The American Library Association (ALA) is seeking nominations for the coveted 2018 I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes librarians for transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. The national award invites library users to nominate their favorite librarians working in public, school, college, community college or university libraries. Nominations are being accepted now through Oct. 1, 2018 at  The ALA will select up to 10 award recipients. Each winner will receive a $5,000 cash award, a plaque and a travel stipend to attend the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony and reception in New York City on Dec. 4 hosted by the award co-sponsor, the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York. READ MORE
Tiny, colorful toddlers’ shoes; a worn copy of Cuentos de Magon, a staple of Costa Rican literature; snapshots of a woman caught mid-embrace with her husband; and in the midst of it all, a tiny yellow and blue document—a passport. Together, the objects of both national and personal importance tell the story of Sonia Hernandez, the mother of Anthony Otey, a Ph.D. candidate in Romance languages and literatures. Hernandez—who died in 2017—immigrated to the United States in her late twenties from Costa Rica, but “the words in all caps on her green card: RESIDENT ALIEN, constantly reminded her that she was other and that she would always remain other,” Otey wrote to accompany some of his mother’s possessions that he loaned to “Passports: Lives in Transit,”an exhibition on view at Houghton Library that elucidates the stories in the thin pages of passport booklets.Those narratives reveal success and failure, migration and rejection, hope and frustration, and the fragility of a national identity. “She always reminded me of why she did not like being in the U.S,” Otey wrote. It was a sentiment exacerbated in recent years as anti-immigrant sentiments intensified and hate crimes jumped across the country. “The hateful rhetoric that emerged during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign made these feelings of otherness resurface. I reassured her that she was more than her legal documents that kept her in this country, and the medical papers that documented a body in decline.” READ MORE
August is not just for vacations and summer reading programs—it’s high season for library advocacy. US representatives are on recess and back home in their districts to reconnect with their constituents, so now through Labor Day is the perfect time for library advocates to share the many ways we are transforming our communities.Invite your representative to your library to see in person how your library is meeting the needs of your community. The value of your library’s services may be crystal clear to you and the families, students, researchers, and other patrons you serve, but your elected leaders may not understand the value of your services unless you show them. Here are a few tips from librarians across the country for arranging visits with members of Congress. READ MORE
Four libraries have been awarded the 2018 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects. Presented by the International Relations Round Table (IRRT), the awards recognize services and projects that draw attention to the potential for library services to create positive change, demonstrate sustainability, and provide a model for others. The winners are:Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, CanadaLa Biblioteca Móvil, GuatemalaSuzhou Library, ChinaInner Mongolia Library, ChinaThe recipients were selected by a team of IRRT members in consultation with then–ALA President Jim Neal, who recognized them at the 2018 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans during the IRRT International Librarians Reception on June 25. READ MORE
New York, N.Y.Dedicated: July 6, 1996The Algonquin Hotel in New York City was designated a Literary Landmark on July 5th, 1996. The hotel was immortalized in print and film as the site of the Round Table that formed in its living room by Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, Edna Ferber, and Robert E. Sherwood. The authors would get together daily for lunch and exchange ideas.The hotel also provided a haven for such authors as Sinclair Lewis, William Faulkner, James Thurber, Gertrude Stein, and many more. The hotel is still open for business and now has theme suites dedicated to some of the famous authors that frequented the hotel. READ MORE
An op-ed piece by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas on the Forbes magazine website Ignited a firestorm among library advocates, who eagerly offered overwhelming evidence countering his contention that, as the headline put it, “Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money.”American Library Association President Loida Garcia-Febo vigorously denounced the Forbes piece, commenting that Mourdoukoutas could have benefited from the assistance of a librarian who might have pointed him to various economic impact studies demonstrating that our nation’s libraries are a sound investment.But Garcia-Febo, in an article in Publishers Weekly, elaborated on the economic benefit libraries provide taxpayers.  She wrote, “Dozens of economic impact studies from across the country show libraries are a viable asset for the communities they serve. Libraries fuel job creation, opportunities for business development and resources that empower users to seek and sustain employment. Taxpayers are investing in education and lifelong learning, and every dollar builds equity within their community and state and yields a tremendous return on Investment (ROI).” READ MORE
Bustling with people in “friends of the library” T-shirts holding cups of lemonade and conversing with politicians, it wasn’t a normal Saturday afternoon at the Greenfield Public Library.  It was a celebration of a $9.38 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners that many see as the key to starting construction on a new library on Main Street.According to Doris Cowdrey, chairwoman of the library’s Board of Trustees, the original estimated cost for a new building was $20.5 million, and the grant — being that it nearly halves that cost — makes the project much more plausible.  “This is a great day, a great day to celebrate,” said state Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru. “It’s a significant amount of money coming from the state. It’s a once-in-a-generation, if not once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity.” READ MORE
Ron Charles, reviewer and editor at The Washington Post’s “Book World,” is taking the art of book reviewing from the ivory tower to the viral contours of internet streaming. Earlier this year, Charles won the Louis Shores Award for excellence in reviewing from the Reference and User Services Association, a division of the American Library Association. He chatted with American Libraries about summer reading, feminist dystopias, and his run-ins with the Secret Service.What do you do to make literary criticism approachable?I try to pick books that I think people would enjoy reading, so that’s a start. I try to write about them with enthusiasm and clarity, and I do a few odd things to try and bring in people who are sick and tired of book reviews. For instance, I do a series of comic, satirical videos that make fun of book reviewing, the publishing industry, and sometimes even the authors. READ MORE
Constance Wu, star of the small and big screen, is lending her support to our nation’s libraries with special video messages recorded for the American Library Association (ALA). In the Public Service Announcements (PSAs), Wu shares her love of libraries and discusses how they advance inclusion and education for people of all backgrounds. The PSAs can be viewed here. Wu will appear in the highly-anticipated release of the movie adaptation of “Crazy Rich Asians” later this summer. Wu is also featured in a new celebrity READ® poster, which is currently available for purchase at the ALA Store Wu is best known for her roles in the web series “EastSiders” and ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat.” She has also had supporting roles in “Law & Order: SVU,” “Torchwood,” “Covert Affairs,” and “One Life to Live.” In 2017, she was named one of the TIME 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. READ MORE
Libraries have always had a broad educational mission, yet many of us associate libraries with a single specific tool of education: books. For us to fully appreciate the value of libraries, our public discourse needs to move beyond that image and recognize the full spectrum of services and programs that libraries provide.This past Saturday, Forbes published – and quickly removed – an op-ed by economist Panos Mourdoukoutas arguing that Amazon has made libraries obsolete and irrelevant. Tom McKay at Gizmodo responded that libraries and stores are “entirely different ways of providing access to things.” And in the Washington Post, Christopher Ingraham pointed out that an awful lot of people still use libraries, but he focused in part on library cards and thus, by implication, on circulation. Both responses were spot-on, but neither corrected the over-emphasis on books. READ MORE