The ALA Public Programs Office has received a $512,000 National Leadership Grant from the Institute and Museum and Library Services for a research project to understand and document the characteristics, audiences, outcomes, and value of US library public programming. The project, National Impact of Library Public Programs Assessment: Phase I, will implement the first research recommendation that came out of an IMLS National Leadership planning grant in 2014.
ALA Public Programs Office, May 22
Kate Lechtenberg writes: “The Florida legislature has passed a bill that could have dramatic consequences for Florida students’ and teachers’ intellectual freedom, despite opposition from the Florida Library Association. Proponents of HB 989, which currently awaits the governor’s signature, claim that the bill improves transparency and gives parents a stronger voice in their children’s education. But we must ask questions about these claims. I found many reasons to question both the law itself and Florida politicians’ understanding of the issue.”
Intellectual Freedom Blog, May 22
A school in Orlando, Florida, is pursuing an unusual policy for students interested in reading the controversial book Thirteen Reasons Why. The district does not carry the book in its classrooms or libraries, and no parental complaints have been lodged against it. The elementary school, however, has banned students from bringing their own copies into school. Stone Lakes Elementary School Principal Bryan Dolfi said the book was banned for its “profanity, alcohol, and sexually explicit material.”
Natoinal Coalition Against Censorship, May 22
Amy Brunvand writes: “About a year ago I was talking to the chief sustainability officer at the University of Utah about my work as a librarian, and she made a surprising suggestion: ’Why don’t you come work with us for a while?’ Why not? I hadn’t previously thought of embedding myself in the Sustainability Office, but the idea seemed brilliant. One of the unique aspects of campus sustainability is the way it blurs the line between academic disciplines and real-life practice.”
AL: The Scoop, May 22
Salvatore De Sando writes: “Following World War Two, the US military had a great public education opportunity ahead: to support the reentry of service men and women into civilian employment. However, the services of armed services librarians did not end there. Today, armed services librarians continue to provide services in armed services libraries. If you cannot visit such a library near you (and even if you can), then come take a tour of some of the ALA Archives holdings where you can learn about the profession.”
ALA Archives blog, May 22
Maureen Brunsdale doesn’t fantasize about running off to join the circus. She doesn’t have to. As the special collections and rare books librarian at Illinois State University’s Milner Library in Bloomington-Normal, she’s in charge of the Circus and Allied Arts Collection—one of the nation’s top collections of circus-related books, photos, posters, programs, correspondence, and other ephemera.
American Libraries Bookend, May
Una LaMarche writes: “Story hour had never looked so colorful. She stood well over six feet tall, the reader at the Hudson Park branch of the New York Public Library in Greenwich Village, her height aided by six-inch heels on purple patent leather boots. Her outfit was an oxymoronic neon camouflage bodysuit and a purple tutu. ‘My name is Harmonica Sunbeam,’ the reader said, in a voice used to loud rooms. As a warm-up, she had the children sing ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and then march vigorously in place. ”
New York Times, May 19
Claire Fallon writes: “Librarians hold a deceptively humble, yet powerful, role: They offer guidance to rich worlds of literacy and scholarship. Who our librarians are, then, actually matters a great deal. In Kyle Cassidy’s new book This Is What a Librarian Looks Like, the photographer reveals portraits of hundreds of librarians, sharing both their sunny faces and their thoughts on the value of libraries. The result: a colorful tapestry of men and women of all ages, races, and ethnicity.”
HuffPost, May 17
Bohyun Kim writes: “Many libraries today provide 3D printing services. But not all of them can afford to do so for free. While free 3D printing may be ideal, it can jeopardize the sustainability of the service over time. Nevertheless, many libraries tend to worry about charging service fees. In this post, I will outline how I determined the pricing schema for our library’s new 3D printing service. But let me begin with libraries’ general aversion to fees.”
ACRL TechConnect Blog, May 22
Mike Newall writes: “I visited the century-old McPherson Square branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia because I’d heard its staff was the first in the city to learn how to administer the lifesaving overdose antidote Narcan. They have been using the spray so often that they can tell the type of overdose simply by the sound coming from the lavatory. Since the opioid crisis began surging throughout the country last summer, the library staff has noticed new settlers on their lawn: drug tourists, they call them.”
Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21
Julia Blakely writes: “Books of firsts are always fun, and there is much to love about Luca Pacioli’s Summa de arithmetica, geometria, proportioni et proportionalita, printed in Venice in 1494. This title is one of the more famous works in the history of mathematics. It is the first printed book on algebra written not in scholarly Latin but in a vernacular language (Italian), and presents the revolutionary concept of the mathematician providing proportion and scale to art.
Smithsonian Libraries Unbound, May 22
Under the leadership of ALA and educational publishing company Gale, trade organizations, publishers, and other business have created the Corporate Committee for Library Investment to promote the value of American libraries. Specifically, CCLI is calling on Congress to support funding of the Library Services and Technology Act, the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program, and IMLS in the FY2018 federal budget, as well as the reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act.
Associations Now, May 18