How states performed on library measures.

American Library Association • November 12, 2019
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Referenda Roundup: Final report

Referenda Roundup. Illustration by Tom Deja

Anne Ford writes: “In the 2019 election year, American Libraries, in partnership with PLA, tracked more than 100 library referenda across 24 states. A large selection of them appears here and will appear in our January/February 2020 issue. While this year’s referenda crop appears less bountiful than last (in 2018, we featured 146 across 33 states), the rate of success is higher: Nearly 90% of this year’s votes ended in the library’s favor (as compared with last year’s rate of nearly 80%). In terms of the number of referenda approved, Ohio and New York were the front-runners; each boasted 20 or more victories. Colorado, too, had a big year, with at least eight measures passed.”...

American Libraries feature, Nov. 12

Boost your public speaking skills

Public speaker

Anne Ford writes: “As a college student, Tiffini Travis (now advisor for information literacy and library instructional assessment at California State University, Long Beach) had to deliver a class presentation. So she stood up. She looked at the faces all around her. And she ran out of the room. How do you go from fleeing the room to completely losing your fear? In large part, the answer is practice. But while rehearsal is necessary, it’s insufficient. Speaking effectively in front of others requires certain strategies. Travis, along with several other librarians who regularly present in front of audiences, has many tips to offer the tongue-tied.”...

American Libraries feature, Nov./Dec.

Advocacy tips from ALA’s Policy Corps

ALA Policy Corps members

As part of our special package on libraries and civic engagement, American Libraries asked a few members of the ALA Policy Corps—library workers specially trained in advocacy and policy issues—to give us their tips and best practices for being effective library advocates. Read what they had to say about what works and what doesn’t when meeting with members of Congress, their staff, and other decision-makers. Also, ALA invites library advocates to apply online to join the ALA Policy Corps. The corps initiative aims to strengthen advocacy related to key national library policy areas—ranging from broadband equity and copyright/licensing to federal funding and privacy and cybersecurity. Applications will be accepted through December 11....

American Libraries features, Nov./Dec.; Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Nov. 11

Recognizing unsung heroes in our libraries

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “Nearly every year, I see at least one negative message on social media about individuals who have received some of our more visible professional awards or recognitions. Whether it’s a blog post or a tweet, the gist of the message is that some of those recognized are overhyped, undeserving self-promoters. While I believe expressions of vitriol like those are not only unproductive but hurtful to the people who have won these awards, I can also understand the impulse behind them. We should consider how we reward reliably strong performers in a way that values both teamwork and individual accomplishments.”...

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.
ALA news

Stories that stand the test of time

From left: Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Cranston (R.I.) Public Library Director Ed Garcia, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden at Cranston Public Library. Photo by Ed Garcia

Ed Garcia writes: “Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden often speaks of the library as America’s treasure chest. She celebrated one of those treasures on November 4 when she joined us at Cranston (R.I.) Public Library with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Veterans History Project. Hayden’s goal for the VHP is ambitious: She would like every US veteran to have their stories told. So far, Rhode Island veterans have contributed about 260 of the 110,000 interviews since 2000. Hayden and Reed were joined by local veterans who shared stories that will become part of the VHP collection.”...

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 11

Collections in briefs

Conte Flowers, Family Resource Center coordinator for Gallatin County (Ky.) Elementary Schools (one of the statewide participants), poses at an underwear collection point. Photo by Kelley Warnick / Gallatin County (Ky.) News

Campbell County (Ky.) Public Library has four branches serving 92,000 residents, about 9% of whom are living below the poverty line. When an instructor at an early literacy skills workshop mentioned that something as basic as lacking clean underwear can keep some children from staying in the classroom, the library’s managers brainstormed a creative way to help. CCPL runs a “Drop Your Drawers” campaign November 1–December 31 each year to collect new underwear for kids in sizes 4–16. The campaign has been so successful that it now gets help from Captain Underpants creator¬†Dav Pilkey....

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.; American Libraries Newsmaker, Apr. 16

Citrus County decision affects local tourism

The New York Times newspaper on the shelf at the Citrus County Library Lakes Region branch. Photo by Dirk Shadd

Controversy over the Citrus County (Fla.) commission’s decision to block the county library system from having a digital subscription to the New York Times has spilled over into local tourism. People are cancelling trips to Citrus County, and the repercussions are being felt as far abroad as London, England. John Pricher, director of the Citrus County Visitors Bureau, said as of November 6 he had received 10 anonymous and signed emails from tourists who all oppose the commissioners’ actions. On November 19, the commissioners will decide whether to take the advice of library officials and spend $2,700 annually for a digital subscription....

WTVJ-TV, Miami, Nov. 11; AL: The Scoop, Nov. 5; Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times, Nov. 7
Latest Library Links

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library reopens in new location

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on November 9 for the new Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in Indianapolis. Photo by Jake Weller

A ribbon-cutting event was held November 9 for the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in a new location in Indianapolis. After 10 months, the museum reopened to the public across the street from the Madam Walker Theatre Center on Indiana Avenue. Julia Whitehead, founder and executive director, said the museum purchased the 10,400 square-foot building in the summer. To achieve that, organizers raised $1.5 million. The original museum opened in 2011 on Senate Avenue and remained there until January when its lease was up....

WRTV-TV, Indianapolis, Nov. 9; Indianapolis Star, Nov. 8

Preparing students for NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month 2019

Colleen R. Lee writes: “As a former 6th-grade English teacher, I miss teaching kids how to be writers. As a school librarian, I realize that reading and writing go hand in hand and there is no reason writing cannot be a part of my library. For the last three years, I have sponsored a writing club for 4th- and 5th-grade students. Our membership started out at 25 students, and we have grown to 56 students this year. The main objective of the writing club is to let kids have fun with writing. Each year, we start off with getting prepared for National Novel Writing Month in November.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Nov. 12

Thousands of historical maps for student projects

Historical map of Mount Vernon in Virginia

Richard Byrne writes: “This morning I was looking for a historical map of Mount Vernon to overlay onto Google Earth imagery. I was able to find exactly what I was looking for in the historical map collection available¬†through the Library of Congress. LC’s online historical map collection has nearly 38,000 items for visitors to view. Many of the maps are in the public domain or have Creative Commons licenses. You can browse and search for maps in the collection according to date, location, subject, language, collection, and contributor.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, Nov. 11
Dewey Decibel podcast

The challenge of cataloging manuscript fragments

Areas of physical damage on two fragments of Euripides perfectly match the stains and holes present on a Euripides codex

Matteo Di Franco writes: “In a previous post, conservators discussed the challenges of preserving manuscript fragments. But catalogers also face fragment frustrations. One of the biggest challenges for catalogers is the reconstruction of the origin and provenance of the manuscripts up to their acquisition by the library, a problem that becomes even more difficult in the absence of documents. In such cases, it is down to the manuscripts themselves to provide clues to their history. Catalogers and conservators gather evidence from script, inscriptions by scribes or previous owners, decoration, construction, organization, and physical details.”...

Cambridge University Library Special Collections, Aug. 19, Nov. 12

Seven YA books with unconventional narrative structures

Cover of Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Elisa Shoenberger writes: “Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple opened up new narrative horizons for me. A fiction book composed of lists, transcripts, and more? Yes, please. I began seeking out books with unusual narrative structures, which isn’t the easiest category to find. It gave booksellers a big challenge when I asked for recommendations. I wanted more. But I found that many of these books were just too hard to navigate. But one day at The Book Cellar in Chicago, a bookseller presented me with a YA book that fit the bill, and I found others. So here are seven clever YA books out there with incredibly innovative structures.”...

Book Riot, Nov. 12

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