Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Future Is Female: 7 Books on Female Leaders to Read Now

Books | Women | Book lists | Leadership

by Lisa Rosman | September 25, 2017 

Elizabeth Warren at testimony by U.S. Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva, July 2017/Photo: CC/Flickr

 It’s safe to say that 2017 has been one of the most politically tumultuous years in U.S. history. But if there’s one silver lining, it’s that female leaders have really stepped to the forefront – from former Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to endorse the proposed travel ban on people from majority-Muslim countries, to Senator Kamala Harris, the only sane voice in the Session hearings, to U.S. representative Maxine Waters, one of President Trump’s most vocal critics. Thank goddess, for we need as many strong women voices as possible to defeat the misogynist tenor of this current administration. These female political leaders should inspire us all to fight the good fight.



What Happened

She may not have (officially) won the 2016 election, but the future is still female to Hillary. In this much-anticipated, admirably candid memoir, she explores why the first female U.S. presidential nominee of a major political party was defeated by a man whom even the GOP admits has a “woman problem.” From the anti-lady sentiment still holding sway – “I wish so badly we were a country where a candidate who said, ‘My story is the story of a life shaped by and devoted to the movement for women’s liberation’ would be cheered, not jeered. But that’s not who we are” – to her lambasting of press coverage – “[Trump’s actions] sucked up all the oxygen in the media” and Trump’s “dark energy” – Hillary never holds back, even when acknowledging her own blunders. (Yep, she regrets the “deplorables” comment as much as we do.) Brave, commanding, and painfully honest, it’s hard to read this memoir of loss and not wish she’d won.





Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars

Academia | Adjuncts | Homelessness | Advocacy

Adjunct professors in America face low pay and long hours without the security of full-time faculty. Some, on the brink of homelessness, take desperate measures

by Alastair Gee | The Guardian

There is nothing she would rather do than teach. But after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.

She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch, several years ago, when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction. “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad.”
The wry but weary-sounding middle-aged woman, who lives in a large US city and asked to remain anonymous to protect her reputation, is an adjunct instructor, meaning she is not a full-time faculty member at any one institution and strings together a living by teaching individual courses, in her case at multiple colleges.
“I feel committed to being the person who’s there to help millennials, the next generation, go on to become critical thinkers,” she said. “And I’m really good at it, and I really like it. And it’s heartbreaking to me it doesn’t pay what I feel it should.” Read article...

How Citizen Action Saved the New York Public Library

Libraries | NYPL | Advocacy

Grassroots activists thwarted a costly and destructive renovation scheme—but the NYPL still lacks effective governance.

by Scott Sherman  | The Nation

(CC BY-SA 2.0)
One morning in the spring of 2010, while standing in line in the New York Public Library’s majestic Rose Reading Room, I was approached by a middle-aged librarian, a man I had known for years; we had common interests and would frequently chat while he was on duty. He read The Nation and knew I wrote for it. On this particular morning, he leaned over and whispered into my ear: “Our trustees are planning to sell the library across the street”—by which he meant the Mid-Manhattan Library, a decrepit facility on 40th Street and Fifth Avenue. “It stinks,” he continued. “You should look into it.”

I was busy with other projects and let his tip go. But a year later, I received an assignment from this magazine to profile Anthony Marx, the New York Public Library’s incoming president. Early in my research, I quickly grasped what the librarian had tried to tell me a year earlier: The NYPL’s leadership—aided by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton—had conceived a wildly ambitious transformation plan. The grand library at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue would undergo a massive renovation in which 3 million books would be removed from the historic stacks in the center of the building and sent to an off-site storage facility; the stacks would then be demolished, and a new, modern library (designed by the celebrated British architect Norman Foster) would be built in the space that, for a century, had held the books. Foster would create a library within a library, one that carried a heavy price tag: $300 million. To pay for this Central Library Plan (CLP), two nearby libraries that occupied prime real estate—the Mid-Manhattan Library and the Science, Industry, and Business Library on 34th Street and Madison Avenue—would be sold. In a soaring Manhattan real-estate market, the NYPL (which is the subject of Frederick Wiseman’s latest film, Ex Libris) would not be excluded from its share of the spoils. Read more...


