The trajectories of tech innovation in libraries.

American Library Association • May 3, 2019
Tolkien screening

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Library Systems Report 2019

Library Systems Report 2019

Marshall Breeding writes: “The library technology industry, broadly speaking, shows more affinity toward utility than innovation. Library automation systems are not necessarily exciting technologies, but they are workhorse applications that must support the complex tasks of acquiring, describing, and providing access to materials and services. They represent substantial investments, and their effectiveness is tested daily in the library. But more than efficiency is at stake: These products must be aligned with the priorities of the library relative to collection management, service provision, and other functions.”...

American Libraries feature, May

Meet the Emerging Leaders

2019 Class of Emerging Leaders

Librarianship is ever changing, and some of the people leading that change are newer members of the profession. They’re the fresh faces greeting patrons at reference desks, helping students with research, and experimenting with new ideas behind the scenes. These are the ALA Emerging Leaders. The Emerging Leaders program is open to librarians of any age who have fewer than five years of experience working at a professional or paraprofessional level. Attendees of the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., are invited to meet the 2019 class of Emerging Leaders at a poster session and reception on June 21...

American Libraries feature, May; ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, May 1

Reaching out to Russian libraries

ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo (in red) speaks to librarians at the Russian State Library in Moscow

As part of an effort to increase collaboration between ALA and the Russian Library Association, ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo took her national agenda of “Libraries = Strong Communities” to Russia on April 23–26. She spoke at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg, focusing on ALA flagship projects—advocacy, diversity, Preservation Week, and international relations—within the framework of modern libraries. The next day, she spoke at the Russian State Library in Moscow about how ALA resources help shape the future of libraries. On April 25, she met with Olga Yarilova, deputy culture minister of the Russian Federation, to discuss how librarians from different countries can collaborate....

AL: The Scoop, May 2; American Libraries column, May

Newsmaker: Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros. Photos by Keith Dannemiller

She may be celebrating the 35th anniversary of her influential coming-of-age novel The House on Mango Street, but Sandra Cisneros (right) is doing anything but resting on her laurels. The 64-year-old trailblazing Chicana author, who in February received the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature, is collaborating on an opera based on Mango Street. And, thanks to a Ford Foundation fellowship, she recently finished collecting the voices of more than 50 undocumented people for an oral-history work in progress. American Libraries caught up with Cisneros during a visit to New York from her home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.”...

American Libraries Trend, May
ALA news

Privacy and the immigrant community

Red cards explaining rights to immigrants

Madeleine Ildefonso writes: “Libraries and librarians are on the front lines working with immigrant families all over the state of California, both in welcoming and in xenophobic jurisdictions. While librarians speak up and take action to support vulnerable populations, there is a necessary balance to consider. The specialized help that can be accessed at libraries or via knowledgeable staff may be invaluable to a patron, but in highlighting and promoting this work it may come at a cost of privacy to the very populations that are seeking protection.” The Los Angeles Public Library decided to print up “red cards” explaining rights to immigrants. This year’s Choose Privacy Week, May 1–7, is focused on inclusivity—the need for every patron to feel that the library is a welcoming experience for them....

Choose Privacy Every Day, May 1–2

The evolving role of public libraries

Thunder Bay (Ont.) Public Library opened its Indigenous Knowledge Centres on October 30, 2018

Public libraries are the “social glue” of a community, offering a wider breadth of services than simply providing books—and when they face cuts, there’s a ripple effect, says one Ontario librarian. “We’re now becoming multiple-use community hubs that are being driven by a community’s needs,” John Pateman, chief librarian at Thunder Bay Public Library, explained. Earlier in April, the Ontario government announced a 50% budget cut to the Southern Ontario Library Service. Cutting library funding can “damage the social infrastructure of a community,” Pateman warned. Maryland author David Healey writes that “working at the library has been an eyeopener about the way that libraries provide front-line public service to a population that is often vulnerable or unempowered.”...

