Meet Tracie D. Hall, ALA executive director.

American Library Association • January 17, 2020
The Philly food scene

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ALA appoints Tracie D. Hall as executive director

Tracie D. Hall

ALA has announced the appointment of Tracie D. Hall (right) as its executive director, effective February 24. Following a nationwide search, Hall was selected to succeed Mary W. Ghikas, who has worked for ALA since 1995 and served as executive director since January 2018. Hall is the first female African-American executive director in ALA’s history. She has worked at Seattle Public Library, the New Haven (Conn.) Free Public Library, Queens (N.Y.) Public Library, and Hartford (Conn.) Public Library. She served as the director of ALA’s Office for Diversity in the early 2000s. Hall answered questions from American Libraries to introduce herself to ALA members and staff....

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 15

Ready to binge-watch?

Leah Elzner, a staff member at Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach, Florida, looks over the latest binge bundles

Timothy Inklebarger writes: “When Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach, Florida, started offering binge boxes—which it calls ‘binge bundles’—this year as part of its summer reading program, its DVD circulation more than quadrupled in a single month, jumping from 125 in June to 528 in July, according to MPL Library Supervisor Janet Norton. Mirroring offerings from Netflix and Hulu, libraries are seeing renewed interest in materials through the creation of binge box collections—sets of movies and television shows on DVD with related themes and titles to help sate patrons’ binge-watching needs.”...

American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.

Digitizing hidden treasures

A Congolese immigrant waves to the camera in a screenshot from a home movie archived by Home Made Visible

Lauren Emily Whalen writes: “A young Congolese immigrant waves excitedly at the camera before playing the piano at her elementary school Christmas concert. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer steps outside a church with his new bride. A Khmer-Krom baby sleeps swaddled in his carrier, oblivious to his own one-month birthday celebration. Caught on old home movies, each image offers an intriguing glimpse of a specific community. That’s why some libraries in the US and Canada are offering patrons the opportunity to digitize, and sometimes publicly archive, personal history items such as photographs, VHS tapes, and other ephemera.”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

A Dewey Decibel guide to Philadelphia

Dewey Decibel: Insider’s Guide to Philadelphia

On January 23, thousands of librarians and library workers will begin to descend on Philadelphia for the 2020 ALA Midwinter Meeting. And they will be searching for the best places to eat and things to do while visiting the City of Brotherly Love. In Episode 46, Dewey Decibel explores what to see and where to eat during Midwinter, featuring interviews with Linda August, reference librarian and curator of art and artifacts at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and Sarah Levitsky, marketing director at Reading Terminal Market....

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 17

ALA responds to potential legislation in Missouri

Banned book display at the Springfield–Greene County (Mo.) Library District

Missouri House Bill 2044, introduced on January 8, proposes the creation of five-member “parental library review boards” to identify “age-inappropriate” public library materials and restrict access to them. According to its sponsor, State Rep. Ben Baker (R-Neosho), the bill grew out of concerns with drag queen story hours at public libraries. It proposes criminal prosecution for library workers who make those materials available to minors and would deny funding to libraries that do not employ parental review boards. The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released a statement on the legislation that reads, in part: “We support the right of families and individuals to choose materials from a diverse spectrum of ideas and beliefs.” The Missouri Library Association has also issued a statement....

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Jan. 16; Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jan. 16; Missouri Library Association, Jan. 15
ALA news

Loudoun County leaves LGBTQ books in place

Cover of Prince and Knight

A movement to withdraw books with LGBTQ characters from elementary schools in Loudoun County, Virginia, suffered a setback as officials voted to leave in place two books that some parents wanted removed. A few months ago, conservative parents launched a religion-driven campaign to banish LGBTQ literature from elementary school libraries in Loudoun County—with early success. School officials had removed at least five books with LGBTQ themes after parents’ complaints. Now a three-member subcommittee of the county school board voted 2–1 on January 15 to prevent the removal of Prince & Knight and Heather Has Two Mommies....

Washington Post, Jan. 15

Columbus library employees affected by data breach

Gregg Dodd, Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library

The¬†Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library and local police are investigating a data breach at the library in which dozens of employees’ personal information has been compromised. The breach is not affecting library users. According to the police report, employee names and personal information were used to set up bank accounts at Huntington Bank. Money was then deposited into those accounts through payday loans, then withdrawn with debit cards. Columbus Metropolitan Library spokesperson Gregg Dodd (right) said a library employee noticed something was wrong over the weekend....

WCMH-TV, Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 15; Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 16

Cleveland PL criticized for social media on labor dispute

Union branch of the Cleveland Public Library

The Cleveland (Ohio) Public Library, locked in a labor dispute with the union representing library workers, is facing criticism for using its taxpayer-supported social media accounts to publicize information surrounding the dispute. Service Employees International Union District 1199, which represents about 400 librarians, library assistants, and custodians, is consulting with its attorneys to determine whether the library’s actions broke its own policies and state law, which prohibits public entities like the library from using public money to support or oppose “any labor organization or any action by, on behalf of, or against any labor organization.”...

Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, Jan. 9, 16
Latest Library Links

Bill would stop prisons from charging inmates to read

An inmate in New Hampshire reads a tablet. Congressional representatives in Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia are driving efforts to end the monetization of technology in US prisons. Photo by Charles Krupa / Associated Press

Lawmakers in three states are drafting a bill to end the growing trend of prisons charging inmates high fees for reading ebooks or making video calls to their families, while paying under a dollar an hour for prison labor. State prisons in nine states have struck deals with private equity telecom companies to introduce pay-per-minute reading and videoconferencing in their facilities. House representatives David Trone (D-Md.), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.), and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) are looking to create a bipartisan-supported bill to curb the practice. “Access to books and other educational materials for prisoners just makes sense,” Trone said....

The Guardian (UK), Jan. 13

Three reasons to love self-checkout in a school library

Self-checkout station

Kelly Hincks writes: “Up until this school year, I had been working with preschool to 2nd grade students. I was always under the mindset that self-checkout would be too difficult to manage with this age group. I was wrong. Additionally, I was concerned that I might upset the school community if checkout was not managed by me. Wrong again. Many school librarians are doing this and doing it well. Now that I have tried it out for the past three months, I wish I had started sooner. Here are three things I love about self-checkout.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Jan. 16
Dewey Decibel podcast

Carmen Agra Deedy appointed to Smithsonian library board

Carmen Agra Deedy

The Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents voted October 21 to appoint children’s author Carmen Agra Deedy to the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board in 2020. She is now joining others dedicated to building the libraries’ collections, increasing digital initiatives, advancing education, creating high-quality exhibitions and programs, and securing a financial legacy. Deedy is the author of 11 books for children, including The Library Dragon, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, and 14 Cows for America. She has served on the DeKalb County (Ga.) Public Library board of trustees and as an Author Library Advocate for ALA....

Smithsonian Libraries: Unbound, Jan. 15

The best PC games

Red Dead Redemption 2 (for PlayStation 4)

Jeffrey L. Wilson writes: “If you’re looking for a good PC game to play, you’ve come to the right place. There are a lot of video games in this roundup that will entertain you, and they’re neatly organized by genre. This is not a historical examination of the most groundbreaking PC games; rather, it is an ever-expanding collection of entertaining titles you should buy if you own a gaming desktop or gaming laptop. Any game that is still available and still considered excellent when ranked against the best of today is eligible.”...

PC Magazine, Jan. 16–17; Dec. 9, 2019

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