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ALA Code of Ethics 1: What's in a code? |

ALA Code of ethics | Professionalism | Librarianship

Here’s BLL Season 2, Episode 2, In which I introduce my 3-part (though actually it’ll probably be 4 parts) series on the ALA Code of Ethics. What is the code? What are its implications in our daily lives as leaders? Just how blatant of a smart aleck will I be during my dramatic reading of the code?



American Library Association Code of Ethics

FREE Course on Mastering Difficult Conversations

Join the conversation

Rate and review the show

BLL 13: Career advice from Ellen Mehling of Library Career People, and the joys of leadership burnout | Podcast

Career advice | Library leadership | Librarianship

by Sara Clark, Ph.D. | Feb. 14, 2017

Welcome back to Better Library Leaders! It’s been a long gap, partially because of the holidays, but also because I have been working hard on a course I’m teaching this month on Collaborative leadership for Library Juice academy. We had a large class sign up to work together to design collaborative project plans that they can take back to their own workplaces. Don’t tell, but I’m learning as much from them as they are from me. Our interview this episode, after fighting through a few technical hiccups, is with Ellen Mehling of Library Career People, my absolute favorite resource for folks considering a career in libraries, searching for that elusive first job, or preparing to make the jump to a leadership position. And in our spotlight segment, we’re going to talk about burnout as a leader. Because that’s been part of the reason for this gap too. But first, here’s my conversation with Ellen Mehling! Read more...

Chris Selley: Libraries feel the heat on freedom of speech

Freedom of Speech | Intellectual Freedom | Public libraries

Nobody wants Nazis in public libraries. But it's tough to find a coherent case to ban them without undermining libraries' most important function

Three masked people stand outside a memorial for Toronto lawyer Barbara Kulaszka at the Richview branch of the Toronto Public Library on July 12, 2017.Cole Burston for National Post 
by Chris Selley | September 26, 2017
The Canadian Federation of Library Associations’ position paper on intellectual freedom clearly lays out libraries’ “core responsibilities” in that regard. One is “to safeguard and facilitate access to constitutionally protected expressions of knowledge, imagination, ideas, and opinion, including those which some individuals and groups consider unconventional, unpopular or unacceptable.” Another is to “make available their public spaces and services to individuals and groups without discrimination.”

In an era when free speech scrambles for purchase on university campuses, one wonders how long it will last in libraries. In June, Toronto’s excellent public library system came under heavy fire for a paid room-booking that turned out to be a memorial event for Barbara Kulaszka, a lawyer best known for representing alleged Nazi war criminals in Canada and their supporters, notably Ernst Zundel.

An awful gang of bigots showed up, notably Marc Lemire and Paul Fromm. And while a library employee monitored the proceedings and apparently detected nothing untoward, the outrage came thick and fast. “It is truly shocking that individuals who spread hatred, deny the Holocaust and have ties to neo-Nazi groups are being provided a permit by the Toronto Public Library,” said Toronto City Councillor James Pasternak. “If (Fromm’s and Lemire’s histories are) not good enough for the Toronto Public Library to say ‘No thanks’ then what could be?” asked Ottawa human rights lawyer Richard Warman. Mayor John Tory asked the library to consider cancelling the event and, when it said it couldn’t, to reexamine its policies for future bookings. Read more...

NYC donation drop-off locations for Puerto Rico disaster relief | UFT

Puerto Rico | Disaster preparedness | Hurricane Relief

September 25, 2017

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 24 announced statewide drop off locations for emergency supplies to help Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Requested items include batteries, flashlights, portable lanterns, diapers, baby wipes, cases of water and feminine hygiene products. All items must be completely unopened and packaged.
In coordination with this effort, the New York Mets are asking each fan attending games at Citi Field on Sept. 25, 26 and 27 to bring donations for the relief effort to the ball game between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.
New Yorkers are encouraged to drop off goods for donation at selected locations between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The local drop-off sites are:


  • Jacob K. Javits Center
  • Engine 91: 242 E. 111th Street, New York, NY 11220 (East Harlem)
  • Engine 95/ Ladder 36: 29 Vermilyea Avenue, New York, NY 10033 (Inwood)
  • Engine 28/ Ladder 11: 222 E. 2nd Street, New York, NY 10009 (Lower East Side)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Public libraries can (literally) serve as a shelter from the storm

Public libraries | Advocacy | Disaster preparedness

by Grace Morris | August 30, 2017

After windstorms in the summer of 2012 left thousands in Arlington, Virginia without power, the local public library system urged people who needed a cool place to spend the day at its branches. AP Photo/Cliff Owen  
U.S. public libraries often transform into shelters during emergencies.

