Kansas City CEO to take over IMLS reins.

American Library Association • January 10, 2020
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Crosby Kemper III confirmed as new IMLS director

Crosby Kemper III

The US Senate confirmed unanimously on January 9 the nomination of ALA member and Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library CEO Crosby Kemper III (right) as director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Kemper will step down from his position at KCPL. “ALA congratulates Crosby Kemper on his new position as director of IMLS,” said ALA President Wanda Brown. “We are excited to work with a proven library leader to head the federal agency charged with equipping our nation’s 120,000 libraries as centers of lifelong learning, research, and innovation.”...

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Jan. 9; Kansas City (Mo.) Star, Jan. 9

First Amendment audits push privacy limits

Man holding a video camera in the library

Taylor Hartz writes: “In October 2019, a phone rang at Silas Bronson Library in Waterbury, Connecticut. When Director Raechel Guest answered, the ‘very hostile’ voice on the other end made a threat she’d never heard before: The caller told her he planned to visit the library to perform a ‘First Amendment audit.’ The call represented a trend unfolding in public facilities across the country: individuals who arm themselves with video cameras, proclaim themselves First Amendment auditors, and enter police precincts, post offices, libraries, and other spaces under the auspices of the right to free speech in order to record staff violations.”...

American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.

Take control of your library’s narrative

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “Like many in our profession, I was dismayed to hear the administration of St. Cloud (Minn.) State University has laid off four tenured faculty librarians as part of its cost-cutting retrenchment efforts. Beyond the terrible loss to the library and university community, what struck me was how the administration selectively used library data to justify its decision—data the library faculty argued was taken out of context. Circulation and reference transaction data was reported from different time periods and didn’t reflect the fact that academic librarians have increasingly focused on teaching within the curriculum, for example.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.; Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 19, 2019

Understanding blockchain

Dispatches, by Michael Meth

Michael Meth writes: “Whether through the news, from excited computer-savvy friends, or over a family dinner, you may have heard of such cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin or Ethereum. These electronic financial currencies have rapidly risen from speculative digital tokens (once considered untraceable by regulators and with little intrinsic value) to tokens with quasicurrency status and an air of legitimacy. Blockchain is the underlying technology that supports cryptocurrencies. One of the reasons for Bitcoin’s success is its ingenious use of the distributed ledger—shared, synchronized data spread across multiple nodes.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

Get with the programming

On My Mind, by Terrilyn Chun

Terrilyn Chun writes: “Thoughts of libraries tend to bring to mind images of books and reading, but the trends tell another story: Circulation in public libraries is decreasing while public programs are growing in prominence, according to the 2017 Public Library Data Service Report. I’ve witnessed the long arc of this trend in action over 20 years spent developing public programs—an expertise I gained prior to earning my MLS.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.
ALA news

Host libraries sought for PLA’s Inclusive Internship Initiative

Inclusive Internship Initiative logo

PLA is now accepting applications from public libraries interested in participating in its Inclusive Internship Initiative this year. In alignment with PLA’s strategic goal related to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice, III was piloted in 2017 as a pathway program to increase diversity in public librarianship. PLA will sponsor paid, mentored internships at public libraries for 50 high school juniors and seniors during the summer of 2020. The 2020 application for host libraries is online. Applications must be received by February 3....

PLA, Jan. 7

Rainbow Rowell on Spotify and specificity

Rainbow Rowell

Alison Marcotte writes: “Bestselling YA author Rainbow Rowell (right) released two highly anticipated books in late 2019: Her debut graphic novel Pumpkinheads (First Second), illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks, is set in a pumpkin patch wonderland in Omaha, Nebraska, where two best friends have worked every fall throughout high school. Wayward Son (St. Martin’s), the sequel to 2015’s Carry On, explores what happens after the hero saves the day and is supposed to be living happily ever after. American Libraries spoke with Rowell about playlists, passionate fans, and upcoming projects.”...

American Libraries Newsmaker, Jan./Feb.

Librarians: Macmillan ebook policy punishes the poor

Heather Backman

Macmillan Publishers’ decision to restrict sales of its ebooks to libraries punishes the poor and threatens a community’s cultural life and access to ideas, librarians in central Masschusetts say. “Broad, open access to information is necessary for a functioning democracy, and no one should be excluded from participating in civic and cultural life just because they can’t afford to buy a book,” said Hopkinton (Mass.) Public Library Director Heather Backman (right). Patrons can expect longer wait times for newly released ebooks from Macmillan, said Upton (Mass.) Library Director Matthew Bachtold....

Milford (Mass.) Daily News, Jan. 7
Latest Library Links

Public libraries reach record-high ebook/audiobook usage

Record ebook usage

Due to their creative efforts in curation, managing multiple lending models, and engaging patrons, librarians helped drive public library circulation of digital books to record highs in 2019. Libraries and schools around the world enabled their patrons and students to check out 326 million ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines in the past 12 months, a 20% increase over 2018. Publishers and authors benefited from the library’s role as a valued discovery channel which resulted in record library sales of digital titles across all genres for all audiences....

Rakuten OverDrive, Jan. 8

OCLC awarded grant to support linked data initiatives

OCLC logo

OCLC has been awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a shared “Entity Management Infrastructure” that will support linked data management initiatives underway in the library and scholarly communications community. When complete, this infrastructure will be jointly curated by the community and OCLC, and will ultimately make scholarly materials more connected and discoverable on the web. The two-year grant, for $2.436 million, will support the publication of authoritative and easily accessible entity descriptions for works and persons as part of a persistent, centralized infrastructure....

OCLC, Jan. 9
Dewey Decibel podcast

14 budget-friendly tabletop games for libraries

Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit

Jenn Carson writes: “Ever think about starting a tabletop game collection at your library? If you’re a game enthusiast, you could probably come up with a whole list of ideas that would blow your patrons’ minds—and your library’s budget. Board games, after all, can be both exciting and pricey. But if you can solicit donations of gently used games or find them for cheap, you might be able to amass a larger collection that you thought possible. Here is a list of the 14 most popular games we have at the L. P. Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, New Brunswick. Prices vary depending on where you buy them and which versions you get.”...

Programming Librarian, Dec. 27

Embed Instagram posts into your library’s website

Instagram photos embedded on the Blue Valley West High School website using LightWidget

Becca Munson writes: “Instagram is a good way to advocate for your school library by posting images of library activities. It gives a positive impression of your library programs by showing photos of the events. If you have a library Instagram account, stretch the influence of that account to your library website where other visitors, students, and teachers can view the images as well. There are a few tools to embed an Instagram account in your school library website, but not many are free. I can find only one free tool that works with any type of website: LightWidget.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Jan. 10

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