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TikTok as a Primary Source

Social media is making a big impact on history and historical events, so why aren’t we thinking of using TikTok as a vehicle to document said historical events?

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Criminalizing Book Selection

Yes, you read the title right. In a (sadly) not-so-surprising turn of events, a parent attempted to press charges for collection decisions made at the Central Kitsap School District in Washington state.

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“Anything That Strikes You As Very Different From Now Is A Very Good Place to Start” – Lynne Truss On Creating The Delightfully Funny World Of Constable Twitten

In Psycho By The Sea, the fourth installment of Lynn Truss’ hilarious Constable Twitten series, the Brighton detective squad squares off against their most confounding case yet. A renowned American sociologist is found murdered in the music section of Brighton’s high-end department store at the same time a local criminal (and valued police station informant) disappears from his local spot. To top it off, a serial killer intent on beheading police detectives has recently escaped from Broadmoor Hospital and is rumored to be heading to Brighton. As always, Truss nimbly balances an intricately plotted crime story with the comic workings of the officers’ personal lives. Inspector Steine contends with his newfound fame (and over-efficient secretary) after his success in a previous high-profile case, Officer Brunswick agonizes over a budding romance, and the redoubtable Constable Twitten continues his struggle for power with Mrs. Groynes, the police station’s charwoman whose true identity as Brighton’s criminal mastermind is only known to Twitten. Critics have raved over the series, with Publisher’s Weekly noting, “In her ability to blend crime and farce, Truss is in a class of her own.” The latest book is no exception, having already been long-listed for the Crime Writer’s Association Historical Dagger Award. Truss talked to us about fleshing out her characters from her radio series that inspired the books, getting inspired by her research, and placing her characters in stressful situations.

A Salute to the Schneider

Since 2004, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Schneider Family Book Award has been given annually to honor an author or illustrator for a work that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Prizes are bestowed in the categories of Young Children, Middle School, and Teen.

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“My Process is Usually One of Necessity and Escaping Disaster” — Jeffrey Lewis On His Haunting New Novel

In Jeffrey Lewis’ emotionally resonant Land of Cockaigne, an older couple find themselves unexpectedly battling their community when an outreach program based on their late son’s dream sparks an unexpected controversy in their small town. Walter and Charley Rath have taken their windfall from savvy financial investments to support a life in Sneeds Harbor, an idyllic community in coastal Maine. There they buy not only a beautiful home, but also a neglected 220-acre camp that Charley uses as studio space. Although outsiders, they have spent over two decades there, raising their son Stephen and forging deep connections with their neighbors. As they head towards late middle age, their lives are upended when Stephen dies in a random act of violence. Struggling to carve meaning out of his death, they decide to put in motion one of his last goals, to create a program where teenagers from the Bronx would be able to spend two weeks in Maine. Walter and Charley’s opening up their home, and thus Sneeds Harbor, to young people predictably provokes huge reactions from their fellow community members, resulting in a shocking act the last night of the young men’s visit. Lewis plunges the reader into the rich interior lives of his characters, including not only Walter and Charley but also Stephen’s grieving girlfriend Sharon, various townspeople who oppose their action, and the visiting young men themselves. The result is an extraordinarily compassionate look at race, class, and community.

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Ending Late Fees: A Case for Equity

Public libraries in New York City are officially putting an end to late fees. They now join a group of libraries across the country working to provide more equitable access to library resources.

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Surveying Library Services to the Justice-Involved

Public libraries provide services that are critical to people who are recently released from jails and prisons, and to the families of people who are incarcerated—but did you realize that many public libraries also provide services directly to people in jails, prisons, and other detention centers? Library Services to the Justice Involved (LSJI), an ALA […]

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Kevin Young on the Poets in Conversation in His Extraordinary New Anthology

Kevin Young’s African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Strong represents an extraordinary contribution to our understanding of American poetry, creating an anthology where readers can see poets in conversation with each other as well as the time in which they lived. Young, who currently serves as the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, assembled the collection with extraordinary care and compassion, bringing lesser-known poets to the forefront and highlighting the critical work African American poets have played in both the country’s culture and history. The result is a thrilling collection that will allow readers to discover new writers as well as celebrate beloved favorites.

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Creating Safer Libraries

The last year and a half has certainly posed new risks to staff safety, but public librarianship was not necessarily risk-free pre-pandemic either.

Giving Thanks for the Activists Who Integrated Public Libraries

Through the 1950s, and even into the 60s, many public libraries remained whites-only until Black citizens protested and/or sued to rectify the situation.

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Is COVID-19 Still Preventing Indoor Library Activities?

When COVID swept across the country last year, libraries closed their doors to the public. Programming for children, teens, and adults went virtual and for the most part was very successful. Over time as buildings opened and services were restored, one thing that remained off limits was indoor activities and events. However, with vaccination rates climbing over the summer, many libraries explored reintroducing indoor activities. How many have taken that next step?

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Finding Answers IV – This or That

In all my years of doing and teaching research, and searching for answers, there are two alternative places I like to look when trying to find information I know little about.

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The Return to Public Spaces: Alleviating Anxiety for Staff, Patrons, and Yourself

All of us have different feelings related to the end of the pandemic and a return to normal life. As keepers of a public space, librarians are wise to bear this in mind when thinking about our library guests, staff, and ourselves.

Social Work in Public Libraries

Guidance for Social Work Positions at the Library

While a library/social work partnership may seem like a no-brainer, there is much for a library system to consider before partnering with a social work professional. We’d like to share some of those considerations to help you determine if a social work program could be a good fit for your library.

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Jo Hamya on Virginia Woolf, The Worst Bits of Twitter, and The Smell of Library Hand Soap

Jo Hamya’s perceptive and acidic Three Rooms springs from Virginia Woolf’s observation, “A woman must have money and a room of her own,” chronicling the year in the life of an unnamed British scholar as she shuttles among three rooms while attempting to launch her career. From the room in Oxford where she finishes up her academic career, to renting space on a couch while she ekes out a precarious existence as a copywriter at a society magazine, to a room in her childhood home, Hamya charts her protagonist’s attempt at financial independence with wit, compassion, and uncompromising insight. The result is a rich exploration of a character’s inner life as well as a sharp social critique of early twenty-first century Britain. Critics have met Hamya’s debut novel with universal acclaim, with The New York Times Book Review saying it “invokes the reality of living in a world where a reasonable demand is resolutely categorized as unreasonable” and The Boston Globe calling it “an excellent evisceration of contemporary life.” She spoke to us about Woolf’s influence, treating the internet as a physical space, and how poetry helped shape her narrator’s voice.