The 2019 World Library and Information Congress in Athens.

American Library Association • August 27, 2019

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IFLA in Athens: Dialogue for change

Dancers perform at the Opening Session of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions World Library and Information Congress in Athens August 25. Screenshot of opening session livestream

Robin Kear writes: “Athens, Greece, welcomed 3,636 delegates from 140 countries to the 85th International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ World Library and Information Congress Opening Session August 25. This year’s theme is ‘Libraries: Dialogue for Change.’ Sofia Zacharaki, a Deputy Minister for Education and Religious Affairs with responsibility for primary, secondary, and special education, welcomed delegates on behalf of the Greek government, and University of Athens Professor Loukas Tsoukalis gave the keynote address.” The congress also included sessions on AI and data mining and smart cities and blockchain technology....

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 26; IFLA YouTube channel, Aug. 25

2019 IFLA Systematic Public Library of the Year

Interior of Helsinki Central Library Oodi

On August 27, Helsinki Central Library Oodi in Finland was chosen as the winner of the 2019 IFLA Systematic Public Library of the Year award at the World Library and Information Congress in Athens, Greece. The annual award is presented to a public library that is either newly built or set up in premises not previously used for library purposes. The three other libraries that made it to the shortlist were Green Square Library and Plaza in Sydney, Australia; Bibliotheek LocHal in Tilburg, Netherlands; and the Tūranga branch of the Christchurch Central Library, New Zealand. The award’s sponsor, IT company Systematic, awarded US$5,000 to Oodi....

Helsinki Central Library Oodi, Aug. 27; IFLA Public Libraries Section Blog, May 27

Wellness for library workers

8 Elements of Wellness, from the ALA-APA workplace wellness website

ALA Past President Loida Garcia-Febo writes: “During my National Library Tour, I met many dedicated library workers experiencing stress and anxiety brought on by daily life and by interactions with library patrons and coworkers. I knew I had to do something to help. Based on those conversations and other collaborations, I worked with ALA and ALA–Allied Professional Association staff members and my Presidential Advisory Board to develop wellness resources to help library workers manage stress and anxiety. I hope you are inspired to review and adapt them to the needs of library workers in your city, region, and country.”...

IFLA Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning Section Blog, Aug. 26

School board sends clear message rejecting book bans

Cover of Beloved

The Marion County (Fla.) School Board in late August sent a strong signal about intellectual inquiry and the educational value of controversial literary works by rejecting requests to remove certain books from library shelves at high and middle schools. The board’s 4–1 vote supporting Superintendent Heidi Maier’s judgment issues a clear message that book banning is a serious matter. It’s Your Tea Party Florida and the Florida Citizens’ Alliance advocated removing nine books from school libraries, mostly for sexual content, among them Anthony Burgess’s Clockwork Orange, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes....

Ocala (Fla.) Star-Banner, Feb. 26, Aug. 21, 25
ALA news

History of comics censorship

In Binghamton, New York, students at St. Patrick’s parochial school collected 2,000 “objectionable” comic books in a house-to-house canvass and burned them in the school yard. Time, Dec. 20, 1948

Censorship arising from moral panic is a constant presence in the history of comics. From the 1930s to the present, comics have been stigmatized as low-value speech. Moral crusaders asserted that comics corrupted youth, hurt their ability to read and appreciate art, and even made them delinquents. In the 1940s, comic book burnings took place in the US, even as GIs were returning home from seeing the same activities in Germany. Although comics were associated primarily with juvenile readers, a full 25% of the printed materials going to military PXs in World War II were comics. The Association of Comics Magazine Publishers formed in 1948 to help curb this public criticism....

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Aug. 23

Where San Francisco’s heart beats the loudest

Alice Chan

Amy Graff writes: “When Alice Chan (right) immigrated to San Francisco from Hong Kong in 1989, she was 11 years old. And she very quickly found there was only one place in the city that made her feel at home: the library. Now, 30 years later, Chan is employed at ‘her place’—she works at the city’s main branch, managing the entire third floor with a collection of a half-million books, many of them in Chinese. She has worked at all 27 branches of the San Francisco Public Library over the past 21 years. A conversation with her reveals that while the city’s libraries are quiet spaces, they may be where the city’s heart beats the loudest.”...

