As always, the American Library Association’s 2016 annual convention included many announcements and product launches from library vendors. Here’s a roundup of some of the news from this year’s show floor.
The New York Public Library (NYPL) on July 12 announced the launch of SimplyE, a new app for tablets and smartphones that employs a single interface for browsing, borrowing, and reading ebooks from multiple different vendors, as well as public domain ebooks. Enabling patrons to discover and start reading library ebooks with as few as three clicks, this initial version of the app is the fulfillment of a goal set two and a half years ago by the NYPL-led Library Simplified project.
In what is being widely celebrated as a historic decision, Carla D. Hayden was confirmed as the 14th Librarian of Congress July 13 by a Senate majority vote of 74–18. Hayden, currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (EPFL) in Baltimore and LJ’s 1995 Librarian of the Year, will be the first woman and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress (LC). She will succeed former Librarian of Congress James Billington, who stepped down in September 2015 after 28 years. Hayden will serve at least one ten-year term, thanks to new term limit legislation passed last year.
The U.S. Senate has just voted to APPROVE the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress. C-SPAN video of comments by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and the vote should be available soon here. Roll Call Vote Info (via U.S. Senate) Those Voting No on Hayden Nomination 1. Vitter 2. Lee 3. Cruz 4. […]
Update: On July 7, Supreme Court Justice Dawn Jiminez-Salta ruled against Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc.’s challenge to the Brooklyn Heights Branch sale and development. The project will proceed as planned.
The controversial sale of Brooklyn Public Library’s (BPL) Brooklyn Heights branch to a New York real estate development group remains up in the air. The latest speed bump in the library’s sale, which was proposed by BPL, is a report suggesting the library system is getting a raw deal on the real estate, which is situated in one of the borough’s poshest neighborhoods.
The sale was expected. From TR: Thomson Reuters today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Intellectual Property & Science business to private equity funds affiliated with Onex Corporation (“Onex”) and Baring Private Equity Asia (“Baring Asia”) for $3.55 billion in cash. The sale is subject to regulatory approval and […]
Data: U.S. Publishers Report $28 Billion in Revenue During 2015; Downloaded Audio Sales Grow, eBooks Decline
From the Association of American Publishers (AAP): The U.S. book and journal publishing industry generated $27.78 billion in net revenue for 2015, representing 2.71 billion in units (volume), according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) StatShot Annual survey. Revenues and unit volume were essentially flat with a decrease of 0.6% from $27.96 billion in […]
Only days after a definitive victory at the polls, the New Orleans library landscape was making news again—but this time it was the Foundation, not the library itself, and the news was not good. On May 5, an investigative report by correspondent David Hammer for local New Orleans station WWL-TV revealed that between 2012 and 2013 Irvin Mayfield and Ronald Markham, who then served on the board of the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) Foundation as chair and president, respectively, gave the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) at least $863,000 in funding originally made to the NOPL Foundation. At that time both Mayfield and Markham were also drawing annual salaries of $100,000 apiece from the nonprofit NOJO, Mayfield as its founder and artistic director and Markham as president and CEO.
A number of higher education–focused sessions at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference touched on issues surrounding student retention and completion—and with the costs of tuition, housing, and materials constantly rising, saving students money is a major consideration. When the conversation includes state and community colleges, and a student body that may have less access to financial resources, finding strategies to cut costs becomes more important than ever. Open educational resources (OER)—freely accessible texts and media that faculty can assemble, repurpose, and package under open access agreements for teaching and research—are a rapidly growing option.
In a June 25 session at the ALA Annual conference in Orlando, John Bracken, VP of media innovation for the Knight Foundation, said that the foundation has been focused on three key questions when working with libraries: What can be done to foster cross-discipline collaboration, possibly learning from projects in other civic sectors such as Code for America, 18F, or the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews collaboration; how can community be put “even more robustly” at the center of the foundation’s work; and how can the foundation help libraries tell their stories to wider audiences? “To succeed, particularly in a time of reduced public investment, it is vital to tell our stories in ways that people can understand the breadth of our work, and on platforms” where the public is present and listening, Bracken said.