LSTA receives its biggest funding boost in 12 years.

American Library Association • December 20, 2019
Simmons University

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IMLS receives $10 million increase in FY2020

Fund libraries

Kathi Kromer writes: “Congressional appropriators needed overtime to complete the FY2020 budget, but the result brought good news for libraries: a $10 million increase for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, including $6.2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act—the largest increase in LSTA funding in 12 years. Congress appropriated a total of $252 million for IMLS. The final federal spending bill also includes increases for other library programs. Overall funding for the Department of Education increased by $1.3 billion, raising its total budget to $72.8 billion. The budget bill now heads to the president, who is expected to sign it.”...

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 20; US House Committee on Appropriations, Dec. 16

Library Census Equity Fund mini-grants

Map of libraries awarded Census mini-grants

ALA has awarded 59 libraries Library Census Equity Fund mini-grants of $2,000—a total of more than $100,000—to bolster their service to hard-to-count communities and help achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census. The grantees will undertake their activities from January through April 2020. The self-response period for the 2020 Census will begin after March 12. Applications were reviewed by a selection committee established by ALA’s 2020 Census Library Outreach and Education Task Force. More than 500 libraries of all types submitted applications....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Dec. 19

Cozying up with new coats

A librarian helps a child pick out her new coat at Chicago Public Library’s Chicago Lawn branch. Photo by Francis Son

Diana Panuncial writes: “Kennett (Pa.) Library Adult Literacy Program Director Filomena Elliott wanted to cut the tag off a young boy’s new coat. The child was one of four, she says, and she knew the family shopped at Goodwill. ‘So to him, having that tag on said, “I got a new coat this year,”’ she says. This story is one of many from A Warm Welcome to the Library, a program that brings new coats, new books, and library cards to children at participating libraries—and allows librarians to teach families about their resources. The events are organized by Operation Warm, a nonprofit organization that has given away 3 million winter coats to kids in need since 1998.”...

American Libraries feature, Dec. 20
ALA news

Dewey Decibel podcast: Year-end conversations

Dewey Decibel: Year-end conversations

In Episode 45, Dewey Decibel looks back at interviews American Libraries staffers conducted with speakers at ALA’s 2019 Midwinter Meeting and Annual Conference. NBC’s Today cohost Hoda Kotb, journalist Mariana Atencio, actor and activist George Takei, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA Sylvia Acevedo, journalist and activist Isha Sesay, writer and CBS Sunday Morning contributor Mo Rocca, and philanthropist Melinda Gates reveal the important role that libraries and books have played in their lives.”...

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 27, 29, June 22, 24–25, Dec. 20

Italian pianist preserves music composed in Nazi camps

Francesco Lotoro and his wife Grazia

Jon Wertheim writes: “Composers and singers and musicians were among those imprisoned in Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Under the bleakest conditions imaginable, they performed and wrote music. Lots of it. An Italian composer and pianist, Francesco Lotoro (right) has spent 30 years recovering, performing, and finishing works composed by Jewish prisoners and others in captivity. Thanks to a grant from the Italian government, in February Lotoro plans to break ground in Barletta, Italy, for a campus for the study of concentration camp music that will include a museum, a theater, and a library that will house more than 10,000 items he has collected.”...

CBS News: 60 Minutes, Dec. 15

University of Manitoba acquires Canadian UFO archive

Drawing by witness Stefan Michalak of the UFO he saw near Falcon Lake, Manitoba, on May 20, 1967

Canada has long been a hotbed of controversial UFO activity, with sightings, abductions, and close encounters of numerous kinds. Chris Rutkowski, a private collector and ufologist, recently donated over 30,000 UFO reports and studies conducted by private citizens and the Canadian government to the University of Manitoba’s Archives and Special Collections. Rutkowski’s generous donation includes more than 20,000 UFO-related reports (including the Falcon Lake, Manitoba, incident of 1967) logged and filed over the past 30 years, in addition to more than 10,000 UFOcentric documents obtained from the US and Canadian governments....

