October 23, 2017

Kansas City Libraries Defend Free Speech in Face of Arrests, Resignations

Update: In a brief trial on Friday, September 8, Kansas City municipal court judge Joseph Locascio found Steve Woolfolk not guilty by on charges of obstruction, interfering with an arrest, and assaulting a police officer. “Justice was done,” said KCPL director Crosby Kemper III in a statement. “The library, like the judge, has consistently expressed surprise that this ever went to trial, that a public event at a public library should result in the indictment of a librarian.”

After Harvey Libraries Reopen, Organizations Step Up

Over a five-day period, Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast area of southeastern Texas and parts of Louisiana. More than 50 inches of rain fell, killing at least 66 people, displacing 30,000 others, and causing up to $190 billion in damages. When skies finally cleared at the end of August, libraries’ cleanup efforts began in earnest.

Two Killed, Four Injured in NM Library Shooting

On the afternoon of Monday, August 28, a gunman opened fire in the Clovis-Carver Public Library (CCPL) in Clovis, NM. Kristina “Krissie” Carter, a youth service librarian, and Wanda Walters, a circulation assistant, were killed, and four others wounded, including a second CCPL circulation assistant. The shooter was taken into custody at the scene.

Texas Libraries Hit Hard by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey brought record-breaking rainfall and catastrophic flooding to southeast Texas during the last week of August. Unprecedented rainfall in the Houston-Galveston area caused what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described as “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced.” Area libraries have sustained damage from water and wind, although at press time floodwaters were still so high, and local roads so impassible, that assessment was impossible.

GPO Requests Recommendations to Update Federal Deposit Library Rules

U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) director Davita Vance-Cooks has asked the Depository Library Council (DLC) to recommend changes to Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code, a request that has some members of the government information community concerned and others encouraged. Chapter 19 codifies GPO’s Federal Deposit Library Program (FDLP) into law, guaranteeing that the government will provide its information for free to the general public, and has not been significantly revised since the early 1990s.

Libraries Across America To Celebrate Solar Eclipse on August 21

On Monday, August 21, all eyes—or at least, all those with adequate protection—will be on the first total solar eclipse to cross the country from ocean to ocean since 1918. The path of totality will cross the entire United States from west to east starting at 10:15 a.m. PDT in Pacific Palisades, OR (west of Salem) and ending at 2:48 p.m. EDT in Bulls Bay, SC (north of Charleston). More than 1,000 libraries will hold viewing parties with safe viewing glasses during the event, and imaginative eclipse-themed programs have been happening all summer from Alaska to Maine.

UVA Libraries Regroup After Weekend of Violence

Over the weekend of August 11–13, violent confrontations in Charlottesville, VA, between white nationalists and counterprotesters left many injured and three dead. Now Tyler Magill, a University of Virginia (UVA) library employee, is in the hospital after suffering a stroke on Tuesday, August 15, possibly linked to a blow he sustained when white nationalist marchers massed on the UVA grounds, clashing with students, faculty, and staff.

Charlottesville Libraries Weather Violent Protests, Offer Unity

Public and college libraries alike faced challenges and tough choices this weekend in Charlottesville, VA, when clashes between white nationalist demonstrators and counterprotesters from social justice, civil rights, and anti-fascist groups took place on the campus of the University of Virginia and across the city, leaving three dead and 34 injured.

ALA: Fighting for Funding | Federal Advocacy

On July 13, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies voted to recommend level funding in FY18 for IMLS, likely including $183 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. The full Appropriations Committee markup and vote took place on July 19; the budget passed 28–22. While the vote was an important step toward securing federal library funding going forward, the fight is not over, says ALA president Jim Neal.

LC Launches Web Cultures, Webcomics Archives

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (LC) announced June 15 the creation of two new born-digital collections: the Web Cultures Web Archive (WCWA), which will feature memes, GIFs, and image macros that surface in online pop culture, and the Webcomics Web Archive (WWA), which will collect comics created for an online audience.