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
In a year jam-packed with fast-moving science news and groundbreaking research, books can provide a more slower-paced, reflective look at the world around us—and a precious chance to dive deep on big ideas. But how do you decide which scientific page-turner to pick up first? Science Friday staff pawed through the piles all year long. Ira Flatow, Valerie Thomspon, and Deborah Blum round up their picks in this annotated list.
Science Friday, Dec. 6
ALA President Wanda Kay Brown and Executive Director Mary Ghikas announced on December 6 that ALA has sold its headquarters buildings at 50 E. Huron and 40 E. Huron Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. In spring 2020, ALA will move its Chicago-based office functions to Michigan Plaza at 225 N. Michigan Avenue. ALA staff will continue to occupy the buildings on Huron until the new office buildout, designed by architecture firm Nelson, is complete. The move will provide ALA with a modernized workspace, including enhanced meeting space.
AL: The Scoop, Dec 6
Almost 800 libraries have closed in the UK since the Conservative government implemented austerity in 2010, new figures reveal. The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s annual survey of British libraries, excluding Northern Ireland, shows there are 3,583 library branches still open in the UK—35 fewer than last year. Since 2010, a total of 773 have closed. The number of paid librarians has also plummeted—from 24,000 salaried staff in 2010 to 15,300 employees and more than 51,000 volunteers in 2019.
The Guardian (UK), Dec. 5
Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, has signed an agreement to acquire Innovative, a provider of integrated library systems. Innovative will become a business unit within Ex Libris. The Innovative products will continue to be supported and enhanced. Ex Libris and Innovative have a long history of close collaboration with the user community and will continue to work with their user groups to receive input for the enhancement of services. The acquisition is expected to close in early 2020. Roger C. Schonfeld talks about the wider implications of the acquisition.
Ex Libris, Dec. 5
Three foundations have committed more than $16 million for a bond-supported Flint (Mich.) Public Library renovation project set to begin in May. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which made an initial grant of $1.2 million in August, now will grant an additional $13.8 million to the project. The Ruth Mott Foundation will grant $1 million, and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint will grant $50,000. The enhanced grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation was secured after 68% of Flint voters said yes to a $12.6 million bond that will help fund a $27.6 million library renovation.
Flint (Mich.) Journal, Dec. 5
Some residents of Laguna Niguel, California, are trying to save the city’s only library from being demolished as part of a proposed redevelopment project. The upcoming Laguna Niguel Town Center is in its preliminary development stages, with plans for retail, restaurants, office space, apartments, and outdoor community areas. A new library is also planned for it, but residents are skeptical that it will match the current facility in size and available programming. Julie and Bob Davey are spearheading the battle to preserve the current library, which has been there for over 30 years.
Orange County (Calif.) Daily Pilot, Dec. 5
Rebecca Hill writes: “As a former litigator and appellate litigator, Deborah Caldwell-Stone is a woman that you want defending libraries and their role in a democracy. A staunch supporter of intellectual freedom, Caldwell-Stone has been serving as the interim director for the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom since 2018. In October, she was appointed as director for the office and as executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. I spoke with Caldwell-Stone about what we can expect to see in her new role.”
Intellectual Freedom Blog, Dec. 5