Build Community

Teen library intern does more than shelve books

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The Cabell County Public Library (WV) was chosen by the American Library Association for a connected internship earlier this year, and the intern sponsored by the program is wrapping up her final hours before she goes back to school.

Rebekah Nix, a 16-year-old rising junior at Huntington High, spent her summer working in the youth department at the library, where she got the opportunity to interact one-on-one with the library's youngest patrons.

The CCPL was one of 50 libraries from 35 states for the Inclusive Internship Initiative, which is funded by the Public Library Association, a division of the ALA. The III aimed to provide funding for a mentored internship for high school juniors and seniors from diverse backgrounds in which they would engage with multiple areas of librarianship, such as administration, programming and user services.  The program included a trip to Washington, D.C., for a kickoff event and will conclude with a wrap-up event in Chicago this fall.

The long road to Manhattan Beach’s landmark library

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Manhattan Beach (CA) was a thriving beach town when it officially incorporated on Dec. 2, 1912, but it didn’t have all that many permanent residents.

A small group of strong-willed women, led by Jessie Bell Smith, were determined that their then-small town have all the necessities: a good school system, fire and police departments and its own library.  Smith had founded the Neptunian Woman’s Club in May 1909, and it became a driving force in the community, advocating for such services.

As historian Jan Dennis told the Beach Reporter in 2012, the Neptunians started Manhattan Beach’s first library in the summer of 1912 at the club’s original location at 1200 The Strand. It members had been operating a book discussion group when the decision was made to make books available to the community for 10 cents a loan.

It was a popular option. By the time the library became affiliated with the Los Angeles County library system in January 1915, had 380 books and 143 card-carrying members. The city’s population was less than 600 at the time.  The library would move to 1209 Manhattan Avenue in 1935 and remain there for the next two decades.

Public library gives young people a sense of community

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Whether we admit it or not, we're all a little dorky in our own ways. Perhaps you've spent countless hours reading the Harry Potter series. Maybe you can recite half of the lines from Jaws. It's possible you've gotten your buds together for a good ol' game of Dungeons & Dragons. Regardless of how your nerdiness reveals itself, there's a place for you at Coeur d'Con, Coeur d'Alene's home-grown comic convention.

The event is a geek-tastic celebration of comics, movies, games, manga (Japanese comic art), books and more put on by the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. It features events that are associated with classic conventions, including lectures, contests and workshops.

Instead of usual library-goers perusing books, the building will be filled with Coeur d'Con participants, many disguised as characters from their favorite movies or comics, immaculately dressed for the cosplay (costume play) contest. Special guests like Tom Cook, one of the animators behind He-Man and Scooby Doo, will be in attendance to give a talk on his life as a cartoonist.

Lives Glimpsed through Passports

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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.”

Forbes opinion piece stirs outrage among library advocates

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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).”

Library program turns 'trash to treasures'

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Eric Lyon scrambled for and found bottles of glue — you know, the kind that "squishes out" — after a little girl asked for them late Tuesday morning at Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City (MO).

Lyon, the children's programming coordinator at the library, dashed about gathering parts and picking up after children.  It was a typical "Trash to Treasures" morning at MRRL.

"Welcome to the madhouse," he told adults who entered the gallery room, where dozens of children ran about grabbing cardboard toilet paper sleeves, boxes, buttons, feathers, beads and other bits of recyclables staff has been gathering since last year.

Literary Landmark: San Carlos Institute, Key West - Jose Marti

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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.

Libraries' directors describe them as community hubs, and beyond

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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.

Why prison libraries matter for inmates, jailers and book donors

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It's 9.15 a.m. when a dark green, 1993 Toyota truck that's logged 160,000 miles pulls into Tooele County (UT) jail parking lot. A tall, thin woman in khaki cargo pants and a black T-shirt gets out to unload boxes of donated books and cart them into the men’s jail library.

Once the fiction and nonfiction have been mingled with the existing stock, she admires the 1,300 titles.

“I’m into pretty. Pretty books are happy books,” says Toby Lafferty, who then bids the books farewell that October morning. “Bye guys, see you next time.” She often sends “good energy to the books. They’re going into places that are quite dark.”

Men and women in 35 prisons and jails in 13 states nationwide depend on Lafferty and her Millcreek-based nonprofit, Books Inside, for a monthly supply of books to expand often decrepit libraries. Last year, Books Inside mailed 23,000 books to incarceration facilities. In Utah alone, she supplies seven jails and created libraries from nothing in the Tooele County and Kane County jails.

The Marrakesh Treaty and why it is important to library advocates

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There’s new proposed national legislation for library advocates to monitor and support. On March 15, 2018, the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support. The proposed legislation will amend the U.S. Copyright Act 17, U.S.C. § 121, to be in compliance with the Marrakesh Treaty (Library Copyright Alliance).

What Is the Marrakesh Treaty?

The Marrakesh Treaty is a short title for the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.” It is an international copyright treaty approved by member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in June 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco (WIPO Summary).

The main goal of the Marrakesh Treaty is to increase availability of accessible formats of published materials, including books and magazines, to print disabled people across borders. According to the World Health Organization, in October 2017 it was estimated that 253 million people worldwide have a form of vision impairment including those who are blind (World Health Organization).