Cengage Learning reached an agreement with an ad hoc committee of first lien lenders to reduce approximately $4 billion of the company’s $5.8 billion of outstanding debt, the company announced yesterday. In conjunction with the deal, and as the company announced it might in May, Cengage and its domestic, wholly owned subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 in the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York. (Cengage’s non-U.S. subsidiaries are not included in the filings and “will continue to operate in the ordinary course without interruption,” the company said in a statement.)
The American Library Association has launched a new website, ala.org/liberty, in response to the recent revelations about widespread surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). The site offers a toolkit and other resources for libraries to convene forums and moderate community discussions on privacy. Many more resources will be added in the weeks to come, an ALA representative said.
Offering commonsensical, yet often overlooked, advice, this session proposed that non-users cannot effectively be reached by focus groups, surveys on the library website, or other such mechanisms that may be useful for capturing the opinions of active library patrons. To reach this other group, libraries must go where they already are: malls, daycare centers, coffee shops, commuter rail stations, houses of worship, farmer’s markets, senior programs, etc.
Joshua D. Sosin, an associate professor in Duke’s Department of Classical Studies, will become director of the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing, a new digital-humanities unit of the Duke University Libraries which is supported by a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Sosin will be the first tenured faculty member at the university to have a joint appointment in the library and an academic department.
This fall a new national “library staff picks list” will debut under the name LibraryReads. All public library staff will be welcome to nominate new adult titles that they have read, loved, and are eager to share with patrons via the website libraryreads.org, which will go live today at noon. The ten most frequently recommended titles will be calculated monthly, and beginning this autumn, the resulting list will be publicized and promoted by librarians in branches as well as in patron newsletters, websites, etc.
LJ’s Design Institute (DI) in Cuyahoga County, OH, was itself an example of one of the major trends it planned to cover—flexibility. When Hurricane Sandy rendered New York–based LJ staff and many presenters incommunicado or unable to travel to the event on its originally scheduled date, architects and the event’s host, the Cuyahoga County Public Library (CCPL), worked with LJ to pull off a rescheduled get-together only a month later on December 14, 2012. Attendees rearranged their schedules to provide a full house despite the short notice and approaching holiday season.
The situation Brian Bannon inherited when he took over as commissioner of the Chicago Public Library (CPL) on March 19, 2012, was, to say the least, daunting. Though he had a lot of experience as chief information officer for San Francisco’s public libraries (and previously with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Seattle Public Library), this was his first time in the hot seat, and he was following in the footsteps of 18-year veteran Mary Dempsey.
The HathiTrust Digital Library will become The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)’s single largest content hub, the two institutions announced on June 18. The metadata records associated with some 3,384,638 volumes (and growing daily) held by the HathiTrust will be accessible on the web at dp.la, and through the DPLA application programming interface (API). (The digitized volumes themselves will continue to reside in HathiTrust.)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) is offering a library amendment to the immigration bill that the Senate is considering this week. The amendment, #1223, would make public libraries eligible for funding for English language instruction and civics education, and would also add Susan Hildreth, the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to the Task Force on New Americans. The American Library Association (ALA) is asking its members to call their Senators in support of Reed’s amendment.
In April, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries program hosted in Cape Town, South Africa, the aptly named Peer Learning Meeting (PLM). According to the Gates Foundation, the conference is held roughly every 18 months and is described as “a multiday event where Global Libraries (GL) grantees, staff, and partners meet to exchange ideas and experiences, share success stories and challenges, discuss practical solutions, and build relationships with their fellow professionals in the field.” This year, some 120 librarians from 32 countries gathered to share the challenges they face and the solutions they’ve found.