Fire rages around L.A.’s Getty Museum.

American Library Association • October 29, 2019
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Getty Center art and library said to be safe from fire

The Getty Fire in Los Angeles erupted October 28

Sitting in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Getty Center is no stranger to wildfires. During the December 2017 Skirball Fire, a small fire started on the museum’s adjoining hill. It was put out without incident, in part thanks to the Getty’s massive irrigation system. On October 28, an even larger fire that bears the museum’s name—the Getty Fire—was burning near its campus and forced thousands to evacuate. But the museum, home to 1,000-year-old manuscripts, multimillion-dollar paintings, and the world’s largest art library, has no plans to evacuate its treasures. The museum holds 125,000 objects of art and 1.4 million volumes in its library....

Ventura County (Calif.) Star, Oct. 28

Library pumpkin prank is shrouded in mystery

The North Miami (Fla.) Public Library steeple with pumpkin placed by Coxie’s Army

Bill Furbee writes: “North Miami (Fla.) Public Library’s rooftop features an impressive, 47-foot steeple that attracts onlookers year-round. One day a year, it attracts pranksters. Every Halloween since 1969, a group calling itself Coxie’s Army has impaled a pumpkin atop the spire. The occurrence is anticipated and even celebrated by the community. Poems, notes, and sometimes photos with identities obscured accompany the pumpkins. NMPL staffers display this ephemera inside the library after each year’s prank. The poems sometimes offer hints at who’s responsible for the pranks and share updates on the lives of Coxie’s Army members.”...

American Libraries feature, Oct. 29

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Deborah Caldwell-Stone appointed OIF director

Deborah Caldwell-Stone

ALA has promoted Deborah Caldwell-Stone (right) to director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. She has served as interim director of OIF since November 2018. In her new role, she also will serve as executive director for the Freedom to Read Foundation, an allied organization that participates in freedom of speech and freedom of the press litigation. Caldwell-Stone has worked closely with librarians, teachers, and library trustees on a wide range of intellectual freedom issues, including censorship of library resources, book challenges, internet filtering, and meeting room policies....

ALA Offices and Member Relations, Oct. 25
ALA news

Highlights from the 2019 ABOS conference

Bookmobiles on display at the 2019 Association for Bookmobile and Outreach Services Annual Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, October 23–25

Amber Hayes writes: “‘Libraries are the center of our neighborhoods,’ Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert told a room full of library workers at the 2019 Association for Bookmobile and Outreach Services Annual Conference October 23. The crowd nodded along with her as she and other state workers talked about the challenges and successes of their library system. ABOS includes bookmobile drivers, outreach specialists, and librarians who have one thing in common: bringing the library to the people. More than 200 library workers came to Omaha October 23–25 to network, share ideas, chat with outreach-related vendors, and show off their new bookmobiles.”...

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 28

Mona Lisa goes 3D

Mona Lisa, a VR view from the Louvre

The Louvre has partnered with HTC VIVE arts to create its first virtual reality experience. Called “Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass,” it uses infrared, x-ray, and refractive data to render the iconic portrait in 3D and deduce what she might have looked like in motion. VR artists worked with specialists from the museum to launch the experience in conjunction with “Leonardo da Vinci,” the largest exhibition of the master’s works ever assembled. It aims to democratize access to art experiences by sharing the details of the portrait through virtual reality, because most visitors are granted less than one minute to view the painting. Watch the video (4:49)....

Designboom, Oct. 28; HTC VIVE YouTube channel, Oct. 21

Vatican Secret Archive gets a name change

Part of the Vatican Secret Archives shown in a photograph released by the Holy See in 2012

Pope Francis is hoping to give the Vatican Secret Archive an image makeover by changing the name of the ancient collection to something less mysterious. Francis declared that the collection, which dates back centuries and contains millions of documents, will from now on be known as the Vatican Apostolic Archive. The pontiff lamented that the Latin name Archivium Secretum—originally meant to convey that the archive was private—had come to connote something more sinister. The archives are located inside the Apostolic Palace and document the church from the 8th century to the present....

