AL Direct: Small business, fairy tales, Wikipedia’s gender gap

Small business, fairy tales, Wikipedia’s gender gap

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ALA issued a statement in support of a Maryland law requiring publishers who sell ebook licenses to Maryland consumers to also sell licenses to Maryland public libraries “on reasonable terms.” The legislation took effect January 1, but the US District Court for the District of Maryland granted a preliminary injunction against the law in a complaint filed by the Association of American Publishers. In the statement, ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong declared: “Regardless of the legal technicalities, the proceedings thus far have established that there is a definite injustice in library access to digital books.”...

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Feb. 17

PLA 2022 Conference

The , to be held March 23–25 in Portland, Oregon, will include an Intellectual Freedom Forum in response to the coordinated book banning attempts currently sweeping the nation. The forum will include an “Ask a Lawyer” session, facilitated round table discussions, and the opportunity to register for one-on-one consultations with staff from ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom....

ALA Public Library Association, Feb. 15

RUSA Virtual Forum

The Reference and User Services Association will host its first-ever March 8 and March 10. The forum offers two nonconsecutive days of programs showcasing best practices in reference, user services, readers’ advisory, collection development, resource sharing, genealogy and archives, business reference, and reference technology. The keynote session will feature a panel of ALA leaders sharing their perspectives on how equity, diversity, and inclusion apply to reference and user services. Other programs will explore mentoring, health reference, financial literacy, and collaborations with academic libraries to provide business resources....

ALA Reference and User Services Association, Feb. 15

ALA Connect Live

Call Number with American Libraries

While American Libraries is searching for its new podcast host, we thought we’d dip into the vault and re-air some of our most popular episodes. This month we’re replaying Episode 35, “Fostering New Businesses,” from February 2019. The advice in this episode is relevant to trends libraries have been seeing during the pandemic: Small businesses are looking for assistance, libraries are pivoting their business resources to the online environment, and many people who lost or quit jobs are turning to entrepreneurship for the first time. In this episode, we talk to staffers from Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri and Austin Public Library in Texas about their libraries’ small business programs....

Call Number with American Libraries, Feb. 17

California Digital Library

While libraries have long provided digital access to public-domain and open access books, pandemic-era programs like HathiTrust Digital Library’s offered temporary access to in-copyright materials as well. An assessment by University of California found ETAS to be well-used and highly appreciated by students and faculty, but many questions remain about the practicality of long-term implementation. A research project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and coordinated by California Digital Library and UC Davis Library will investigate these issues to lay the foundation for a comprehensive ebook delivery system....

California Digital Library, Feb. 14

Typed manuscript of music cues for Langston Hughes’s poem “Ask Your Mama”

Louisiana State University Libraries Special Collections will house the Wyatt Houston Day Collection of Poetry by African Americans, more than 800 items from the 18th to 21st centuries that were previously owned by Day, a noted book collector and dealer. Notable materials include a first edition of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Majors and Minors once owned by Frederick Douglass’s family, a broadside by Gwendolyn Brooks published following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and the typed manuscript of music cues for Langston Hughes’s poem “Ask Your Mama.”...

LSU Media Center, Feb. 17

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Wikipedia logo

Alina Ladyzhensky writes: “Despite how comprehensive [Wikipedia] seems, 90% of the site’s editors are men, and women are vastly underrepresented as subjects in the encyclopedia. The problem is particularly glaring when it comes to biographical information. Of the 1.5 million biographical articles on the site, less than 20% are about women.” A new study of Wikipedia edit-a-thons found that they effectively created new articles about women and increased views of those articles, although they were less effective at improving findability....

University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication, Feb. 17

Librarian Chrisopher Stewart

Christopher Stewart, librarian at Bell High School in Washington, D.C., didn’t enjoy reading until he was a tween. R. L. Stine helped to change that, but more importantly, “It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to read Walter Dean Myers where I actually saw me as a young Black boy be able to go into different situations and experiences and go for a world that was not necessarily my own,” he says. Now, Stewart’s library serves the whole student, with diverse books and academic resources but also a food pantry, clothing closet, and meditation room....

WRC-TV (Washington, D.C.), Feb. 21

Scrolling on mobile phone

Mary Gathoni writes: “A responsive image is an image that adapts to different device characteristics. When done right, responsive images can improve the performance and user experience of a site. You can approach responsive images from two angles—either by serving the same image with different sizes or serving different images according to the display characteristics.” Gathoni recommends creating responsive images in HTML rather than CSS, because browsers preload images before parsing CSS....

MakeUseOf, Feb. 18

Latest Library Links

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy visited the library of Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington, D.C., to speak to students about mental health and the particular mental health challenges children are facing during the pandemic. A group of students shared personal stories of managing their own mental wellness, and Murthy offered advice on coping with anxiety and stress. The visit was broadcast by Nick News to share the information directly with students nationwide....

Nick News, Feb. 16

Book covers

M. A. Kuzniar writes: “Like many authors, I find myself drawn to fairy tales. These archetypal old stories have been passed down for hundreds of years and exist in many different forms and across many different cultures. Yet when we first encounter fairy tales, usually as children, they tend to be as watered-down, sanitary versions. I fell in love with fairy tales all over again when I began to explore them as an adult, finding the darker, original stories—such as the ones the Brothers Grimm documented—much more interesting.”...

CrimeReads, Feb. 18

George Balanchine's dancing cat

Alex Teplitzky writes: “Although New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has one of the largest collections of performing arts assets in the world, there aren’t many children’s books in the archives. One book about cats does stand out, though—a book about one cat, in particular, named Mourka.” Mourka belonged to ballet choreographer George Balanchine, and “Mourka, the book, is full of images of Balanchine’s cat’s ability to leap and glide through the air like a ballerina.”...

New York Public Library, Feb. 15

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