It is National Library Week!

This week, April 9-15, is National Library Week. This year’s theme is Libraries Transform. The theme celebrates the shifting focus of libraries. The modern library is no longer just about having books, periodicals, or music music available for patrons; modern libraries are increasingly more about doing things for and with people and a greater role as a community shared space.

The official hashtags for the week are #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesTransform. There are also official “I Love Libraries” accounts to follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Just a few of the highlight events for the National Library Week:

Monday, April 10, 2017, the Top Ten List of Most Challenged Books for 2016 will be released in the ALA 2017 State of America’s Library Report.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 is National Library Workers Day, a day to celebrate the contributions of library workers.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 is National Bookmobile Day. The days celebrates bookmobiles and the community outreach done by the awesome professionals who work with bookmobile programs.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 is Take Action for Libraries Day. Libraries will be asking for help to save federal funding for libraries.

During the entire week, there is also an Expert in the Library Promotion. Give a shout out on social media and let the world know what your librarian is an expert in. Use the “hashtag #expertinthelibrary and  and post between Saturday, April 8 at noon CT and Saturday, April 15 at noon CT for a chance to win the $100 Visa gift card.” (More details here.)

You and find graphics, details and more information at the I Love Libraries and ALA websites.

Here on the Ebook Evangelist, we’ll be celebrating with a series of posts focusing on libraries and ebooks. 🙂


Library ebook poll

Here’s a question for those of you who borrow ebooks from your library: When do you return them?

Edited to add: I am gathering info for a article on library hold times.

The challenge facing libraries in an era of fake news


Written by Donald A. Barclay, University of California, Merced

Imagine, for a moment, the technology of 2017 had existed on Jan. 11, 1964 – the day Luther Terry, surgeon general of the United States, released “Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States.”

What would be some likely scenarios?

The social media noise machine explodes; conservative websites immediately paint the report as a nanny-government attack on personal freedom and masculinity; the report’s findings are hit with a flood of satirical memes, outraged Facebook posts, attack videos and click-bait fake news stories; Big Tobacco’s publicity machine begins pumping out disinformation via both popular social media and pseudoscientific predatory journals willing to print anything for a price; Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater characterizes “Smoking and Health” a “communist-inspired hoax.”

Eventually, the Johnson administration distances itself from the surgeon general’s controversial report.

Of course none of the above actually occurred. While Big Tobacco spent decades doing all that it could to muddy the waters on the health impacts of smoking, in the end scientific fact triumphed over corporate fiction.

Today, thanks to responsible science and the public policies it inspired, only 15 percent of adults in the United States smoke, down from 42.4 percent in 1965.

One might ask: Would it have been possible to achieve this remarkable public health victory had today’s social media environment of fake news and information echo chambers existed in 1964?

Maybe not. As a long-time academic librarian, I have spent a good part of my career teaching college students to think critically about information. And the fact is that I watch many of them struggle with the challenges of discovering, internalizing, evaluating and applying credible information. For me, the recent spate of stories about large segments of the population falling for fake news stories was no surprise.

Making sense of information is hard, maybe increasingly so in today’s world. So what role have academic libraries played in helping people make sense of world bursting at the seams with information?

History of information literacy

Since the 19th century, academic librarians have been actively engaged in teaching students how to negotiate increasingly complex information environments.

Evidence exists of library instruction dating back to the 1820s at Harvard University. Courses on using libraries emerged at a number of colleges and universities after the Civil War. Until well into the 20th century, however, academic librarians largely gave library building tours, and their instruction was aimed at mastery of the local card catalog.

Beginning in the 1960s, academic librarians experienced a broadening of their role in instruction. This broadening was inspired by a number of factors: increases in the sheer size of academic library collections; the emergence of such technologies as microfilm, photocopiers and even classroom projection; and such educational trends as the introduction of new majors and emphasis on self-directed learning.

An elementary school librarian in the 1980s. theunquietlibrarian, CC BY-NC

The new instructional role of academic librarians was notably reflected in the coining of the phrase “information literacy” in 1974 by Paul G. Zurkowski, then president of the Information Industry Association.

Rather than being limited to locating items in a given library, information literacy recognized that students needed to be equipped with skills required to identify, organize and cite information. More than that, it focused on the ability to critically evaluate the credibility and appropriateness of information sources.

