George M. Eberhart writes: “For many years, public libraries have partnered with StoryCorps, a nonprofit founded in 2003 by radio producer Dave Isay to record, preserve, and share the personal stories told by Americans from all backgrounds. Maura Johnson, a community training specialist for StoryCorps, gave an overview of the organization’s recent activities and initiatives as part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver on February 10.”
Amy Carlton writes: “On a ferry trip to Ellis Island and Liberty Island with his family on a freezing winter day, author and publisher Dave Eggers noticed something he’d never seen mentioned in all the lore about the nation’s most famous statue: She’s in motion, striding off the pedestal, he says, as if she is going to meet new immigrants in the sea. Inspired by this discovery, and disturbed by the anti-immigrant tone of the 2016 election, Eggers turned the idea into his latest children’s book, Her Right Foot.”
George M. Eberhart writes: “The ProQuest breakfast on Saturday morning featured the information-content company’s director of security and privacy information, Dan Ayala, who briefed attendees on two European Union privacy laws that will take effect on May 25: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the ePrivacy Directive. Any American firm doing business in Europe will be affected by this legislation, Ayala said, and they are already ‘forcing US companies to look at data privacy in completely different ways.’”
George Eberhart writes: “ALA launched a Libraries Ready to Code initiative in January 2017, funded by Google, to train public and school librarians to design programs that encourage K–12 students to develop skills in computer science and computational thinking. A Friday afternoon workshop, sponsored by ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), offered an update on the process and gave attendees a chance to exchange ideas and feedback on their own training efforts.”
Miranda Doran-Myers writes: “Libraries transform lives! This refrain was repeated throughout the Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom Bootcamp, which was held on Friday morning, as one of four messages that every library can use to create cohesive messaging. According to the research cited by the bootcamp’s leaders, humans need to hear something up to 10 times before the message really sinks in, so let’s see how many times I can pepper these messages into my post.”
On February 9, Congress passed and the president signed an FY2018 budget deal that will likely include at least level funding for federal library programs at the FY2017 levels. ALA President Jim Neal issued a statement on the agreement: “We are pleased that Congress has passed an FY2018 spending agreement that includes an increase in federal funding for domestic priorities, which, we hope, will include library funding. Most of all, we are pleased that Congress rejected the president’s call to eliminate many important programs for libraries.”
The Urban Dictionary is a crowdsourced website that records new words and their meanings. It began life in 1999 as a parody of Dictionary.com but has since become an important online resource. Dong Nguyen at the Alan Turing Institute in London and a few colleagues have compared the Urban Dictionary and its content with Wiktionary, another crowdsourced dictionary. Nguyen began by analyzing its content in the broadest terms.
An American billionaire and confidant of President Donald Trump is making a major donation to Israel’s National Library. Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of private equity firm Blackstone, says the $10 million donation is his first in Israel. The donation will fund classrooms and education workshops that Schwarzman hopes will foster inclusiveness and “cross-cultural relationships” between Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Rediscovered 100-year-old posters showing the struggle for votes for women are going on show for the first time at Cambridge University. They pull no punches in their depiction of the strength of feeling among the women who fought for equal rights. Addressed simply to “the Librarian,” a bundle wrapped in plain brown paper was delivered to Cambridge University Library sometime around 1910, and it took over 100 years for the contents of the parcel to be rediscovered, in 2016, preserved in their original wrapping.
Emily Temple writes: “In our habitual fantasies, writers do nothing but sit at small café tables, sometimes meeting with their friends, other times gazing wistfully into a pint or swirling an espresso before they scribble down their latest brilliant thought. So let’s indulge our daydreams and salivate over 35 bars and cafés that famous writers frequented in days of yore. In the interest of avoiding the New York/Paris/Dublin trap, I’ve limited the choices to one per city.”
DC Entertainment will launch two new graphic novel publishing imprints in the fall—DC Ink focused on young adult readers, and DC Zoom focused on middle grade readers. Both will feature a lineup of established authors who will bring their storytelling expertise to a DC Universe filled with iconic characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.