Tough choices about homelessness.

American Library Association • June 14, 2019
University of Alabama

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When homeless patrons come to stay

Campers prepare to remove personal belongings from the parking lot of Chetco Community Public Library in Brookings, Oregon, after the library board voted to prohibit the use of tents, tarps, structures, and furniture on library grounds. Photo by Boyd C. Allen / Curry Coastal Pilot

Claire Zulkey writes: “Late last year, the city of Colorado Springs shut down the Quarry, its largest homeless encampment, forcing its residents to disperse. As a result, says John Spears, executive director of Pikes Peak Library District, camping on library grounds reached its high point. About 90 people were sleeping on the grounds of PPLD’s Penrose branch on any given night, which Spears says fostered an unsafe environment for its regular unsheltered patrons as new people entered their camps. Earlier this year, the library instituted a camping ban, whereby anyone found between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the grounds could be ticketed for trespassing.”...

American Libraries feature, June

Toward a trauma-informed model

Students Olivia Ricketts (left), Simone Moonsammy (center), and Lydia Hall from the University of Georgia School of Social Work provide trauma-informed services and training at Athens–Clarke County (Ga.) Library. Photo by Caleb Guice

Anne Ford writes: “Over the last 30 years, trauma-informed approaches have gradually been adopted by mental health facilities and substance-abuse treatment centers. The basic idea is, as licensed clinical social worker Caroline Sharkey explains it: ‘Even though we don’t know everyone’s story, we can assume that people have had experiences that could be traumatizing—such as a history of abuse or mental health issues—and therefore we want to be thoughtful about how we navigate interactions with them.’ As more libraries bring social workers on staff, these new approaches are changing policies and protocols that affect both patrons and staff.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

Everyone on the same page

Members of Books for Dessert, Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library’s book club for adults over 21 with intellectual disabilities, meet to discuss The Case of the Bicycle Bandit. Photo by Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library

Alison Marcotte writes: “When Jamie Comer turned 21, his mother Nancy celebrated—but she also worried. Jamie has Down syndrome, and as Comer knew, it can be difficult for people with developmental disabilities to find intellectual stimulation and a supportive community once they age out of school. So with the help of Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library, in 2003 she founded Books for Dessert, a program comprising two book clubs for adults with intellectual disabilities. Each club meets weekly at the library, and each reads everything from novels and nonfiction to poems, short stories, and plays.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

Online learning is here to stay

Dispatches, by Lucy Santos Green

Lucy Santos Green writes: “My colleagues frequently debate the growth and application of online education. Those of us who are passionate about high-quality online learning are often surprised that anyone can be reluctant to consider—or even opposed to developing—a fully online course. Whether we laud its growth or fear its presence, online learning is here to stay. The Babson Survey Research Group, in its 2018 report, found that enrollment for distance education students has steadily increased for the past 14 years, with nearly 69% of all distance education students now enrolled in public institutions.”...

American Libraries column, June; Babson Survey Research Group, 2018
Dewey Decibel panel

A librarian’s good-bye

Librarian’s Library, by Karen Muller

Karen Muller writes: “This column wraps eight years of writing about professional development books for American Libraries. And having retired from ALA more than a year ago, I have had time to contemplate books that shaped or informed my work as my career evolved from library assistant to special collections cataloger to book marketing to association management and back to special librarianship. I strongly believe that professional education is ongoing and that it is our responsibility to continue building expertise through reading. These books—some out of print, sadly—have been vital during my journey.”...

American Libraries column, June

Spokane defends drag queen programs

Spokane (Wash.) Public Library panel discussion on Understanding Drag

The Spokane (Wash.) Public Library District plans to host two Drag Queen Story Hour events in June. This has prompted outrage and criticism from some community members. To answer questions and address community concerns that have arisen in recent weeks, the library hosted a panel discussion on June 13 at the downtown branch. At the event, two local drag queens, two academics, and a minister explained drag and why Drag Queen Story Hour exists, and addressed accusations that drag equates to blackface or is inappropriate for children. A similar public discussion was held by the Haverford Township (Pa.) Free Library on June 3. Meanwhile, controversies erupted over storytimes at Austin (Tex.) Public Library and Conway (N.H.) Public Library....

