Kate MacMillan writes: “My school purchases much-needed materials that promote inclusion and support our ELL, LGBTQ, and at-risk students. However, providing library staff who feel comfortable with the materials and can support and understand inclusion is another issue. Yes, we are a profession that is overwhelmingly white and middle-aged and well intentioned; but can we learn to bridge the emotional disconnect between our experiences?”
Kim Dority writes: “Trying to get a handle on what library technologies LIS professionals need to know can be a challenge, as both the tasks and the tools that librarians are taking on seem to be changing daily. Nevertheless, it’s especially important for job hunters to be aware of technology skills and knowledge that are in demand, because increasingly these tools will be central to successful performance of your career. When understanding what may be relevant to your career, consider two variables.”
The positive vibe that permeated the first two days of the 2017 Association for Rural and Small Libraries Conference, held September 6–9 in St. George, Utah, continued in the conference’s final two days. The conference’s small size made that possible. The keynote speakers did much to accentuate the feeling of togetherness. Blind musician/motivational speaker Clint Lewis and YA sci-fi authors Brandon Mull and Lance Conrad stressed the importance of following your passions and not being afraid to fail.
On September 11, ASCLA launched a new website that has been under development for nearly a year. Among the new features are streamlined news, calendar, an interactive travel map, and a single location for tools and resources. While the new website will serve as the go-to location for updated information—its original website will remain to provide static information regarding committees, online learning, and membership.
Many Americans are poorly informed about basic constitutional provisions, according to an August survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. The annual Constitution Day Civics Survey finds that 53% of Americans think that people who are here illegally have no rights under the Constitution. That incorrect belief is especially strong among self-identified political conservatives. Some 37% can’t name any First Amendment rights, and only 26% can name all three branches of government.
Arthur Jaros will appear in DuPage County Court on September 19 to seek reversal of the Downers Grove (Ill.) Village Council’s decision to remove him from the library board following comments he reportedly made about homosexuality at an August meeting. Village commissioners on September 5 voted 6–0 to remove Jaros as a trustee of the Downers Grove Public Library. Jaros was labeled a “book banner” by residents who recalled a 1999 incident in which he allegedly was a member of a group that tried to ban a book from a local high school.
YALSA has chosen Amanda Barnhart, teen librarian at the Kansas City Public Library’s Trails West branch in Independence, Missouri, as its ALA liaison to represent the division in various ALA groups and committees. The liaison position is new in YALSA, and is meant to provide a means for strengthening ties between YALSA and ALA. Barnhart will receive up to $1,000 in funds to support travel to and from conferences and will serve as the liaison through July 2018.
Paul Basken writes: “Nine months after a dogged academic librarian quietly deleted his carefully tended list shaming more than a thousand scientific journals as unscrupulous, the Beall’s List Murder Mystery remains unsolved. Why, after toiling so hard for five years—and creating a resource cherished by scientists wary of exploitative publishers—did the University of Colorado at Denver’s Jeffrey Beall abruptly give it all up? Who, or what, forced his hand? There are several prime suspects.”
If you need a bit of financial help to get through your graduate program, scholarship funds are now available. ALA has more than $300,000 available to students who are studying in library science or school library media programs at the master’s degree level. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $7,000 per student per year. They include scholarships for students interested in children’s librarianship, youth librarianship, federal librarianship, new media, and library automation. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2018.
“We surprise people right off the bat, standing in front of this wonderful, family-friendly ice cream shop and saying that it used to be a brothel,” says Scott Brouwer, archivist at La Crosse (Wis.) Public Library. The reveal is part of the Dark La Crosse Trolley Tour, done in partnership between LCPL and the La Crosse County Convention and Visitors Bureau. It began as a walking tour and now takes area residents and tourists on rides through the city’s seedier past.
Neil J. Rubenking writes: “A criminal hacking team that gets access to your personal information typically tries to squeeze as much benefit as possible from its unauthorized access, and as quickly as possible, preferably before you hear about it, such as when a breach like the Equifax hack goes public. Just what can you do once you realize that you’ve been hacked? If you’re lucky, your bank will detect fraudulent activity, decline the charges, and issue you a new card. That’s a pain, but it’s better than letting hackers buy a Caribbean vacation with your credit.”
Margaret Heller writes: “Libraries rely on exceptions to copyright law and provisions for fair use to provide services. Any changes to those rules have big implications for the services we provide. With potential changes coming in an uncertain political climate, I would like to take a look at what we know, what we don’t know, and how it’s all related. Each piece as it currently stands works in relation to the others, and a change to any one of them changes the overall situation for libraries.”