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American Library Association • April 30, 2019
Tolkien screening

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Librarians defeating ALS

On My Mind, by Dane Ward

Dane Ward writes: “May is ALS Awareness Month, and librarians are well positioned to make a difference in the fight against this disease. I should know—I am dean of libraries at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and I have ALS. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—is a motor neuron disorder characterized by progressive weakening of muscles, often beginning in the legs or arms. More than 5,000 people in the US are diagnosed with ALS each year, and about 20,000 have it at any given time. After diagnosis, most patients die within two to five years. There is no known cause and no cure.”...

American Libraries column, Apr. 29; ALS Association

Amber Clark’s husband pushes for library security

Kelly Clark, screenshot from KXTV broadcast

It’s been nearly five months since Amber Clark was shot and killed December 11, 2018, outside Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library’s North Natomas branch. According to police officials, the 41-year-old librarian was targeted in the fatal parking lot shooting. Her husband Kelly Clark (right) describes his wife as a fierce advocate for literacy with a lifelong love for learning. “I would really like for the library staff who are concerned with their safety to make their concerns known,” Clark said. In a recent op-ed in American Libraries, Clark wrote about the need for libraries to make a stronger push for stricter safety measures....

KXTV, Sacramento, Calif., Apr. 29; Dec. 12, 2018; ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Dec. 21, 2018; American Libraries column, Apr. 23

Help YALSA name a new teen month

Teens Spot, Hoover (Ala.) Public Library

This year, YALSA’s Teen Read Week and Teen Tech Week will be dissolving to form a month-long celebration of teen programming and teen services in libraries across the country. This new celebration will include displays, passive activities, and programming that will fit public libraries and school libraries. YALSA is asking both teens and librarians for their feedback on the celebration. To submit your celebration name, post your idea on social media using #yalsaname or fill out the submission form by May 31. The winner will receive prizes and recognition....

YALSA Blog, Apr. 29

Books for Choose Privacy Week, May 1–7

Privacy fiction for Choose Privacy Week

Danielle Jones writes: “Privacy, a cornerstone of library service, is something that teens can often take for granted, especially online. Choose Privacy Week takes place May 1–7 and is a time when we can highlight privacy’s importance in our lives. Teens should understand that privacy is a civil right, and user agreements and data collection are edging on their rights. Here is a list of books and resources that will engage teens in discussion or contemplation of what protecting their privacy can mean for them.”...

YALSA The Hub, Apr. 29
ALA news

Dewey Decibel: AI in academic libraries

Dewey Decibel episode on AI in academic libraries

Artificial intelligence is everywhere: from virtual assistants in smartphones and self-driving cars to data-crunching machine learning programs, AI is changing how we live and work. And libraries across the country are implementing this growing technology. In Episode 37, Dewey Decibel explores how two academic libraries use AI to reach students and advance research. Featured guests are Nicole Coleman, digital research architect at Stanford University Libraries, and Bohyun Kim, chief technology officer at University of Rhode Island Libraries....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 30

Game of Thrones fans flock to see dagger at Texas A&M

Catspaw Blade from Game of Thrones, Cushing Memorial Library

The April 28 episode of Game of Thrones was huge. So much so, it has fans flocking to see a particular piece of memorabilia in Texas. The “Catspaw Blade” dagger (of Valyrian steel), on display at the Cushing Memorial Library at Texas A&M University, played a pivotal role in Sunday’s epic battle. How it ended up at College Station is an interesting story. Author George R. R. Martin started visiting Texas A&M in the 1970s for AggieCon, an annual science fiction festival. Since then, Martin’s personal collection housed at the library has grown to more than 50,000 pieces, including the dagger....

KBTX-TV, Bryan, Tex., Apr. 29; Mashable, Apr. 30; American Libraries Bookend, Mar./Apr.

Book selection is not a politician’s job

Cover of first edition of Huckleberry Finn

Kate Lechtenberg writes: “Two state lawmakers in New Jersey are ‘encouraging school districts to remove The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the school curriculum’ because of the book’s repeated use of the n-word and its roots in racist perspectives and history. Politico published the draft nonbinding concurrent resolution, and press coverage reiterates that the resolution still leaves decisions about book selection up to each individual school district. As I read the draft resolution, I was struck by the formality of the wording. My own response, ‘A Personal Resolution on Canonical Texts Rooted in Racist History and Language,’ began forming.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Apr. 30; Politico, Mar. 21

Read dangerously for FTRF’s 50th anniversary

Cover of Reading Dangerously

The Freedom to Read Foundation is producing a commemorative book, Reading Dangerously, to highlight 50 years of advocacy, education, and litigation through essays, oral histories, images, and book excerpts. The book will feature a foreword by author Neil Gaiman and an essay by former FTRF Director James LaRue that looks forward to the foundation’s next 50 years. To support its publication, FTRF launched a Kickstarter campaign that offers exclusive rewards. Supporters can help the project by purchasing a copy of Reading Dangerously, exclusive merchandise, or by making donations and pledges on the foundation’s campaign page....

Freedom to Read Foundation, Apr. 29
Latest Library Links

White nationalists target bookstores and library

White nationalist protest at Politics and Prose bookstore

When a group of self-avowed white nationalists interrupted an author chat April 27 at Washington, D.C., bookstore Politics and Prose with a megaphone and chants of “This land is our land,” workers were surprised—but not unprepared. The bookstore began training employees earlier in 2019 to respond to flash protests, co-owner Bradley Graham said. Bookstores, libraries, and book fairs have become frequent targets of white nationalist groups, who have interrupted author talks, children’s reading hours (one at the Alvar branch of the New Orleans Public Library, where protesters dressed up as clowns), and threatened to burn down Revolution Books in Berkeley, California....

Washington Post, Apr. 29

When ignorance is purposefully manufactured

Russia Today poster: Is climate change more science fiction than science fact?

danah boyd writes: “Epistemology is the term that describes how we know what we know. Ignorance is often assumed to be not-yet-knowledgeable. But what if ignorance is strategically manufactured? What if the tools of knowledge production are perverted to enable ignorance? What’s at stake right now is not simply about hate speech vs. free speech or the role of state-sponsored bots in political activity. It’s much more basic. It’s about purposefully and intentionally seeding doubt to fragment society. To fragment epistemologies. This is a tactic that was well honed by propagandists. But what’s most profound is how it’s being done en masse now.”...

Data and Society: Points, Apr. 26
Dewey Decibel podcast

Grave of first San Luis Obispo librarian honored

Frances Margaret Milne

More than a century after her death, the first city librarian of San Luis Obispo, California, was honored on April 27 with the placement of a headstone. Since her death in 1910, the burial site of Frances Margaret Milne (right) has remained unmarked at the San Luis Obispo Cemetery. The stone features an open book and a line from one of her poems that reads: “Love shall prove her triumph true.” Historians believe Milne’s grave was never marked because she was too humble to ever desire recognition. Milne, who immigrated to the US from Ireland in 1849 at the age of 3, was also a suffragist who fought tirelessly for equal rights....

KSBY-TV, San Luis Obispo, Calif., Apr. 28

LC puts classic children’s books online

Cover of Gobolinks or Shadow-pictures for Young and Old, by Ruth McEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine, 1896

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week (April 29–May 5), the Library of Congress on April 29 launched an online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. Drawn from the LC collection, Children’s Book Selections are digital versions both of classic works still read by children today and of lesser-known treasures. From Humpty Dumpty to Little Red Riding Hood, the books in this collection were published in the US and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and are free to share....

Library of Congress, Apr. 29; Publishers Weekly, Feb. 12

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