Two men accused of cannibalizing or taking more than $8 million worth of rare books from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and then selling them to collectors pleaded guilty January 13 to theft. Greg Priore, formerly the archivist of the library’s rare book room, and John Schulman, who owns Caliban Book Shop, will be sentenced in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on April 17. Priore pleaded guilty to theft and receiving stolen property. Priore admitted taking items from the Oliver Room by carrying individual plates and maps out in manila folders. Sometimes he would take books or other larger items. The thefts were discovered in 2017.
Jessica Leigh Hester writes: “Reading material and toilets have a special relationship. Stacks of magazines are as common a fixture of many washrooms as toilet paper, toothpaste, or towels. Books had a place in some 18th-century bathrooms, too. The library-themed lavatory inside the Hofkamer, an structure within the Den Wolsack complex in Antwerp, Belgium, offers the illusion of actually going to the bathroom on a pile of books. The building’s owner, Adrien van den Bogaert,designed a washroom lined with faux ‘bookshelves’ fashioned from leather and wood, all the way down to a handsome stack of ‘books’ on the floor, with a hole cut in the top.”
The New York Public Library has been loaning books for a long time: The library turns 125 this year. To celebrate, NYPL dug into its records and calculated a list of the 10 books that have been checked out the most in its history. The most-wanted book? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. The Caldecott Medal–winning tale of a young boy’s encounter with snow has been checked out 485,583 times from the library since it was published in 1962. Children’s books make up a large part of the list; short books can be read faster and are returned more quickly. Only one nonfiction book appears on the list: How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
As Hillary Dodge demonstrates in her new book Gather ‘Round the Table: Food Literacy Programs, Resources, and Ideas for Libraries, published by ALA Editions,food literacy initiatives are a natural fit for libraries. Food programming such as cooking can be an important tool in helping English-language learners discover a practical use for a new language, as well as providing opportunities for socialization and conversation. It can be used to help GED seekers practice basic math. Featuring a multi-pronged approach to incorporating food literacy in libraries, this book explores a variety of innovative food literacy programs.
Here are some statistics to get you ready and reading for the 2020 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits. It has been 6 years since ALA last held its Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. 532 North 7th Street is the address where Edgar Allan Poe lived in a red-brick home with his wife, Virginia, and mother-in-law, Maria Clemm. The house—designated a National Historic Site in 1962—is where Poe penned The Black Cat.Benjamin Franklin founded the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731, a subscription-based institution supported by shareholders that became America’s first successful lending library.
Tricia Bohanon writes: “For a decade, I have led sensory storytime programs at libraries in North Carolina and Ohio and trained many staffers across the country in this specialized service. But one theme recurs: Attendance at these programs is hit or miss. When sensory programming may not be feasible—whether because of low attendance, inadequate staffing, or lack of administrative support—we may take steps in all programming to create a welcoming environment for those with different abilities. In doing so, we are practicing inclusion despite an absence of dedicated programs for these families.”
The Library of Congress, the Children’s Book Council, and Every Child a Reader on January 13 announced the appointment of Jason Reynolds as the seventh National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2020–2021. The Newbery Honor recipient succeeds Jacqueline Woodson, who served as National Ambassador in 2018–2019. Reynolds is the author of 13 books for young people including his most recent, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, a National Book Award finalist. During his two-year term, Reynolds will visit small towns across America to have meaningful discussions with young people.
The group Florida Citizens Alliance is asking Florida’s attorney general to enforce anti-pornography statutes to get a list of 44 books it says are objectionable out of school libraries. They’re calling the list “Porn in Florida Public Schools” and claim the books violate Christian values. While some books on the list like 50 Shades of Grey sre geared toward a mature audience, there are others like Mommy, Mama, and Me by Lesléa Newman that are for children to understand LGTBQ families. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office says it has not received any letter from Florida Citizens Alliance.
Santa Monica (Calif.) Public Library officials say as long as library patrons adhere to the code of conduct, everyone is welcome to find a place in the city’s branches. But residents who identify as homeless often need more, according to Marc Morgenstern, former chair of the library board. They are now getting that at The Write Place, a writing workshop held for people experiencing homelessness. “Creative writing can help homeless individuals find their voice and articulate their feelings in a therapeutic way,” Morgenstern said. The workshop has been so successful that the library will hold a public reading allowing participants to share their Write Place work with the world.
Hannah Byrd Little writes: “This year in opening faculty meetings, I was given time to address the full faculty. I admitted that despite 20 years of experience and an excellent library science education, I somehow missed learning about the five laws of library science, published in 1931 by S. R. Ranganathan. After the faculty meeting, a long-time member of the faculty asked about the five laws. She commented that she had never thought of the library as a place to save the time of the reader (the fourth law). But it is an excellent service to our patrons that we save them time. Think about all the ways libraries can make use and access more efficient.”
Jennisen Lucas and Phoebe B. Warmack will seek the 2021–2022 AASL presidential term during the 2020 ALA election. Lucas is the district librarian for the Park County School District #6 in Cody, Wyoming. Warmack is the director of the William H. White Jr. Library and Reynolds Family Learning Commons at the Woodberry Forest (Va.) School. The full slate of AASL candidates can be found online.
RUSA is now seeking nominations for its 2020 Achievement Awards, including the Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award, the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award, the John Sessions Memorial Award, the Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult Library Services, and the Gail Schlachter Memorial Research Grant. The deadline for all nominations is February 15.