Greg Miller writes: “For schoolchildren in the 1880s, this colorful star chart would have brought astronomy to life. Through vivid images, hidden flaps and sliders, and clever use of lighting effects, the chart was designed to help teachers illustrate Earth’s place in the universe. The chart was part of a kit, called Yaggy’s Geographical Study, produced for teachers in 1887 by Levi Walter Yaggy, an inventor-turned-publisher who held several map-related patents. Contained in a canvas-covered plywood box, the kit contained maps and charts depicting the world and its climatic zones and peoples. A second edition was released in 1893.”
National Geographic, July 19, 2018
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University has acquired a rare collection of materials by Oliver “Ollie” Harrington (1912–1995). Arriving from Germany, Harrington’s collection includes original published cartoons, along with roughs, sketchbooks, and other archival materials. Inspired by and later involved with the Harlem Renaissance, Harrington published cartoons in a number of Black and leftist newspapers, including the Amsterdam News and the Chicago Defender. Best known for his series Bootsie, Harrington continued with his work after leaving the US due to the scrutiny he was under by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the early 1950s.
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum Blog, May 23
Erica Bauermeister writes: “Scents are the stealth weapons in the arsenal of the senses. They head directly to the emotional parts of the brain, bypassing rationality. The memories they evoke are rich, immersive things, three-dimensional, and intimate. Novels about scents tend to affect us in a similar way. We read their sentences and dive into a sense we rarely pay attention to in our normal lives. Perfumers divide fragrances into families, much as we categorize books by genres. For these five evocative books, perfume categories seem a perfect way to characterize them.”
Literary Hub, May 24
Melissa DeWitt writes: “As a new librarian, and as someone who is new to working at a university, there’s a lot to learn. I’ve found that it’s the students, especially student employees in the library, that provide the most holistic view of campus life and culture. In addition to myths and campus lore, students have very strong opinions about their classes, professors, and perceptions of leadership. I’ve learned about what classes were difficult and why in different departments. Basically, if I want to know how students feel about new construction plans, the history of a particular spot on campus, or the perception of an assignment, I just have to ask.”
ACRLog, May 24
Reggie Ugwu writes: “Hip-hop artist and Yo! MTV Raps host Fred Brathwaite, better known as Fab 5 Freddy, never kept a consistent diary in the 1970s and 1980s. Instead, decades before social media, he documented the events of his daily life on film, deploying either a compact point-and-shoot camera or a Hi8 camcorder that he always kept at the ready. His personal photographs and videos, consisting of 120 boxes, comprise much of a career-spanning archive that was recently acquired by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library.”
New York Times, May 24
The African Union Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding on May 20 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the African Library and Information Associations and Institutions to foster closer collaboration between the two institutions in a strategic move to drive sustainable development of the continent, through education and skills. The collaboration seeks to encourage a reading culture in Africa and enhance human intellectual capital by offering relevant resources. AfLIA President John Tsebe affirmed the association’s eagerness to support AU in realizing its Agenda 2063 goals, by having libraries participate in the process.
African Union, May 20
Jenn Carson writes: “I am one of those people often approached to deliver webinars and conference talks and write books about my ‘endless ideas and enthusiasm.’ Am I lying and faking it? Lying, no. Forcing myself to be uncomfortable, definitely. I have found ways to work around, or more accurately work with, my insecurity, complacency, and aversion to public speaking (or public anything). And I hate to sound like my mother, but it’s actually been good for me to get out of my comfort zone. I’m going to share what’s worked for me, in the hopes it will help you too.”
Programming Librarian, May 22
Timothy Egan writes: “True, nearly one in four adults in this country have not read a book in the last year. But the book is back. Defying all death notices, sales of printed books continue to rise to new highs, as do the number of independent stores stocked with these voices between covers, even as sales of electronic versions are declining. Nearly three times as many Americans read a book of history in 2017 as watched the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. You can make a case that we owe a big part of the renaissance of the written word in recent months to Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. This is old-fashioned storytelling, and storytelling will never die.”
New York Times, May 24
Melissa Harrison has been revealed as the UK winner of the European Union Prize for Literature 2019 with All Among the Barley (Bloomsbury Circus), a novel exploring the dangers of nationalism and xenophobia. Set in rural England between the world wars, the novel shows how easily a love of place can be corrupted into something dark and exclusionary. Now in its 10th year, the prize recognizes the best emerging fiction writers across Europe and involves 36 European countries.
The Bookseller (UK), May 23
ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo joined international library leaders for a knowledge-sharing event on May 23 titled “Sustainable Development Goals in Libraries Today: The Role of Libraries in Strengthening our Communities.” The event was hosted by the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library and provided a platform to discuss how libraries around the world are cultivating new relationships to help communities learn, understand, and support sustainable professional development. Access to information is a key component of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16 (“Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions”).
ALA Communications and Marketing Office, May 23
After a rally of about 120 people outside town hall in Narragansett, Rhode Island, protesting the town council’s proposed budget that cuts the library allocation in half, the three-member council majority defied the boos against them and the cheers for two council members fighting the cuts. Councilman Richard Lema repeated that the town could not level-fund the library at $841,000 when the library has a fund balance of about $686,000, which the majority wants the library to spend on operations and repairs. Councilman Jesse Pugh said the majority plan is extortion and in defiance of a bipartisan statement by Democratic and Republican Town Committees.
Providence (R.I.) Journal, May 20
Oliver Tearle writes: “Poets are often introspective people. ‘Look in thy heart, and write,’ Sir Philip Sidney’s muse commanded him, chiding him for a ‘fool’ for not thinking of doing this in the first place—and ‘heart’ in Sidney’s time was pretty much synonymous with ‘mind’ in this sense. Here are 10 of the greatest poems written about the mind and mental conflict, introspection, meditation, and other brainy matters. We haven’t included any Wordsworth, but if you want an Easter egg by way of suggestions, we’d recommend Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey,’ which is not so much about the mind’ as a fine example of meditation and personal recollection.”
Interesting Literature, May 22