CBC Radio, Apr. 29; CBC News, Apr. 17; Baltimore Sun, May 3

Working as a librarian gave me PTSD

A Santa Ana library where study carrels were removed to discourage illegal activities like shooting drugs or sleeping hidden from public view

Amanda Oliver writes: “While critics and moviegoers may view aspects of The Public as dramatic license, for me it was the first time I ever saw my job reflected on the screen accurately. I quit my job as a librarian last fall. It was not because I had become bored living out the hackneyed stereotype of a librarian shushing patrons from behind an imposing mahogany desk. No, I left the library because I had begun to burn out and experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. There were incidents daily—drunk patrons passing out, shoving arguments outside the bathroom, psychotic episodes that resulted in screaming matches with invisible entities.”...

Los Angeles Times, Apr. 19

Channel your inner school librarian superhero

Six shared foundations

Kathryn Roots Lewis writes: “Are you feeling your inner school librarian superhero? Now that it is May, are you reflecting on your successes, collaborations, co-teachings, learner projects, literacy adventures, tech feats, innovations, failures, and plans for moving forward? Annual reports are a golden opportunity to share your stories. Engaging in annual report writing lets you do three things you do not always have time for: advocate, reflect, and vision. Annual reports are a unique platform to share your work as it aligns with the National School Library Standards. Here are some real-life examples.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, May 2
Latest Library Links

The woman who preserved 30 years of TV history

Marion Stokes, in a scene from Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, a new documentary by Matt Wolf. Photo by Eileen Emond

Noor Al-Samarrai writes: “About 71,000 VHS and Betamax cassettes are sitting in boxes, stacked 50-to-a-pallet in the Internet Archive’s physical storage facility in Richmond, California, waiting to be digitized. The tapes are not in any order at all. They got a little jumbled as they were transferred. First recorded in Marion Stokes’s (right) home in the Barclay Condominiums in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, the tapes had been distributed among nine additional apartments she purchased solely for storage purposes during her life. The recordings Stokes made from 1975 until her death in 2012 are the only comprehensive collection preserving this period in TV history.”...

Atlas Obscura, Apr. 29

Reading books is important for the brain

An intense reader

Markham Heid writes: “Ken Pugh, director of research at the Yale-affiliated Haskins Laboratories, says the process of reading a book involves ‘a highly variable set of skills that are deep and complex’ and that activate all of the brain’s major domains. ‘Language, selective attention, sustained attention, cognition, and imagination—there’s no question reading is going to strengthen all those,’ he says. In particular, reading novels and works of narrative nonfiction train a reader’s imagination and aspects of cognition that other forms of reading mostly neglect. Along with strengthening your brain, there’s evidence that book reading may help you connect with friends and loved ones.”...

Medium: Elemental, May 2
Dewey Decibel podcast

Four types of books that are better as audiobooks

Audiobook of Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue

Lily Dunn writes: “Confession: Until a few years ago, I didn’t consider audiobooks really reading. I know, I know, the science says the effect on the brain is the same. What can I say? I was a snob. Not only have I come to appreciate how listening to an audiobook engages my imagination and offers me the same kind of escape as the written word, but I’ve actually come to feel that some books are (dare I say it) even better on audio than they are in print. Here are four types of books that are better as audiobooks.”...

Book Riot, May 3

Vancouver library employee Instagrams odd titles

Cover of Please God Let It Be Herpes

Murder by Milkshake, Plants Behaving Badly, Office Emails That Really Click ;), Please God Let it Be Herpes. There’s gold hidden in the shelves of the Vancouver (B.C.) Public Library, and an anonymous employee is digging it up. The person behind the Instagram account VPLGold is finding some of the oddest titles in the library’s collection, then posting them online. About 200 photos of covers were posted by the account in its first year. Some are nonfiction, like Try Not to Suck, a biography of Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Many are handy how-to guides: How to Have the Latest Pant Styles or Raising Snails for Food....

CTV News, Vancouver, B.C., May 1

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