A visual guide to how US public libraries developed.

American Library Association • February 22, 2019

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An illustrated history of the American public library

W. E. B. Du Bois and library advocacy

CityLab’s visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger shares the story of how America’s public libraries developed and their uneven history of serving all who need them: “Today, even in an America that increasingly shuns all things public, people still love and need a good public library. There are 16,500 libraries in big cities, suburbs, rural areas; 70% of voters visited their library in the past year, with millennials being the most frequent patrons; and 8 in 10 Americans believe public libraries can help them find reliable and trustworthy information.”...

CityLab, Feb. 19

California provides public libraries with the New York Times

New York Times logo

The New York Times announced February 19 that its content will now be offered for free in all 1,200 of California’s public libraries. The 23 million library card holders in the state will have free access to the newspaper website by registering with their library card. “A library card is the best bargain around, and having free access to the New York Times makes your library card even more valuable,” said California State Librarian Greg Lucas. “We’re excited to partner with the Times to make an important news source available to Californians at their local library.”...

The Hill, Feb. 19; New York Times, Feb. 19; California State Library, Feb. 19
The Crowley Company

Adults at Evansville drag queen event must bring a child

Sign for Evansville’s Drag Queen Story Hour

Anyone attending Drag Queen Story Hour on February 23 at the North Park branch of the Evansville (Ind.) Vanderburgh Public Library must have a child 11 or under with them, library officials said. Engagement and Experience Officer Heather McNabb said the library wants as many children as possible to attend the event, up to the room’s capacity. Library officials will be at the door using a counter to keep track of how many enter to be sure they stick to the room’s limits. The program has drawn both strong support and sharp criticism since it was first announced in December....

Evansville (Ind.) Courier and Press, Jan. 14, Feb. 19; Dec. 12, 2018

Penn gets major African-American collection

Joanna Banks seated in front of her collection of works by African-American women. Photo by Harold Darwin, Anacostia Community Museum

For Washington, D.C.–based book collector Joanna Banks (right), one of the proudest moments in her life was when she got her own library card. Now, her connection to libraries has reached a new level with her gift to the University of Pennsylvania Libraries of her collection of works by and about African Americans—a major trove of over 10,000 books, periodicals, recordings, and photographs. The Joanna Banks Collection concentrates on three specific areas: works by and about black women, African-American cookbooks, and picture books highlighting black children....

Penn Libraries News Center, Feb. 18
ALA news

Digital content affected by a no-deal Brexit

Spare Rib, Issue 55, 1977: “Kathy Nairn in the Women’s Free Arts Alliance Karate Class,” copyright Michael Ann Mullen

Polly Russell writes: “In 2015, as part of our commitment to making our intellectual heritage available to everyone for research, the British Library digitized the full run of the feminist magazine Spare Rib for the Jisc Journals platform. This resource is used by many not only in the UK but around the world. But we may have to suspend access to the resource. Spare Rib, published between 1972 and 1993, is still in copyright. However, the EU orphan works directive allows such material to be made available by cultural heritage institutions. Should the UK exit the EU without a withdrawal agreement, however, this legal exception will no longer apply.”...

British Library: Social Science Blog, Feb. 19

2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award winners

Covers of Kitten and the Night Watchman and Thank You, Omu!

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, has announced the winners of the 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award honoring extraordinary children’s books that reflect the diverse nature of our culture. The award for writer goes to John Sullivan, for Kitten and the Night Watchman (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman), and the award for illustrator goes to Oge Mora, for Thank You, Omu! (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). The 2019 award ceremony will be held on April 4 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg....

Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Feb. 20

Anxiety and depression among teens

Teens with skateboards

Anxiety and depression are on the rise among America’s youth and, whether they personally suffer from these conditions or not, 70% of teens today see them as major problems among their peers. Concern about mental health cuts across gender, racial, and socioeconomic lines, with roughly equal shares of teens across demographic groups saying it is a significant issue in their community. More than 40% say bullying, drug addiction, and alcohol consumption are major problems affecting people their age in the area where they live, according to a Pew Research Center survey of US teens ages 13–17....

Pew Research Center, Feb. 20; NBC News, Dec. 10, 2017
Latest Library Links

Big play = big fun

San Francisco Public Library’s Big Play Date dress up instructions

Meredith Steiner writes: “Inspired by Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library’s innovative idea, libraries all over the country are hosting Big Play Dates and growing community, providing big fun, supporting parental learning, and strengthening the brains of our youngest patrons in the process. Here at San Francisco Public Library, we host what we call ‘The Big San Francisco Play Date’ at each of our 28 locations plus the bookmobile at least once per year. We will be hosting our 6th year of Big Play Dates in 2019. Many of our libraries host them in April, the month of the young child, but each branch chooses what works best for them.”...

ALSC Blog, Feb. 22

How to read like a librarian

Cover of Provenance, by Ann Leckie

Abby Hargreaves writes: “We librarians read our share of books that don’t appeal to us, books that are pretty objectively not good, and even offensive books, along with plenty of wonderful books. I asked our Book Riot librarians what they were currently reading to prove that while we might believe librarians are some kind of expert readers, there’s no ‘right’ way to read. If you’ve ever wondered how to read like a librarian, look no further than this list.”...

Book Riot, Feb. 20
Dewey Decibel podcast

Shakespeare book clubs

Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s Bard’s Book Club

Austin Tichenor writes: “There are book clubs—and then there are Shakespeare book clubs. In the late 19th century, Shakespeare clubs sprouted up all over America, giving their members (who were primarily women) the opportunity to read and discuss Shakespeare and pursue a life of the mind not always available to them in a traditional educational setting. Today it’s not unusual to see theaters sponsoring monthly or semiregular meetings devoted to reading and talking about Shakespeare’s plays: Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Nashville Shakespeare Festival are two examples.”...

Folger Library: Shakespeare and Beyond, Feb. 19

12 YA fantasy titles to read in 2019

YA fantasy titles in 2019

Feliza Casano writes: “Young adult fantasy titles hit the right balance between adventurous escapism and handling difficult topics in a way younger readers can relate to, and each year brings exciting new titles to the genre. With a mix of sequels, standalones, and series conclusions on schedule, 2019 is shaping up to be a pretty fantastic year. Here are some of the most anticipated YA fantasy titles coming out this year.”...

Brightly, Feb. 5

Rescue me: A media list for teen dog lovers

Cover of Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love, by Larry Levin

Whitney Etchison writes: “A couple of years ago, I decided to became a volunteer at my local animal shelter. I swore up and down that I wouldn’t adopt a dog, and I actually held out for about a year. Then, to no one’s surprise but mine, I fell in love with and adopted my dog Pippa. Before I started volunteering, I had no idea how much constant work went into rescuing animals. The people who do the hard, often heartbreaking, work of rescuing dogs (and all animals) are true heroes. Here are some of my favorite shows and books if you ever feel an urge to volunteer.”...

YALSA: The Hub, Feb. 20

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