Aggressions aimed at library staff.
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American Library Association • June 11, 2019
University of Alabama

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When librarians become targets of harassment

Microaggressions in the library. Graphic by David Michael Moore

Lara Ewen writes: “In 2017, Nicole A. Cooke, associate professor and MS/LIS program director at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s SLIS, and Miriam Sweeney, assistant professor at the University of Alabama’s SLIS, received a diversity research grant from the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services to examine microaggressions directed at racial and ethnic minority students who used library spaces and services on campus. The project received an unexpected reception—even before its results were made public. ‘All hell broke loose when just the title of the grant was discovered,’ Cooke said.”...

American Libraries feature, June

Your library needs to speak to you

Students at North Salem (N.Y.) Middle School and High School interact with a Google Home smart speaker

Carrie Smith writes: “Paige can recommend a book and tell you about resources available at her school library. And she’s always ready with a joke if you need one. Included in her comic cache: ‘The past, present, and future walked into the library. It was tense!’ Paige isn’t a librarian. She’s not even human. She’s a chatbot—a basic virtual assistant, programmed with a decision tree of potential questions, their answers, and code telling the bot how to respond. Cynthia Sandler, library media specialist at North Salem (N.Y.) Middle School and High School, created Paige in 2017 to help her students interact with the library through its website.”...

American Libraries feature, June

Newsmaker: Emma Boettcher

Emma Boettcher after her first Jeopardy! win on June 3

Emma Boettcher, user experience resident librarian at the University of Chicago, was nicknamed the “Giant Killer” by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek after beating long-time champ James Holzhauer on June 3. Two more wins over the next two days earned her $97,002, but she came in third place on June 6 and got a consolation prize of $1,000. The episodes Boettcher appeared in were filmed in March, so she had to keep silent until the shows were aired. American Libraries spoke with her on how she prepared for the show and what it was like in the studio....

American Libraries Trend, June 11

Building inclusive libraries

Youth Matters, by Julie Stivers

Julie Stivers writes: “If we build our libraries on the assumption that youth matter, how then are we tangibly realizing this idea in our programs and services? Not only do our youth matter, but they also have valuable perspectives. We must meaningfully integrate who they are into our libraries and our work, consistently and joyously. One way I’ve been fortunate enough to do this in my middle school library has been through an initiative called the #LibFive. With 8th graders Cesar Falcon, Jose Gomez, and Jaida Morris, the #LibFive has leveraged teen insights and experiences to create a student-driven professional development program for youth librarians.”...

American Libraries column, June

Courting libraries

Spokane Community Court, held in the Spokane (Wash.) Public Library, connects about 1,000 participants per year with onsite social services

Kirsti MacPherson writes: “Crimes like murder or arson require a traditional court of justice. Crimes like graffiti or shoplifting don’t have to. That’s the reasoning behind the community-court model, which has been around since the early 1990s. Designed with restorative justice in mind, community courts typically focus on nonviolent cases. Still, when Andrew Chanse, executive director of Spokane (Wash.) Public Library, got a phone call in 2013 requesting that his library host a community court, he wasn’t sure what to think. Spokane’s downtown branch began hosting a community court in December 2013, and it now sees about 1,000 participants annually.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

A collaborative coding project in 1st grade

Dash robot summary of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Kelly Hincks writes: “Recently, a first-grade teacher wanted to have her students use coding to create a summary. Her goal was to have students share a story and include how the main character developed as well as how the setting changed. She sought support from me, the school librarian, and a collaborative project was born. The classroom teacher had been reading aloud the story The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo during her reading block. While reading the book, students were working on visualizing or creating pictures in their mind. We chose to have students use the Dash robots by Wonder Workshop to code their summaries.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, June 11
Dewey Decibel CSK panel

A love letter to the Los Angeles Public Library

Central tower of the downtown Los Angeles Public Library, topped with a tiled mosaic pyramid with suns on the sides with a hand holding a torch representing the “Light of Learning” at the apex

Michael Juliano writes: “Dear Central Library, I was just checking you out. Any time I see your tiled, pyramidal crown in downtown Los Angeles, I need to detour into the second-floor rotunda, where I silently gush about the Deco-meets-arabesque dome and mural of California history. As I crane my neck to look up at the globe chandelier, your grandeur makes me feel so small, yet at ease, a feeling best summed up by the dedication plaque on the wall from librarian Everett Robbins Perry: ‘Here in these halls, the petty distractions of the earthly pilgrimage may be laid aside and their place taken by ... inspiration and serenity.’ Sigh.”...

