Sign up to get voter registration resources.

American Library Association • August 23, 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

Partner with National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day logo

ALA, a premier partner of National Voter Registration Day, encourages libraries to sign up to observe the unofficial holiday on September 24. Libraries that sign up by September 12 will receive a toolkit of free promotional materials: posters and stickers, and opportunities for training. National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan, unofficial holiday celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of September. US libraries provide voter registration forms and information about voting, as well as offer computers that patrons can use to register to vote, update their registrations, or research information about the candidates and the issues....

Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Aug. 23

World War I poster exhibition opportunity

Swearing-in ceremony, New York Recruiting Office, August 17, 1918. From the collection of Marine Corps Women’s Marine Reserve (COLL/981), Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections

The Smithsonian Institution is offering a free poster exhibition to libraries. “World War I: Lessons and Legacies” is available while supplies last. Request your posters now. The opportunity is available to all types of libraries (public, school, academic, and special). The deadline for requests is September 13. Participating libraries will receive, free of charge: a collection of eight 18-by-26-inch posters, digital educators guide with discussion questions and resources that align to national teaching standards, and a detailed poster handbook and user guide with display instructions and promotional resources....

Programming Librarian, Aug. 21

University of Chicago acquires 2,700 Vivian Maier photos

Vivian Maier photos donated to the University of Chicago Library. Unpublished work © 2017 The Estate of Vivian Maier. All rights reserved

The University of Chicago Library has received more than 2,700 vintage prints by celebrated photographer Vivian Maier, few of which have ever been published or displayed. Collector John Maloof made the donation to the library, where they will be preserved and made accessible to researchers in the Special Collections Research Center. The gift includes more than 1,200 black-and-white and 1,400 color prints that Maier made, ranging from her travels around the world to her street photography in Chicago that has received widespread critical acclaim....

University of Chicago News, Aug. 22

Waukegan Public Library unveils Ray Bradbury statue

A statute honoring Ray Bradbury was unveiled outside the Waukegan Public Library just after sunset on August 22, the 99th anniversary of the late author’s birth. Photo by Dan Moran / Lake County News-Sun

A 12-foot-tall statue of Ray Bradbury astride a rocket ship was unveiled August 22 (the author’s birthday) outside the Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library and honors “a literary icon and a beloved Waukeganite who gifted us his ever-expanding universe of imagination, intellect, and optimism for our future,” sculptor Zachary Oxman said. The dedication was the culmination of a years-long effort that began a little more than five years ago over lunch, said Richard Lee, WPL’s former executive director and a cochair of the committee that led the statue’s fundraising effort. The statue tells the story of a man “beaming with unbridled imagination, curiosity, and surprise,” Oxman said....

Lake County (Ill.) News-Sun, Aug. 23
ALA news

Indianapolis Public Library book bike offers free books

Josh Crain with Indianapolis Public Library’s free books bike. Screenshot from video

Josh Crain (right) stood outside a food bank drop outside an Indianapolis church, but he wasn’t dropping off food. Next to him was a road bike and a bike trailer bearing a sign: “Free books.” The trailer’s shelves display some 20 books, and the bike carries an extra 100 books in boxes beneath the display, most of them donated or deaccessioned. Crain, the manager of the Indianapolis Public Library’s Decatur branch, makes recommendations to people who stop by. The bike goes to many events, ranging from food bank drops to major conventions downtown, a few times a month from May to October. Anyone who visits the bike can take free books home to keep....

