Susan Falciani writes: “On the evening of December 7, 1981, Dianne Melnychuk, serials librarian at the Haas Library at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, noticed an unfamiliar gray-haired man of early middle age lingering around the card catalog near her desk. He had attempted to appear inconspicuous by way of nondescript, almost slovenly dress, but at almost six-and-a-half feet tall, with a 225-pound frame, he stood out. A few months earlier, a photo of this man, who went by the name James Richard Shinn, had appeared in an article.”
ALA President Jim Neal writes: “In addition to the many remarkable speakers and presentations that made our Annual Conference a rich educational experience, we made important progress on our four strategic directions: advocacy; information policy; professional and leadership development; and equity, diversity, and inclusion. As I assume the responsibilities of ALA president for 2017–2018, I want to emphasize my core vision. We must dare to be bold, courageous, and challenging.”
Abby Noland, director of the Gleason Public Library in Carlisle, Massachusetts, on July 20 came across live military shells from the Civil War inside a closet in her office. It was her first day on the job. The shells, part of a Gettysburg collection donated years ago, were inside a box with a label explaining they had been examined by a munitions expert and could be live. She notified the police, whose bomb squad rendered the shells safe.
Trinity College’s Watkinson Library in Hartford, Connecticut, received a donation of about 10,000 comic books and 200 graphic novels dating from the 1950s to the present from a Minnesota collector. Richard Ring, Watkinson’s head curator and librarian, said these are the first comic books in the library’s collection. The collection was donated by Marcus Leab, a middle-school English teacher in Maple Grove, Minnesota, and son of Katharine Kyes Leab, editor of American Book Prices Current.
Mark Dzula writes: “Laughter is a peculiar beast in a library space. Although we want to encourage a mindful and welcoming space for people who want to get work done, we should also be aware of the merits of laughter as an act of communication—could there be such a thing as a literacy of laughter? Anca Parvulescu’s book Laughter: Notes on a Passion traces its treatment in western culture through a wide variety of media. It is the perfect book for librarians.”
Stephanie E. Smith writes: “Recently, after a 40-year, 10-month, and 27-day absence, a long-missing item was finally returned to the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis. Arriving in a USPS box, the package was postmarked from Arlington, Virginia. The book inside, James Dean by William Bast, was well-worn and much-used and checked out from the library on August 23, 1976. It must have also moonlighted as a coaster at some point. It is clearly never too late to return an overdue library book.”
The ALA Graphics fall catalog has mailed with more than a dozen exciting new products. Look for actor Daveed Diggs who graces the catalog cover in the latest Celebrity READ poster. Now is the time to prepare for a range of fall events that include Library Card Sign-up Month (September), Latino Heritage Month (September 15–October 15), Banned Books Week (September 24–30), Teen Read Week (October 8–14), and National Friends of Libraries Week (October 15–21).
ALA President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo encourages members to volunteer to serve on ALA, Council, and two joint committees for the 2018–2019 term (starting on July 1, 2018). Serving on a committee provides members with leadership training, networking opportunities, and experience in working on specific Association topics. The online committee volunteer form will be available from August 1 to November 3.
ACRL has published 2016 Academic Library Trends and Statistics, the latest in a series that describes the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of academic libraries in all Carnegie classifications. The one-volume title includes data from associate of arts colleges, baccalaureate colleges, master’s colleges and universities, and research/doctoral-granting institutions. Those who purchase the print edition will receive a complimentary one-year subscription to the 2016 survey data.
The Evanston (Ill.) Public Library is set to pay Lesley Williams, the former adult services librarian, $110,000 as part of her severance after 21 years of service—time that included two suspensions in the last two months. City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz confirmed that the payment is scheduled to be approved at the July 24 city council meeting. Williams resigned from her post June 29. Library officials declined to comment on details of the personnel issues that led to her resignation.
A controversial book has been pulled from a Colorado Springs middle school after administrators say it should have never made it into the library. The school received a parental complaint about the book in March. But a group of librarians, including library media specialist Gina Schaarschmidt at Challenger Middle School, submitted a 92-page appeal to that decision. The District 20 School Board voted to reject this petition on July 20, saying Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles contains inappropriate content.
EasyJet is turning its UK fleet of airplanes into flying libraries this summer in a campaign aimed at encouraging children to read more. Called “Flybraries,” kids flying EasyJet out of UK airports will be able to borrow one of 7,000 classic reads like Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and The Railway Children across the airline’s fleet of 147 aircraft, for free. Books are to be left on board at the end of the flight.