Getting ready for Philadelphia—programs and food.

American Library Association • January 3, 2020
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2020 Midwinter Meeting preview

Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia

Greg Landgraf writes: “Like Rocky Balboa, one of Philadelphia’s most famous characters, libraries are championed for their guts and determination. They provide services to all, no matter how fierce the opposition. So it’s only appropriate that the 2020 ALA Midwinter Meeting returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia January 24–28 to give librarians a chance to make connections, discuss ideas, and discover new research to help build a strong future for libraries, even in the face of overwhelming odds.” Reid Bramblett offers advice on where to eat—from faux-colonial taverns to historic food-hall cornucopias, whiskey bars, and funky vegan eateries....

American Libraries features, Jan./Feb.

2019 in review

Looking back on 2019

Here are some of the stories that affected libraries in the past year. Net neutrality suffered two major blows: The Save the Internet Act of 2019 passed the House but has stalled in the Senate, and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Mozilla v. FCC that the FCC can repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules. US Supreme Court Associate Justice and author Sonia Sotomayor spoke about her love for libraries, the transition from private to public life, and her new children’s book at the ALA Annual Conference. PLA celebrated its 70th anniversary, and the Social Responsibilities Round Table turned 50....

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.; AL The Scoop, June 22, 2019

OverDrive’s new owners: What it means

KKR and Rakuten OverDrive logos

Marshall Breeding writes: “OverDrive, the largest commercial provider of ebooks and other digital content to libraries, issued a surprise announcement on December 24 about a pending change in its ownership. The company’s current owner Rakuten—a Japanese online retailing company—has entered a definitive agreement to sell OverDrive to KKR, a major US-based investment firm. This news on the digital lending front has sparked considerable interest and raised numerous questions from the library community. At this point, however, the takeover cannot be characterized either positively or negatively.”...

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 31; KKR, Dec. 24

Update on the Macmillan ebook embargo

Macmillan update

Timothy Inklebarger writes: “Two months have passed since Macmillan Publishing began its restrictive embargo on ebooks, and the response by library advocates, by way of a public awareness campaign and efforts to influence state and federal lawmakers, appears to be gaining steam. More than 230,000 people have signed the #eBooksForAll online petition urging Macmillan to reverse its decision to limit a single copy per title to each public library for the first two months after its release. Advocates are making inroads at the congressional level—particularly with the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, which is currently investigating competition in digital markets.”...

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 24, Dec. 31
ALA news

Charting a path to a more vibrant ALA

From the President, by Wanda Kay Brown

ALA President Wanda Kay Brown writes: “Meeting members and learning how and where they found their place in ALA has given me the opportunity to reflect on my own path. I was lucky enough to be guided and mentored early on by members of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and through my involvement in that group, I found a path for engagement and leadership that brought me to where I am today. But as we hear often, many members find the path to engagement too confusing, too insular, and too expensive. How do we address these concerns while also modernizing the way our Association functions?” ALA Executive Director Mary Ghikas adds that this is a good time to “listen to one another, reflect together, craft a shared community narrative, and move confidently into the new year.”...

American Libraries columns, Jan./Feb.

Apply for a Game On! grant

Games and Gaming Round Table logo

The ALA Games and Gaming Round Table has unveiled a new annual grant program to enable libraries to develop gaming programs or collections for their communities. Through the new Game On! grants, $500 will be awarded, either as one grant of $500 or two grants of $250. ALA members currently employed at a public, school, academic, or special library in the US or Canada are eligible to apply. Libraries must illustrate a plan for a sustainable gaming program created with the funds as well as financial need and institutional support for the program. The online application is open now through March 1....

Games and Gaming Round Table, Jan. 2

YALSA’s 2020 Graphic Novels for Teens list

Pumpkinheads, by Rainbow Rowell, is one of the Top Ten

YALSA has announced its 2020 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list. The list consists of 103 titles selected from 178 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The books, recommended for those ages 12–18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. View the full list online. The blogging team also chose its Top Ten recommendations. YA librarians can suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee in 2021....

YALSA, Jan. 2

AJL statement on recent antisemitic acts

Love Your Neighbor reading list

The Association of Jewish Libraries is horrified by the recent spate of antisemitic attacks, especially those that took place during the holiday of Hanukkah. As an international organization of librarians, archivists, researchers, writers, teachers, and lovers of literature, AJL seeks to educate the public and provide resources to fight this scourge of ignorance and hate. After the 2018 attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, AJL published the Love Your Neighbor series of youth booklists. These recommended titles demystify the Jewish experience for readers, with the aim of helping them grow in understanding and empathy....

Association of Jewish Libraries: People of the Books Blog, Dec. 31
Latest Library Links

Accessibility discussions and library renovations

Patrons must go up a set of stairs to enter three fiction sections in the new Hunters Point Library. Photo by Jake Dobkin / Gothamist

Emily Stochl writes: “The new $41 million Hunters Point branch of the Queens Public Library opened on September 12 with three floors that are only accessible by stairs (right). Following the public outcry, the library announced it will move the contents of the top three floors to another part of the library. A class-action lawsuit has been filed against them. This brings up the question: In library renovations, when do discussions of accessibility arise? I consulted library directors, disability advocates, and architects to try to make sense of the library construction or renovation planning process, and how discussions of accessibility are integrated.”...

Book Riot, Jan. 3; Gothamist, Oct. 4; The Architects Newspaper, Nov. 26

New library policy seems to target homeless population

Wilmington Library policy posted. Photo by Jeanne Kuang / Wilmington News Journal

The downtown public library in Wilmington, Delaware, has cracked down on the kinds of bags allowed inside, a policy the city’s homeless say keep them out of one of the few warm, free places to go in the winter. Beginning January 1, bedrolls, blankets, garbage bags, wheeled carts, and luggage are prohibited from the library, according to signs posted on the doors. Patrons are limited to bringing two bags and cannot store anything at the library. The policy has frustrated those who have no place to store their belongings and heightened anxieties among the homeless population who feel they’re being pushed away from view....

Wilmington (Del.) News Journal, Dec. 26
Dewey Decibel podcast

Michigan acquires rare Native American photos

Images from the Pohrt prints

Sitting Bull. Geronimo. Red Cloud. These are some of the famous historical Native American figures featured in a rare collection of photographs newly acquired by the University of Michigan’s William L. Clements Library. The collection, which comes from noted collector Richard Pohrt Jr., will add more than 1,000 images by more than 150 photographers to the library’s renowned archive of early American history. Taken primarily between 1860 and 1920, the vintage prints—many of which come from the original negatives on the original photographers’ mounts—feature more than 70 different First Nations....

University of Michigan News, Dec. 23

Rare gay rights book on exhibit at Johns Hopkins

John Addington Symonds

A Problem in Greek Ethics is an unassuming little book, bound in olive green leather and stamped with gilt. Seven inches tall and less than five inches wide, it’s small enough to be concealed in a coat pocket. The book is one of only 10 copies printed, written anonymously by English poet and literary critic John Addington Symonds, that helped lay the foundation for the modern gay rights movement—a copy that for more than 130 years was thought to be lost. It is now on exhibit at Johns Hopkins University’s Milton S. Eisenhower Library in Baltimore, along with some letters, photographs, and copies of books from Symonds’s library....

Baltimore Sun, Jan. 2

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