Completing the Circuit

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Kathleen Donahoe, robot archive processing archivist at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), poses with a selection of robots in CMU's archive.

Carrie Smith writes: “How do you archive a robot? This is the question that Kathleen Donahoe, robot archive processing archivist at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries in Pittsburgh, and a team of archivists, roboticists, and preservation experts seek to answer through the Robotics Project, which launched in 2019. Organizing these items can be tricky, Donahoe says. Caustic material needs to be protected in older engines and motors. Not all labs have the same workflow, meaning data can be spread across third-party platforms like Slack or GitHub. And in such a fast-paced field, she notes, preservation isn’t always a top priority.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Dispatches by Audrey Barbakoff and Noah Lenstra

Audrey Barbakoff and Noah Lenstra write: “When coauthor Audrey talked with librarians about community-led planning in the late 2010s, one of the most frequent comments she heard was that they just do not know how to do it. Libraries must be flexible and grounded enough to adapt to changing circumstances, and they must be committed enough to dive in and persist despite ambiguity, all without losing sight of their true goals and principles. To accomplish this, librarians should understand the importance and purpose of community-led work.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Cover art for the 2023 Library Design Showcase

American Libraries is accepting submissions for the 2024 Library Design Showcase, our annual feature celebrating new and newly renovated libraries of all types, through May 1. The showcase will appear in the September/October issue. We are looking for examples of innovative library architecture that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. We are also interested in submissions from libraries that are approaching design with sustainability, accessibility, and smaller budgets in mind. For consideration, send a and at least five high-resolution digital images with photographer credits to americanlibraries@ala.org via Dropbox or another file-sharing service....

American Libraries trend, Jan./Feb.

Celebrate #NationalPoetryMonth this April by visiting poets.org/npm. Ad for National Poetry Month

Illustration representing the internet

ALA’s Public Programs Office has released , a new, free guide to help library workers implement programs for adults and share information about how “unseen” parts of the internet influence their media consumption. The 27-page guide offers background information, recommended collection materials, and program ideas on topics like misinformation; artificial intelligence; ChatGPT; civics; search engine optimization; and more. It also explores ways to help novice patrons with library technology and how to teach media literacy in everyday library services....

ALA Public Programs Office, Mar. 27

Ready, Set, Library! National Library Week logo

ALA will celebrate from April 7–13. This year’s theme is “Ready, Set, Library!” ALA will release its list of the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2023 and its annual State of America’s Libraries report on Monday, April 8. Other noteworthy events during National Library Week include , , , and . Additionally, the American Association of School Librarians is celebrating throughout April....

ALA Communications, Marketing, and Media Relations Office, Apr. 2

Lightning storm

Anne Price writes: “Since 2022, North Platte (Nebr.) Public Library has partnered with the local office of the National Weather Service for career presentations about weather and meteorology and STEM events. When a meteorologist reached out regarding the library joining the , it seemed a natural fit. WRN Ambassadors help disseminate information about steps individuals and organizations can take to be prepared for extreme weather events. It’s been a great way for our library to share possibly life-saving information with our patrons from a credible source organization.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 28

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Illustration of a person replacing a window in a computer interface

Clara Turp and Jessica Lange write: “Maintenance is typically the largest component of a system’s life cycle, but many factors discourage proactive maintenance in libraries and beyond. These include the drives to ‘innovate,’ launch new products, and demonstrate relevance through the application and response to tech trends. Amid major infrastructure projects and responding to immediate systems needs, maintenance can become a challenge. How can we manage systems with care? Is there a way to balance maintenance and innovation? What are the ways to integrate maintenance into our work, helping to improve and keep systems relevant?”...

Choice 360 LibTech Insights, Apr. 1

Georgia State Capitol. Public Domain image by Warren LeMay, https://www.flickr.com/photos/warrenlemay/47421889492/

Juma Sei writes: “Sine Die is the final day of Georgia’s 40-day legislative session. Typically, controversial legislation that turns heads and makes headlines comes up in the hours when the sun has set and the session’s midnight deadline looms closer and closer. was an exception to that rule: Republican leadership tabled the legislation in the morning [of March 28, the final day of the session]. The bill would have outlawed the American Library Association from Georgia’s public and school libraries, making it illegal for them to accept ALA funding. In the end, Republican leadership could not get behind the bill.”...

WABE-FM (Atlanta), Mar. 28

Library shelves

Kelly Jensen writes: “Book banning is not limited to school libraries. But censorship in public libraries does and will continue to look different than in school libraries. The destruction of public institutions remains at the core of the agenda, but things look different because they are different institutions than public schools. Here are several ways we’re seeing public libraries being targeted.” Ithaka S+R released a , finding that while academic library collections are generally not being directly censored, state and university policies and politics are having an influence on decisions around collection building....

Book Riot, Mar. 29; Ithaka S+R, Mar. 28

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A bunch of cables, mostly gray but one bright orange.

Cynthia Hudson Vitale writes: “The onset of new, more accessible, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies marks a significant turning point for libraries, ushering in a period rich with both unparalleled opportunities and complex challenges. In this era of swift technological transformation, libraries stand at a critical intersection. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has released the conducted nine months apart, analyzing and juxtaposing the outcomes of these two surveys to better understand how library leaders are managing the complexities of integrating AI into their operations and services.”...

Association of Research Libraries, Mar. 29

Gmail logo

Victoria Song writes: “When Gmail launched with a 20 years ago, many assumed it was a hoax. But soon, invites to Gmail’s very real beta started going out—and they became a must-have for a certain kind of in-the-know tech fan. It now has an estimated 1.2 billion users, and it’s a practical necessity to do anything online. But I don’t know anyone who’s champing at the bit to open up Gmail. In another 20 years, will Gmail still be central to our lives?”...

The Verge, Apr. 1

Part of the cover of El Deafo

Sarah Marsh writes: “Growing up with a pair of hearing aids, it never occurred to me that deafness was an experience. Mostly it was a problem that I was taught to hide. When I started meeting other deaf people my own age, and learning British Sign Language, I began to see deafness from a new perspective. Books, when I found ones by deaf authors or with deaf characters, became an important resource and source of joy. From a graphic memoir to these nine books showed me just how varied the Deaf experience can be.”...

Electric Literature, Mar. 27

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