Textbooks are expensive; students are getting creative.

American Library Association • January 21, 2020
Midwinter dining guide

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Students find workarounds for expensive textbooks

A student at the University of Maryland Baltimore County library in 2018. Photo by Salwan Georges / Washington Post

Lauren Lumpkin writes: “As students return to campus for spring semester, many will do what they can to avoid paying full price for textbooks. The cost can be a barrier for students, particularly for those who are already in debt or come from low-income families. Some students search for bargains and buy secondhand materials. Others rent from book publishers, many of which lease books to students at discounted prices. Some 65% of college students say they have delayed buying a textbook because it was too expensive and, in some cases, done so even though they were worried the decision would hurt their grade.”...

Washington Post, Jan. 17

Medical marvels in Philadelphia

Beth M. Lander. Photo by Kriston Bethel

Unexpectedly finding a skeleton lounging in her office doesn’t rattle Beth M. Lander (right), college librarian at the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. “That’s an excellent example of what it is like to work here,” she says. “You never know what might happen next.” The college shares its library with the Mütter Museum, an institution known for its macabre medical materials, which span centuries. The library holds more than 146,000 journals, monographs, photos, manuscripts, and other medical ephemera documenting more than 1,000 years of medical history. It also has five books bound in human skin....

American Libraries Bookend, Jan./Feb.

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Ghost River exhibition at Library Company of Philadelphia

Illustration from Ghost River. Art by Weshoyot Alvitre

In 1763, a mob of white settlers, the so-called Paxton Boys, murdered 20 unarmed Conestoga people in a genocidal campaign that reshaped Pennsylvania settlement politics. The Library Company of Philadelphia has published a graphic novel about the event, Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga, by Lee Francis 4, with art by Weshoyot Alvitre, and edited by Will Fenton, and is now hosting an exhibition on view at the library through April 10. The exhibition features Alvitre’s hand-painted artwork from the graphic novel, a wampum belt created by Wampanoag artist Elizabeth James-Perry, and a behind-the-scenes documentary....

Library Company of Philadelphia

Free Library of Philadelphia’s Field Teen Center

Field Teen Center, Free Library of Philadelphia

In the basement of Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central branch are shelves upon shelves of manga, lucite cases full of Marvel and DC comics, tables covered in puzzles, a 75-inch flat-screen TV for anime and games, paper-covered tables and markers for doodling, a makerspace with a 3D printer and a sewing machine, and cozy chairs in hues of bright red and orange. It is the Field Teen Center, which opened in April 2019. On a typical weekday, about 30 teens are hanging out at any given time, bonding with staff and partaking in parties, video games, poetry practice, and fun contests....

Philadelphia Citizen, Jan. 15

DPLA releases The Impeachment Papers ebook

Articles of Impeachment, from The Impeachment Papers

The Digital Public Library of America has released a new ebook, The Impeachment Papers, a compendium of 38 documents related to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. The EPUB-format ebook consists of witness testimony, subpoenas, and other publicly available material in an easy-to-read format. Additions to the preliminary version of this ebook, originally released in December, include the report from the House Judiciary Committee, report from the House Intelligence Committee, and the review of four FISA applications and other aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, all of which were released to the public in December. A browser version is also available....

Digital Public Library of America, Jan. 21
ALA news

Erasure of political history at the National Archives

The original, unaltered photo of the 2017 Women’s March in the District. An altered version appears in an exhibit at the National Archives. Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

Masha Gessen writes: “On January 17, the Washington Post reported that the National Archives had altered the signs on a photograph from the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. On the photograph in question, the word ‘Trump’ was blurred on a sign that originally read ‘God Hates Trump.’ In other signs in the same picture, the words ‘vagina’ and ‘pussy’ disappeared. In response to the Post’s initial inquiry, NARA offered two arguments and one excuse. On January 18, within 24 hours of the publication of the Post story, the Archives removed the display photograph and posted a note of apology, which began, ‘We made a mistake.’” ALA has responded to the situation in a statement....

