New Year, New Weed

New Year, New Weed

The biggest takeaway from this project was that deselection of materials had a largely positive impact on the age of the collection, greater than just adding brand new materials could. It’s like trying to mix a grey paint; you’re going to need to dump a whole lot of white onto your black paint to get it to lighten up. It’s so much more effective if you take all the old, unused stuff away first. Committing to keeping up with how we are progressing towards our goals is the only way I would have found out that the time invested by liaison librarians into collection development has been paying off – and more importantly, just how much of an impact their actions made. I think it is so much more valuable to see that quantitative comparison in the data than to simply say “good job.”

The Colleagues Who’ve Left

The Colleagues Who’ve Left

Last year I started a chart tracking colleagues who had left my institution. When I left for the winter break finally, the number stood at 37 and I’m sure I missed a few. These are spread across the university, though nearly half are from the Library. It includes people I worked with regularly enough that their leaving had a significant impact on me, with a sprinkling of high level administrators whose transitions always end up with creating waves of change likely to reach me at some point. I started tracking because I knew that the volume was going to be high and that I would need to be able to see at year’s end — at scale — how significant the disruptions had been.

Ten Stories That Shaped 2021

How time flies! Once again we look back at the memorable events of the past year.

10. More Libraries End Late Fines

Libraries continue to make headlines for discontinuing the assessment of financial penalties for returning books late. Not only does this practice help get overdue books returned, it promotes equitable access to library collections.

9. Cape Town Library Damaged by Fire

In April, a fire partially destroyed the main library at the University of Cape Town. Recovery efforts are still underway.

8. Taylor Swift…?

Not one but two copyright stories this year involved Taylor Swift: the dubious practice of the police playing her songs to avoid being live streamed, and the musician having to re-record her hits in order to regain ownership of them.

The Lighter Side: "Library Rap" Raises Eyebrows

All I can say about this story is to watch the video yourself, if you can get through it.

7. University of California Re-Ups with Elsevier

After a long standoff over pricing and author rights, the University of California agreed to again subscribe to the for-profit publisher’s titles.

6. Supply Chain Issues in Publishing

Shipping delays and understaffing hit many economic sectors this year, and the books trade was no exception.

5. "Illegal Aliens" LCSH Retired

After over a decade of controversy, the Library of Congress approved a change to their "Illegal Aliens" subject heading in November, replacing it with the terms "Noncitizens" and "Illegal Immigration," prompting an outcry from Senator Ted Cruz.

Dishonorable Mention: NFTs

Librarians are all too familiar with the contrived scarcity imposed on electronic formats by commercial interests. This year, the hype train that is non-fungible tokens reached fever pitch, causing concerns over their environmental impact.

4. Controlled Digital Lending

Whither libraries in the Internet Age? One answer is the use of metered circulation mechanisms that allow for libraries to "lend" electronic copies of materials. Commercial publishers, unsurprisingly, would prefer to set their own prices.

3. Cancel/Consequence Culture

The publishing industry has always had its fair share of scandals. This year’s controversies involved Josh Hawley, Doctor Seuss, Alex Gino, Alice Sebold, Captain Underpants, and Phillip Roth.

2. Covid Exacerbated by Misinformation

Ahmed Baba describes the situation perfectly: "It’s important to directly state that Republicans and right-wing media have spent this year blatantly sabotaging Biden’s COVID response while simultaneously criticizing him for not getting COVID totally under control. It’s a deliberate strategy and it’s unfortunately working."

1. Book Banning Intensifies

This perennial entry takes the top spot this year due to the drastic rise (or "dramatic uptick," to quote the ALA) in challenges led by conservatives to library books.

What was your favorite library story of 2021?

Seattle Public Librarians Just Want to Read You Stories – Slog – The Stranger

The Lit Line (206-386-4656) isn’t necessarily a newfangled idea, SPL librarian Robin Rousu told me. It’s pretty old. Rousu has been a librarian with SPL for 15 years. She used to run the Dial-a-Story program where kids were encouraged to call a number to get a story read to them. That program was built around the idea of landlines. So, naturally, it’s since faded from relevance. But, the infrastructure and the idea were perfect for the COVID-19 era.


From: Seattle Public Librarians Just Want to Read You Stories – Slog – The Stranger

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers and Spies Banded Together in World War Two Europe 

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers and Spies Banded Together in World War Two Europe 

In Information Hunters, Kathy Peiss describes American assumptions about German libraries as the Allies closed in on Berlin in 1945. ‘On its face, the military government’s perspective was simple: Nazi books were akin to a virus or infestation. It required quarantine and elimination.’



From: Neal Ascherson · Warrior Librarians: Cultural Pillaging · LRB 2 July 2020

Librarians and the Power of Social Media | Book Riot

One thing that readily comes to my mind when thinking of how libraries have used social media: to spread humor, and by extension joy. Even typos can or other misconceptions can be shaped into a something that is positively viral. An example of this is the whole snake/snack confusion that the Pflugerville Library had when advertising their Anti-Prom.




Librarians and the Power of Social Media | Book Riot

Calling in Librarianship: A Manifesto

I’m not here to make friends–yet I desperately want all of you to like me–but more importantly, I want to share with you some things I believe to be true, and sharing these truths is much more important to me than being liked. I feel the need to call some of ya’ll in. So–here we go. From: Calling in Librarianship: A Manifesto