San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 26

How my Outlander binge inspired a plan to get teens to read

Outlander promotion on Starz

Karin Greenberg writes: “While flipping through Netflix titles with my husband one Saturday night, I came across Outlander. I had recently bought the paperback but hadn’t read it yet, and I insisted we give it a try. I was immediately hooked, and binge watched all four seasons within the next two weeks. I finally understood the Netflix obsession that so many of my high school students share. Realizing what a strong force we’re dealing with, I was determined to find a way to capitalize on this in terms of reading motivation. This is where we, as librarians, can take advantage of the Netflix mania.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Aug. 27
Latest Library Links

On a collision course with libraries

Macmillan CEO John Sargent at a Manhattan Book Buzz

Terry Ballard writes: “Macmillan Publishers CEO John Sargent appeared at a Book Buzz session in Manhattan to discuss the publisher’s recent decision, shared via letter, to place an embargo on multiple-copy ebook sales to libraries in the case of high-demand titles. Macmillan worked with libraries of all sizes for a year to solve the problem of libraries being so generous that they are killing sales for publishers and authors. The cooperating libraries seemed fine with the policy, so Macmillan executives were surprised at the ferocity with which it was greeted by other public libraries. ALA President Wanda Brown released a strongly worded message urging all libraries to express their displeasure to Macmillan.”...

Information Today: NewsBreaks, Aug. 27; ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, July 25, Aug. 23

Publishers file lawsuit over Audible’s captioning feature

Audible Captions display of text from David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens

Nate Hoffelder writes: “When detractors complained after Audible launched Audible Captions in July, I asked myself how anyone could know that this feature infringed on copyrights when no one had seen it yet or knew how it worked. Audible Captions is a new feature that uses machine-learning to convert the audio in an audiobook into text. That text is shown a few words at a time to readers. On August 23 the Association of American Publishers announced that it was filing suit against Audible and Amazon, alleging it is ‘an effort to seek commercial advantage from literary works that it did not create and does not own.’ There are several problems with this case.”...

The Digital Reader, July 17, Aug. 23; Audible YouTube channel, July 15

Listening or reading? It doesn’t matter to our brains

These color-coded maps of the brain show the semantic similarities during listening (top) and reading (bottom). Photo by Fatma Deniz

Jennifer Walter writes: “New evidence suggests that, to our brains, reading and hearing a story on an audiobook might not be so different. In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley scanned the brains of nine participants while they read and listened to a series of tales from ‘The Moth Radio Hour.’ After analyzing how each word was processed in the cortex, they created brain maps, noting the different areas that helped interpret the meaning of each word. The stories stimulated the same cognitive and emotional areas, regardless of the medium.”...

Discover: D-brief, Aug. 22; Journal of Neuroscience, Aug. 19
Dewey Decibel podcast

Collaborating on flipped library sessions

Librarian/faculty collaboration

Nicole Webber and Stephanie Wiegand write: “A common practice at many universities involves course faculty inviting librarians into their classrooms to teach research and information literacy skills customized to disciplinary or course needs. Library instruction varies in format but often manifests in the librarian teaching a single, isolated class session, which can be constraining. Flipped learning methods can help counter this challenge even when the overall course is not based on a flipped model. Here we offer eight best practices for those who are interested in exploring flipped methods for incorporating library content into a course.”...

Faculty Focus, Aug. 26; Flipped Learning Network, Mar. 12, 2014

35 Google Drive tips

Google Drive logo

Eric Griffith writes: “Google’s online office suite of tools has done nothing but grow and improve. Now under the umbrella of Google Drive, you’ll find a file management and storage service as well as the various web-based and mobile apps. These include: a word processor (Docs), spreadsheet (Sheets), presentations (Slides), drawing, and forms. Google Drive—our Editors’ Choice for office productivity—is a serious set of tools for serious (or fun) work, all entirely free. Consumers only pay for extra storage. But it pays to know more than just the basics. Here’s how to get the most out of Google Drive.”...

PC Magazine, Aug. 22; Aug. 29, 2018

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