Ten Stories That Shaped 2018

As we limp our way into 2019, let's take a look back at some of the notable library stories from the past year.

10. The Opioid Epidemic Continues

The abuse of narcotics has become so widespread in this country that our average life expectancy has declined as a result. The use of Narcan to treat overdoses occurring in libraries is one way we can contribute to public health.

9. More Fake News

Although political propaganda is nothing new, the growing threat of what has been dubbed "information terrorism," aided by technological advances in the creation of bogus pieces of reporting, make our role as archivists and educators all the more important.

8. Search Engines are Bigots

Keep Copyright Office in Library of Congress

Urgent! Contact Your Senator About S. 1010 If passed, Congress would voluntarily hand over the power to appoint the copyright advisor to the president. The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (S. 1010), a Senate companion to House bill (H.R. 1695), will be voted on by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee this Tuesday, in spite of previous concerns by committee members. This legislation would make the position of the Register of Copyrights subject to Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. Under current law, the Librarian of Congress selects the Register. ALA strongly opposes this bill and needs you to contact your U.S. Senators to express your objections to this bill and ask them to vote against it.
From Send a Message Thanks Thanks Robin!
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Forget Book Trailers: Book Playlists are the New Hotness

Book trailers are already such a thing that there’s whole weekly columns devoted to them, a whole slew of tips and tricks; a veritable ecosystem. People want multimedia with their books. But what if the new hotness wasn’t a trailer at all? What if it was something that lots of us already do anyways, with a much lower barrier for entry? I’m talking about book playlists, music that reflects the theme or the time and place of the book, a non-audiobook soundtrack that enhances and embellishes the written word.
From Forget Book Trailers: Book Playlists are the New Hotness
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Oxford’s Library Once Branded Its Sauciest Books With a Greek Letter

FOR MORE THAN A HUNDRED years, deep in a dusty enclave of the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, there sat a restricted collection—2,100 books deemed too subversive, too toxic, too scandalous for eager minds. These books, principally concerned with sex, made up the “Phi” collection, bearing the Greek “Φ” on their spines like a mark of sin. But things are different now, and these books are proudly on display at the Bodleian, in the Story of Phi: Restricted Books exhibit that opened on November 15, 2018.
From Oxford’s Library Once Branded Its Sauciest Books With a Greek Letter - Atlas Obscura
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Bookstore's Tweet On The Sale Of A Children's Book After 27 Years, Goes Viral : NPR

The store's tweet about the sale has since gone viral and received thousands of replies. Author Sarah Todd Taylor tweeted in response, "The book held its breath. It had hoped so often, only to have that hope crushed. Hands lifted it from the shelf, wrapped it warmly in paper. As the door closed on its past life, the book heard the soft cheers of its shelfmates."
From Bookstore's Tweet On The Sale Of A Children's Book After 27 Years, Goes Viral : NPR
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The Competitive Book Sorters Who Spread Knowledge Around New York - Atlas Obscura

With minutes to go until game time, the 12 elite sorters have emerged, wearing matching BookOps T-shirts. They march toward the machine as if boarding Apollo 11. The offices upstairs have emptied into the basement, and a wide variety of library personnel fill every available space in the room to cheer the sorters on. “We’re gonna take ‘em down, it’s not gonna be an issue,” says Michael Genao, a 22-year-old sophomore sorter with a linebacker’s build. “I guarantee it,” he adds, as he paces between his teammates, the last few bites of a chocolate donut in his hand.
From The Competitive Book Sorters Who Spread Knowledge Around New York - Atlas Obscura
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Booksellers Protest Amazon Site’s Move to Drop Stores From Certain Countries

More than 250 antiquarian book dealers in 24 countries say they are pulling over a million books off an Amazon-owned site for a week, an impromptu protest after the site abruptly moved to ban sellers from several nations. The flash strike against the site, AbeBooks, which is due to begin Monday, is a rare concerted action by vendors against any part of Amazon, which depends on third-party sellers for much of its merchandise and revenue. The protest arrives as increasing attention is being paid to the extensive power that Amazon wields as a retailer — a power that is greatest in books.
From Booksellers Protest Amazon Site’s Move to Drop Stores From Certain Countries - The New York Times
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Harvard Converts Millions of Legal Documents into Open Data

A new free website spearheaded by the Library Innovation Lab at the Harvard Law School makes available nearly 6.5 million state and federal cases dating from the 1600s to earlier this year, in an initiative that could alter and inform the future availability of similar areas of public-sector big data. Led by the Lab, which was founded in 2010 as an arena for experimentation and exploration into expanding the role of libraries in the online era, the Caselaw Access Project went live Oct. 29 after five years of discussions, planning and digitization of roughly 100,000 pages per day over two years
From Harvard Converts Millions of Legal Documents into Open Data
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In win for open access, two major funders to bar grantees from publishing in hybrid journals

The largest part of the policy change is that as of January 2020, Wellcome and Gates will no longer allow their grantees to publish in so-called hybrid OA journals, which have both subscription and free content. Most scientific journals now follow that hybrid business model, which allows authors to pay a fee if they want to make their articles OA. For the past decade, Wellcome has allowed its grantees to pay these fees, in part because it viewed them as a way to help publishers finance a switch in their business models to full OA. “We no longer believe it’s a transition,” says Robert Kiley, head of open research at the Wellcome. “We’re looking to bring about a change where all research is open access.”
From In win for open access, two major funders to bar grantees from publishing in hybrid journals | Science | AAAS
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The Bookseller's Diagram Prize for the Oddest Book Title of the Year Voting Is Open

