May 24, 2016

Organizations & Consortia

Library of Congress Drops Illegal Alien Subject Heading, Provokes Backlash Legislation

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Thanks to the joint efforts of a student group and university librarians at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, with a push from the American Library Association (ALA), the Library of Congress (LC) announced on March 22 that it would remove the term “Illegal alien” from the LC Subject Heading (LCSH) system, replacing it with “Noncitizen” and, to describe the act of residing without authorization, “Unauthorized immigration.” Per LC’s executive summary, the proposed change will be posted on a “Tentative List” for comments “not earlier than May, 2016.” Ultimately the heading “Illegal aliens” will become a “former heading” reference, cross-referenced with the new terminology; other headings that include the phrase will also be revised or canceled. This decision currently stands despite recent backlash: members of the U.S. House of Representatives have voted to attach language to a funding bill which would require LC to switch back to the original term, but the bill is not yet law.

ALA President-Elect Jim Neal: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

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Voting for the American Library Association (ALA) 2017–18 presidential election closed on April 22, and when the votes were tallied on April 29 James G. (Jim) Neal had won the role of president-elect in a close race. A total of 10,230 ballots were cast—marginally up from last year’s 10,119. Neal edged out opponents Christine Lind Hage and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe with 34.6 percent of the vote.

ALA, Google Launch “Libraries Ready to Code”

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On April 13, the American Library Association (ALA) and Google announced the “Libraries Ready to Code” project, which will investigate the current status of computer programming activities in U.S. public and K–12 libraries with the goal of ultimately broadening the reach and scope of these coding programs. The project will include an environmental scan, practitioner interviews, focus groups, and site visits, and particular attention will be focused on opportunities that libraries are providing to minorities, girls, and other groups that are currently underrepresented in computer science and related fields, according to an announcement. The results of the project will be used to further engagement by ALA, and to inform a computer science policy agenda as part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) Youth and Technology program.

Carol Diedrichs and Patrick Losinski on IFLA in Columbus

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The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) annual convening is by nature a globe-trotting affair. In the past several years it has been held in Cape Town, South Africa; Lyons, France; Helsinki, Finland; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. This year the IFLA World Library and Information Congress will return to the United States for the first time since 2001, taking place August 13–19 in Columbus, OH. LJ caught up with Patrick Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO, and Carol Diedrichs, dean emeritus of Ohio State University Libraries, to talk about best aspects of holding a global event locally.

Meet the Candidates: ALA President 2017–18

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Voting for the American Library Association (ALA) 2016–17 presidential campaign opens today, and ALA members in good standing can cast their ballots through April 22. This year’s candidates come from a range of backgrounds: Christine Lind Hage is director of the Rochester Hills Public Library, MI; Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe is a professor and coordinator for information literacy services and instruction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and James G. Neal most recently served as the vice president for information services and university librarian at New York’s Columbia University. LJ has invited them to weigh in on some key issues pertaining to ALA and librarianship; more information about the election can be found on ALA’s Election Information page.

The Wrong Umbrella: In search of a stronger model | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

I’m concerned that the Canadian Library Association (CLA) has decided to disband. It isn’t just that I remember many of the top Canadian librarians I befriended and the good times I had at CLA conferences. The Canadian librarians I recently talked to were very unhappy about the dissolution of CLA (though they were too few to be a valid sample, and their views are too close to mine to help me understand what brought about this drastic action).

Rising Higher | PLA Preview 2016

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In its inaugural visit to Denver, April 5–9, the Public Library Association (PLA) conference schedule offers a thought-provoking yet playful agenda full of replicable exemplars from innovative libraries across the country. The packed schedule contains far too much to sum up; what follows is a smattering of sessions that caught the eye of the LJ editors who will be attending, ranging from civic inclusion to the first-ever mini hands-on how-to festival.

LYRASIS, DuraSpace Boards Approve Intent to Merge

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Following a months-long analysis by an exploratory committee, the boards of not-for-profit, open-source digitization and repository software and service providers LYRASIS and DuraSpace on January 27 unanimously approved an “Intent to Merge” agreement. The two organizations have begun seeking input from their respective members as well as the wider research, library, archives, and museum communities, as part of a due diligence process that will “determine the feasibility of a combined organization…. [and] include a deeper assessment of the individual organizations and how they might partner effectively.

Canadian Library Association Votes to Dissolve

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After months of discussion, voting among members, and the recommendations of its advisory council, the Canadian Library Association (CLA) voted to disband at a Special General Meeting held on January 27. The CLA—a nonprofit national association that has been the voice for Canada’s library community since its formation in 1946—will dissolve following its final annual conference in June 2016.

ALA President, Treasurer Candidates Speak Out | ALA Midwinter 2016

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American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting attendees were presented with a slate of strong contenders from both public and academic libraries at the ALA 2017–18 Presidential and Treasurer Candidates’ Forum on Saturday evening, January 9. Presidential candidates Christine Lind Hage, Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, and James G. Neal, as well as treasurer candidate Susan H. Hildreth, presented their platforms and discussed their stances on topics that will affect ALA in the months and years to come: investments; international outreach; the development of a leadership pipeline; the proposed name change for the Office for Literacy, Diversity, and Outreach Services; and work with the Freedom to Read Foundation. In particular, candidates highlighted their visions for ALA’s three current strategic directions: advocacy, information policy, and professional and leadership development.