Since the last of Canada’s Indian residential schools closed in 1996, the nation has been attempting to shape a response to the legacy of abuse that the residential school system—which removed native children from their homes and families—inflicted on its Indigenous Peoples. Saskatoon Public Library (SPL), Saskatchewan, has become the first public library to incorporate a space permanently dedicated to truth and reconciliation. On November 21 SPL’s Frances Morrison Central Library opened the Read for Reconciliation reading area, which includes a full set of the reports compiled by the TRC over five years, plus a variety of books about Canada’s history of residential schools, as well as an extensive reading list on the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada on its homepage.
From the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to its aftermath, incidents of hatred, anger, and intolerance have been on the rise across the country and beyond. Academic libraries have been the sites of several incidents, as have schools. Even public libraries, generally thought of as safe spaces for their communities, have not been immune.
For its 2016 Next Wave conference, scholarly nonprofit organization ITHAKA brought together nearly 200 academic librarians, publishers, technology partners, and scholars at New York’s Roosevelt Hotel on November 30 to take a look at what may lie ahead for academia. “The Bigger Picture: How Macro Changes in Higher Education Should Shape Your Strategy” condensed what had previously been spread over two days into one all-day session, with a strong focus on academic professionals’ take on the landscape.
On October 14 architect Maya Lin unveiled her plans for the new William Allan Neilson Library at Smith College, Northampton, MA. The drawings and model for the extensive renovation of the library, which will include upgrades and alterations to the original building and the replacement of two previous additions, were met with approval by the gathering of students, faculty, and administration at Smith’s Sweeney Concert Hall—not surprising, as they were only part of a years-long visioning process that involved thousands of the college’s community members from campus to town.
At their Trustees/Friends luncheon on April 8, the Tennessee Library Association and Friends of Tennessee Libraries (FOTL) jointly honored longtime Friend Julie D. Webb with their Friend of the Year Award, which celebrates a group or individual that has made a significant contribution to a Friends organization and the advancement of libraries in the state.
Between Wednesday, November 9—the day after the U.S. presidential election—and Wednesday, November 16, the Southern Poverty Law Center collected reports of more than 700 incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment through submissions to its #ReportHate page, which launched the day after the election. More than 60 of these occurred on academic campuses, including in libraries, ranging from verbal attacks, fliers, and personal notes containing hate speech to postings on social media. Most of these have thus far been limited to graffiti and property defacement, but at least one student has been physically confronted.
On her website, Jenna Hartel talks of “a different character of LIS”—one rooted in positivity, curiosity, and proactivity. It’s what she calls “the bright side of information,” a focus on the upbeat aspect of library studies that has won Hartel, associate professor on the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto (U of T), a special spot in the hearts of her students and fellow faculty members—and the 2016 Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield.
On a long Election Night filled with tension and political upset, 79 libraries across the country had referenda on the ballot. The news for libraries was more good than bad. At press time, 54 had recorded wins and 12 losses, with the remainder either not applicable—representing votes to leave a district, for instance—or still too close to call.