The director of the Jefferson County (Colo.) Public Library deleted a series of tweets in February from the library’s Twitter account after a county commissioner complained they were politically biased. That has people talking about the role of libraries as repositories of free expression and the unfettered exchange of ideas—and whether that mission could be jeopardized by the specter of online censorship. The offending tweets included books on “women’s health care reform” and novels on Muslim life.
Denver Post, Feb. 23
ALA is gearing up for its upcoming election. Polls will open at 9 a.m. Central time on March 13 for the ALA annual election and will close on April 5 at 11:59 p.m. Central time. The election will take place exclusively online. On February 23, ALA members began receiving notification by email confirming their eligibility to vote. To be eligible, individuals must have been members in good standing as of January 31.
Office of ALA Governance, Feb. 23
A new program aimed at encouraging children ages 9–12 to get interested in computers, math, and science launches on March 2 at the San Diego Public Library. Called “Spring into STEAM,” the program will offer workshops in March, April, and May. This year’s theme is “Bug Out!” so the science workshop will feature an entomologist explaining the survival strategies of insects. The engineering workshop will focus on bees as builders, and the math kids will explore spatial geometry by making 3D paper insects.
San Diego (Calif.) Union-Tribune, Feb. 22
Alison Hudson writes: “In the list of books bequeathed by Bishop Leofric of Exeter (d. 1072) to his cathedral, one entry might, at first glance, take a modern reader by surprise: a ‘ful spelboc,’ or a full spell book. This is not evidence that the learned bishop was dabbling in magic. In Old English, spell just meant ‘saying’ or ‘speech.’ The term ‘spell’ had a range of meanings. In Leofric’s case, ‘spell’ probably referred to speeches or sermons, intended to instruct listeners about biblical or church history.”
British Library: Medieval Manuscripts Blog, Feb. 23
When Cynthia Tysick sees a news story on social media, she diligently fact-checks it on Snopes and PolitiFact. “I’ve suddenly become the fact-checking guru on my Facebook feed,” Tysick, head of University at Buffalo Educational Services, said. “People are not happy with me, but it’s a service I bring.” Tysick and her colleagues in UB Libraries feel students should have the ability to filter out real news from fake news.
The Spectrum, Feb. 22
The ACRL board of directors approved a Statement on the Dissemination of Federal Research on February 23. It reads, in part: “It is critical to maintain open communication from the government to the public, especially to support efforts to enfranchise disadvantaged and underrepresented populations, who rely on access to publicly available resources to make economic and health decisions. If these restrictive acts go unchallenged, we potentially set in motion an era of complacency that could devolve into acceptance of suppression.”
ACRL Insider, Feb. 23
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, announced the winners of the 31st annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award on February 23. Each year a writer and an illustrator are recognized early in their careers for their outstanding work. The winner for New Writer is Jeri Watts for A Piece of Home, and the winner for New Illustrator is Micha Archer for Daniel Finds A Poem.
Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Feb. 23