Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Responding to Charlottesville: Episode 17 | ALA Podcast

Podcasts | Library activism | Community relations |Emergency preparedness

American Libraries Dewey Decibel Podcast

     Dewey Decibel is a new podcast series from American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library 
     Association. Each month, your host and American Libraries Associate Editor Phil Morehart will be 
     your beyond.

Host Phil Morehart

In Episode 17 of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries looks at the protests that took place on August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, through the eyes of the library world.

First, American Libraries Associate Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart talks to John Halliday, director of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, and Krista Farrell, assistant director and branch manager of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library’s Central Library. The Central Library sits on what was the frontlines of the protests. John and Krista shared with Phil the events of that day and how their library handled it.

Next, Phil sits down with Jody Gray, director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, and Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, to discuss ALA’s tracking of hate crimes at and in libraries and what you can do if your library falls victim to hate.

Finally, Phil talks to Peter Berg, associate director for special collections and preservation at Michigan State University Libraries. Michigan State University Libraries holds a massive collection of extremist literature, paraphernalia, and other materials. Phil and Peter examine the collection and why it’s important for libraries and archives to save these materials, despite the repugnant nature of some of them.  

Listen to the podcast:

Using Our Words : Getting it right on neutrality and libraries | American Libraries

Intellectual freedom |Libraries and neutrality

by Joseph Hanes | 09-01-17

I’ve always been a wordy sort of person. Yes, that too, but I mean word-y. I was the sort of kid who spent time with a thesaurus and dictionary as well as Tinkertoys and Matchbox cars. I was fascinated by words, their uses, and shades of meaning.

Even my amateur lexicographic interest ill prepared me for a world in which one of the more trenchant voices of political observation belongs to the Merriam-Webster Twitter feed (@MerriamWebster). If you don’t follow it yet, do so immediately, for its largely straightforward Word of the Day feature as well as its often wry and acerbic commentary on trending lookups based on “conversations” of the moment, not to mention words that aren’t really words (“covfefe”).

So the Webster’s dictionary has taken a side, or at least a perspective. Based on what I know of Noah Webster’s own colorful history and antipopulist views, I think he might approve. All of which puts an intriguing gloss on an emerging discussion within our own profession on what some may think a bedrock principle of librarianship: neutrality. This discussion includes my fellow AL columnist Meredith Farkas’s excellent piece on the critical librarianship movement (Jan./Feb., p. 70).

In one important sense, we aren’t neutral and never can be—nor should we be. Naturally, each of us has his or her own biases, prejudices, and preferences; we represent a sample of the breadth of society, so this is inevitable and necessary to avoid homogeneity of thought and action. Together, though, we advocate strongly on matters critical to our success. We fight in public for the rights of our patrons to read and think freely without fear of exposure, surveillance, or censure, as well as for open and equal access to a range of materials. We stand for the principle that government and public information shouldn’t depend on the whims of the moment. We are engaged with, represent, and fight for our communities and strive to improve them through our institutions and our work. Read more...
I want to be sure that we’re fighting the right fights on the right terms and, yes, using the right words.

Radical restructuring: Library renovations lead to personnel and process reorganization | American Libraries

Library design | Human resources | Academic libraries

by Catherine Murray-Rust | September 1, 2017

As librarians, we’ve all felt, at some point or another, like one of the great loves of our lives has been judged hopelessly irrelevant. In an era when information is digital and abundant, demonstrating the value of libraries and librarians is more urgent—and can be more difficult—than ever.

At Georgia Tech, we knew that using words to explain and defend would not accurately demonstrate the impact we have on inspiring and accelerating the intellectual achievements of faculty and students. So we set out on a library renewal project.

When we started four years ago, the project largely centered on building renovations. Over time we realized that renovations are the easy part of a transformation. We are fortunate to have creative architects, designers, engineers, and construction experts. We have the financial and political support of the administration and the University System of Georgia. And we benefit every day from the advice of consultants and subject-matter experts.

The biggest challenge to our transformation was organizational. We soon saw that we had to change the culture of the library from passive to active, and we had to retire models that focused narrowly on the library rather than those that supported the larger institution. We had to commit to organizing in a way that envisions a future that is digital.