Changes in a complex world

In today’s digital world, information literacy is a far more complex subject than it was when the phrase was coined. Back then, the universe of credible academic information was analog and (for better or worse) handpicked by librarians and faculty.

Students’ information hunting grounds was effectively limited to the campus library, and information literacy amounted to mastering a handful of relatively straightforward skills, such as using periodical indexes and library catalogs, understanding the difference between primary and secondary sources of information, and distinguishing between popular and scholarly books and journals.

Today, the situation is far more nuanced. And not just because of the hyperpartisan noise of social media.

Thirty or 40 years ago, a student writing a research paper on the topic of acid rain might have needed to decide whether an article from a scientific journal like Nature was a more appropriate source than an article from a popular magazine like Time.

Today’s students, however, must know how to distinguish between articles published by genuine scholarly journals and those churned out by look-alike predatory and fake journals that falsely claim to be scholarly and peer-reviewed.

This is a far trickier proposition.

Further complicating the situation is the relativism of the postmodern philosophy underpinning much of postmodern scholarly thinking. Postmodernism rejects the notion that concepts such as truth and beauty exist as absolutes that can be revealed through the work of creative “authorities” (authors, painters, composers, philosophers, etc.).

While postmodernism has had such positive effects as opening up the literary canon beyond the writings of the proverbial “dead white males,” it has simultaneously undermined the concept of authority. If, as postmodernist philosophy contends, truth is constructed rather than given, what gives anyone the right to say one source of information is credible and another is not?

Further complicating the situation are serious questions surrounding the legitimacy of mainstream scholarly communication. In addition to predatory and fake journals, recent scandals include researchers faking results, fraudulent peer review and the barriers to conducting and publishing replication studies that seek to either verify or disprove earlier studies.

So, what’s the future?

In such an environment, how is a librarian or faculty member supposed to respond to a bright student who sincerely asks, “How can you say that a blog post attacking GMO food is less credible than some journal article supporting the safety of GMO food? What if the journal article’s research results were faked? Have the results been replicated? At the end of the day, aren’t facts a matter of context?”

How can students be trained to be information-literate? Mary Woodard, CC BY-NC-ND

In recognition of a dynamic and often unpredictable information landscape and a rapidly changing higher education environment in which students are often creators of new knowledge rather than just consumers of information, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) launched its Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, the first revision to the ACRL’s standards for information literacy in over 15 years.

The framework recognizes that information literacy is too nuanced to be conceived of as a treasure hunt in which information resources neatly divide into binary categories of “good” and “bad.”

Notably, the first of the framework’s six subsections is titled “Authority Is Constructed and Contextual” and calls for librarians to approach the notions of authority and credibility as dependent on the context in which the information is used rather than as absolutes.

This new approach asks students to put in the time and effort required to determine the credibility and appropriateness of each information source for the use to which they intend to put it.

For students this is far more challenging than either a) simply accepting authority without question or b) rejecting all authority as an anachronism in a post-truth world. Formally adopted in June 2016, the framework represents a way forward for information literacy.

While I approve of the direction taken by the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education, I do not see it as the ultimate solution to the information literacy challenge. Real progress in information literacy will require librarians, faculty and administrators working together.

Indeed, it will require higher education, as well as secondary and primary education, to make information literacy a priority across the curriculum. Without such concerted effort, a likely outcome could be a future of election results and public policies based on whatever information – credible or not – bubbles to the top of the social media noise machine.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.  Reposted under a Creative Commons licence. Read the original article.

Library Corner 2-5-2016

Library corner imageHere is this week’s roundup of library news:

US Library News:

Public libraries vital role in digital empowerment (Digital Libraries Hub) – Infographic about the digital services libraries supply to communities.

New/Updated Resource Guides For Three Public Health Topics in the News (Infodocket) The Flint water crisis, the Califormia methane gas leak and the Zikka virus health risk are all matters of extreme interest right now.

Beyond Books: Why Some Libraries Now Lend Tools, Toys and More (US News & World Report) – The Library of Things: there is more than books, music and films available at your library now.

What happens when libraries are asked to help the homeless find shelter (Washington Post) – We are demanding a lot more of our libraries. Are the social services they are being asked to provide interfering with the libraries’ core mission?

California: First class of LA library’s online high school completion program earns diplomas (My News LA) – What an amazing idea for a Library Program!

International Library News:

Australia: Inside the NSW State Library’s $72m digitisation program (IT News) – How a 188 year old library struggles to preserve and access its content in the digital age.