Indianapolis Star, Aug. 23

Banned Books Week ideas for libraries serving teens

Censorship leaves us in the dark; keep the light on

Jamie M. Gregory writes: “‘Censorship leaves us in the dark. Keep the light on.’ This is ALA’s theme for Banned Books Week, September 22–28. Banned Books Week is my favorite annual celebration in the library because it offers so many learning opportunities to students, most importantly by opening the door to discussion about intellectual freedom and its role in a democratic, open society. Different types of censorship create different types of darkness in our society. This year, try out the following topics and activities for teens to consider.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Aug. 21

The Great Book Scare, 1880–1920

The original Omaha Public Library, built in 1891

Joseph Hayes writes: “On September 12, 1895, a Nebraskan named Jessie Allan died of tuberculosis. Such deaths were a common occurrence at the turn of the 20th century, but Allan’s case of consumption reportedly came from an unusual source. She was director of the Omaha Public Library (right), and thanks to a common fear of the time, people worried that Allan’s terminal illness may have come from a book. Allan’s death occurred during what is sometimes called the ‘great book scare.’ This scare, now mostly forgotten, was a frantic panic, roughly in 1880–1920, that contaminated books—particularly ones lent out from libraries—could spread deadly diseases.”...

Smithsonian, Aug. 23

Books and libraries in Benin

Ayaba Totin holds a typical delivery from Ayaba’s Box of Books. Photo by Joy Notoma

For Ayaba Totin (right), a bibliophile who ran a book review blog in France for three years before moving to the West African country of Benin, books that feature Africans and the African diaspora have always been an essential part of maintaining self-esteem. The only problem is that in Benin there are only a few options for getting books. There are three main public libraries in Benin: a national library in the capital of Porto Novo, a library at the French Institute in Cotonou, and one at the US Embassy. So Totin created Ayaba’s Box of Books, a membership program where people pay an annual fee for a monthly selection of books written by black writers, delivered to their home....

Medium: Zora, Aug. 22
Latest Library Links

E-readers for borrowing library ebooks

Kobo e-reader for reading library ebooks

Michael Kozlowski writes: “In Canada and the United States the vast majority of public libraries have an ebook collection. OverDrive stated that it powers 95% of all libraries; a number of smaller companies are involved in this field as well, such as Hoopla and Bibliotheca. Several e-readers have the functionality to deliver ebooks right from the library and read them. Today we look at the best ones.”...

Good e-Reader, Aug. 22

The best mobile hotspots for 2019

Nighthawk LTE mobile hotspot router (AT&T)

Alex Colon and Sascha Segan write: “4G LTE networks are better than ever, and with 5G on the horizon, wireless web surfing can be faster than your home Wi-Fi connection. While most modern smartphones have a hotspot mode for occasional use, cellular modems and Wi-Fi hotspots are your best and most flexible option if you have many devices you want to share web access with. Here’s what you need to know to pick the right service and hardware, along with the top-rated hotspots we’ve tested, and even an international option.”...

PC Magazine, Aug. 22
Dewey Decibel podcast

Backpacks vs. shoulder bags

Backpacks vs. shoulder bags

Joshua Goldman writes: “People have strong opinions about laptop bags. I’m used to battles with things like Mac versus Windows or PC gaming versus console. But backpacks versus shoulder or messenger bags? ‘The only acceptable way to wear a backpack is one-strapping it,’ said CNET Senior Managing Editor Dan Ackerman. ‘Backpacks are better for your back health if you’re a commuter,’ said Senior Editor Bridget Carey. Others were willing to split the difference and say shoulder bags are better for work and backpacks are for travel. The only common ground was that there is a special place in hell for people who refuse to take off their backpacks on a crowded subway.”...

CNET, Aug. 23

The 10 most awesome librarians in pop culture

Love Händel's Swampy

Matthew Wood writes: “Librarians are information scientists, researchers, teachers, crusaders. Also, book nerds, but that’s not the story’s end! A Master of Library and Information Science is what makes someone a librarian. As Doctor Who’s Alice Obiefune was fond of reminding The Doctor, without the MLS you’re a library assistant. Here are the librarians as adventurers, fighters, crusaders, weirdos. The people who assist heroes, chronicle truths, and otherwise improve the world. Next time you check out a book, understand that the brilliant mind on the counter’s other side could be one of these.”...

Comic Book Resources, Aug. 22

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