A conversation with ALA’s new executive director.

American Library Association • February 25, 2020
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Dewey Decibel: One-on-one with Tracie D. Hall

Dewey Decibel: One-on-one with Tracie D. Hall

On February 24, Tracie D. Hall took the reins at ALA as the new executive director. In this special bonus episode of the Dewey Decibel podcast, Hall sits down with American Libraries Editor and Publisher Sanhita SinhaRoy to discuss the changing face of the Association, the future of librarianship, library work with social justice issues, and her favorite music....

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 24

Bikes and books in Afghanistan

Idress Siyawash’s mobile library

Alex Fusco writes: “Idress Siyawash, a student at Jahan University in Kabul, is founder and chief of a small organization called Read Books (in Pashto: Ketab Lwast), a mobile effort to improve youth literacy rates in Afghanistan by providing books and reading instruction to children in rural areas. Years of war have left Afghanistan with some of the lowest adult literacy rates in the world—about 45% for men, and about 17% for women. Siyawash is determined to change this. Together with volunteers from universities across Kabul, he and his team travel to rural regions by car on a weekly basis, delivering books and enthusiasm by bicycle and loudspeaker.”...

American Libraries feature, Feb. 25

The future of LITA after the Core vote

LITA: Empowering libraries through technology

Jenny Levine writes: “LITA’s path towards sustainability has culminated in a proposal to form Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a new ALA division that would merge ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA. The proposal, which is on the March ALA ballot, would come with significant efficiencies for staff and programming that make it possible to continue our activities. We anticipate that fiscal year 2020–2021 will be a transitional year: either completing the merger or phasing out LITA entirely. If all three divisions do not vote in favor of Core, we will spend the year working through an orderly wind-down that includes transferring some of LITA’s key activities to other ALA units.”...

LITA Blog, Feb. 24

Traverse City library staff save overdosing woman

Deb Radjenovich, Traverse Area (Mich.) District Library

Library staff at the Traverse Area (Mich.) District Library may have saved a life recently when a woman was found on the floor of the bathroom. No one could wake her. While one staff member called 911, another jumped into action. Library Business Manager Deb Radjenovich (right) went into the bathroom to unlock the stall. “I have to give kudos to the 911 dispatcher,” Radjenovich said, “because whoever they were they knew immediately from the symptoms that we had to do CPR.” Luckily, a CPR-trained library user was on hand. Coincidentally, the library board just approved a move to give staff access to the drug Naloxone for overdose incidents....

WWTV, Cadillac, Mich., Feb. 24

Tackling senioritis through engagement

Senior Research Project: Stand Up for Something

Karin Greenberg writes: “Anyone who has worked in a high school is familiar with senioritis, the syndrome that causes seniors to relax their academic efforts with the justification that they’ve worked hard for the past four years and deserve a break. Senioritis exists because students’ motivation to learn has been crushed in the competitive environment that rewards high GPAs and test scores above learning for learning’s sake. As school librarians, we can assist teachers in implementing activities to help seniors figure out what moves them. One such project I’ve been a part of the past several years is ‘Stand Up For Something.’”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Feb. 25
ALA news

British Library opens new website on children’s literature

Cover of A Book of Nonsense, by Edward Lear, 3rd ed., London, 1861

The British Library opened a new website devoted to historic children’s literature on February 21. Discovering Children’s Books draws on inspiring material from medieval fables to contemporary picture books. The site features thoughtful drafts, scribbled notebooks, sketchbooks, story boards, and dummy books, revealing the creative processes behind some of the best-loved children’s literature. It brings together children’s literature from four major cultural institutions: the British Library, Seven Stories—The National Centre for Children’s Books, the Bodleian Libraries, and the Victoria and Albert Museum....

British Library, Feb. 21

Japanese internment materials digitized

Internees roam the desolate Heart Mountain Relocation Center near Cody, Wyoming, in 1942. Photo by Tom Parker

The University of California, Berkeley’s Bancroft Library holds one of the most comprehensive collections of materials on the internment of Japanese Americans in the world. In September 1945, the War Relocation Authority gave a copy of its extensive records on internment to UC Berkeley. The collection includes community letters, photos, reports, and administrative files, as well as writings, art, and newspapers created by internees. In 2011, the library undertook a massive digitization project. With funding from the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites grant program, the library has digitized 550,000 items, with an additional 150,000 items on the way....

University of California, Berkeley Library News, Feb. 19

LC acquires images by Harlem photographer Shawn Walker

Shawn Walker, “African-American Day parade, 1989”

On February 19, the Library of Congress announced its acquisition of photographer Shawn Walker’s archive of nearly 100,000 pictures, negatives, and transparencies. The purchase, centered on life in Harlem between 1963 and the present, marks the first time LC has added a comprehensive archive of works by an African-American photographer. Walker, now 80, is known for taking images that document happenings in Manhattan, from parades and celebrations to poverty and policing. Walker has also photographed Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and Jesse Jackson, as well as such cities as Chicago, Los Angeles, and post-Katrina New Orleans....

Smithsonian magazine: Smart News, Feb. 24; Library of Congress, Feb. 19
Latest Library Links

Facial recognition software and libraries

Facial recognition software

The ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Facial Recognition Working Group is compiling a Q&A on the use of facial recognition software in libraries. They would like to hear from library workers, students in LIS programs, trustees, volunteers, library users, and members of the community. These questions are open to everyone interested in the issue....

ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee, Feb. 24

Shaping the global narrative on media literacy

Alumni TIES program on media literacy

US citizens who are former Fulbright scholars or veterans of other government cultural exchange programs are invited to apply for an Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar, May 4–9, in Washington, D.C., on the theme of “Shaping the Global Narrative on Media Literacy.” Alumni from the US and around the world who focus on media literacy in education, media and communications, and policy and advocacy will come together to explore the challenges and opportunities for strengthening media literacy education. Apply by February 28....

Alumni TIES program
Dewey Decibel podcast

Firefox turns on encrypted DNS


Jon Brodkin writes: “Firefox starts switching browser users to Cloudflare’s encrypted-DNS service February 25 and will roll out the change across the US in coming weeks. DNS over HTTPS helps keep eavesdroppers from seeing what DNS lookups your browser is making, potentially making it more difficult for internet service providers or other third parties to monitor what websites you visit. Mobile broadband providers were caught selling their customers’ real-time location data to third parties, and internet providers can use browsing history to deliver targeted ads.”...

Ars Technica, Feb. 25; Jan. 8, 2019; Sept. 30, 2016; The Mozilla Blog, Feb. 25; New America, Nov. 18, 2019

125 literary Jeopardy! answers to test your bookish wisdom


Kelly Jensen writes: “A few years back, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jeopardy! on television. I pulled together a set of posts featuring literary Jeopardy final answers. Given that bookish trivia continues to be a powerhouse on the show, it seems about time to revisit some of the best book category answers and put your question skills to the test. Get ready. Get set. It’s literary Jeopardy!”...

Book Riot, Feb. 24; March 10, 15, 2015

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