Dubai to build Dh1 billion library shaped like a book (Gulf News) – Designed to hold millions of books, the library and culture center is intended to bridge the learning gap in the Arab world.

Policy and Privacy:

Designing for the Library Website (Michigan University Library) – There’s an specific set of goals and challenges in designing a library website.

OverDrive Local Content Lets Libraries Upload, Grow Their Local eBook Catalog (The Digital Reader) – As more and more people are publishing, the ability to add local authors to a library’s catalog is a necessary function.

Both LYRASIS and DuraSpace Boards Approve “Intention to Merge” But Deal Not Final (Infodocket) – LYRASIS and DuraSpace both provide important services to libraries,  archives and museums. They are seeking feedback from member organizations.

The IFLA Position on Public Lending Right (2016) (IFLA) – Public Lending Rights (PLR) don’t apply to ebooks and don’t exist in a lot of countries. Can we balance the rights of authors and users?


Europe’s top court mulls legality of hyperlinks to copyrighted content (Ars Technica) – One change in EU copyright law could threaten the Internet as we know it.

Reference and Statistics: 

New/Updated Resource Guides For Three Public Health Topics in the News (Infodocket) – Updated information on the Zika virus, the Lead in the Flint, Michigan Water supply crisis and the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas (Methane) Leak.

Reference: Facts and Stats About the Black Population in the United States (Black History Month 2016) (Infodocket) – Resourcesfor Black History Month

Digital Collections:

MSU Library, Yellowstone park launch ‘Yellowstone Collection (Montana University)

Plan to Digitize 32 Years of PBS NewsHour Programs (1975-2007) and Make Them Available Online Announced Today (Infodocket)

Idaho: Attorney General Makes Catalogue of Opinions, Annual Reports Available to the Public (

Database of classical works now freely searchable (Cornell Challenge)

About once a week, I post links to digital-related library news articles and information about digital collections available online.  I also post other links of interest about the digital life daily on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Library Corner 1-28-2016

Library corner imageHere is this week’s roundup of library news:

US Library News:

DPLA Adds New “Primary Source Sets” For Grades 6-12 and Higher Education (Infodocket) – These sets are designed for students and teachers in grades 6-12 and higher education.

S.F. library rolls out Biblio Bistro for lessons on cooking (SF Gate) – Yes,  you can incorporate cooking healthy food into a library program. This is inspiring!

California: LA Public Library Launching a Two-Week Valentine’s Day Themed Amnesty Program For Overdue Materials (Infodocket) – This is an innovative library amnesty program.

*UPDATE* Wisconsin: Committee OKs bill expanding library powers (KSL) – Bill allowing police involvement for overdue books clears another hurdle.

Iowa: In Dubuque, no ‘Appraisal’ worth losing Wood’s works (TH Online) –  Library turns down $6 million for painting in collection.

International Library News:

Canada: What happens when you find a long-lost violin concerto in a library basement? (CBC) – A concerto is by the Norwegian found in the collection of Canadian violinist Kathleen Parlow.

Policy and Privacy:

Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington’s Slave (NPR) – This article discusses the other side of history that exists amidst claims of whitewashing the topic of slavery.

Penguin Random House Ebooks Now Licensed for Perpetual Access (American Library) – No more limits on the time period or number of circulations for Penguin Random House content. But the pricing is a different story.


U.S. Department of Commerce Recommends Amendments to Statutory Damages Provisions in Copyright Act (USPTO) – A new white paper looks at some of the issues connected with current copyright law such as remixes, first sale doctrine and the complicated issues of infringement and statutory damages.

Reference and Statistics:

Education: An International Database of Learning Assessments (Infodocket)

Introducing New Hampshire Public Radios’s Election Database (NHPR)

New “State of the Climate” Report/Data: “2015 is Earth’s Warmest Year by Widest Margin on Record” (Infodocket)

American Cancer Society Launches New Cancer Statistics Web Site  (American Cancer Society)

Digital Collections:

Games to Learn By: National Library of Medicine Announces Three New Resources for Students (NLM)

Making the Work of Florence Nightingale Available (BU Today)

View Online: A Film From 1963 Provides a Look at “Inner Workings” of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) (Infodocket)

Shakespeare Documented: Largest Online Shakespeare Resource Launches (PR News)

New “Europeana Collections” Website (Beta) Now Live (Infodocket)

