Articles

Last week, we highlighted a disturbing policy change that we had been anticipating for a while: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Pai’s plan to roll back the net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to treat all internet traffic and services equally.Between Thanksgiving preparations and leftovers, we have had some time to review this big turkey (220 pages worth). Below are some first impressions.Before we dive in, now is the time to raise the volume on outcry as members of Congress return from the holiday. We have set up an email tool so you can make your voice heard in advance of the FCC’s December 14 vote. Visit our action center and contact your elected officials now. READ MORE
 Nearly a month since its opening, we finally got to see Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library in London. I’ve seen some of the items on the internet before (e.g., J.K. Rowling’s original sketches on Pottermore) and heard the quotes from past interviews with the author, but it was of course extraordinary to see the objects from her collection in person.This is the first major exhibition that explores the rich and diverse qualities of her stories, in relation to traditions of folklore and magic. There was a video of Rowling shown in which she said that that she invented 90-95% of the magic in the Potter books; the exhibit gives us an idea of the kind of research she would have done in creating Harry’s world.A room with books that looked as though they were suspended in the air was a fitting entrance to the exhibition that was divided into the following sections: The Journey, Potions, Alchemy, Herbology, Charms, Astronomy, Divination, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Care of Magical Creatures, and Past, Present, Future. The Harry Potter Studio Tour in London explores the films, but this BL exhibit is for the fans of the books and is definitely geared towards older fans. My seven-year-old kept herself busy jotting down answers in the Family Trail booklet (why she’s interested in “how to make potions to gain admirers” is beyond me), but I couldn’t make her marvel at Rowling’s original sketches or the “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” manuscript annotated by the author and her editor. READ MORE
Lapel Middle School (IN) eighth-graders Brennan Stow, 14, and Lily Humerickhouse, 13, went about their work in the media center at Lapel Elementary School, moving around the banana tree that stretched to the ceiling as if it weren’t there.But the students are acutely aware of the unusual learning tool, which had been used as part of their lessons.  “I thought it was really cool. I never saw a banana tree in a library,” Brennan said.The 12-foot tree with bananas dropping down from the ceiling was brought into the media center earlier this school year to provide real-life math and climate science lessons. Hands-on learning is crucial to developing understanding in students, said school librarian Pamela S. Shuck.  “It’s very important to developing their thinking and problem-solving skills,” she said. READ MORE
Tennessee Williams, author of A Streetcar Named Desire (1940), bought his only New Orleans property in 1962. Williams lived sporadically in its second-floor Apt. B for 21 years, until his death in 1983.The Literary Landmark program is administered by United for Libraries. More than 150 Literary Landmarks across the United States have been dedicated since the program began in 1986. Any library or group may apply for a Literary Landmark through United for Libraries. More information is available on the United for Libraries website READ MORE
The school librarian is at the hub of all learning activities in the school, connecting leaners and teachers to prepare students for success in the classroom and beyond.To guide them along this path, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has released a new set of National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians and School Libraries.  The standards were unveiled Nov. 9 at AASL’s National Conference & Exhibition, held in Phoenix, Arizona.AASL, a division of the American Library Association, engaged with more than 1,300 school librarians and stakeholders in a process that began more than three years ago, said Sylvia Knight Norton, AASL executive director.Two groups, an editorial board to write the standards and a task force to implement them, worked through a process that involved focus groups, late nights and a lot of lost sleep. READ MORE
Every year, hundreds of books go missing and have to be replaced at the Kansas City Public Library and its branches.  But the titles and types of books that go missing may surprise you.“It’s a real diverse group,” said Deborah Stoppello, director of library collections, who oversees all physical and digital inventory for Kansas City Public Library (MO).  But all of the books have one thing in common:“They’re very popular and have longevity, year over year,” she said.Books can go missing for various reasons. The books could have been re-shelved in the wrong place, by staff or patrons, books could slip behind shelves not to be seen again for 20 years, or they could “walk out the door,” Stoppello said.  “We have about 800,000 items, and if something is in the wrong place, finding it can be difficult,” she said.The top missing books are often the same as the most popularly checked out books. READ MORE
