Midwinter attendance gets a boost in Seattle.

American Library Association • February 5, 2019

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2019 Midwinter wrap-up

Attendees crowd around travel author Rick Steves for autographs following his Auditorium Speaker Series presentation at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting

While Chicago’s ALA headquarters shivered in historically frigid temperatures with the rest of the Midwest, Seattle stayed in the comparatively balmy 50s and upper 40s for the 2019 Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits January 25–29. The Emerald City played host to more than 9,200 attendees (as compared with 8,036 in 2018 and 8,995 in 2017), who came to soak up the words of big-name speakers, learn from the practices of their peers, and network around subjects practical and theoretical. As with recent Midwinters, many sessions focused on the empowerment of women and underrepresented communities and the importance of advocacy and social justice....

American Libraries feature, Feb. 5

Meet the 2019 ALA Policy Corps

2019 ALA Policy Corps members

In early January, ALA announced the 10 members of its 2019 Policy Corps, now in its second year. The corps, which advocates for national public policy that advances the interests of libraries and librarians, is a collaboration between ALA, its Washington Office, and several divisions—AASL, ACRL, PLA, and United for Libraries. Meet this year’s Policy Corps class, 10 individuals who represent diverse library types and experiences....

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 5

What the future holds for net neutrality

Differentiation Detector, a net neutrality app created by David Choffnes and researchers at Northeastern University

Ellen Satterwhite writes: “On February 1, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments about whether the FCC was arbitrary and capricious in reversing its 2015 order, which included rules against blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization of internet access. In the case—Mozilla v. Federal Communications Commission—consumer groups and some companies are trying to restore the net neutrality protections policy that is needed to keep the internet open to all users. How will the upcoming decision affect libraries?”...

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 4

Color our collections

New York Academy of Medicine #ColorOurCollections

On February 4–8 libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world are sharing free coloring sheets and books based on materials in their collections. These institutions are sharing content with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and inviting their followers to color and get creative with their collections. The event was launched by the New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016....

New York Academy of Medicine
ALA news

Go take a hike

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

April J. Schweikhard writes: “Last year, in preparing for two hiking trips throughout the US, I spent hours scouring the internet for websites devoted to hiking information: I was not disappointed with the information available. Whether for adventure, health, or the opportunity to get out into nature, many people enjoy the benefits of hiking. Whether you are looking for resources to assist your library users or are simply interested in hitting the trails yourself, the following online resources will help you discover new trails and increase your hiking knowledge.”...

College and Research Libraries News 80, no. 2 (Feb.)

Attorneys in Pittsburgh rare books case seek details

Oliver Room, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Defense attorneys for two men accused of stealing $8 million in rare books and documents from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh over the course of two decades want prosecutors to detail on what dates each of the 321 items was stolen. The attorneys argued during a hearing February 1 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court that learning the date of every theft was critical to defending their clients, former library archivist Gregory Priore and bookstore co-owner John Schulman. Both men were charged with theft, conspiracy, and related counts in July....

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 1; July 20, 2018

Sandra Cisneros receives PEN / Nabokov Award

Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros (right), the Mexican-American novelist whose books The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek are widely considered contemporary classics of American literature, has won the PEN / Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Cisneros is the third author to win the award. A collaboration between PEN America and the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation, the award is given to a living author whose body of work, either written in or translated into English, represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama....

Los Angeles Times, Feb. 5
Latest Library Links

Oral history project: The Black Experience in Bethlehem

Winston Alozie holds a collage of images of past parishioners while at St. John’s AME Zion Church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rick Kintzel, Allentown Morning Call

Wandalyn Enix traces her family’s arrival to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to the 1920s, when her grandparents fled the Jim Crow laws of South Carolina. The decision positioned her father for a job at the blast furnaces of a burgeoning Bethlehem Steel plant and a home on Pawnee Street, where Enix has fond memories of getting ready for dance recitals, church, and choir concerts. Her story will become part of an oral history project, “Voices from the African Diaspora: The Black Experience in Bethlehem,” spearheaded by the Bethlehem Area Public Library and such partners as Northampton Community College and Lehigh University....

Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call, Feb. 3

Scholarship planned in honor of Amber Clark

Amber Clark

A group from Woodward (Okla.) High School’s Class of 1995 is working to put together a scholarship to honor their late friend and classmate Amber Clark (right), Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library’s North Natomas branch supervisor who was fatally wounded by a gunman in the library parking lot the evening of December 11. Classmate Bryan Dick reached out to the Woodward newspaper to ask for the community’s help honoring his late classmate. The Amber Fawn Wooton-Clark Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a high school student each year beginning in May 2020 in the amount of $2,000....

Woodward (Okla.) News, Jan. 29; KCRA-TV, Sacramento, Calif., Dec. 13, 2018
Dewey Decibel podcast

LC receives major Mellon Foundation grant

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation logo

The Library of Congress has received a $540,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to evaluate the physical health of the national collection of books in American research libraries and to guide their archive retention and preservation decisions. Titled “Assessing the Physical Condition of the National Collection,” the 40-month grant project through the Scholarly Communication Program will compare the physical, chemical, and optical characteristics of a representative sample of bibliographically identical books in five large research libraries....

Library of Congress, Feb. 4

The oldest surviving printed ad in English

Advertisement for William Caxton’s Ordinale ad usum Sarum (Oxford, Bodleian Library, Arch. G e.37), datable to 1476–1477

Erik Kwakkel writes: “Over the years I have developed a passion for the ways in which medieval scribes and booksellers promoted their products. Commercial book artisans had a variety of tools available to attract clients to their shops, from spam scribbled in the back of manuscripts (‘If you like this, I can make you one too!’) to unsubtle advertisement posters hung outside the shop door (‘Pick a pretty letter and I’ll make you a book!’). One of the smallest advertisements surviving from before the close of the Middle Ages dates from 1476–1477 and was produced by William Caxton, Britain’s first printer.”..

medievalbooks, Jan. 24

Facebook is having trouble with fact checkers

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in San José on May 1, 2018

Cat Zakrzewski writes: “Snopes, a company well known for debunking online myths, said February 1 it is ending a partnership it began with Facebook in December 2016 after the presidential election highlighted that the social network could be exploited by bad actors, such as Russia, to disseminate false information. Facebook’s technology flagged potentially false stories to fact-checking partners such as Snopes, who were then paid to provide a rating of the story’s accuracy. Facebook said it used those ratings to demote false stories in News Feed, and to notify users trying to share inaccurate information that stories had been disputed.”...

Washington Post, Feb. 4; Snopes, Feb. 1; Facebook Newsroom, Dec. 15, 2016; June 14, 2018; Nieman Journalism Lab, Feb. 4; Dec. 15, 2016

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