The first major library conference of the year gets underway next week, with the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting (January 25-29) in Seattle, Washington. As usual, the conference features a great slate of authors and speakers on the program’s main stage, kicking off with philanthropist Melinda Gates, who deliver the conference’s opening keynote, in conversation with Nancy Pearl, on Friday, January 25, at 4 pm, which will be immediately followed by a reception in the exhibit floor. Check out the ALA Midwinter website for more details and a complete program listing.
With the ALA in the midst of an organizational transformation, this year’s conference should be especially notable. And the library community is facing its usual array of challenges, including expectations that the Trump administration, as it has for the last two years, will again seek to eliminate all federal library funding. E-books are also expected to be a hot topic, with the major publishers appearing to consider new restrictions on e-lending after years of relative calm in the sector.
And as always, the highlight of ALA Midwinter is the announcement of the Youth Media Award winners, and the winners of the Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.
ALA officials are also hoping for a rebound in attendance, and it's looking good so far. Though exhibitor numbers are down for 2019, pre-registered attendance is already up significantly over last year, and nearly even with 2017. Last year’s Midwinter Meeting, in Denver, drew the lowest attendance in some 30 years.
You can also check out PW’s ALA Midwinter preview, as well as a preview in American Libraries. And PW will be at the meeting—come by and say hello at booth 2021. And one editor's note: There will be a newsletter next week, but The Week in Libraries will be off, as we will be in Seattle for the conference. Check out the PW web site for all our coverage of the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting.
And if you're in Seattle for ALA Midwinter, be sure to say hello and congrats to University of Washington iSchool professor Joseph Janes (Midwinter is a home game for Joe), who has officially joined the growing PW library team as a contributor. Many of you know Joe well, as he's a frequent panelist at ALA conferences, a former columnist for American Libraries, and the author of Library 2020: Today's Leading Visionaries Describe Tomorrow's Library (Rowman & Littlefield) and most recently In his new role, he'll write a few columns a year on a range of subjects, will contribute online pieces to this newsletter. Welcome to the PW team, Joe Janes!
Sad news: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver died this week. The New York Times says that late in life, Oliver had taken on "the aura of a reluctant, bookish rock star." Via Publishers Weekly, Ann Godoff, Oliver’s editor at Penguin Press, said Oliver's "profound gifts allowed us to understand and celebrate the life we’ve been given.”
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, a look at how e-books are working (or not working) in libraries. "As popularity soars, publishers and content providers have adopted 'metered access' and 'per-checkout' models for e-books and other content. Those models are guzzling library cash and resulting in book-lending inefficiencies, library officials warn."
The Wichita Eagle reports that some residents in Kansas are trying to remove LGBT books from the kids section. "Andover resident Marci Laffen said in a written request that the books George, Lily and Dunkin and I am Jazz should be moved to the library’s adult section, or at least to the young adult section. She cited the “sexual content” of the books, along with issues such as bullying, rebelling against police and refusing to take medications."
And via Yahoo News, the Ottawa Catholic School Board has quietly removed Drama, a 2012 graphic novel by celebrated author and illustrator Raina Telgemeier, because "it features a side story about two boys who are attracted to one another, and who share an onstage kiss."
From the Wall Street Journal, yet another report on Amazon's growing power over the book business: “They aren’t gaming the system,” literary agent Rick Pascocello said. “They own the system.”
Following its survey last week on the financial plight of working writers, the Authors Guild has announced that it is kicking off a national advocacy campaign to establish a new federal bureaucracy to pay authors for library lends.
And following the Authors Guild's lead, the U.K. Society of Authors is now threatening legal action against the Internet Archive's Open Library project. "We look forward to hearing from you by 1 February confirming that you will immediately take measures to ensure that Open Library books are not made available for downloading in the UK. We also demand that you stop scanning books by UK authors without permission. If we do not receive assurances by that date we will have to consider legal action on behalf of our members to prevent this practice. If that becomes necessary we shall be seeking damages for copyright infringement and payment of all legal costs."
On the open access front, Wiley and Projekt DEAL this week announced a groundbreaking countrywide “Publish and Read” agreement. For an annual fee, “the three-year agreement provides all Projekt DEAL institutions with access to read Wiley’s academic journals back to the year 1997, and researchers at Projekt DEAL institutions can publish articles open access in Wiley’s journals.”
Via Gary Price at InfoDocket, the pioneering institutional repository arXiv this week issued its annual update. In 2018 arXiv provided open access to "1.5 million e-prints in Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance, Statistics, Electrical Engineering and Systems Science, and Economics, with 228 million downloads from all over the world." And, the repository "received 140,616 new submissions, a 14% increase from 2017."
From American Libraries, a look at the The University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science's Library Scholar Program, which works with local school districts to "develop existing school employees, such as teachers and staff members, into school librarians."
Also from American Libraries, an update for librarians regarding the upcoming 2020 Census.
Via NBC News, a federal court this week barred the Trump administration from adding a citizenship question to 2020 Census, holding that while the government has the right to add the question, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added the question arbitrarily and did not follow proper procedure. The legal battle is far from over, however. ALA has been part of an effort to stop the Trump Administration's addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, arguing that it will lead to an inaccurate count in some communities, where answering the question could lead to ICE agents showing up at your door.
From MinnPost, an article on Ruby Rivera, the St. Paul Public Library’s first social worker. "Rivera gets to combine her passion for libraries, with her desire to roll up her sleeves and help people navigate life’s toughest moments."
From The New York Times, a fascinating article on an effort to return books looted by the Nazis. "In the last 10 years, for example, libraries in Germany and Austria have returned about 30,000 books to 600 owners, heirs and institutions, according to researchers."
TorrentFreak reports that the copyright battle in Europe could soon take a crucial next step. But one of the EU's most controversial reform efforts, Article 13, which would hold internet platforms liable for the infringement of their users and could force platforms to filter their works for unauthorized content, appears to be rapidly losing support. BoingBoing reports that the major record labels have changed their minds on the article's new language. And at TechDirt, Mike Masnick says Hollywood, too, has reconsidered, although not necessarily for the right reasons.