Steps taken to improve the urban environment— otherwise known as tactical urbanism—have been around for a while. Going by the name guerrilla urbanism, city repair, DIY urbanism, hands-on urbanism, participatory urbanism, and pop-up urbanism, these phrases loosely describe the same idea: any action designed to improve a city or neighborhood with minimal oversight, budget, and delay. It’s local, hands-on, and immediate, and it can usually be accomplished without a lot of training or resources.Concepts such as “cheap,” “grassroots,” and “local” are relative and open to interpretation. It costs almost nothing to scatter wildflower seeds into abandoned lots while walking or biking around your neighborhood. But it might cost upward of $5,000 to install a “parkmobile” consisting of a custom dumpster filled with tree ferns and yucca plants. You can knit a cozy jacket around a bike rack in your neighborhood all by yourself, but you might need a planning committee and some lead time to pry up the concrete in a vacant lot and plant a community food garden. And although your neighborhood community group might creatively lobby for a new crosswalk by painting a temporary one where it’s needed, it takes a lot more political clout to install 400 miles of bike lanes in New York City. And yet all these projects participate in the spirit of tactical urbanism to different degrees and in different ways.Tactical urbanist projects tend to demonstrate some of the following characteristics: a reliance on ingenuity, a preference for rapid deployment, a willingness to experiment and revise in process, a tolerance for error and perceived failure, an ability to value intangible benefits such as new and improved relationships and proof of concept, and a willingness to start (and sometimes stay) small. READ MORE
On February 21st, 1987, The Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale, Florida designated Slip F-18 as a literary landmark in honor of John D. MacDonald’s most famous character “Travis McGee” and his houseboat “Busted Flush”.John D. MacDonald created the life of “Travis McGee”, the fictional salvage consultant that docked at the Bahia Mar, in his forty-fourth novel The Deep Blue Good-by in 1964. MacDonald continued a twenty-one book series on “Travis McGee” all with colors in the title.The Deep Blue Good-by begins at the famous marina: “It was to have been a quiet evening at home. Home is the ‘Busted Flush’ , a fifty-two foot barge-type houseboat, slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Lauderdale.”John D. MacDonald became one of the most prolific mystery writers producing over seventy novels and one of the most respected masters of pulp fiction. MacDonald served as president of the Mystery Writers of America and received the American Book Award in 1980. READ MORE
Libraries will engage more than 5,000 underserved young adults in readings and discussion that aim to dig deep into and ultimate discard the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism.The American Library Association has received a $1.1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF). The result of that will be the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Great Stories Club (TRHT GSC).  The club will connect ALA’s successful Great Stories Club literary programming model to the Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts.The Great Stories Club is a library-led book club model that gives underserved youth facing significant challenges the opportunity to read, reflect, and share ideas on topics that resonate with them.Created in 2006 by ALA, the Great Stories Club has reached more than 700 libraries in 49 states and more than 30,000 young adults (ages 13 to 21). Great Stories Club programs are conducted by libraries working in partnership with juvenile justice facilities, alternative schools, residential treatment facilities, group homes, and other community service organizations. READ MORE
by Kaitlin Buckley, courtesy of Harvard GazetteIt’s up to Lisa Chille to steer the boat in the right direction when she races with the Harvard Heavyweights (MA). In her role as coxswain on the crew team, she gains the trust of her teammates, harnessing their power and coordinating their movements toward a successful finish.Chille also balances leadership and teamwork in her academics. As a Peer Research Fellow, she helps Currier House undergraduates maneuver challenging research questions.Chille arrived at Currier three years ago with a background in computer science, physics, chemistry, math, and music. Writing papers in the humanities presented a brand-new challenge. House-wide emails from Alexis Gomez, a Peer Research Fellow, invited residents to stop by and get help with assignments.“Having a friend who’s not a teacher or a teaching assistant saying ‘I can help out’ was such a huge resource for me,” Chille said. “I wanted to do this for other people as well.” Now a computer science concentrator with a secondary concentration in music, Chille teaches her peers how to navigate library resources and connect with librarians. READ MORE

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