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IFLA Public Library of the Year Award Finalists

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has announced five finalists for the sixth annual Public Library of the Year award, with the winner to be announced on August 19th during the IFLA’s annual conference, to be taken place virtually this year. The Public Library of the Year award goes to a library […]

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Local PBS Stations Help Libraries Plan for the Year Ahead

WQED/Pittsburgh’s Inquire Within Network offers a model for collaboration between public libraries and public television stations. Libraries should ask their local public television stations these questions and get resources to kick-start, reimagine, or build upon community-responsive programming.

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Cursed — A Conversation with Karol Ruth Silverstein

Since 2004, ALA’s Schneider Family Book Award has honored an author or illustrator for a title that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.  In 2020, the “teen” category prize went to screenwriter and first-time novelist Karol Ruth Silverstein’s Cursed, published in 2019 by Charlesbridge Teen. Readers meet 14-year-old […]

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Act to Ensure Libraries Part of Infrastructure Act

Within the next two weeks Congress will make historic decisions about how to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. ALA is asking advocates to act to ensure libraries aren’t left out.

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Nicole Glover on Pocket Diaries, Floating Books, and Creating the Fantastical World of her Debut Novel

With The Conductors, Nicole Glover creates a fascinating alternate reality—a Reconstruction-era Philadelphia where magic exists and is regulated by the government—in which readers will want to get lost. Hettie Rhodes, a former conductor on the Underground Railroad, spends her days working as an in-demand seamstress and her nights as a detective, tackling the cases that the white police force ignore. Hettie is aided in her pursuits by her husband, Benjy, a former Conductor like Hettie but now a gifted blacksmith. When an acquaintance is murdered, Hettie and Benjy dive into an investigation that causes them to explore the many facets of Black Philadelphia, while also confronting dormant issues in their relationship and events from their past. In her debut novel, Glover confidently creates a complex world rooted in real-life history, as well as a gift for empathetically delving into the interior lives of her characters. She talked with us about filling in the lives of her supporting characters, her research process, and what the future holds for Hettie and Benjy.

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Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman on Co-Writing a Novel, Google Doc Etiquette, and Creating the Most Unexpected Relationship of the Summer

Ava Simon has insulated herself from the trauma of the death of her girlfriend by throwing herself into her job at STÄDA, a minimalist Scandinavian design company in Brooklyn. Her ordered world, however, is thrown into tumult when her charismatic new boss, Mat Putnam, wiggles his way into her personal life. Overconfident and gregarious, Mat appears to be everything Ava is not, a Golden Retriever in human form. The two strike up a surprising relationship, and for the first time since her girlfriend’s death, Ava surprises herself by developing romantic feelings for another person. Yet Mat contains secrets of his own, and as Ava begins to pull at the threads of his facade she threatens to unravel her hard-won happiness. Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman’s A Very Nice Box is a gleeful satire of relationships and start-up culture, as well as an incisive examination of grief and male entitlement, one that has earned plaudits from critics. The New York Times Book Review raved about the book, stating “the book’s authors, Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman, are linguistic magicians, and their sparkling debut manages to expose the hollowness of well-being jargon while exploring, with tender care and precision, how we dare to move on after unspeakable loss.” Blackett and Gleichman talked to us about their unconventional writing process, creating the richly detailed world of their novel, and creating one of the most unanticipated relationships of the summer.

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Are We Reaching the End of Library DVD Collections?

When then-President Trump early voted at the Palm Beach County’s Main Library, late night host Jimmy Kimmel featured it in his show’s opening monologue. In addition to the usual jokes at the President’s expense, Kimmel was amazed by the long row of DVD shelving in the background. “Those are all DVDs. It’s a huge DVD […]

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ALA Group Calls on Publishers to Update Pricing Models

The ALA Joint Digital Content Working Group has issued a position paper on ebook lending, calling on publishers to update their models for pricing and licensing to enhance equity of access for public, academic, and school libraries.

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Michael Blanding on Researching the Fascinating Mystery Behind Shakespeare’s Plays

When Dennis McCarthy approached Michael Blanding after an author event for Blanding’s last book, the journalist little knew that he was about to embark on a research project that would take him all over Britain and Italy in pursuit of an unconventional theory about the source material for Shakespeare’s plays. McCarthy, a charismatic independent Shakespearean scholar, was eager to investigate the life of Thomas North, a sixteenth century courtier and scholar who McCarthy believed wrote a series of plays that Shakespeare later used as the basis for his own work. An initially reluctant Blanding was persuaded to follow McCarthy when part of McCarthy’s prodigious research was published in a book he co-wrote with Shakespearean scholar June Schlueter. Blanding and McCarthy found themselves in England and Italy, retracing different trips North took that McCarthy believed influenced the plays he wrote and investigating firsthand documents in libraries. The resulting book, North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work, is a wildly entertaining read that illuminates a forgotten figure in British history and brings the political intrigue of sixteenth century England to rip-roaring life. Critics have been equally enthusiastic over North by Shakespeare as they were with Blanding’s last book, the NPR Book of the Year The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps. The Christian Science Monitor raved, “The book likewise does a virtuoso job of evoking both the realities of Shakespeare’s world and the twists and turns of the whole Shakespeare question” and Publishers Weekly praised it, saying, “Shakespeare fans and readers who enjoy the thrill of a good bibliographic treasure hunt will want to check this out.”

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Twelve Months of Passive Programming

Passive programming can be a challenge. More so, the difficulty is determining how to supply activities that are not too pricey (we try to supply enough kits for 60 patrons) and too complicated for patrons to follow via printout instructions. With that being said, my library has successfully carried out twelve months of dynamic passive […]

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Make Your Library ADA Friendly, Not Just ADA Compliant

Having an ADA compliant library is necessary by law, but you can go above the ADA requirements to become an ADA friendly library and better help your patrons with different abilities.

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Why Do We Think Library Services are Free?

I was in the library’s media lab helping a patron with Microsoft Publisher, and I recommended she learn how to use Publisher with an online course provided through the library. My co-worker chimes in, “and the best part is that it’s free!” I frowned and said, “it’s not free. It’s paid for with your tax dollars.” I am beginning to believe that how we think about public library services as free directly impacts how public libraries don’t get funded.

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The Library Comic Convention Goes Virtual

Like most other library programming, Library Comic Conventions went virtual during the pandemic. Three libraries share how they made the transition.

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FYI Podcast — Hosting Digital Author Events

In this episode, Stesha Brandon, Literature and Humanities Program Manager at the Seattle Public Library (SPL) shares how SPLA successfully moved author programming to a digital format during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in for tips and great ideas on creating or improving your library’s digital author programming.

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Short Story Dispensers Make Strides, Despite Pandemic

French publisher Short Édition made waves in U.S. libraries with its innovative Short Story Dispenser.