How? We are adapting techniques used in disciplines such as supply chain thinking and portfolio management to radically restructure the way we operate. Our goal is to make the transactional parts of the library’s work as efficient as possible in order to free up resources to sustain new services such as intelligent agents, visualization, and data science.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

91-year-old former congressman shows millennials how to tweet about Trump | Mashable

Social media | Politics | Public activism

 by Sasha Lekach | 09-16-27

John Dingell has been owning Twitter for years. 

91-year-old former congressman John Dingell has been quick, witty, and on fire with his 140 characters for years.

Despite his age, he knows how to use the tweet machine the way it was intended: biting commentary, playful retweets, and insightful and smart reactions. Time and again he's shown he's mastered Twitter.
After tweeter-in-chief Donald Trump was elected, Dingell's Twitter game has become even more relevant and fiery.

After the violence in Charlottesville and Trump's bumbling mess of a response to the anti-Semitism and white supremacy on display, Dingell took to Twitter in the days following. One particular tweet resonated, with thousands praising the longtime Michigan lawmaker for posting what the president struggled to say.

Just look at those likes.

16 Genre Recs Based on Your Myers-Briggs Type | BookRiot

Book lists | Reading | Bibliotherapy

by Kate Scott | 09-18-17

It recently occurred to me that a number of book genres seem perfectly designed to appeal to people of certain Myers-Briggs types. If you’re not familiar, Myers-Briggs is a personality typing system. In the Myers-Briggs system, there are sixteen personality types. Each type consists of four letters: E (extrovert) or I (introvert), S (sensor) or N (iNtuitive), F (feeler) or T (thinker), and P (perceiver) or J (judger). Click here to learn more about each of these preferences.

I made a list of genres and Myers-Briggs types and paired them up. Sure enough, certain Myers-Briggs types and genres go together like ham and cheese.  Of course, there will be exceptions, but here’s which genre I think best fits each personality type. Read more...

Monday, September 18, 2017

Volunteers rescue thousands of books from Mosul library destroyed by Islamic State

Advocacy | Libraries | Mosul

by Linda Mottram and Connie Agius September 17, 2017

Volunteers help carry out books from the Mosul library destroyed by Islamic State.
Supplied: Ali Al-Barood
It was a reading festival. But this is Mosul, and until a few months ago it was crawling with Islamic State militants.

They occupied the city's university library, where last week festival-goers celebrated a rich culture and donated books.

The volunteer effort to save what was left of Mosul University library after it was destroyed by IS has renewed hope for the city after more than two years of occupation.

The library once contained hundreds of thousands of ancient documents, including a ninth-century Koran, before it was burned down in a deliberate attempt to erase culture.

But Mosul local and amateur photographer Ali ِAl-Baroodi, who once taught at the university, has been part of a community campaign led by independent blogger Mosul Eye to restore what remained of the library's collection.
"At the beginning when we went by the library, we couldn't hold back our tears, and we thought it was all over," Mr Al-Baroodi said.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Essential Anthologies: Poetry, Essays, and Letters in the Age of Trump

Books | Politics | Diversity

by Jennie Yabroff | September 7, 2017

Sad. Huge. Sick. Bigly. Unproud. Covfefe. Despite the fact that President Trump handles the English language like a three-year-old wearing frozen mittens, his words, both spoken and tweeted, have proved alarmingly successful tools of bullying, misdirection, and blame-shifting, enabling him to shape reality into an alternate version in which he is infallible and his critics are – another favorite – pathetic. As a literary critic wrote in The Guardian recently, Trump has used (or abused) the English language to “undermine the notion of objective truth more successfully than most novelists can dream of doing.”

What can you do when your enemy uses your weapon against you? Starting a few years ago, writers around the world began publishing essays, speeches, stories, and even, in a few prescient cases, novels warning of what awaited us were Trump to be elected. He was, and the weeks that followed were marked by reaction pieces by those same writers and others, many of them simply asking, what the hell just happened? Some two hundred-odd days later, Trump remains in office, and writers keep fighting his regime with the most powerful weapon at their disposal, trusting, or hoping, in its essential efficacy.

