Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden this week announced that Richard Ford will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival, set for Aug. 31 2019. Hayden selected Ford based on nominations from more than 60 distinguished literary figures, including former winners of the prize.

“[Ford] has been called our Babe Ruth of novelists, and there is good reason why,” Hayden said, in a release announcing the prize. “He is quintessentially American, profoundly humane, meticulous in his craft, daring on the field, and he hits it consistently out of the park."

Ford’s seven novels include The Sportswriter, the first of the Bascombe Trilogy, Independence Day, the first novel to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and Canada, which won the American Library Association's 2013 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. He has also published three short story collections, the New York Times bestselling novella collection Let Me Be Frank with You, and a memoir, Between Them: Remembering My Parents.

The Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction is one of the Library’s most prestigious awards, honoring "an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination."

“The good fortune of being given this prize—even apart from its private encouragement—is to be allowed to participate in what I’ve always taken to be the Library's great achievement: to encourage literacy, to advocate for the primacy of the literary arts and to draw closer to the needs of readers,” Ford said, in a statement. “The Library of Congress' Prize for American Fiction makes me feel—accurately or not—what most novelists would like to feel, which is useful to our country's conversation with the world.”

Editor's Note: With BookExpo and ALA just weeks away, The Week in Libraries column will be on a brief hiatus as we devote our energies to covering these events. The column will return with the June 14 issue of PW Preview for Librarians.

Reserve Reading

The 2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival is shaping up to be a great event. Last week, the Library of Congress announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be among the featured speakers, along with dozens of best-selling authors, novelists, historians, poets and children’s writers. Mark your calendars: this year’s festival will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Are you ready for the 2020 census? The ALA this week released the Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census, a new resource to help prepare libraries. With support from ALA’s 2020 Census Library Outreach and Education Task Force, ALA teamed with the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality to develop the Guide, which includes basic information about the census process; highlights of new components in the 2020 Census, including an online response option; an FAQ; a timeline of key Census dates; and contact information and links to additional resources. In addition to the 18-page guide, ALA will also continue to add resources to its online census page. And, if you're headed to Washington D.C. for the ALA Annual Conference, a panel of experts will discuss the Guide and census topics in a session on Sunday, June 23, at 9 a.m. in room 145B of the Washington Convention Center.

From The New York Times, Michael Kimmelman has a great piece explaining why outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's strategy of "co-locating" branch libraries in housing units across the city was more than just smart politics. "[C]o-location was also just plain good urban planning. In cities across the country, branch libraries, which futurologists not long ago predicted would be made obsolete by technology, have instead morphed into indispensable and bustling neighborhood centers and cultural incubators, offering music lessons, employment advice, citizenship training, entrepreneurship classes and English-as-a-second-language instruction. They are places with computers and free broadband access."

From Library Journal, a nice interview with Cuyahoga Country Public Library director (and, PW columnist) Sari Feldman as she prepares to retire from CCPL this summer. "I’ve been a librarian for over 40 years. It’s been four amazing decades. I’ve seen an incredible amount of change. I started my career without computers—so that alone tells a big story."

Also from Library Journal this week, the 2019 Textbook Affordability Survey. "Two-thirds of the libraries surveyed agreed that textbook affordability is a major concern for their institution, and nearly all—95 percent—believe that it’s a major concern for students."

From Science, an interesting take on whether "green" open access is a viable path forward for open access. "Some publishers fear they wouldn't earn enough through author fees to remain financially viable. So, according to John Sack, founding director of HighWire in Los Gatos, California, which provides web hosting for nonprofit scientific publishers, many have warmed to another compliance option: 'green' open access."

Butter churns? Pickleball? Yahoo has a fun list of 200 "random" things you can borrow from a local library. The list is fun to peruse, but it's actually quite an achievement, considering each item on the list actually links to the library lending the item.

On the free speech front, via the Washington Post, an interesting article about the U.S. decision not to sign on to a global call to combat extremism online, featuring insight from Cornell law professor (and PW contributor) James Grimmelmann. “It’s hard to take seriously this administration’s criticism of extremist content, but it's probably for the best that the United States didn’t sign,” Grimmelmann said. "The government ought to do its ‘encouraging’ through laws that give platforms and users clear notice of what they’re allowed to do, not through vague exhortations that can easily turn into veiled threats.”

From Columbia News, the Obama Foundation has selected the Columbia Center for Oral History Research to produce the official oral history of Barack Obama’s presidency.

And this sounds really cool: Via Untapped Cities, a look at a 'Sorted Library' in New York City's DUMBO neighborhood. “The overall vision is to have a large space...with about 12 or 13 rooms that are this size, and to showcase the personal collections of famous creatives.”