A German university professor is challenging the library fine system after being handed a €2,250 (US $2,580) bill for the late return of dozens of books. Gina Kästele, who lectures at the Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences campus at Mönchengladbach, went to court October 19 to challenge the penalty, which was imposed after she returned the books nearly six weeks late. Kästele’s lawyer claims the charge—€1,000 in overdue fines and a further €1,250 in administrative fees—is disproportionately high.
Deutsche Welle, Oct. 20
Out of 306 public library branches in Saskatchewan, only six are on First Nations reserves, but a team of people is working to change that. The Saskatchewan Committee on Indigenous Library Services is partnering with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and the Saskatchewan Provincial Public Library Systems to bring more library services to indigenous communities. One the main benefits of the agreement, scheduled for signing on October 30, is being able to work directly with the communities to add more library resources.
CBC News, Oct. 21
Courtney Lichterman writes: “The Newark (N.J.) Public Library has an unusual collection that can’t be found in its stacks. Stored in the library’s Special Collections department in one filing cabinet and 61 archival Solander boxes—some of which are so full their latches barely close—are over 2,000 shopping bags. Meticulously cataloged by geographic location, size, and theme, the collection records the history of graphics, culture, and everyday life from the mid-20th century to the current day.”
Atlas Obscura, Sept. 25
Two poetry collections, one memoir, one creative nonfiction book, and two novels will join the NEA Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The NEA Big Read supports community reading programs across the country, each designed around a single book. Through the act of sharing a book, participants can broaden their understanding of the world. In total, 32 books will be available for nonprofit organizations to choose from in applying for a 2019–2020 NEA Big Read grant.
National Endowment for the Arts, Oct. 22
Brooklyn Public Library announced the recipients of its fourth annual Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prizes, awarding Jeanne Theoharis with the 2018 Nonfiction Prize for A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (Beacon Press) and Carmen Maria Machado as the 2018 Fiction and Poetry Prize recipient for her short collection Her Body and Other Parties (Graywolf Press). Prize winners are selected by a panel of BPL librarians.
Brooklyn Public Library, Oct. 22
Rory Carroll writes: “The very first pencilings of Mickey Mouse, drafts of the forest in Sleeping Beauty, underwater sequences in The Little Mermaid, and millions of other scenes and fragments from films are all diligently stored in the Walt Disney Animation Research Library in Glendale, California. Fox Carney, the library’s research manager, gave media outlets a rare peek inside the silent, temperature-controlled labyrinth that underlined Disney’s zealous protection of its past and huge ambitions for its future.”
The Guardian (UK), Oct. 20
Parul Sehgal writes: “Literature—the top-shelf, award-winning stuff—is positively ectoplasmic these days, crawling with hauntings and wraiths of every stripe and disposition. These ghosts can be nosy and lubricious, as in George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo; confused by their fates, as in Martin Riker’s new novel, Samuel Johnson’s Eternal Return; or terrifying, instructive, and enchanting all in the same book, as in Carmen Maria Machado’s short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties.”
New York Times, Oct. 22