ALA joins amicus in Supreme Court census case.

American Library Association • April 2, 2019

For daily ALA and library news, check the American Libraries website or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Pinterest icon YouTube icon RSS icon

ALA joins groups opposing census citizenship question

From left: ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo; Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby; and Annie E. Casey Foundation President and CEO Lisa Hamilton at the US Census Bureau’s Census Day press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., April 1

On April 1, ALA joined an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court opposing the last-minute addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 US Census. ALA joined the American Statistical Association, American Sociological Association, and the Population Association of America in support of the plaintiffs in Department of Commerce v. New York. The case was appealed directly to the Supreme Court after a federal district court ruled for the plaintiffs and ordered the Commerce Department to remove the question. Arguments in the case will be heard April 23, and the Supreme Court is expected to rule before June, when census forms are scheduled to go to press....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 2; Brennan Center for Justice, Jan. 15

April 2 is International Fact-Checking Day

Angie Drobnic Holan, editor of the fact-checking site PolitiFact

In most of the world, April 1 is a day for fools. April 2 is a day for facts. Today is International Fact-Checking Day, and the Poynter Institute’s International Fact-Checking Network will once again coordinate activities that empower global citizens of all ages to sort fact from fiction. The hub for International Fact-Checking Day activities is While fact-checkers can fine-tune their skills with tip sheets and students can take a “Guess the Fake” quiz, is particularly geared toward educators. Teachers can download a lesson plan in four languages and connect with fact-checkers through the new, interactive EduCheckMap....

Poynter, Apr. 2

Charity promotion benefits Freedom to Read Foundation

Cover of Python Playground

No Starch Press, an independent tech publishing company, has partnered with Humble Bundle to launch a Coder’s Bookshelf promotion to benefit the Freedom to Read Foundation. The bookshelf features the ebooks The Rust Programming Language, The Principles of Object-Oriented JavaScript, Python Playground, and more. The Coder’s Bookshelf will be available for purchase until April 8. Humble Bundle promotions allow customers to choose how much of their purchase goes to the content creators, Humble Bundle, and the charity. The Freedom to Read Foundation was selected as the charitable nonprofit to benefit from this promotion....

Freedom to Read Foundation, Mar. 28
National Poetry Month

Evangelical Catholic priests burn books in Poland

Books and other items prior to burning in Koszalin, Poland

Catholic priests in Poland burned books that they say promote sorcery, including one of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, in a March 31 ceremony they photographed. Three priests in the northern city of Koszalin were pictured carrying the books in a large basket from inside a church to a stone area outside. The books were set alight as prayers were said and a small group of people watched on. The Catholic evangelical foundation SMS from Heaven posted the photographs to its Facebook page. A mask, various trinkets, and a Hello Kitty umbrella were also visible in the pictures of the makeshift bonfire....

The Guardian (UK), Apr. 1

South African Library for the Blind celebrates 100 years

South African Library for the Blind, Grahamstown

The South African Library for the Blind (the only library serving blind persons in southern Africa) celebrated 100 years in operation in Grahamstown on March 28. The day kicked off with a launch of its book South African Library for the Blind: A Diary of the Library. The book is the library’s first publication and seeks to celebrate the history of the library since its inception.┬áThe library was founded during the height of the 1918 global influenza pandemic by a local nurse, Josephine (Josie) Wood, who established a small library in a little room in her house in 1919....

South Africa Department of Arts and Culture, Pretoria, Mar. 29

LC to enhance its Thomas Jefferson building

A rendering of the proposed oculus looking into the Library of Congress main reading room

The Library of Congress is preparing a massive overhaul of its Thomas Jefferson Building, funded through a private-public partnership that aims to “transform the visitor experience” of the library and highlight treasures from the massive collection. Librarian of Congress Carla D. Hayden unveiled renderings of the proposed changes to lawmakers in March, along with a progress report on funding efforts. The project includes an “enhanced orientation experience” to welcome visitors to the library and a youth center. Plans include adding an oculus, or a large domed window, to allow visitors to gaze up into the opulent main reading room without disturbing research....

Roll Call, Apr. 1

The Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection

While most interlocking puzzles are small enough to be held in the hands, some can be quite large. For example, this Wooden Robot Puzzle is around three feet tall.

