Questions and answers on virus misinformation.

American Library Association • February 4, 2020
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Misinformation and the coronavirus

Spread of the Wuhan coronavirus in China and globally, as of February 4

Alongside worries about the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus are concerns about the presence and spread of misinformation about the virus across the internet. The Harvard Law School’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society asked members of its Misinformation Working Group (including ALA’s library law specialist Mary Minow) their thoughts about misinformation and the virus....

Medium: Berkman Klein Center, Jan. 30; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Libraries column, Oct. 17, 2019

Chicago’s new library commissioner

Andrea Telli

In 2019, the city of Chicago saw not just a new mayor (Lori Lightfoot, who replaced Rahm Emanuel), but also a new public library commissioner: Andrea Telli (right), who previously served the Chicago Public Library system in many roles, including deputy commissioner of public services, central district chief, and branch manager. Just a few months after her appointment, CPL made headlines by becoming the largest public library system in the US to eliminate fines on overdue materials. American Libraries spoke with Telli about her path to librarianship, her plans for CPL’s future, and the effects of CPL’s fine-free policy....

American Libraries Newsmaker, Feb. 4

Sponsored Content

Controversial monument

Addressing controversial namesakes

Librarians and archivists are playing a key role in the ongoing debate over monuments and buildings named after racist figures. They have provided historic documents and created LibGuides to help facilitate these conversations.

Similarly, scholars researching the history of racism in the US can begin their search with Gale’s Political Extremism and Radicalism archive, which includes more than 600,000 pages of documents on topics such as the history of the Ku Klux Klan and the rise of the civil rights movement.

Read the sixth article in this multipart series on how librarians are growing relationships within the academic community.

Grants for African-American poetry programming

Lift Every Voice logo

The publisher Library of America is offering 50 libraries, museums, and nonprofit cultural institutions grants in the amount of $1,200 to host a minimum of two public programs celebrating African-American poetry. “Lift Every Voice” programs will take place from September 2020 to March 2021. Applications, due by February 21, are open to public, academic, and community college libraries. A multimedia website will fully launch in June to promote the events, and Library of America will publish African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, an inclusive new canon of African-American poetry for the next century, edited by Kevin Young, in September....

Library of America

Drama remains in Laramie County school libraries

Cover of Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

A book about a middle school play that contains some sections where a boy expresses his feelings for another boy will stay in Laramie County (Wyo.) School District 1 schools. A parent made a complaint about the book Drama by Raina Telgemeier in November, stating the book “takes away parents’ rights to teach morals and values. Praises normalization of the LGBTQ community.” Following a public hearing at Laramie County Community College, the district reconsideration committee voted unanimously January 30 to keep the book in school libraries with no restrictions....

Cheyenne Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Jan. 31; American Libraries Newsmaker, Sept./Oct. 2019

University of Virginia makes 1930s folk music available

The University of Virginia Library has made 173 aluminum instantaneous discs available online, digitizing recordings made in the 1930s. Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University of Virginia

Using the latest recording technology available to him in the 1930s—aluminum discs—University of Virginia English instructor Arthur Kyle Davis Jr. recorded hundreds of traditional folksongs and ballads from Virginia residents, mostly in the Appalachian region. His work for the Virginia Folklore Society created one of the earliest collections of its kind in North America, including some of the earliest recordings of African-American musicians in the state. Now, the University Library has made 173 of those discs—containing nearly 700 songs—available online, digitizing the recordings with support from a grant from the “Recordings at Risk” program....

UVA Today, Jan. 27
ALA news

Tulane University acquires Anne Rice archives

Anne Rice

Tulane University’s Howard-Tilton Memorial Library has acquired the complete archives of famed New Orleans author Anne Rice (right), thanks to a gift from Stuart Rose and the Stuart Rose Family Foundation. Rice’s work has included gothic and erotic fiction, as well as Christian literature, but she is best known for her novels in vampire and supernatural fiction. Rice’s first book, Interview with the Vampire, was published in 1976. The Anne Rice Archive includes manuscripts of most of her published novels, unpublished short stories, personal artifacts, journals, screenplays, and other materials documenting Rice’s literary and personal life....

