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Joe Scapellato On Fictionalizing Away From A Place That You Know

With his debut collection of short stories, Big Lonesome, Joe Scapellato demonstrates a confident grasp of plot and character that is equal parts Larry McMurtry and George Saunders. Each story examines some facet of America’s West—its characters, environment, and mythology—and celebrates the peculiarities of the region with mordant wit. Publisher’s Weekly praised Scapellato as “an exceptional surrealist” while Kirkus Reviews singled out his ability to be “unpredictable, witty, and self-aware while remaining heartfelt.” Joe Scapellato spoke to Brendan Dowling via telephone on February 2oth.

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The Importance of Understanding and Evaluating Research

As librarians we are not only on the front line of information sharing, we are also its guardians. I believe we need to hold creators accountable. If you don’t know or understand research methods – learn them! If a source or organization will not provide or support the process, don’t support it. We need to start treating data with respect or all information will soon become meaningless.

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This Library Isn’t Just For Congress Anymore

The beautiful Thomas Jefferson Building that I remember from my youth now houses The Young Readers Center. Opened in October 2009, the center offers books and programming for children and teens. It’s opening marked the first time the library had extended its services specifically to young people.

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Library Ethics and Social Media

The Jefferson County Public Library (CO) recently came under fire for allegedly posting politically sensitive tweets on the library’s Twitter account.

Epic Failure Is Always an Option

Contributing Editor JESSICA MOYER is Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Jessica at jessicaemilymoyer@gmail.com. Jessica is currently reading Painted Lady by Elizabeth Peters (June 2017) and listening to Carpe Jugulum (2000) by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Nigel Planer. I love a good underdog archetype. Whether they are fantastic failures or lovable losers, these characters abound in popular culture and […]

The Destination is “We”

PLA President FELTON THOMAS is Director of the Cleveland (OH) Public Library. Contact Felton at felton.thomas@cpl.org. Felton is currently reading Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe. The focus of this issue is on fantastic failures, and boy, do I have a lot of those. To narrow it down, I will seek to define a “fantastic failure” […]

How I Learned to Love Patrons Again

MATT SMITH is Collection Development Specialist at Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library. Contact Matt at matts@kpl.gov. Matt is currently reading The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race edited by Jesmyn Ward. Hermann Hesse once wrote that “nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to […]

Authors Bounce Back

BRENDAN DOWLING works for the Public Library Association in Chicago. Contact Brendan at bdowling@ala.org. Brendan is currently reading Lush Life by Richard Price. In keeping with this issue’s theme of fantastic failures, we turned to some of our favorite authors to see how they had navigated disappointments in their own careers. Their sym­pathetic yet heartening responses […]

Facing Failure

KRISTY PASQUARIELLO is a Children’s Librarian at Wellesley (MA) Free Library. Contact Kristy at kpasquariello@minlib.net. Kristy is currently reading My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson. When I first started working as a children’s librarian in a public library, I had grand plans for the successful programs I would run: charming storytime […]

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Kansas City Public Library Offers Citizenship Classes

While countless public libraries have a webpage listing local and national naturalization resources, the Kansas City (MO) Public Library (KCPL) is one of the only public libraries to form a program and team specifically designed to help immigrants become citizens. KCPL created the Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) program to help connect local immigrants with quality services and resources through outreach, education, and advocacy.

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Public Libraries as Instruments for Social and Political Activism

Diedre Conkling, one of the subjects in the article, is a librarian in Oregon who has spent most of her career working to encourage public libraries to embrace progressive social change, environmental issues, and politics and spurred them to be part of the movements that make those changes possible. She very graciously took the time to answer a few of my questions about the role public libraries should take in this time of great social and political upheaval.

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Jami Attenberg On Writing Her Worst Nightmare In “All Grown Up”

Jami Attenberg’s extraordinary All Grown Up focuses on Andrea, a thirty-nine year-old who’s abandoned her passion for painting in favor of a financially safe career in an advertising firm. In elliptical chapters, Attenberg depicts the various characters in Andrea’s world: her mother, a former social activist; her brother and sister-in-law, a glamorous couple whose lives have been upended by caring for their terminally ill daughter; and the different men she’s dated. Newsweek called All Grown Up “impossible to put it down” and Booklist praised it as “stinging, sweet, and remarkably fleshed out in relatively few pages.”

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Library Partnerships Bring People Together

Thanks to the clear divisions in our country, there has recently been a lot of talk about bringing people together. In the spirit of that call for camaraderie, I’ve been reflecting on the opportunities the library has to partner with others on programs and efforts.

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FYI Podcast 18 — Project Outcome

PLA’s Project Outcome (PO) is a free online toolkit consisting of surveys, a survey portal, and an interactive data dashboard that helps librarians measure the outcomes of their programs and services. Join us as we discuss this project with Emily Plagman, PO’s Project Manager and Samantha Lopez, Project Coordinator.

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Creating a Digital Archive: It’s Harder Than You Think

History buffs get excited whenever a state or local agency announces the digitization of a huge collection of newspapers, birth and death records, and other archives. We all want the Holy Grail: convenient online access from home that lets us drill down and find information from genealogy records to crime reports.