NPR, Oct. 29

Boston Public Library eliminates fines for young people

Boston Public Library in Copley Square

The Boston Public Library is eliminating overdue fines for borrowers under the age of 18. The October 25 announcement came after a unanimous vote from the library’s board of trustees to eliminate fines for returning books late for youth library card holders. The policy change will also remove all pending overdue fines and offer a one-time amnesty on replacement costs. During the 2019 fiscal year, about 90% of the more than 150,000 cardholders under the age of 18 were facing fines. “We are proud to be joining the ranks of libraries across the country who are moving towards being fine-free,” BPL President David Leonard said....

Boston Globe, Oct. 28
Latest Library Links

Hawaiian library supplies mobile shower van twice a month

Craig Shoji and his wife Danica have provided showers for more than 250 people in Honolulu through their company Revive + Refresh

On October 25, officials at Kane‘ohe Regional Library on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, invited a Revive and Refresh mobile shower van to use its parking lot twice a month in an effort to help a growing number of its homeless library patrons take a shower. The library joined forces with the new outreach center and urgent care clinic next door. The Kane‘ohe Joint Outreach Center has been open just two months and already it’s provided medical care and social services to more than 80 people. “After they get a shower, they get a hot meal, and when they’re eating we try to connect them with the social services they need,” said state Rep. Lisa Kitagawa....

Hawaii News Now (Honolulu), Oct. 25; ABC News, Mar. 18

Add writing to library programming

Cover of Writing Boxes, by Lisa Von Drasek

Melissa Sokol writes: “At ALA Annual Conference in Washington in June, I attended a presentation titled ‘Writing Boxes,’ which explained how libraries can create diverse, welcoming, intergenerational programming to inspire writing as a part of literacy and family engagement. I left the program ready to infuse more writing exercises into my passive programming. Most exciting of all was when presenter Lisa Von Drasek said that the curriculum she developed for use in libraries serving youth would be shared for free online through permissions from the University of Minnesota. You can download the free ebook or purchase a physical copy online.”...

ALSC Blog, Oct. 28

The internet turns 50 on October 29

50th anniversary of the internet

On October 29, 1969, the internet era began as UCLA Computer Science Professor Len Kleinrock sent the first message on ARPANET, a network of computers that would evolve to become the internet. Five decades later, and 30 years since the World Wide Web brought the internet into the mainstream, global digital connectivity has fundamentally changed our world. Marking the anniversary, Tim Berners-Lee said: “A year ago, I called for a new Contract for the Web, bringing together governments, companies, and citizen groups to come up with a clear plan of action to protect the web as a force for good. In a month’s time that plan will be ready.”...

World Wide Web Foundation, Oct. 29
Dewey Decibel podcast

The ransomware superhero of Normal, Illinois

Ransomware superhero. Image by Benjamin Marra / ProPublica

Renee Dudley writes: “Each year, millions of ransomware attacks paralyze computer systems of individuals, businesses, hospitals, government agencies, libraries, and even police departments. Often, files cannot be decrypted without paying a ransom, and victims who haven’t saved backup copies and want to retrieve the information have little choice but to pony up. But those who have recovered their data without enriching criminals frequently owe their escapes to Michael Gillespie, a 27-year-old cancer survivor who works at a Nerds on Call computer repair shop in Normal, Illinois.”...

ProPublica, Oct. 28; American Libraries Trend, June 2018

Using postcards for local history research

Smith’s Infirmary Hospital in Tompkinsville, New York, early 20th century. It later evolved into the Staten Island University Hospital

Carmen Nigro writes: “Postcards are a fantastic resource for a place’s past that are often underutilized by scholars. They offer rich evidence of culture and architecture as a visual record. Postcards offer glimpses of a variety of places and represent popular culture. They can provide the best set of available images for examples of architecture, types of buildings, historic events, and unusual places. They are also important for researching social history, as they often provide an insight into daily activities and the appearances of neighborhoods. During the late 19th and early 20th century, postcards often served as ads for businesses and restaurants.”...

New York Public Library Blogs, Dec. 4, 2015

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