friend on December 21, 1613, and signed “G.G.,” provides the strongest evidence yet that Galileo actively engaged in damage control and tried to spread a toned-down version of his claims....

Nature, Sept. 21
Dewey Decibel podcast

Literacy gender gap in US begins in 4th grade

Cover of American Psychologist

As early as the 4th grade, girls perform better than boys on standardized tests in reading and writing, and as they get older that achievement gap widens even more, according to research published in the American Psychologist. David Reilly, a doctoral student at Griffith University, and his colleagues analyzed information from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a nationally representative data sample of standardized test scores from more than 3.4 million students in the 4th, 8th, and 12th grades in the US over a span of 27 years....

ScienceDaily, Sept. 20; American Psychologist, Sept. 20

African science fiction and fantasy have always been here

Cover of Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor

Tade Thompson writes: “In 2009 there was a confluence of events in the science fiction and fantasy (SFF) landscape. Racial and cultural tensions within the genre came to a head in what is internally referred to as RaceFail ’09—a series of blog posts, responses, comments, and counter-comments about the representation of people of color in SFF. This conspired to bring us the Black Panther movie, but it’s not the first African narrative to feature a hidden, technologically advanced city (that honor probably belongs to Golden Gods [1934] by George Schuyler). Here are a few more a few examples that show African SFF across the ages.”...

Literary Hub, Sept. 19; Fanlore

Diversity in graphic novels

Diverse graphic novels

Laura M. Jiménez writes: “This summer, members of the National Council of Teachers of English highlighted the need for more diversity in graphic novels. We’ve compiled a list of resources to check out. You will find some overlap between the titles, but we’ve tried to find lists that offer characters, authors, and illustrators from many places, with varied backgrounds, identities, and abilities. We’ve also added some research and additional reading on diversity and representation in graphic novels.”...

NCTE Blog, Aug. 28

Top 10 titles in romance fiction, 2018

Cover of To Have and to Harley, by Regina Cole

Donna Seaman writes: “The 10 most exciting and outstanding romances reviewed in Booklist from September 15, 2017, to September 1, 2018, deliver clever new variations on classic themes, including women taking charge and sensitive inquiries into social injustice. And there’s a motorcycle gang boss posing as a wedding planner in To Have and to Harley, by Regina Cole: In a delightfully hilarious twist on the bad-biker-boy character, Cole tells the story of biker gang boss Trey, who finally meets his birth mother and, in a panic, claims to be a wedding planner, thus launching the thoroughly enjoyable start to Cole’s Bikers and Brides series.”...

Booklist Online, Sept. 15

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