Nayeli Pelayo writes: “On Election Day, it’s too late to change unfair voting rules. But we can work together to ensure the rules are clearly explained and accurately applied. Fair Elections Center is encouraging libraries to partner on an initiative to recruit tech-savvy and bilingual patrons to serve as poll workers. Many communities do not have easy access to poll worker requirements or application forms. Workelections.com centralizes information for potential poll workers who may not know where or how to apply.”
District Dispatch, Sept. 24
Karissa Bell and Pete Pachal write: “It’s been 20 years since Google Search arrived on the web, and the company is updating its core product with a slew of new features. Google Search now anticipates and customizes much of your search experience automatically, and it uses AI on the back end to do things like create relevant clips from videos. Another clear focus is mobile. At the announcement event in San Francisco, every slide showed how the new tools would look on a smartphone, not a desktop.”
Mashable, Sept. 24
Will Greenwald writes: “Virtual Reality is a fascinating way to travel using nothing more than the power of technology. Oculus has the popular Rift, HTC and Valve have the Steam-friendly Vive, Sony leads the pack with the excellent PlayStation VR, Samsung recently added a separate controller to its Gear VR, and Google’s Daydream is steadily growing from the remains of Google Cardboard. Modern VR headsets fit under one of two categories: mobile or tethered.”
PC Magazine, Sept. 18
The American Academy of Religion has selected the 2018 recipients of the Awards for Excellence in the Study of Religion and the Best First Book in the History of Religions. This annual award recognizes new scholarly publications in religious studies. The award for excellence in historical studies went to Bissera V. Pentcheva for Hagia Sophia: Sound, Space, and Spirit in Byzantium, and Lincoln Mullen’s The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America was given the award for best first book.
American Academy of Religion
On September 20, Chilean-American author Isabel Allende was named the winner of the 2018 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Allende will be the first Spanish-language author to the recognized with the honor, and only the second (since Saul Bellow in 1990) to be born outside the US. The National Book Foundation’s medal will be presented to Allende by the acclaimed Mexican-American writer Luís Alberto Urrea in New York on November 14.
Publishing Perspectives, Sept. 20
Liam McIlvanney has won the 2018 William McIlvanney Prize (named after his father) for The Quaker (HarperCollins). The £1,000 award recognizes excellence in Scottish crime writing. Comedian Susan Calman, one of the judges for this year’s prize, said: “Not only did I love the evocative recreation of Glasgow, but the characters created were refreshing and surprising.” The prize was presented September 21 at the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival in Stirling.
The Guardian (UK), Sept. 21
Francisca Goldsmith writes: “The irony of a Supreme Court candidate’s accuser’s hearing during the annual Banned Books Week for which the slogan of ‘Banning books silences stories / Speak out!’ was selected months ago might be humorous if enough progress had occurred in the millennia of misogyny to give us the perspective it would need for that. Instead, it’s reminded me of two censorship stories I have witnessed as a librarian.”
No Shelf Required, Sept. 24
The Association of Research Libraries’ new Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Software Preservation provides clear guidance on the legality of archiving legacy software to ensure continued access to digital files of all kinds and to illuminate the history of technology. The publication provides librarians, archivists, curators, and others who work to preserve software with a tool to guide their reasoning about when and how to employ fair use in the most common situations they currently face.
Association of Research Libraries, Sept. 24
Teresa Miguel-Stearns writes: “As the Senate Judiciary Committee debates Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, we write as librarians of Yale Law School, from which Judge Kavanaugh graduated, to urge that the Senate conduct a fair and deliberate confirmation process. The confirmation process must always be conducted, and appointments made, in a manner that gives Americans reason to trust the Supreme Court. Some questions are so fundamental to judicial integrity that the Senate cannot rush past them without undermining the public’s confidence in the Court.”
Yale Lillian Goldman Law Library, Sept. 21
To raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries, AASL has designated one day during Banned Books Week as Banned Websites Awareness Day. On Wednesday, September 26, AASL asks school librarians and other educators to promote an awareness of how overly restrictive filtering affects student learning.
The new book Career Programming for Today’s Teens: Exploring Nontraditional and Vocational Alternatives, published by ALA Editions, speaks directly to frontline library staff and administrators. Amy Wyckoff and Marie Harris present step-by-step guidance on designing, planning, and implementing career programming for teens, including career readiness workshops and an annual trade school fair. The authors suggest how library staff can design and facilitate engaging career programming that teens will want to attend.
ALA Editions, Sept. 24
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced September 24 that husband-and-wife team Emilio and Gloria Estefan are the 2019 recipients of the LC Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The honorees represent two historic firsts for the prize–the first time it has been awarded to a married couple or to musicians-songwriters of Hispanic descent. The prize recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of entertainment, information, inspiration, and cultural understanding.
Library of Congress, Sept. 24