The New Yorker, Jan. 19; Washington Post, Jan. 17; National Archives, Jan. 18; ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Jan. 21

YIVO lays off its librarians

YIVO archives

The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the world’s preeminent center for the study of the Yiddish language, culture, and history, has laid off all of its librarians. Four people were let go in the move, which was announced internally last week and confirmed by Executive Director Jonathan Brent in a statement on January 20. The four librarians were among 39 total employees of the 95-year-old organization, which reported $5.1 million in spending in its 2018 annual report. YIVO had a $550,000 revenue shortfall in 2019, Brent said, so the board and professional leadership decided to remove the librarians in order to “seek efficiencies in the organization.”...

Forward, Jan. 20

Volusia County libraries suffer cyberattack

Volusia County (Fla.) Library Center at City Island

A “cyber intrusion” knocked 600 public-access computers offline at Volusia County (Fla.) Public Library. Patrons can still check out materials and use Wi-Fi on personal devices. The computers have been down since January 9 and will likely remain so the rest of this week. “The county’s technology staff were immediately notified and coordinated recovery efforts with library staff,” county spokesman Kevin Captain said January 17. “Approximately 50 computers are back online, enabling library staff to perform patron business, such as checking books in and out, and making reservations.”...

Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal, Jan. 17, 20
Latest Library Links

How to limit all the ways Facebook tracks you

Facebook tracking. Illustration by Elena Lacey / Getty Images

David Nield writes: “It won’t come as much of a surprise that Facebook tracks you on its platform—that’s why it can resurface your birthday photos from five years ago—but you might not yet realize the scope and depth of its tracking all across the internet. Some of this comes with the territory of using Facebook. If you want to take advantage of its features, then you have to give up a certain amount of information about yourself. But Facebook has ways of keeping tabs on people who aren’t even signed up for the service. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to limit the volume of data that it logs. Here are some more suggestions.”...

Wired, Jan. 12; Mar. 21, 2018

Radiohead archive goes live

Radiohead Public Library

English rock band Radiohead has launched a new online archive of their work, called Radiohead Public Library, and released previously unavailable rarities to streaming services. Hosted at radiohead.com, the site features archival material grouped around each of the band’s nine studio albums, including music videos, live TV performances, artwork, and the group’s quarterly w.a.s.t.e. newsletter series. Visitors can create a downloadable library card, featuring a QR code that takes the holder to the website for data protection initiative GDPR. Each of the five band members will curate a selection of the archival material on their social media channels this week....

The Guardian (UK), Jan. 20
Dewey Decibel podcast

Way beyond books: How libraries have changed

A. Issac Pulver and Karen Bradley are directors of the public libraries in Saratoga Springs and Schenectady, respectively. Photos by Erica Miller and Peter R. Barber

Indiana Nash writes: “What patrons find in public libraries today is not so much a repository for books—although there are still plenty of those—but a space filled with people of all ages attending programs, learning new crafts, working on their small business, or reading a book. Some libraries, like the Guilderland (N.Y.) Public Library, have started offering board games, as well as folding tables, GoPros, and metal detectors. The Saratoga Public Library offers kits that show people how to create stop-motion animation videos or how to play the ukulele. The Clifton Park–Halfmoon Public Library’s collection includes a telescope, board games, and a hiking backpack.”...

Schenectady (N.Y.) Daily Gazette, Jan. 19

A history and debunking of library stereotypes

Screenshot from the British TV show Miranda, season 2, episode 2. Miranda has a shushing battle with the librarian

Anna Gooding-Call writes: “When you think of a librarian, what comes to mind? Are they married? How do they dress? If you automatically pictured a sour older woman in a cardigan covered with cat hair, then congratulations! You have internalized the same librarian stereotypes that pop culture has been pushing since the days of black and white movies. Granted, modern depictions of librarians are a good deal more generous than those old chestnuts. But for everyone who hasn’t visited their awesome, hip, savvy librarian recently, here’s what’s not true about the librarian stereotypes you thought were true.”...

Book Riot, Jan. 20

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