December 9, 2016

ALA in ATL | ALA Midwinter Preview 2017

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From the opening session with political comedian W. Kamau Bell through the closing keynote by actor Neil Patrick Harris, the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting sets an ambitious agenda, tackling timely political issues such as how to work with the new presidential administration and Congress; ongoing social concerns like equity and inclusion; and how best to drive the continuing technological transformation of libraries on the one hand and accurately assess our successes—and learn from our failures—on the other.

Picturing History, Comics Creators in Conversation | Comic Con 2016

Drawing an exuberant crowd, the panel “Race & Sexuality: A Conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tee “Vixen” Franklin & Steve Orlando,” moderated by comics scholar Jonathan W. Gray featured veteran comics writers and newcomers alike.

New York Comic Con: Top Library Panels

                      With record attendance of 180,000 in 2016, New York Comic Con, October 6-9, packed several informative panels for librarians and educators into its first full day of programming. Here are some highlights we discovered. Body of Evidence: How We See Ourselves in Comics Attendance: […]

Academic Librarians On Taking Their Seats at the Table | ALA Annual 2016

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At “Taking Our Seat at the Table: How Academic Librarians Can Help Shape the Future of Higher Education,” sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries University Libraries Section (ACRL ULS), library administrators spoke up on how their institutions are looking ahead—both within and outside of the library.

Exhibitor News Roundup | ALA Annual 2016

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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.

Security, Virtual Reality, and Smaller Maker Spaces Among Top Tech Trends | ALA Annual 2016

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The discussion at this year’s Library Information Technology Association’s (LITA) Top Technology Trends panel at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Orlando, FL spanned topics ranging from online privacy to “superfast application development” on the near horizon. LITA revamped the session format this year to be more interactive: rather than offering individual trend presentations each panelist quickly summarized one trend they’ve been following, and then participated in discussions sparked by questions from moderator Maurice Coleman, technical trainer, Harford County Public Library, MD, and host of the long-running “T is for Training” podcast, with debates emerging on how long libraries should support old devices, and which tech trends may be overhyped within the library field.

Andrew Carnegie Medals | ALA Annual 2016

On Saturday, June 25, at the American Library Association (ALA) Conference in Orlando, the 2016 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were given to two winners originally announced at the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) Book & Media Awards Ceremony & Reception at ALA Midwinter. Viet Thanh Nguyen won the fiction medal for his debut novel, The Sympathizer (Grove), a visceral account of a South Vietnamese double agent posted to America after Saigon’s fall, and Sally Mann won the nonfiction medal for her formally ambitious Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs (Little, Brown).

Tailoring Data Services for Institutional Needs | ALA Annual 2016

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A key point that led off—and was reiterated several times throughout—“Strategies and Partnerships: Tailoring Data Services for Your Institutional Needs,” the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) President’s Program at the recent American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL, was the importance of establishing a common understanding of what exactly “data services” means. The term is a catch-all for a diverse set of activities; using it without defining its scope can become problematic for everyone involved.

Active Shooter Policies in Libraries | ALA Annual 2016

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“How many of you would be prepared to handle an active shooter in your library? How many of you have an active shooter policy?” Few hands were raised when BreAnne Meier from the North Dakota State Library asked these relevant questions at the Active Shooter Policies in Libraries Program at the American Library Association (ALA)’s recent Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Meier described active shooter situations as ones where someone is actively engaged in killing, has access to a confined area or population, and is sometimes motivated by revenge. As a result, she explained, these situations are unpredictable and can change quickly, often lasting for such a short time as ten to 15 minutes.

Serving Newly Released Adults | ALA Annual 2016

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A standing-room only crowd attended Literacy Inside and Out: Services to Incarcerated and Newly-Released Adults and Their Families at the recent American Libraries Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. I’ve been thinking about this issue—and serving under-served communities in general—since I was a public librarian. Once, a patron cautiously approached the reference desk, explaining that he had been recently released and needed assistance familiarizing himself with the library. At the time, I didn’t realize how a building full of large, imposing stacks could be intimidating for those who hadn’t been to a library before, or not for a long time.