The prize, founded by Trevor Bounford and the late Bruce Robinson of publishing solutions firm the Diagram Group, is the annual celebration of the book world's strangest and most perplexing titles. The Bookseller and its legendary diarist Horace Bent have been custodians of the prize since 1982.      The six books up for what Bent has called "the most prestigious literary gong Britain—nay the world—has ever known" are: Are Gay Men More Accurate in Detecting Deceits? (Open Dissertation Press); Call of Nature: The Secret Life of Dung (Pelagic Publishing); Equine Dry Needling (tredition); Jesus on Gardening (Onwards and Upwards); Joy of Waterboiling (Achse Verlag) and Why Sell Tacos in Africa? (Blue Ocean Marketing). 
From The Diagram Prize 2018 shortlist revealed | The Bookseller
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An OCR cliche: Into his/her anus

Romance writers, be forewarned, the child who leaps into her arms or the heroine who leaps into his has almost a five percent chance of ending up elsewhere, when GoogleBooks OCRs your text.
From An OCR cliche: Into his/her anus | Fill His Head First with a Thousand Questions
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What’s the Matter with Fiction Sales?

According to 2017 estimates released this summer by the Association of American Publishers, sales of adult fiction fell 16% between 2013 and 2017, from $5.21 billion to $4.38 billion. The numbers, though not a major worry, raise questions about the books the industry is publishing and what consumers want to read.
From What’s the Matter with Fiction Sales?
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What’s the Most Influential Book of the Past 20 Years? - The Chronicle of Higher Education

We invited scholars from across the academy to tell us what they saw as the most influential book published in the past 20 years. (Some respondents named books slightly outside our time frame, but we included them anyway.) We asked them to select books — academic or not, but written by scholars — from within or outside their own fields. It was up to our respondents to define “influential,” but we asked them to explain why they chose the books they did. Here are their answers.
From What’s the Most Influential Book of the Past 20 Years? - The Chronicle of Higher Education
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Donations Pour Into Northwest Iowa Library After Man Burns LGBTQ Books | Iowa Public Radio

A northwest Iowa library has been inundated with donations from in and outside of the state after a man burned several LGBTQ children’s books during a gay pride festival. In a Facebook Live video from almost two weeks ago, Paul Dorr with the religious group Rescue The Perishing stood outside of the Prairie Winds Events Center about a mile away from the Orange City Public Library and read aloud from four LGBTQ children’s books before tossing them into a barrel of fire. He called the books “filthy”, “disgusting” and “shameful."
From Donations Pour Into Northwest Iowa Library After Man Burns LGBTQ Books | Iowa Public Radio
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How Do You Move A Bookstore? With A Human Chain, Book By Book : NPR

When October Books, a small radical bookshop in Southampton, England, was moving to a new location down the street, it faced a problem. How could it move its entire stock to the new spot, without spending a lot of money or closing down for long? The shop came up with a clever solution: They put out a call for volunteers to act as a human conveyor belt.
From How Do You Move A Bookstore? With A Human Chain, Book By Book : NPR
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Let’s go! Explore, transcribe, and tag at crowd.loc.gov | The Signal

What yet-unwritten stories lie within the pages of Clara Barton’s diaries, writings of Civil Rights pioneer Mary Church Terrell, or letters written to Abraham Lincoln? With today’s launch of crowd.loc.gov, the Library of Congress is harnessing the power of the public to make these collection items more accessible to everyone. You are invited to join the Library of Congress via crowd.loc.gov to volunteer to transcribe (type) and tag digitized images of text materials from the Library’s collections. People who join us will journey through history first-hand and help the Library while gaining new skills – like learning how to analyze primary sources and read cursive. Finalized transcripts will be made available on the Library’s website, improving access to handwritten and typed documents that computers cannot accurately translate without human intervention. The enhanced access will occur through better readability and keyword searching of documents and through greater compatibility with accessibility technologies, such as screen readers used by people with low vision.
From Let’s go! Explore, transcribe, and tag at crowd.loc.gov | The Signal
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The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected

“The digital divide was about access to technology, and now that everyone has access, the new digital divide is limiting access to technology,” said Chris Anderson, the former editor of Wired magazine.
From The Digital Gap Between Rich and Poor Kids Is Not What We Expected - The New York Times
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Antiquarian bookseller Ken Sanders on hunting down book thieves

Book thief detective Ken Sanders tells us how he spent three years of his life hunting down a local book thief and organising the sting that led to his arrest. Sanders has been interested in books since his early years and runs a rare books store in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has seen some very unique publications pass through, including works by Everett Ruess, a poet who walked into the wilderness of Utah in 1930 and has never been seen since.
From Antiquarian bookseller Ken Sanders on hunting down book thieves - France 24
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University presses take control of ebook distribution

MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press have both announced plans to start selling their ebook collections directly to libraries by creating their own distribution platforms. The publishers previously did not have a mechanism for selling to institutions directly. Instead, access to ebooks was largely brokered through third-party acquisition services such as EBSCO, ProQuest, OverDrive, Project Muse and JSTOR.
From University presses take control of ebook distribution
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Ancestry.com Is In Cahoots With Public Records Agencies, A Group Suspects

“State agencies generally have a preference for large corporations rather than individuals because there’s always a revolving door between state agencies and corporations that are in the same area,” Oliver speculated, though he said it’s unclear why any preferential treatment to Ancestry might have been given. This is not the first time Reclaim the Records has sued a state or local government over rejecting a FOIL request, although its legal strategy for compelling states to give over records for genealogy research is new. They’ve successfully used this technique to get genealogy records like the New York City Marriage Index for 1930–1995.
From Ancestry.com Is In Cahoots With Public Records Agencies, A Group Suspects
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