Libraries Ready to Code initiative honors computer science innovation.

American Library Association • January 22, 2019
ALA Essentials

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

Ten libraries win “Promising Practice” awards

Libraries Ready to Code

On January 20, the ALA Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, announced that 10 libraries will receive a “Promising Practice” award for programs they designed for Computer Science Education Week in December 2018. Programs developed by the Promising Practice libraries are connected to one or more of the Libraries Ready to Code themes: broadening participation, incorporating youth interests, engaging with communities and families, and demonstrating impact through outcomes....

ALA Washington Office, Jan. 20

Director of Fort Myers Beach library stabbed to death

Leroy Hommerding

One day after the fatal stabbing of Fort Myers Beach (Fla.) Public Library Director Leroy Hommerding (right), 69, the library remained closed while the Lee County Sheriff’s Office conducted a homicide investigation. Hommerding was stabbed around 9 a.m. January 20 at the entrance to the library as he opened the facility. A suspect, Adam M. Soules, remains in Lee County Jail without bond facing homicide charges. Witnesses saw Soules pull the weapon from the body. Hommerding had been director of the library since 2000 was a key figure in the design and construction of the facility on Estero Boulevard, which opened in 2012. The library reopened on January 22....

Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press, Jan. 22; WINK-TV, Fort Myers, Jan. 21; WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, Jan. 20

Harford County Library supports government workers

Harford County (Md.) Public Library logo

Harford County (Md.) Public Library is inviting federal workers affected by the government shutdown to visit any of its 11 libraries to use its resources and services. The library system will also waive fees and fines for those affected by the shutdown. Computers are available at the libraries and can be a resource for those dealing with the shutdown. Staff will help with questions about food, utilities, legal matters, finances, and other concern that may arise. “During this difficult time for many, we want the community to know we are here for them,” said Alex M. Allman, chair of the library board of trustees....

Harford County (Md.) Aegis, Jan. 21

Integrating libraries and books

Cover of The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South, by Wayne A. Wiegand and Shirley A. Wiegand

Allyson Mower writes: “On Martin Luther King Jr. Day we acknowledge the efforts made by King and others to dismantle the stultifying apartheid system in America, a system that placed severe restrictions not only on the physical and political freedom of black people, but also on intellectual freedom. The Jim Crow south not only meant separate drinking fountains and restrooms. It also meant separate libraries and books. Laws and local policies also placed restrictions on what could be published. Dr. King—as well as those who worked to build libraries and ensure that they be free to use—operated within this system and sought to get rid of it.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Jan. 21
ALA news

Five librarians chosen as IFLA / OCLC Fellows

2019 IFLA / OCLC Fellows

OCLC, along with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, has named five librarians selected to participate in the Jay Jordan IFLA / OCLC Early Career Development Fellowship Program for 2019. The program supports library and information science professionals from countries with developing economies. The fellows are John Oluwaseye Adebayo, Chrisland University, Nigeria; Samar Jammoul, Safadi Public Library, Lebanon; Davaasuren Myagmar, National Library of Mongolia; Tracey-Ann Ricketts, National Library of Jamaica; and Ramiro Jose Rico Carranza, Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo, Bolivia....

OCLC, Jan. 21

Moscow’s libraries are getting revitalized

Moscow’s Fyodor Dostoevsky Library was renovated in 2013 and now sees some 500 visitors a day, up from just a dozen or so per day in earlier years. The library hosts language clubs, readings, lectures, and concerts. Photo by Lucian Kim

Lucian Kim writes: “The Chistye Prudy neighborhood is one of Moscow’s liveliest, with restaurants and cafés clustered along a boulevard with a tram line and grand old apartment buildings. Before the bars fill up in the evenings, the neighborhood’s most popular hangout is the Fyodor Dostoevsky Library, named for the 19th-century Russian writer. While young people huddle over laptops as city traffic growls past the large windows in the main reading hall, a theater group is rehearsing a play in another room. A constant stream of visitors comes through the entrance, with the front door banging behind them.”...

NPR, Jan. 21

Vancouver library calls for more access to ebooks

Interior of Vancouver (B.C.) Public Library

The Vancouver (B.C.) Public Library is among those calling on publishers to lower their prices and improve access to ebooks and e-audiobooks for Canadian libraries. VPL is joining the list of libraries calling on multinational publishers—including Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster—to improve ebook pricing and access for Canadian libraries. According to Kay Cahill, VPL director of collections and technology, many popular titles aren’t available for sale in ebook format to Canada’s libraries....

Vancouver (B.C.) Province, Jan. 20
Latest Library Links

Fine-tuning book displays

Book display for “non-readers” at Eastmoor Academy, Columbus, Ohio

Chiquita Toure writes: “I set out to do something different with new titles and other books buried in-between shelves. This transformation of the physical library space, including new furniture and technology, was due to grants and budget increases. I wanted a style and aesthetic that resembled smaller bookstores and larger chains like Barnes & Noble. These places are visited by students because they provide good reads, Wi-Fi, and a comfortable community space. After a clean sweep and weeding of approximately 1,100 books, I was set to display some titles that students may have never noticed when looking through the online catalog system.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Jan. 22

Why DNA tests are no substitute for genealogy research

A Relatives Map, in which someone’s DNA relatives show the locations they have added to their profiles

Lynn Serafinn writes: “In this article, we examine some of the misconceptions people have about DNA tests, how relationship estimates are formed to identify ‘DNA Matches,’ and the many the challenges around identifying your connections with DNA matches. We’ll also look at the technique of ‘triangulation,’ as well as how ‘endogamy’ can sometimes blur relationship estimates. Many people have the impression that DNA testing can give them answers to genealogical questions (names and details about specific ancestors). But barring a few exceptions, which we’ll look at shortly, this simply isn’t true.”...

Trentino Genealogy, Jan. 14
Dewey Decibel podcast

Citation practices make no sense

FreeCite, a citation tool by Brown University Library

Aaron Tay writes: “Every year, everyone from students to researchers and copywriters employed by publishers spend thousands of hours beating citations into shape. Is this really necessary? If you have ever helped university freshman in writing courses, one of the things you notice is how much anguish they have over citation styles and how many requests for help this generates. It doesn’t help that a lot of students merely Google and land on some site like the famous Purdue OWL site or use some librarian-created LibGuide that merely covers roughly what should be done; students get anxious when they inevitably run into cases not covered by those guides.”...

Musings About Librarianship, Jan. 15

Noise-reducing headphones in youth services

Noise-reducing headphones, kid and adult sizes

Renee Grassi writes: “Assistive technologies are tools that help individuals with disabilities live independently. One type of assistive tech tool that is especially useful for youth and families to use in the context of libraries is noise-reducing headphones. There may be a variety of reasons why children are sensitive to sounds, including the fact that they may experience sensory processing or sensory integration disorder. Noise-reducing headphones can help children with sensory processing disorder or sensory sensitivities by reducing the amount of auditory input that child receives.”...

ALSC Blog, Jan. 19; ASGCLA; STAR Institute

20 African fantasy novels

Cover of Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes

Margaret Kingsbury writes: “One of the main joys of reading fantasy is experiencing entirely new worlds and ideas and magic. But when every fantasy novel is based on a pseudo-medieval Europe, it kind of defeats the point. That’s why I seek out fantasy from around the world. These 20 African fantasy novels explore entirely new worlds, utilize fun and inventive magic in our own world, or add surrealist twists to an otherwise normal setting.”...

Book Riot, Jan. 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