Copyright is the only right defined in the main text of the U.S. Constitution. It is specified in Article 1, Section 8, so it didn’t have to be added in the amendments known as the Bill of Rights, which tells us how important the concept of copyright was to the founders. They enumerated its dimensions in a sparse sentence: “To promote the Progress of science and useful Arts by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
The Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL), KS, is engaged in every discussion in its community. In fact, it is usually leading them. The library is central to local deliberations and changes; creates leaders; and uplifts the community it serves. The way the library has become a major force for its constituents in the city of Topeka and throughout Shawnee County sets a bar for all libraries and has earned TSCPL the 2016 Gale/LJ Library of the Year Award.
Charlie Robinson and I both earned our MLS degrees at the School of Library Science (SLS) at Simmons College in Boston. I first met Charlie (who died last month) in the office of Ken Shaffer, the SLS dean. When alumni would come back to visit, Shaffer would gather a few of his favorites in his office for conversation. If they were influential dignitaries, or he thought they would become such, he liked it all the better.
When a library offers balanced information from both poles on local or national issues, reaction from either side can be unpleasant, even hostile, to the library and to library support. It is even worse when the citizens are part of the oldest American movement, the one that asserts that all government is evil—even public agencies such as the library. It is a courageous librarian who delivers facts that offer an opposing view to that one.
Legendary library leader Charles W. Robinson died on Friday, April 8 after a long illness. He was 88 years old. He led the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) for 33 years, spearheading innovation and sometimes provoking controversy among librarians from 1963 until he retired in 1996. Robinson joined the BCPL staff as assistant county librarian in January 1959 and was appointed director in 1963 when his predecessor, Richard D. Minnich, died suddenly. The 33-year era of Robinson’s progressive and inspired leadership moved BCPL to the forefront of public library service in the nation.
Louisville Free Public Library’s (LFPL) leadership—along with its collaboration with the Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) and many other local institutions in efforts to improve literacy, support lifelong learning, and teach new skills needed in the local workforce—has won for LFPL the 2016 LibraryAware Community Award. The award recognizes LFPL’s engagement with the community, its needs, and the priorities of its civic institutions, as well as the library’s ability to make Louisville fully cognizant of what LFPL does and can do. The award is presented by Library Journal and funded by LibraryAware, a product of EBSCO Publishing’s NoveList Division. It carries a prize of $10,000.
I’m concerned that the Canadian Library Association (CLA) has decided to disband. It isn’t just that I remember many of the top Canadian librarians I befriended and the good times I had at CLA conferences. The Canadian librarians I recently talked to were very unhappy about the dissolution of CLA (though they were too few to be a valid sample, and their views are too close to mine to help me understand what brought about this drastic action).
In a compelling entry supported by 20 passionate letters from the academic community of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG), and beyond—including deans, faculty, administrators, librarians, community leaders, and coworkers—Brown Biggers was overwhelmingly recommended for LJ’s 2016 Paralibrarian of the Year Award, sponsored by DEMCO. Among the highlights, nominators pointed to Biggers’s communication and teaching skills, technological expertise, commitment to service both at his job and in the larger Greensboro community, and genuine love for people.
The first time I encountered the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) was nearly 30 years ago. Almost miraculously, PLG has survived from just after the Reagan era through the Clinton and Bush years until Obama. It is still small but manages to publish Progressive Librarian (PL), a journal that combines rigorous scholarship with a strong ideological sentiment.