A library school thesis helps end a historic run on Jeopardy!

American Library Association • June 4, 2019

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University of Chicago librarian unseats Jeopardy! champ

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and Emma Boettcher

In 2016, Emma Boettcher (right) finished writing a master’s thesis about Jeopardy! Now the University of Chicago user experience resident librarian has become a trivia answer herself—as the person who stopped James Holzhauer’s historic run on the TV game show. In a drama-filled episode that aired June 3, Boettcher knocked off Holzhauer, whose high-risk style made him a celebrity during his streak of 32 consecutive wins. Holzhauer entered the contest having won $2,464,216—just $58,484 shy of Ken Jennings’s record for regular-season Jeopardy! winnings. In her 70-page final paper for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Library and Information Science, Boettcher had explored whether certain characteristics of a Jeopardy! clue could predict its difficulty level....

University of Chicago News, June 4; New York Times, June 3; American Libraries feature, Nov. 2017; Chicago Tribune, June 4

Dining in D.C. during Annual Conference

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Meredith Pratt writes: “Until recently, Washington’s gourmet scene was known more for stodgy steakhouses than standout dining. Today, rock-star chefs have transformed neighborhoods into epicurean destinations and turned what was once a dining drought into a wave of new restaurants, vibrant tastes, and international cuisines. Ready to dig in? Here is a guide to the best flavors in our culinary capital (see map), excerpted from Frommer’s EasyGuide to Washington, D.C., 2020.” The ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., June 20–25, offers a host of professional development opportunities, new ideas to help shape the future of libraries, and a full slate of author programs. Here is a small sample of what to expect....

American Libraries features, June

Moving the needle

From the President, by Loida Garcia-Febo

ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo writes: “As I complete my year as ALA president, I am honored to know that together we moved the needle in key areas that affect our Association, profession, libraries, and the communities we serve. Over the past year, ALA has helped secure funding for libraries to keep them open, equipped, and staffed. We have advocated for myriad public policies to benefit our communities. We established strategies to review our governance structure and search for the Association’s next executive director.”...

American Libraries column, June

School librarians and digital citizenship instruction

Abigail L. Phillips and Victor R. Lee

The research team (right) of Abigail L. Phillips, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Victor R. Lee, associate professor at Utah State University, collaborated on a survey to understand how school librarians in a state that adopted digital citizenship legislation provide resources and instruction for their students. The research came as a response to the passage of Utah’s H.B. 213, “Safe Technology Utilization and Digital Citizenship in Public Schools” in 2015. The bill requires that a school district, charter school, or college of education “provide for education and awareness on safe technology utilization and digital citizenship.”...

School Library Research, vol. 22 (2019)
ALA news

Grant to pay for Chicago library branch at Obama Center

Design for Obama Presidential Center, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners and Interactive Design Architects

The MacArthur Foundation plans a $5 million grant to create a new Chicago Public Library branch at the Obama Presidential Center (right). The Chicago-based nonprofit made the announcement June 3, saying the money will help pay for construction at the planned site of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million presidential center in Jackson Park on Chicago’s South Side. The 5,000-square-foot public library will house multimedia collections, have community programs and a children’s area, and offer space for reading and studying.....

Associated Press, June 3; MacArthur Foundation, June 3

Ohio lawmaker denounces library drag queen event

Licking County (Ohio) Library book display in preparation for its canceled “Galaxy of Diversity” event

An event designed to celebrate Pride Day at the Licking County (Ohio) Library has been canceled after drawing public backlash. The event, called “A Universe of Stories—Galaxy of Diversity,” sponsored by the Newark Pride Coalition, was scheduled after-hours on June 7 at the Newark branch. The event, aimed at teens, offered a drag queen celestial makeup tutorial, flag button and rainbow wing crafts, a safe-sex program from Equitas Health, and games. After the event drew public backlash on social media, Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) wrote an open letter opposing the event. Eight House Democrats from Franklin County issued a joint statement on June 1, calling Householder’s comments “unfortunate,” and the Ohio Library Council issued a general statement on LGBTQ events. Meanwhile, a drag queen story hour at Fall River (Mass.) Public Library was peaceful and popular, despite pre-event opposition....