The fact that writers keep writing, keep putting their faith in words to accurately describe reality, keep believing that there are still readers out there who will be moved, possibly even changed, by what they’ve written, is in some sense the most audacious act of protest against this singularly linguistically hostile president. So many writers are feeling moved to record and resist not just Trump’s abuses of Americans’ civil liberties but his more basic lack of respect for human decency and civilized discourse, that we are now seeing several anthologies of writers responding to the Trump regime.

The cover of the book Tales of Two Americas

Tales of Two Americas

Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation

Tales of Two Americas, edited by John Freeman, examines the growing economic and class divide in our country through lenses fictional, factual, and poetic. Thirty-six writers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Edwidge Danticat, and Karen Russell contribute pieces set in Appalachia, the Rust Belt, and other divided regions of our increasingly conflicted country.

14 Back-to-School Reads for Life-Long Learners

Booklists | Reading | Lifelong Learning  | Non-fiction


14 Back-to-School Reads for Life-Long Learners: We may not be kids anymore, but there’s still time to expand your mind and learn something new.

by Michelle Alexander

A timely and invaluable exploration of the evolution of racism in America’s modern age of so-called colorblindness. From the Jim Crow laws of the Reconstruction era to today’s mass incarceration of black men, this is an expertly researched, deeply engaging, and profoundly important call to action in the United States.
Buy The New Jim Crow from Amazon Buy The New Jim Crow from Apple iBooks Buy The New Jim Crow from Audible Buy The New Jim Crow from Books-A-Million 

Read more... 

Monday, September 11, 2017

11 Novels About 9/11 Worth Reading

September 11th | Book lists | Reader's Advisory


Everyone has a story about where they were when the world changed on September 11, 2001. It’s simultaneously the most upsetting, most uncomfortable, and most fascinating conversation to have—to hear what people remember, what they felt, and how they responded. Though it’s been nearly two decades, the reminders of that day are constant, and the pain is still fresh for many. The role of fiction, now and always, is to explore experiences, emotions, and the extent to which we can share our humanity. These profound, powerful, and perspective-shifting novels set on 9/11 and beyond do all of those things, and are valuable additions to any bookshelf.

Mohsin Hamid’s novel should be required reading for anyone looking to
understand the event from all sides. Changez is a Pakistani immigrant
living the American dream, with an elite career and a beautiful
girlfriend, when 9/11 changes everything. Suddenly, people look at him
differently, and his proclamations of love for his adopted country seem
worthless to those around him—and as the cultural relations continue to
shift, so does Changez’s outlook. This book is a powerful reminder of
what happens to those caught in the middle of extreme situations, the
influence of prejudice in the wake of disaster, and how every action has
an equal, opposite reaction.


Despite protests, State Department says it will return trove of Jewish artifacts to Iraq

Judaica | Access | Artifacts | Iraq | Jewish texts

by Josefin Dolsten | September 8, 2017

Detail of Tik (Torah case) and Glass Panel from Baghdad, 19th-20th centuries, part of the Iraqi Jewish Archive. (National Archives)
NEW YORK (JTA) — The United States will return to Iraq next year a trove of Iraqi Jewish artifacts that lawmakers and Jewish groups have lobbied to keep in this country, a State Department official said.

A four-year extension to keep the Iraqi Jewish Archive in the U.S. is set to expire in September 2018, as is funding for maintaining and transporting the items. The materials will then be sent back to Iraq, spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said in a statement sent to JTA on Thursday.

Rodriguez said the State Department “is keenly aware of the interest in the status” of the archive.

“Maintaining the archive outside of Iraq is possible,” he said, “but would require a new agreement between the Government of Iraq and a temporary host institution or government.”

The archive was brought to America in 2003 after being salvaged by U.S. troops. It contains tens of thousands of items including books, religious texts, photographs and personal documents. Under an agreement with the government of Iraq, the archive was to be sent back there, but in 2014 the Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. said its stay had been extended. He did not say when the archive was to return. Read more...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Trust and Distrust in Online Fact-Checking Services

Fact Checking | Fake News  | Media literacy

While the internet has the potential to give people ready access to relevant and factual information, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have made filtering and assessing online content increasingly difficult due to its rapid flow and enormous volume. In fact, 49% of social media users in the U.S. in 2012 received false breaking news through social media.8 Likewise, a survey by Silverman11 suggested in 2015 that false rumors and misinformation disseminated further and faster than ever before due to social media. Political analysts continue to discuss misinformation and fake news in social media and its effect on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Read article:

