The Boston Public Library is considering adding apartments to share space with four neighborhood branches slated for renovation, a rare combination that exists in New York and Chicago but would be the first in the city. The initiative, developed in collaboration with the Department of Neighborhood Development, fits with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s drive to build more housing units as a way to moderate rising rents. The branches that could see library patrons and private tenants in the same building are the West End near downtown, Fields Corner and Uphams Corner in Dorchester, and Egleston Square in Roxbury.
WGBH-TV, Boston, Dec. 9
German fighter planes mercilessly bombarded many towns and cities, including London, in a nonstop campaign in 1940–1941 during the Blitz of World War II. But one particular building overlooking the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth had nothing to fear, as German pilots deliberately left it unscathed. The National Library of Wales survived the war to the end, without a single bomb hitting it. The reason was chillingly strategic: Pilots used the building as a reference point to find and bomb Birmingham and other towns and cities of the West Midlands, east of Wales. When they saw the building, the planes simply turned east.
Anadolu Agency (Ankara, Turkey), Dec. 9
A few years ago, Ashley Bryan, now 96, started to think about preserving his legacy. Bryan has been making children’s books for almost 60 years. In 1962, he was the first African American to publish a children’s book as an author and illustrator. He was also a pioneer in creating stories centered on children about African and African American history and culture. University of Pennsylvania Library Senior Curator Lynne Farrington leapt at the chance to acquire the Bryan papers. Farrington says “50 large containers” of material have arrived, and the task of cataloging and indexing them has begun.
WHYY-FM, Philadelphia, Dec. 9
Staff at a public library in northwest China have set fire to “banned books” in front of the building, sparking anger online. According to a report on the government website of Zhenyuan County, Gansu province, the library did a ‘thorough clean-up’ of its donated books and destroyed all ‘illegal publications and religious publications, especially books, pictorial publications, and visual content that showed leanings.’ The report from October 22 was spotted by a Chinese social media user on the Library Society of China’s website and widely circulated online before it was deleted.
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Dec. 9
The children’s favorite Sesame Street on December 8 became the first TV program to receive Kennedy Center Honors—and its magic conjured some much needed bipartisan accord in Washington. Performers and producers of the series and their puppets wore single yellow feathers in memory of Caroll Spinney, who brought the popular characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch to life. Spinney died December 8. Singer Linda Ronstadt, actor Sally Field, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and music group Earth Wind & Fire were this year’s other honorees.
The Guardian (UK), Dec. 9
Melissa Sokol writes: “This is the time of year when speculation begins on which books might win one of the Youth Media Awards. Three years ago I decided to try a ‘Predicting the Caldecott Winner’ program for the families at my public library. I’ve done a mock award program every year since with a few changes each year as I see what works. Opening up these types of programs to the public has been rewarding. Parents and caregivers get a chance to look over fantastic books they might have overlooked before. There are plenty of online resources that can help you select which titles to include when conducting a mock.”
ALSC Blog, Dec. 9
Michael Schaub writes: “When a Massachusetts teenager sent a letter to author E. B. White 40 years ago, he likely wasn’t expecting a response. And White almost certainly had no idea that his young fan would grow up to be one of the country’s most beloved talk show hosts. Conan O’Brien, the host of the TBS show Conan, mentioned the 1980 letter he had written to White a few weeks ago on his podcast. That led employees of Cornell University’s library, which houses White’s archive, to track down O’Brien’s letter. O’Brien posted an image of the newly discovered note on Twitter.”
Kirkus Reviews, Dec. 6