Rachel Kadish is the inaugural winner of the Association of Jewish Libraries Jewish Fiction Award for her novel The Weight of Ink, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The award includes a $1,000 cash prize as well as support to attend the 53rd Annual AJL Conference in Boston, June 18–20. Two honor books were also recognized: Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan, published by Tin House Books, and A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert, published by Pantheon Books.
ALSC, Western Washington University, and the Whatcom County Library System have announced that tickets for the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring poet and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye are now available. The lecture, titled “Refreshments Will Be Served: Our Lives of Reading and Writing” will be held on April 28 at the Western Washington University Performing Arts Center. Required tickets are free and must be obtained through the Whatcom County Library System website.
Brendan Dowling writes: “Emilio Estevez’s The Public, an earnest film about an eventful two days in the life of a public librarian, had its world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 30. Estevez captures the day-to-day actions in a library with an almost documentary-like quality. We see librarians interact with an array of patrons in a variety of ways, and a montage of absurd reference questions illustrates the breadth of services librarians offer as well as provide some comic relief.”
The Canadian Commission for UNESCO is partnering with other Canadian institutions to launch a series of dialogues about reconciliation. Finding that indigenous and non-indigenous people are all too often strangers to each other, CCUNESCO will create safe spaces for the two communities to meet, interact, and talk with each other.The National Film Board will supply relevant films to the first three locations: Vancouver (B.C.) Public Library, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, and Halifax (N.S.) Central Library.
Librarians from Czech universities have collected CZK282,160 (US$13,800) in support of the restoration of the war-devastated library in Mosul, Iraq, according to Klara Roesslerova, head of Charles University’s Faculty of Arts Library that initiated the project. The collected sum will cover new equipment for the Mosul library, which was almost completely destroyed by bombing during the liberation of Mosul from IS control in 2017.
A majority of voters in Pasco County, Florida, say they would pay higher taxes to maintain and improve the existing network of parks and libraries, according to a poll by Clearview Research. But how much they are willing to pay isn’t clear, and those responding were less supportive of adding new facilities. 64% said they definitely or probably would vote yes for higher taxes to improve and expand local parks and libraries, but voters were split on whether they would pay $6 extra per month for parks and libraries.
The Seymour Central Library in Brockport, New York, has been struggling financially. The library is staying afloat with deficit spending, pulling from endowments. But with capital improvements needed and operating costs, “we’ve dipped in heavily,” Library Director Carl Gouvela said. When Clarkson Town Supervisor Jerry Underwood was running for office, he promised to do something about it: He pledged to donate his 2018 salary. In mid-January he wrote a check that came to about $18,000.
Jessica Leigh Brown writes: “Blockchain is a hot topic—the buzzword of the year. The technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain promises a new, decentralized way of recording and storing data. Experts are speculating about its potential uses in business, law and education, and San José State University’s School of Information has received a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to find out whether blockchain could be useful for libraries.”
An Assessing Electronic Reference Services eForum will be held online March 19–21 by the RUSA Emerging Technologies Section. It will be an opportunity to talk with colleagues about what they are doing to assess the effectiveness of their virtual reference services. You will also be able to learn about assessment methodologies such as usability testing, transcript review, focus groups, and surveys. To participate, log into your SYMPA account and join the rusaetse-forum discussion list.
YALSA has awarded Morgan Brickey, community outreach and programing librarian at the Arlington (Tex.) Public Library, the 2018 Margaret A. Edwards Award for Best Literature Program for Teens. Brickey was honored for a creative writing workshop that connected teens with a local author. The award provides $500 to the recipient and $500 to the recipient’s library and is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust.
YALSA has awarded its 2018 Frances Henne Research Grant to Amelia Anderson and Abigail Phillips. This $1,000 grant will provide funding for their research project, “Youth with Autism and Digital Citizenship in the Library: What They Need and What Brings Them In.” Anderson is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the School of Information at Florida State University. Phillips is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University.