Newark (Ohio) Advocate, June 1; Licking County (Ohio) Library Facebook page, May 31; Speaker Larry Householder Twitter status, May 31; Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, June 1; Ohio Library Council, June 3; Fall River (Mass.) Herald News, June 1
Dewey Decibel CSK panel

Why inmates should have the right to read

Library, Jessup Correctional Institution, Maryland

Tyler Wetherall writes: “When I was a teenager, my father and I shared books. We didn’t share the physical copy, at least not often—my dad was serving a 10-year sentence in California, and I was at school in Bath, England—but we did share the imaginary landscape offered within its pages, a place we could occupy together from afar. I would find the books Dad was reading in my local library branch. Wilbur Smith’s The River God, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, a handful of Michael Crichton novels—the books themselves didn’t matter. These words offered a point of connection between us, when there were few others to be found.”...

Literary Hub, June 4

Ukuleles in the library

Ukuleles in the Friends Christian School library, Yorba Linda, California

Mary Amato writes: “As a ukulele teacher, I have witnessed the power of this little instrument to change lives, and I’m thrilled to see more ukuleles popping up in libraries. Because the uke is easy to grab, super-sturdy, and simple to play, librarians who enjoy incorporating singing into storytime programs have been learning how to play it. But it’s not just a storytime instrument. Libraries across the country are creating popular ukulele-lending programs. At Twinbrook Library in Rockville, Maryland, a patron can check out a uke for 14 days. It comes with a soft case, an instructional booklet, and a small clip-on tuner.”...

ALSC Blog, June 2
Latest Library Links

Sales of manga books on the rise in the US

Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto manga series

Although it’s been growing by leaps and bounds, many readers in the US are still unfamiliar with a popular style of series-driven Japanese comic books and graphic novels called manga. In fact, manga is currently one of the fastest-growing areas of comic books and narrative fiction, according to the NPD Group. Based on NPD Bookscan information, book sales in the manga subcategory in the retail trade channel grew 16% from January 1 to May 11, exceeding the 5% growth of the total adult-comic/graphic-novel category....

NPD Group, June 3

NYPL librarians on meaningful LGBTQ books

Cover of The ABC’s of LGBT+, by Ashley Mardell

Nina Maness writes: “For many LGBTQ+ readers, finding the right book means realizing for the first time that you are not alone. And a book can act as affirmation of feelings that are difficult to name, and can spark new ways of understanding yourself and the world around you. In celebration of Pride Month, we asked New York Public Library staff members to tell us about a book that was a transformative part of their LGBTQ experience.”...

New York Public Library blogs, June 3

2019 Lambda Literary Awards

Cover of The Tiger Flu

Lambda Literary Award winners were celebrated at a star-studded ceremony June 3 at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts by the Lambda Literary Foundation, a nonprofit organization advancing LGBTQ literature. The winner in lesbian fiction was The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai (Arsenal Pulp Press). Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead (Arsenal Pulp Press) won in the gay fiction category, while Disoriental by Négar Djavadi (Europa Editions) won for bisexual fiction and Little Fish by Casey Plett (Arsenal Pulp Press) won for transgender fiction.”...

Lambda Literary, June 4
Dewey Decibel podcast

How to send large files over the internet

Firefox Send

Lance Whitney writes: “Have you ever tried to email a file to someone, only for your mail service to tell you it is too big? As frustrating as this might be, it is pretty common. Most email services and software restrict the size of file attachments. For example, Gmail and Yahoo limit the size of an attached file to 25MB. So that 100MB video of the kids that you want to send to mom isn’t going to get through. What are your options? Let’s check them out.”...

PC Magazine, June 2

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