Time Out Los Angeles, June 10

Mobile libraries in the Outer Hebrides

The mobile library travels on one of its routes on the Outer Hebrides island of Lewis and Harris. For isolated residents, seeing the mobile librarian is sometimes the only human contact they may have for days. Photo by Celeste Noche

Celeste Noche writes: “In Stornoway, the biggest town in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides islands, a yellow van sits on a narrow, one-way street. The Gaelic word leabharlann is painted on the front, back, and sides, with its English translation, ‘library,’ on the front and sides. Driver Iain Mackenzie has loaded his books in the van, organized his customers’ orders and is preparing for his last run of the week on the island of Lewis and Harris. The 16-year-old van runs three days a week, covering more than 800 miles of rugged roads to deliver books to more than 800 residents. The places it serves are home to Scotland’s highest concentration of ‘very remote rural’ residents.”...

National Public Radio, June 8
Latest Library Links

Conserving rare books in Quito

Bety Costales, conservator for the Conservartecuador Foundation, shows one of the polyglot bibles of the Fray Ignacio de Quezada library, in the Convent of Santo Domingo de Guzmán, in Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Agence France-Press

The Biblioteca Fray Ignacio de Quezada in the Convento del Santo Domingo in Quito, Ecuador, is the only library in the Americas housed in its original, late 16th century building. It contains 33,500 rare books, manuscripts, and incunabula ranging in date from the 15th through the 20th centuries and covering the sciences, literature, music, and religion. In 2017, the Fundación Conservartecuador, an NGO dedicated to the conservation of Ecuador’s cultural heritage, requested the aid of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development’s Cultural Emergency Response program. With their financial support, FC was able to triage the collection....

The History Blog, June 10; El Comercio (Quito), June 5

Cambridge archive sheds light on 200 years of crime

One of the rolls from the Isle of Ely assizes

Alison Flood writes: “From the tragic case of Cecilia Samuel, found guilty of drowning her newborn baby in a ditch in Wisbech, to William Sturns, accused of stealing three cheeses, 200 years of crimes in the diocese of Ely, England, are being organized for the first time. Dating from 1557 to 1775, the cases being cataloged by Cambridge University Library archivists range from witchcraft to murder, highway robbery to forgery, and trespass to vagrancy. Cecilia Samuel’s brief entry reveals she was hanged for her crime; the alleged cheese thief, William Sturns, was found not guilty.”...

The Guardian (UK), June 11

Five true crime reads for your book club

Cover of Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-Up of America’s Greatest Unsolved Murder, by Piu Eatwell

Beulah Maud Devaney writes: “If you’re looking to crash your book club with some truly jaw-dropping, heart-stopping, knee-knocking true crime books, boy do I have a list of five books for you. True crime isn’t for everyone, but these books are guaranteed to get your book club talking. And conspiring. And possibly plotting a scheme to have one member of the book club stay in the room, imitating the voices of all the other members, while the rest of you go out to commit a spree of murders.”...

Book Riot, June 11
Dewey Decibel podcast

Microsoft: Mandatory password changing is obsolete

Password TV game show

Dan Goodin writes: “Microsoft is finally catching on to a maxim that security experts have almost universally accepted for years: periodic password changes are likely to do more harm than good. In a largely overlooked post published May 23, Microsoft said it was removing periodic password changes from the security baseline settings it recommends for customers and auditors. After decades of Microsoft recommending passwords be changed regularly, Microsoft employee Aaron Margosis said the requirement is an ‘ancient and obsolete mitigation of very low value.’”...

Ars Technica, June 3; Microsoft Security Guidance Blog, May 23

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