Julia Glassman writes: “At my institution, librarians’ career advancement is regulated through a process of peer review. The process has become an arms race of the biggest, most impressive accomplishments librarians can showcase. There is intense pressure to constantly innovate, to throw out the old and invent something new. But innovation isn’t just one factor of success in librarianship; it often seems to be the sole benchmark by which we measure the worth of our work.”
In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Oct. 18
The University of Virginia School of Law’s library is digitizing the 336 legal texts cataloged by the university librarian in 1828. The project, which began in May, will create a virtual library where users can scroll through the shelves, view high-resolution images of the book spines, and read bibliographical essays about each text. The books are part of a group of roughly 8,000 legal texts deemed critical for education in law by Thomas Jefferson.
The Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia), Oct. 19
Karen Wickre writes: “Google just turned 19. Facebook is 13. Twitter is 11 and a half. (None, in other words, out of their teens.) Until recently, widespread digital malfeasance was relatively rare on these young platforms. But in a world that increasingly seems dystopian, we now expect security breaches, hacks, purposeful fakery, more or less constantly. Whether the aim is financial or political, the fact that so many of us live and work online means we are, collectively, an attractive and very large target.”
Wired: Backchannel, Oct. 11
The former Morton Mandan (N. Dak.) Public Library director, Kelly Steckler, recognized a challenge when she saw it: She started young and had a lifetime of practice. Steckler began working at the library as a sophomore in high school and never had another job. Last fall, she died from leukemia. As a child, she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which limited her physical activity. On October 5, Steckler was named Librarian of the Year at the North Dakota Library Association’s annual conference.
Bismarck (N. Dak.) Tribune, Oct. 20
The number of physical books held by the South Carolina’s 42 public library systems peaked at 9.6 million in 2010 and has dropped by more than 600,000 since then, according to the South Carolina State Library. The drop-off in physical book inventory wasn’t a uniform pattern across every library, though. Some smaller library systems like Horry County actually saw a slight net increase in physical book holdings. Beyond that, many librarians have been reconsidering their role in the community.
Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, Oct. 21
The ALA Publishing Committee is offering Carnegie-Whitney grants of up to $5,000 for the preparation of print or electronic reading lists, indexes, or other guides to library resources that promote reading or the use of library services at any type of library. Applications must be received by November 3.
ALA Publishing, Oct. 20
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions will host a new 90-minute workshop, “Collection Development for Judaica Materials” with Rebecca Jefferson, on December 14. Jefferson will provide an overview of the different types of Judaica libraries and collections (who collects what and why), as well as an overview of notable vendors of Judaic resources and bibliographic resources. Registration is through the ALA Store.
eLearning Solutions, Oct. 20
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions will host a new session its 90-minute workshop, “How to Fix the 25 Most Common Library Website Problems” with Laura Solomon, on December 6. Solomon will discuss these common library website problems, as well as the inherent challenges patrons face with these issues, ways to fix those issues, and rate how difficult those fixes are. Registration is through the ALA Store.
eLearning Solutions, Oct. 20
ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions will host a new 90-minute workshop, “Legally Using Images: Understanding Digital Copyright” with instructor Lesley Ellen Harris, on November 29. Harris will debunk common misinformation about using images and teach strategies to identify which images require copyright permission and which you can safely use for free. She also will alert you to hidden traps in licensing language. Registration is through the ALA Store.
eLearning Solutions, Oct. 20
Alex Gangitano writes: “Down a corridor inside the LC’s Thomas Jefferson Building, a code just for members of Congress guards a special room. Even lawmakers’ spouses can’t walk into the Congressional Reading Room alone. But when a member of Congress unlocks the door, it opens to a private space staffed by a Congressional Research Service employee, there to answer questions and assist members seeking materials. The room is stocked with periodicals, books, desks, and computers.”
Roll Call, Oct. 19
Elizabeth Gettins writes: “There is a mystique surrounding libraries with old rare books, and the Library of Congress is no exception. Just think of all the dark and vast vaults of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division that are closed to the public and imagine what undiscovered treasures they hold. Now, thanks to the digital age, the stacks are open and searchable—everyone can access these untold treasures through our newly released web portal.”
Library of Congress Blog, Oct. 20
Alice Randall writes: “A school board sparked outrage in mid-October when it voted to cut To Kill a Mockingbird from 8th-grade reading lists in Biloxi, Mississippi. Some people complained that the book’s language made them uncomfortable. While the backlash was swift, those who blindly defend the book are missing an important point. If the criteria for inclusion was simply whether the novel provokes tough discussions, Harper Lee’s opus belongs in as many classrooms as possible. But that is not the only question.”
NBC News: Think, Oct. 19