Trust and Distrust in Online Fact-Checking Services: Even when checked by fact checkers, facts are often still open to preexisting bias and doubt.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Blood, bookworms, bosoms and bottoms: the secret life of libraries

Libraries | Rare books | Book collecting | Book trade

by Stuart Kells August 26, 2017
A cat resting on books in a library
‘Two trends are changing how we think of old books and old libraries.’ Photograph: Alamy
I recently had the privilege of circling the world to write a book about libraries. My timing was excellent: after a short-lived e-books scare, physical books are back in fashion, and libraries are the place to be.

My trip was not unlike the pilgrimages made by 18th-century library tourists. On my journey I noticed two trends that are changing how we think of old books and old libraries.

The first is a stronger focus on provenance research. Through whose hands have the books passed? How did those handlers use and mark and protect their books? This branch of bibliography is helping to humanise it.

The other trend involves breaking away from traditional ideas of what constitutes a meritorious book, and from the traditional oppositions of high and low literature. Thanks to this, pulp novels – featuring what Allen Lane called “bosoms and bottoms” cover art – have infiltrated rare book collections. Crime pulps and sci-fi paperbacks are now prized by such hallowed institutions as the Smithsonian, the Houghton and the British Library.

Old-school bibliographers and librarians would probably be mortified by the incursion of pulps, which are fighting not only for shelf space but also for influence. But instead of being corralled and appropriated into old models of scholarship and curation, the pulp sensibility is spreading. Traditional bibliography and librarianship are being reread and reshaped with a pulp mentality.

Pulps, in short, are about lust, sex, theft, betrayal and degradation. Pulp men and women are dangerous, duplicitous, damaged. What is coming from this Gonzo-esque rereading of books and their stories? A new history of old books that is human, messy, fascinating and appalling, shot through with desire and criminality, heroism and dereliction.


Podcast: Nancy Pearl on The Librarian Is In |NYPL

YA Literature | Podcasts |Book recommendations

The legendary book recommender joins to discuss writing her first novel and share her favorite books.

The Librarian Is In Podcast, Biblio File

Missing Persons & Nowhere Girls: The Librarian Is In Podcast, Ep. 54

Welcome to The Librarian Is In, the New York Public Library's podcast about books, culture, and what to read next.

Listen on Apple Podcasts | Listen on Google Play

On the show this week: Gwen reads a book that makes her see the world a little differently, and Frank gets so lost in his book that time disappears.

George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl 

Fake News Isn't New: Researching Its History with NYPL's E-Resources | NYPL

Research | Electronic resources | Fake news | Literacy

Famed Documentarian Frederick Wiseman Turns His Camera on NYPL in Ex Libris | NYPL

Advocacy | Documentary | Public Libraries | Films

And check out early reviews for the film, which is screening at the Venice Film Festival:
Additionally, Wiseman himself is coming to LIVE from the NYPL to discuss the film at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on September 14. He will be joined by fellow master of documentary Errol Morris. Get your ticket to this unique meeting of minds today.

Frederick Wiseman
Photo by wowe

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Unearthing the history made by well-behaved women | BookRiot

Booklists | Non-fiction | Women in history

by Ann Foster August 5, 2017

You have likely come across Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s well-known quote, “well-behaved women seldom make history,” on ironic cross-stitch samplers, tote bags, and fridge magnets. Removed of its original context, it has become a rallying cry for women to make history by misbehaving, suggesting that the only way to stand out is to misbehave. In context of Ulrich’s original writing, though, the quote is less a rallying cry and more a depressing truism: women born outside of royal families, who followed the rules, who stayed out of trouble, tended not to have their actions recorded. The women we best know from history did so because they stood out from the crowd: as royals, saints, murderers, murder victims, performers, artists, and more. This doesn’t mean the “well-behaved” women weren’t as interesting or worthy, only that we have few documents left to let us know who they were. The following nonfiction works use letters, diaries and other primary sources to help excavate the lives of women who — like Eliza Schuyler in Hamilton — found themselves removed from the narrative.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This bestselling biography outlines both the unknowing medical contribution Henrietta Lacks made, as well as the nuances of both her life and that of her daughter, memorably portrayed in the recent HBO film by Oprah Winfrey.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Things millennials love about the library | Podcast

Libraries | Millennials | Public services | Podcast


A library at a secondary school in London. - 
Millennials are renowned for loving old things — vinyl records, retro bicycles, film cameras. What about old institutions?