After Superstorm Sandy, for example, the Princeton Public Library in New Jersey and Connecticut’s New Canaan Library gave the public somewhere to charge devices, contact loved ones or even just watch movies. Other New Jersey libraries went further: The Roxbury Public Library opened early and closed late. South Orange’s library became its primary evacuation center.

Libraries don’t just pitch in following natural disasters. In August 2014, the Ferguson Municipal Public Library  became a safe space amid the unrest that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. After local schools started the school year two weeks behind schedule, leaving students in the lurch, the library even hosted informal classes for hundreds of students.

As millions of people in cities, suburbs and towns are reeling from Hurricane Harvey, nearby public libraries will soon play a critical role in creating a sense of normalcy for all ages – but especially for kids and teens. To help more public libraries emulate these examples with their young patrons, I teamed up with three graduate students to create a youth services toolkit to help librarians pitch in during emergencies. It will soon be available in a digital format at the Library of Michigan’s Youth Library Services website.

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016

Banned Books Week kicked off yesterday! You can raise awareness of banned books in your community and learn more about how to respond to challenges to library materials through the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. Here are the top challenged books from 2016:

Banned Books Week: Why are illustrated books being challenged more than ever?

Banned books | Graphic novels | Censorship | YA Literature | Book awards

by Michael Cavna | September 25, 2017

A panel from “This One Summer,” by Mariko Tamaki and artist Jillian Tamaki. (First Second) 
AS BANNED BOOKS WEEK begins, it bears asking: Why are graphic novels being challenged more than ever?

 Last year, for the first time, the top two most challenged works were graphic novels for young adults, and half of the top 10 most challenged books were illustrated narratives. It also bears noting that of the 323 challenges filed against stocked books in 2016, many of them, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, were for reasons related to sex or gender.

Landing at the ALA’s top spot was “This One Summer,” written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. A year earlier, the YA graphic novel received a Printz Honor, and became the first graphic novel to receive a Caldecott Honor. But last spring, the ALA reported that “This One Summer” was “restricted, relocated and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity,” and that it was “considered sexually explicit with mature themes.”

Monday, September 25, 2017

13 Timely Books to Read During Banned Books Week | Off theShelf

Banned Books | Censorship | Access

by Sara Jane Abbott | September 25, 2017

Growing up, I discovered some of the most formative and thought-provoking books I’ve ever read on the Banned Books Week displays at my local library, from A CLOCKWORK ORANGE to THE HANDMAID’S TALE. The freedom to read books that challenge us, that open windows into the experiences of others, and that reflect the issues of our times, is crucially important. Every Banned Books Week is an opportunity to celebrate these books and to reaffirm our commitment to keeping them on the shelves.  If you’ve read the incredible banned books on our 2015 and 2016 Banned Books Week lists, here are some more banned and challenged books to read this year to mark the occasion.

The House on Mango Street

Told in a series of vignettes—sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous—THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago and inventing for herself who and what she will become. Read more...

Libraries from Puerto Rico to Florida Respond to Hurricane Irma | ALA

Disaster planning | Hurricanes | Libraries

by Lisa Peet | September 18, 2017

Downed trees outside the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s Coconut Grove Branch after the storm
Photo courtesy of Miami Dade Public Library System

Arriving hard on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Irma cut a destructive swath through the northeastern Caribbean and Florida Keys. More than $50 billion worth of damage was reported in the United States, as well as 39 fatalities.

Despite Irma’s size and power, Florida libraries had fewer tales of destruction to relate than their counterparts in Texas did after Harvey. While most larger systems reported some leakage and damage to property, delays in opening were mainly due to lack of electricity or running water or exterior obstructions such as fallen trees and debris.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on September 4, and ordered that all public schools and colleges across the state close from Friday, September 8 through Monday, September 11. Thousands of Floridians evacuated their homes on both coasts and headed north—the largest evacuation in the state’s history. Read more...

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.