KREM-TV, Spokane, Wash., June 14; Spokane Spokesman-Review, June 13; Delaware County (Pa.) Daily Times, June 11; Austin (Tex.) Chronicle, June 14; Conway (N.H.) Daily Sun, June 14
ALA news

New Jersey library defends Pride flag

Belleville (N.J.) Public Library

There’s room for the US and rainbow flags at the Belleville (N.J.) Public Library, it turns out. A drag queen storytime event scheduled to take place at the library on June 22—along with the raising of a rainbow flag in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month—has inspired a flurry of comments from the Belleville community. Some comments have been in opposition, but many more in support. Mia Torres, head of circulation, said that the rainbow flag was temporarily taken down while staff figured out a way for it to be properly displayed in conjunction with a US flag....

Belleville-Nutley (N.J.) Patch, June 12

Emily Dickinson Museum receives $22 million gift

Emily Dickinson wrote poems at a small desk in her bedroom

Amherst (Mass.) College on June 5 announced a gift of approximately $25 million from the late William McCall Vickery to the college’s endowment, approximately $22 million of which is designated for use by the Emily Dickinson Museum. The transformative gift, the largest ever received by the museum, will be known as the “William McCall Vickery ’57 Emily Dickinson Fund” and is specifically earmarked for the maintenance and improvement of its buildings, grounds, and collections. Vickery, who was a devoted Amherst alumnus, volunteer, employee, and supporter, also was a founding member of the Dickinson Museum’s board of governors...

Emily Dickinson Museum, June 5
Latest Library Links

AI bots in the academic library

Library robot

Jeffrey R. Young writes: “The newest librarian at the University of Oklahoma is a robot. It’s a chatbot, which library officials plan to add to the library’s website this summer to answer some of the most common questions students come in with, as well as to help them get started with their research. The system can tackle things like ‘where can I print?’ or ‘what databases do you have about biology?’ Anything it can’t answer gets sent to a human librarian. The bot is just one example of how college libraries and technologists are experimenting with artificial intelligence to support students and professors in their research.”...

EdSurge, June 14

Seven ways that making lists helps your writing

Listicle: An informal term for an article made up of a series of facts, tips, quotations, or examples organized around a particular theme

Rachel Toor writes: “Making a list can be a useful way of organizing a piece of writing—even a piece of scholarly writing. Here are seven reasons a list might work for academic writers—either as a tool before writing or a helpful way to revise. It can be a way of triaging information, which is to say that unless you follow David Letterman’s old approach of starting from no. 10 and working up to no. 1, generally you begin with the most important points. Draft a list of key points that might make readers want to keep reading. When you write each point, think about making the case in a way that the reader will remember.”...

Chronicle of Higher Education, June 11

Newberry releases digital collection of historic postcards

Postcard of the River Dochart, Perthshire, Scotland. A Raphael Tuck oilette by landscape artist Henry B. Wimbush

The Newberry Library in Chicago has launched a digital archive of over 26,000 high-quality images of picture postcards produced by British company Raphael Tuck & Sons in the first half of the 20th century. Drawing on a vast archive of postcards received by the Newberry in 2016 and developed with the support of Leonard A. Lauder, the new digital collection allows users to investigate the ways in which British citizens formed their perceptions of the world 100 years ago. A distinguishing feature of the collection is the presence of thousands of “Oilettes”—postcards displaying versions of specially commissioned oil paintings....

Newberry Library, June 12; Oct. 2016; American Libraries, Apr. 17, 2017
Dewey Decibel podcast

The beginner’s guide to Google Docs

To view your document’s word/page count, click Tools > Word Count, or press Ctrl+Shift+C on Windows and Command+Shift+C on Mac

Brady Gavin writes: “Google Docs is a free, web-based word processor offered by Google as part of its complete office suite—Google Drive—to compete with Microsoft Office. Google Docs is available on all devices and platforms; all you need is an internet connection and a web browser (or, in the case of mobile, the applicable apps). Google does the rest and handles the brunt of the heavy lifting while it runs the software in the cloud. Here are some tips to help you get started with this powerful alternative tool.”...

How-To Geek, June 13

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