Despite being the generation that grew up hand-in-hand with technology, it turns out the millennial generation — those between ages 18 and 35 — love public libraries.

They're more likely than baby boomers or Gen Xers to visit the local public library or a public bookmobile. A Pew Research Center study found that 53 percent of millennials in the U.S. had used their public library at least once in the year prior to the survey.

What have libraries been doing that's attracting so many young adults? Marketplace Weekend staff discovered a few exciting things: Read more...

How To Be a Book Lover on a Budget | BookRiot

Books | Budget | AudioBooks

by Rah Carter August 30, 2017

The book world can be full of snobbery. BookTube videos will tell us that if we can afford to pay for internet we can afford to buy every book we read. Never mind that the books I read per month are worth more than the price of my internet bill.  But this is part of an attitude that overflows with blind privilege and callousness. Many of us on tight budgets can’t afford to buy every, or even any, book that we read. Or we don’t have the space to keep them. Or we don’t have access to good bookstores. Or other circumstances that prevent us from living up to this bookish ideal. And that is okay. It is okay to read and love books in a way that fits your personal economic and social circumstances. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a jerk.

First let’s talk about libraries, the most obvious port of call when looking at reading on a budget. If you live within easy access of a public library, they can be an absolute lifeline. While homeless, I found that libraries are warm, dry, comfortable, free places to go. [This is also useful if you don’t have heating/air-conditioning in your home]. I could use their electricity for free to charge my phone. There is access to free WiFi and computers and a quiet place to study or relax. Many libraries also offer classes for adults and activities for children. And then there’s all the books, audiobooks, music, DVD’s, games, newspapers to read, borrow, and play for free or a very low fee. 

If the public library isn’t accessible for you, or you want more choice, there are other options.

save money on booksRead more

A Back-to-School Reading List for Teachers Who Didn’t Expect Trump | BookRiot

Reader's Advisory | Tolerance | Bibliotherapy

by Sara Ullery August 31, 2017

It’s time to go back to school, and I’m terrified. Now to be clear, this is nothing new– I’m always nervous at the beginning of the school year. The night before my first day of kindergarten I couldn’t sleep, so I woke up my mom and she made me fold clothes to help get my mind off my nerves. I remember folding bras, but not knowing how to fold a bra, because you totally don’t fold bras, FYI. The next day when I had to actually go to school (I was afternoon kindergarten) I cried, so my mom had to stay and I sat on her lap during circle time. It got a little better as the years went on, but I’m a naturally nervous person who cared a lot about school, so I always had a tight stomach and twitchy hands on the first day.....

I added this one after Charlottesville, and it seems very prescient now. Where is this white nationalism coming from? This book came from an article that Carol Anderson had written for the Washington Post after Ferguson, when so many people were so focused on “black rage.” Her answer was: no, every time the African American community made progress, the white majority swooped in and found a way to take it away. Why isn’t anybody talking about white rage?
Read full article

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bookshelves and Tips for Organising a Book Collection | Bookriot

Books | Reading

Ah, the perennial problem: too many books and too little space. What to do when, once again, your bookshelves are full and not every book has a proper home? The topic of book organising is one we’ve covered before (on unusual bookshelves, tips and steps on organising your collection, and ways to organise your books other than alphabetically), but given that this seems to be an ongoing dilemma, I thought it was a topic worth revisiting. 

Organising a collection

Historically, public libraries were established for the creation of an enlightened citizenry and for the purposes of disseminating and archiving knowledge. Contemporary libraries have shifted in focus and exhibit multiple functions and purposes, including leisure and entertainment. This is evident in not only the content of their collections, but also in the order and display of collections. This also speaks to issues of power and knowledge: the power inherent in curation and display of knowledge, and the ability to influence which books are borrowed and read. How do librarians decide which classification system to use? How easy is it for serendipitous discovery? The way books are shelved and displayed affect how readers can find them; a library is not simply a collection of books, but a collection of books ordered in such a way that items can be found. Read more...