A new book by a University of Illinois expert on rare-book crimes tells the story of the theft of valuable antique illustrations and the destruction of rare books from the University of Illinois Library.Travis McDade, the curator of law rare books at the U. of I. law school, wrote a recently released book about the crime spree. “Torn from Their Bindings: A Story of Art, Science, and the Pillaging of American University Libraries” was published by the University Press of Kansas. It is the fourth book by McDade, whose training both as a librarian and a lawyer gives him a unique perspective on rare-book crimes.Robert Kindred ran “the art world equivalent of a chop shop,” McDade wrote, cutting prints from academic libraries across the country during the summer of 1980. He was caught at the University of Illinois and prosecuted for the crime in central Illinois.Academic and public libraries were particularly vulnerable to thieves like Kindred, McDade said, especially in the ’70s and ’80s, when libraries invested little in preserving or protecting their rare books. Thieves could easily sit in a remote corner of a library and cut illustrations from such books undetected. READ MORE
by Shawnda Hines, courtesy of District DispatchOne of the best things about working in ALA’s Washington Office is the opportunity to attend celebratory events like the presentation of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Medals, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums in service to their communities. Over the award’s 24 years, 182 museums and libraries have received the honor. This was my first year to attend the annual ceremony, which was held at the U.S. Institute for Peace. The five library honorees for 2018 are Orange County (Fla.) Library System; Pueblo (Colo.) City-County Library District; Reading (Pa.) Public Library; Rochester (Minn.) Public Library; and Georgetown (Texas) Public Library.The distinguished speakers at the ceremony expressed sincere appreciation for the role that libraries and museums play in society. It was especially gratifying to hear U.S. Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY-20) call libraries and museums “critical infrastructure” and recognize the services to underserved students who wouldn’t have access to such enriching extracurricular opportunities otherwise. The charismatic president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Stephen Benjamin of Columbia, S.C., boasted about the two IMLS medals won by Columbia’s Richland Library and the Columbia Museum of Art as his city’s pride and joy. Mayor Benjamin also praised libraries and museums for “building cities for all people” and “opening up the halls of the past to inclusion for all.” READ MORE
The San Carlos Institute in Key West, Florida was designated a Literary Landmark on January 14th, 1994 in honor of Cuban poet and patriot José Martí. The Institute was founded in 1871 as a shrine to Cuban heritage aimed at preserving Cuban culture. It was one of the first bilingual schools in the United States. Martí loved the school so much he often referred to it as “La Casa Cuba” or the “Cuban House”.At the San Carlos Institute, Martí united the exile community and formed The Cuban Revolutionary Party in his campaign for Cuban Independence. His actions eventually led to the establishment of a free Cuba in 1902. Martí died in 1895 fighting in the war for Cuban independence. READ MORE
With 1.4 million volumes in more than a dozen languages, the Harvard-Yenching Library (MA) has become the third-largest library at Harvard, after Widener and Harvard Law School’s. It is also the largest academic library for East Asian studies in the Western world.Nearly 140 years after a Chinese scholar gave the small collection of books that established the collection, today the Harvard-Yenching’s holdings include 836,523 works in Chinese; 348,873 in Japanese; 179,169 in Korean; 23,979 in Vietnamese; 53,367 in various Western languages; 4,265 in Tibetan; 3,455 in Manchu; and 494 in Mongolian. READ MORE
by Danielle Gamble, courtesy of Olean Times HeraldFlo Leeta, covered in a sparkling white jumpsuit and a pastel wig swirled into a prominent unicorn horn, looked up from the book she had been reading — “Jacob’s New Dress.” She had just gotten to the part where Jacob was being told by his classmates that boys can’t wear dresses.The Buffalo-based drag queen peered at the more than 70 children in front of her at the Olean Public Library with a thoughtful expression under her hot pink eyeshadow.“There are all sorts of ways to be a boy,” she said. “Right?” READ MORE
by Phil Morehart, courtesy of American LibrariesWhether to charge fines for overdue materials is a hot-button topic. The issues are many: Some libraries have halted the practice, citing concerns that fines keep patrons away, while other libraries have kept them in place as vital revenue streams. Fines are also used by some libraries as a method to teach personal responsibility, while other libraries consider that lesson outside the realm of librarianship. We spoke with a librarian on each side of the debate. READ MORE
by Peg Johnson, courtesy of the Intellectual Freedom Blog(Peg Johnson is retiring from librarianship. She is a writer and has composed this tribute to the profession, her passion, her privilege.) READ MORE
Miami, Fla.Dedicated: 1994Partners: Florida Center for the BookThe home of Isaac Bashevis Singer in the Surfside Towers in Miami Beach, Florida was designated a Literary Landmark by the Florida Center for the Book on June 24, 1994. The Nobel prize-winning author lived in the Surfside Towers from 1977 until his death in 1991.Singer was born in Poland and began his studies to become a rabbi in Warsaw. He eventually left rabbinical studies for journalism. He got a job as a reporter in Poland. He emigrated to the United States in 1935 and continued in the journalism field, however, he also started publishing his own works. Singer wrote the stories in Yiddish and then they were translated into English. READ MORE
When Teresa Lucas decided to teach basic life skills to young adults via an “Adulting 101” library program series last year, she was not expecting a media onslaught. But that’s what she got.“We had tens of thousands of Facebook hits, of calls, of emails. It was crazy,” says Lucas, who is assistant director of library services at North Bend (Oreg.) Public Library (NBPL). “Other libraries were saying: ‘Oh, tell me more, tell me more!’ At one point, I could barely keep up.”The frenzy reached its zenith on March 29, when Kelly Ripa, cohost of the nationally syndicated morning talk show Live with Kelly (now Live with Kelly and Ryan), said to much applause from the live audience, “They should offer this everywhere, not just at the North Bend Public Library.” READ MORE
It doesn't take an Einstein to realize the value of libraries, although Albert Einstein himself famously observed, "The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library."That is advice that people in communities far and wide, including Ridgewood, Wayne and Montclair (NJ), have taken to heart for decades.  However, libraries in those municipalities, and across North Jersey, are not merely repositories for books, but also hubs for learning and gathering.It is tax assistance at the Ridgewood Public Library, yoga sessions in front of the Montclair Public Library and reading with therapy dogs in the Wayne Public Library's Preakness Branch.  And the importance of libraries can't be overstated, particularly in New Jersey, when considering recent developments. The interlibrary loan process among the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, which typically handles more than 4,300 interlibrary loans per day among 76 North Jersey libraries, got back to normal only in recent months. This was after the vendor retained to manage interlibrary loans in the state did such a bad job that it led to a backlog of more than 100,000 volumes statewide this year. READ MORE