The Internet Archive’s New “Political TV Ad Archive” Launches Tomorrow (Infodocket)

Texas State Library and Archives Commission Launches Texas Digital Archive (Texas State Library)

About once a week, I post links to digital-related library news articles and information about digital collections available online.  I also post other links of interest about the digital life daily on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Library Corner: 1-20-2016

Library corner imageHere is this week’s roundup of library news:

US Library News:

Penn Libraries’ OPenn Manuscript Portal to Host the Country’s Largest Regional Collections of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts (Penn Libraries)

Wisconsin: Bill: Overdue library book? Police notified. (Fon du Lac Reporter/USA Network)

A playful turn for libraries (Harvard Gazette)

International Library News:

UK: Access to Research given green light to continue (Publishers Licensing Society)

Canada:Ottawa Public Library, Library and Archives Canada working together on new central branch (CBC News)

UK: Snooper’s charter: cafes and libraries face having to store Wi-Fi users’ data (The Guardian)

Italy: 4.5 Million Italians Have Read an eBook in the Past Three Months (The Digital Reader)

Russian minister vows investigation after ‘book burning’ at college libraries (The Telegraph UK)

Policy and Privacy:

Aspen Institute Launches Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library (Aspen Institute)


Flickr Commons – Going Strong! (LOC)

How Mickey Mouse Evades the Public Domain (Priceonomics)

Reference and Statistics:

Economics: FRASER Database Adds Browse by Subject Feature, 1000+ Subjects Available (Infodocket)

Launch and Learn: Our New History Hub Pilot Project (National Archives AOTUS)

A New U.S. House Oversight and Gov Reform Committee Staff Report Says FOIA is “Broken” (Infodocket)

Digital Collections:

U.S. Homophile Internationalism: Archive and Exhibit (Out History)

29 Sketchbooks by Renowned Artist Richard Diebenkorn, Containing 1,045 Drawings, Now Freely Viewable Online (Open Culture)

Camden, Maine Public Library Joins the Flickr Commons (Infodocket)

815 Free Art Books from World Class Museums: The Met, the Guggenheim, the Getty & LACMA (Open Culture)

About once a week, I post links to digital-related library news articles and information about digital collections available online.  I also post other links of interest about the digital life daily on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.

Library Corner 1-13-2016

Library corner imageHere is this week’s roundup of library news:

US Library News:

Missouri town of just 304 residents supports a public library (Missourian)

Indiana: Library program has children creating their own books (NWITimes)

Nevada: A Day in the Life of a Bookmobile Librarian (Medium)

New York Public Library Releases New Promo Video For Their Education Programs (Infodocket)

International Library News:

Canada: Toronto Public Library gives commuters a ticket to read (The Star)

Canada: The legislature library: books and documents plus a hamburger, tin of caviar and bag of dirt (Edmonton Journal)

Worldreader: Top Books Read In 2015 (Worldreader)

Canada: Halifax Public Libraries says it can manage with less city funding (CBC)

UK: New report looks at creating a Single Library Digital Presence to support Public Libraries in the future (SCL)

Policy and Privacy:

2015-2016 edition of Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies Directory available (ALA)


What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2016? (Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain)

Article: “Time For a Single Global Copyright Framework For Libraries And Archives” (Infodocket)

Reference and Statistics:

NYPD releases Internet database that gives details about all major New York City crimes (New York Daily News)

NOAA Annual 2015 U.S. Climate Report (NOAA)

Digital Collections:

Paramount Now Streaming 175 Free Movies Online, Including Westerns, Thrillers & Crime Pictures (Open Cuture) 12-23

Shakespeare Documented, coming soon (Folger)

British Library to put very big royal atlas online (The Art Newspaper)

New York Public Library Makes 180,000 High-Res Images Available Online (NPR) 1-6

U Libraries receives $224,450 to digitize African American collections (Continuum)

Library Receives Grant to Digitize Early Twentieth-Century Folk Music – (Duke University Libraries)

National Library Posts 220 High Resolution Jerusalem Maps on Wikimedia (The Jewish Press)

Digital Archive Launched, Chronicles 100 Years of Aerospace Achievements (Aviation Week)

Descriptions of 10,000+ Brazilian Chapbooks at AFC now Online (LOC)

About once a week, I post links to digital-related library news articles and information about digital collections available online.  I also post other links of interest about the digital life daily on the Google Plus eBook Evangelist Page.