KATC-TV, Lafayette, La., Jan. 30

Australian libraries help with bushfire recovery

Image from ALIA’s international collaboration slideshow

The Australian Library and Information Association has published a statement in response to the ongoing bushfire crisis. ALIA has been monitoring the situation and published reports in ALIA Weekly about libraries being used as evacuation centers, refuges for those avoiding smoke, and places where people can access information and families can gain respite. Libraries have stepped up to help their communities, showing compassion and dedication, often while facing challenging situations in their own homes. ALIA has created this slideshow, which has further information on how to assist bushfire-affected areas....

Australian Library and Information Association

Occupational gender bias in online images

Librarian stereotypes. Image by Rebecca Lomax

Rutgers researchers say gender bias corresponding to certain occupations are prevalent on digital and social media platforms. The study, published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, finds that online images of men and women in four professions—librarian, nurse, computer programmer, and civil engineer—tend to represent and reinforce existing gender stereotypes. Rutgers researchers analyzed search results on four digital media platforms (Twitter,, Wikipedia, and Shutterstock) and compared them with the gender representation of each occupation in the US Bureau of Labor Statistics....

EurekAlert! Feb. 3; JASIST, Jan. 22
Latest Library Links

Five tips for using census records in genealogy research

1860 Census, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

Lisa Lisson writes: “Census records are some of the first records genealogy researchers begin with. Whether you are a seasoned genealogy researcher or a brand new researcher, understanding the basics of census research is essential to finding your ancestors. While the five tips in this post are from US census records, the strategies apply to census research for any country.”...

Are You My Cousin?

Kobe’s bookshelf

Kobe Bryant

Keith Kesler writes: “Kobe Bryant’s post-basketball life was dedicated to inspiring young people through storytelling. He told CBS This Morning Saturday that in 50 years he hoped to be remembered ‘as a person that was able to create stories that inspired their children and families to bond together.’ His second act was cut short on January 26 when a helicopter he was riding in with his daughter Gianna and seven others crashed in Calabasas, California. As one would expect from a passionate storyteller, Bryant also appreciated reading a good book. I searched through old interviews and social media posts to find the books that inspired the Black Mamba.”...

Los Angeles Public Library Blog, Jan. 28; CBS News, Nov. 9, 2019
Dewey Decibel podcast

What were women reading?

Book of Hours, Salisbury. Published in Paris, 1533? Folger STC 15982

Georgianna Ziegler writes: “Peer with me into the books left behind by women readers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. What kind of books were they reading? What sort of notes did they write in them? What can we learn about their lives? Using the Folger Shakespeare Library’s online catalog, I’ve been able to identify hundreds of women from the late 1500s to the early 1800s and the books they had in their possession. Some of the women who turn up are quite well-known, such as Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII’s fourth wife. She left a Book of Hours (a Christian devotional book) that she had given to Henry, perhaps when she first came to England.”...

Shakespeare and Beyond, Jan. 24

150K animal and plant illustrations available

I Cefalopodi viventi nel Golfo di Napoli (sistematica). Berlin : R. Friedländer & Sohn, 1896.

In an effort to share information to combat the ongoing climate crisis, the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr site offers more than 55 million pages of literature, some of which date back to the 15th century. Some 158,000 illustrations are available for free download in high-resolution files. Among the collections is a digital copy of Joseph Wolf’s two-volume Zoological Sketches containing about 100 lithographs depicting wild animals housed in London’s Regent’s Park. Other diverse works range from a watercolor project detailing flowers indigenous to the Hawaiian islands, to a guide for do-it-yourself taxidermy with illustrated instructions published in 1833....

Colossal, Jan. 31; Flickr: Biodiversity Heritage Library

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