Live Science, Dec. 12; UM Today, Oct. 31
Latest Library Links

Original manuscript of Peter Pan and Wendy released

The unpublished original manuscript of J. M. Barrie’s 1911 novel, reproduced for the first time in his own handwriting. Photo by aerhion / illustrations by Gwynedd Hudson, courtesy of SP Books

He’s the boy who never grows up, a lovable rogue who has convinced generations of children that “dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough.” But now a darker side to Peter Pan has been revealed with the publication last week of J. M. Barrie’s original manuscript, Peter Pan and Wendy. Fans will be able to read the previously unpublished version of the story in Barrie’s own handwriting and see the amendments he made to his manuscript as he was writing it. The new edition demonstrates how Barrie toned down Peter Pan’s character to suit audiences in 1911, after having second thoughts about how negatively Peter should be portrayed....

The Guardian (UK), Dec. 15

The smartphone tracking industry

A single dot appeared on the screen, representing the precise location of someone in President Trump’s entourage at 7:10 a.m. It lingered around the grounds of the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where the president was staying, for about an hour

Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel write: “Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies—largely unregulated, little scrutinized—are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files. The New York Times Privacy Project obtained one such file, by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists. It holds more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities.” The project’s reporters took only minutes—with assistance from publicly available information—to deanonymize location data and track the whereabouts of President Trump based on a cellphone belonging to someone in his Secret Service entourage....

New York Times, Dec. 19–20
Dewey Decibel podcast

The English language was and is multicultural

Proportions of words of different origins in modern English. From Phillip Durkin, Borrowed Words (2014)

Jocelyn Wogan-Browne writes: “Modern English speakers often inherit a historically shaky sense of how English works, imagining the English language as a single continuous entity with clear boundaries. Even well-informed people fall victim to oversimplification about language and English. Medieval Britain was not English-only. Back then, you could hear not only French, English, and Latin, but Norse, Danish, Welsh, Irish, Hebrew, Flemish, Gaelic, and Cornish. All functioned at different times and places in various versions of spoken or written language; and their relationships to one another changed over time. The very last thing English is is ‘pure.’”...

The Public Medievalist, Dec. 19

Building cultural competence

Halls High Diversity Reading Challenge

Brandi Bowers writes: “A few years ago a student reading Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give prompted a conversation. The student identified as a person of color and was grappling with her identity and exploring the reality of what it means to be black in America. Our conversation turned into an exploration of the microaggressions that students of color face every day. Other students and educators gradually joined in, saying that they wished teachers were more aware of their experiences. Eventually this led some students to create a Student Diversity Panel, and I developed a Diversity Reading Challenge in BINGO format for my fellow educators.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Dec. 19

Books by authors who use “they” pronouns

Cover of When the Moon Was Ours, by Anna-Marie McLemore

Rah Froemming-Carter writes: “In 2019, the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year is the pronoun ‘they,’ commonly used as a personal pronoun by nonbinary folx, myself included. Its usage as a singular gender-neutral pronoun dates back to the 13th century and has been in common usage since. Yet in recent years, this usage has been a matter of controversy fueled by transphobes hiding behind the nonsense cause of ‘correct grammar.’ Perhaps the best way to celebrate this year’s word is by reading some books by people who use ‘they’ pronouns, either exclusively or alongside other pronouns. Here are a few to get you started.”...

Book Riot, Dec. 20

User experience “don’ts”

Just Enough Research, 2nd ed., by Erika Hall

Jaci Wilkinson writes: “The second edition of Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research dropped October 2019; although this excellent volume was previously unknown to me, I am taking the opportunity now to consume, embody, and evangelize Hall’s approach to user research. Rather than conduct a formulaic book review, I want to highlight some specific things Hall tells the reader not to do in their UX research. This list of five ‘don’ts’ summarizes Hall’s tone, style, and approach. It will also highlight the thesis of the second edition’s brand-new chapter on surveys.”...

LITA Blog, Dec. 20

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