When a library offers balanced information from both poles on local or national issues, reaction from either side can be unpleasant, even hostile, to the library and to library support. It is even worse when the citizens are part of the oldest American movement, the one that asserts that all government is evil—even public agencies such as the library. It is a courageous librarian who delivers facts that offer an opposing view to that one.
Writing simply isn’t simple, fixing fines, a challenge to ALA members, and more letters to editor from the April 1, 2016 issue of Library Journal.
Last month, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a series of articles on the status of public libraries in the UK. The news is dramatic. More than 300 libraries have been closed since 2010—the reported total of 343 includes 132 mobile libraries, with over 100 more on the chopping block—and almost 8,000 jobs have been lost. The advocacy drumbeat for UK libraries has been sounding for some time, with prominent authors and celebrities offering their support. Staring down the numbers reported by the BBC has spurred a barrage of public and professional response—some reinforcing negative stereotypes and others helping to build the case for more investment.
“Don’t you love the Oxford dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really, really long poem about everything,” said David Bowie in 1999. In “Hollywood Is a Verb: Los Angeles Tackles the Oxford English Dictionary [OED],” more than 60 programs engaged Angelenos through conversation and events to illuminate how dictionaries enrich our lives today. The title of the program, jointly presented by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), was inspired by L.A. artist Ed Ruscha and his paintings of the same name.
Until there is a body to take responsibility for reviewing LIS programs globally and granting the strong ones accreditation, a large number of librarians will be banned de facto from participating in our increasingly mobile information age economy. Having been a sometimes struggling expat myself (I lived in the UK and in Taiwan before Texas and the UAE), I know a little about trying to find work abroad; it can be a hell of a lot harder than it was for me, especially if you’re brown-skinned and English isn’t your first language. An international standard for accreditation for LIS degrees would go a long way toward fixing this for librarians in the eastern and southern hemispheres who want a fair shot at jobs in the northern and western hemispheres and in the complex, frustrating, bewildering, and lucrative Middle East.
This summer, Columbus, OH, will be the center of the library world when the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) brings its annual World Library and Information Congress there, August 13–19. For many U.S. librarians, this meeting, which last came to the States in 2001, provides rare access to the global sharing active members of IFLA experience each year. If you haven’t yet considered attending, do so soon, as it promises to be a robust conclave of some 4,000 librarians from all over the world. Witnessing the global nature of this work, and sharing with colleagues from some 120 countries, should be inspiring and will, hopefully, spark many significant and lasting connections.
Defining “free,” textbook building blocks, honest disagreements, and more letters to editor from the March 15, 2016 issue of Library Journal.
Amy Sobrino was nine years old when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The experience prompted Sobrino to learn all that she could about the condition. After earning her master’s in social work from St. Louis University, Sobrino, along with her mother, Shannon Nosbisch, formed Effingham Area Alzheimer’s Awareness (EAAA) and began partnering with the Effingham Public Library (EPL), IL, presenting a half-dozen programs annually for caregivers of those affected. She started in 2014 with the basics—knowing the warning signs, understanding elder law, and navigating care options. They brought in speakers and specialists who explored alternative therapies—music, art, pets, light, and aromatherapy.