Andrew Rhoda writes: “The Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection at Indiana University’s Lilly Library is a collection of puzzles designed by the world’s most innovative designers of fascinating and confounding objects. The collection is the only one in the world available to the public. Mechanical puzzles are different from crosswords or jigsaw puzzles. Some examples of well-known mechanical puzzles are the Rubik’s Cube, the tangram, and the 15-puzzle. Puzzle donor and historian Jerry Slocum developed a system of categorization for mechanical puzzles that includes 10 categories, defined by what needs to be done to the puzzle to solve it.”...

Indiana State Library blog, Mar. 25
Latest Library Links

Two ways to choose books for picky readers

A picky reader

Belinda Moore writes: “It’s a harrowing task for parents, teachers, and librarians the world over: trying to find the right book for a child who isn’t invested in reading. Some parts of the process are difficult because you’re on a mission to find something that will spark interest in the reader. Other times it can be challenging for different reasons. Here are two methods that have helped resistant readers to show an interest in not only the book of the day, but reading in general. I hope that one of them sparks an idea for something that you can try with your readers.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 31

Edible book festivals

The Communist Antipasto, by Ricky Brown, was the Eye Candy and People’s Choice winner in the 2019 UC Berkeley Edible Food Festival

Anne Ewbank writes: “This year, dozens of libraries, universities, and book art centers are providing a space for voracious readers to show off their literary knowledge, culinary skills, and pun-making chops. The medium is food, and participants construct edible displays based on literary works. Some are gloriously decorated cakes that wouldn’t be out of place on a baking show. Others are less appetizing, and more focused on clever wordplay. Both are welcome at the UC Berkeley Library Edible Book Festival, organized by Susan Powell, a map and geospatial data librarian who encountered an Edible Book Festival as a graduate student at Indiana University.”...

Atlas Obscura, Mar. 20
Dewey Decibel podcast

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book optioned for TV

The Library Book, by Susan Orlean

Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, in association with Brillstein Entertainment, have acquired the TV rights to Susan Orlean’s bestseller The Library Book. The book tells the true story of the fire that nearly destroyed Los Angeles Public Library on April 28, 1986. The fire burned for more than seven hours, consuming 400,000 books and damaging 700,000 more. More than 30 years later, the mystery surrounding how the fire began remains. Orlean will adapt the book for television along with James Ponsoldt, with both serving as executive producers as well. Ponsoldt will also direct the pilot....

Variety, Apr. 1; American Libraries Newsmaker, Sept./Oct. 2018

Springer Nature publishes machine-generated book

Cover of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Springer Nature has published its first machine-generated book. The book prototype provides an overview of the latest research in the growing field of lithium-ion batteries. The content is a summary of current research articles in this discipline. The publisher and researchers from Goethe University Frankfurt developed an algorithm, nicknamed Beta Writer, to select and process relevant publications. Springer Nature plans to expand this pilot project by developing prototypes for content from other subject areas....

Springer Nature, Apr. 2
ALA news

How to run old games on a new PC

Run compatibility mode

Eric Ravenscraft writes: “You can play new games on your old computer, but what if you want to play older games on your current gaming PC? The older a Windows game is, the less likely it’s going to work. Operating systems change and specs become outdated. Modern 64-bit versions of Windows don’t support applications designed for older 16-bit versions like Windows 95/98. Older versions of Windows ran on top of DOS, but that hasn’t been the case since Windows XP. There are a few common options you can try to get an old game working again. These tricks should help you run many retro games designed for aging OSes, from DOS to Windows XP.”...

PC Magazine, Apr. 1; Mar. 12, Oct. 5, 2018

AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Tuesday and Friday to personal members of the American Library Association.

Editor, AL Direct: George M. Eberhart,

Send news and feedback:

Direct ad inquiries to: Michael Stack,

AL Direct FAQ:

All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site.


AL Direct will not sell your email to outside parties, but your email may be shared with advertisers in this newsletter should you express interest in their products by clicking on their ads or content. If the advertisers choose to communicate with you by email, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future emails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation of 2018. Read the ALA privacy policy.

American Libraries
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext. 4216

ISSN 1559-369X

ALA Publishing