ALA President Wanda Brown issued a statement in response to Macmillan CEO John Sargent’s “Ask Me Anything” session at the ALA Midwinter Meeting on January 25. “Today, Mr. Sargent invited conference attendees to ask him anything,” it read. “He talked, and stakeholders from the library community asked questions and engaged. Unfortunately, he has not been listening to us…. Delaying, denying, or limiting access to new titles for libraries means limiting access for readers. We see only one acceptable outcome for this situation: Macmillan must lift the embargo.”
ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Jan. 24
Authors and Olympic ice dancing medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani will promote the value of libraries as honorary chairs of National Library Week, April 19–25. The Shibutanis will shine a spotlight on our nation’s libraries, librarians, and library workers. “Find Your Place at the Library” is the theme for this year’s National Library Week, which emphasizes that everyone is welcome at the library. Maia and Alex Shibutani (aka the ShibSibs) are two-time Olympic bronze medalists, three-time world medalists, Four Continents Champions, and two-time US National Champions.
ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Jan. 24
ALCTS, LITA, and LLAMA have announced that Emily Drabinski and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich will deliver keynote addresses at the Exchange Virtual Forum. The theme is “Building the Future Together,” and it will take place on the afternoons of May 4, 6, and 8. Each day has a different focus, with day 1 exploring leadership and change management, day 2 examining continuity and sustainability, and day 3 focusing on collaborations. Drabinski’s keynote will be on May 4, and Smith Aldrich’s will be on May 8. To get more information about the proposed future for joint projects such as the Exchange, join the conversation about #TheCoreQuestion.
ALCTS, Jan. 24
Officials at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City said perhaps 85,000 historic and artistic items it had carefully collected for the past 40 years were most likely lost after a fire tore through a Chinatown building where its archives were stored on the evening of January 23. Museum President Nancy Yao Maasbach said that the collection, stored in the building at 70 Mulberry Street, was one of a kind and represented the single most important repository of New York’s Chinese community. While about 40,000 items in the archives were digitized, many physical items are irreplaceable. No one will be able to enter and retrieve items for at least three weeks.
New York Times, Jan. 24
Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far. The average of 10.5 trips to the library that US adults report taking in 2019 exceeds their participation in eight other common leisure activities. Americans attend live music or theatrical events and visit national or historic parks roughly 4 times a year on average and visit museums and gambling casinos 2.5 times annually. Trips to amusement or theme parks (1.5) and zoos (0.9) are the least common activities on this list. Women report visiting the library nearly twice as frequently as men, and adults aged 18–29 visit the library much more than all older age groups.
Gallup, Jan. 24
The Cleveland Public Library and the union representing library workers said January 23 they reached a tentative deal to resolve their simmering labor dispute, avoiding a potential strike that would have shut down some library branches and services. About 400 librarians, library assistants, clerks, maintenance workers, and custodians have been without a contract since December 2019. Contract talks between the library system and the union, the Service Employees International Union District 1199, have been ongoing since September, but broke down around the new year. Workers will vote on the contract on January 29.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jan. 23
Natasha Lomas writes: “Did you notice a recent change to how Google search results are displayed on the desktop? I noticed something last week—thinking there must be some kind of weird bug messing up the browser’s page rendering because suddenly everything looked similar: a homogenous sea of blue text links and favicons that, on such a large expanse of screen, come across as one block of background noise. I found myself clicking on an ad link rather than the organic search result I was looking for. This is Google’s latest dark pattern: The adtech giant has made organic results even more closely resemble the ads it serves against keyword searches.”
TechCrunch, Jan. 23