What can we do? This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions in America—even before the recent presidential election brought a wave of hate crimes more pervasive than the one that followed the September 11 attacks. The ongoing impact of bigotry in America is, perhaps, the quintessential “wicked problem.” A legacy of housing discrimination continues to shape neighborhoods—and how they are served by schools, police, and, yes, libraries—to this day. Studies continue to show implicit bias along lines of race and gender that impacts hiring, promotion, compensation, and retention—and explicit bias is still with us. All of these factors feed one another, eluding simple solutions to any that leave the others out of the equation.
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.
This year’s selection of library construction efforts are each unique in their own way, but most share a significant guiding principle: keep it open. The 105 capital projects completed between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, exemplify a dedication to the totality of users’ experience with regard to sight lines, maneuverability, accessibility, and natural light but also in consideration of others’ ideas, needs, and potential. With atria, lots of glass, and coworking and group study spaces, libraries are indeed open for business.
In 2014, the American Community Survey reported that an estimated 19.4 million veterans were living in the United States. Libraries, both public and academic, are well positioned to serve the unique needs of this population by offering programming and meeting space, sharing veterans’ stories, and providing the community connections necessary to transition successfully from military to civilian life.
We are pleased to announce the results of the ninth edition of the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service, sponsored by Baker & Taylor’s Bibliostat. The LJ Index rates U.S. public libraries based on selected per capita output measures. The 2016 LJ Index derives from data recently released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for FY14.
Beginning with the publication of Freedom’s Journal by Samuel Cornish and John Brown Russwurm in 1827, U.S. newspapers and periodicals written and distributed by African American journalists and publishers in the 19th and 20th centuries have played a vital role in giving voice to black communities, while chronicling and ultimately preserving history from the perspective of those communities. This product spotlight showcases subscription databases with extensive historic black newspaper collections, as well as a selection of free resources made available by the Library of Congress (LC), the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and other institutions.
On September 14, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress. The first African American and the first woman to hold the position in American history, she is also only the third to have worked in a library prior to her appointment. After a moving ceremony in the Library of Congress’s (LC) 1897 Jefferson Building and a reception to meet “as many staff members as they could stand,” Hayden sat down with LJ in her ceremonial office to outline her vision for the library.
Nicholas Carr is a journalist, cultural and technology commentator, and professional skeptic on issues of the Internet, social media, and the potential consequences of our love affair with technological progress. A 2011 Pulitzer Prize finalist, he has written numerous articles, essays, contributions to his blog Rough Type, and five books, including The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains and a recent collection of pieces from 2005–15, Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations (both Norton). Carr will be the opening keynote speaker at LJ and School Library Journal’s virtual conference The Digital Shift, on October 19, and LJ recently caught up with him to find out where libraries fit into his thoughts on our wired world.