The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced its 30 finalists for its National Medal for Museum and Library Service March 20, including 15 public, academic, and special libraries from Maine to Alaska. The depth and breadth of the work of the nominees demonstrate not only the worth of libraries to our social fabric, but also IMLS’s importance for aiding the vital missions of the libraries across the country: a timely reminder, considering that IMLS is one of multiple federal agencies that the current administration’s preliminary budget proposes to dismantle.
November’s presidential election led to a surprising result for many. Even among those who voted for the current president-elect, a lot of people did not actually expect him to prevail over a former senator and secretary of state. And almost immediately, everyone from regular people to media pundits were chiming in on what the election will mean for the country.
The theme of the Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) 2017 Conference, held at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library on April 7, was Dangerous Librarianship—an appropriate designation for a librarians challenging the status quo. Some 186 librarians from the New York metro area and beyond—including attendees from Massachusetts, Arizona, and California—gathered to share and learn about advocacy, social justice, alternative service models, privacy, leadership, and more.
If there’s anything the 2016 presidential election cycle taught us, it’s be prepared. We can never underestimate the groundswell of support for an issue, institution, or person who may not support what a library provides to its community; the reliance on fake news rather than on facts (and how easy it is to have it go viral); or the power of emotion over reason.
I wrote recently that the rate of media illiteracy is the information crisis of our time (“Faked Out,” School Library Journal, 1/17, p. 6), but now that very real issue has nonetheless been trumped by a full-on deliberate assault on the flow of information—from journalism and scientific research to dissemination via social media and traditional channels. There is no such thing as an alternate fact, but there is certainly an alternate reality: a chilling, censorial, obfuscating one being offered as a threatening new normal by the new federal administration in the first days and weeks of 2017.
Library for All, a nonprofit organization that has created a digital library solution designed to deliver ebooks and high-quality educational materials to children and readers in developing countries, was recently honored with an Empowering People Award. The global competition held by the Siemens Stiftung foundation is designed to find the most innovative technology solutions currently improving people’s lives in the developing world.
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.