ATG Hot Topics 6/12/15

Erin GallagherBy Erin Gallagher

Another hot and stormy week comes to a close here in central Florida, and that’s just the weather!  It’s been a hot week for library/literary news as well.

Love him or…not love him (hate is too strong here), James Billington, our Librarian of Congress since 1987, will retire as of January 1, 2016.  Billington was appointed by Ronald Reagan and has served the LoC through decades of massive change and digital evolution.  Any guesses as to who President Obama will nominate next?  I suppose I’ll send my resume…  Seriously though, was everyone else aware that Billington was only the 13th Librarian of Congress since 1800?  This is apparently a long-held post by those fortunate enough to receive it.

There is no official press release or site devoted to this yet, but many readers will have seen the announcement through listservs that the five ethnic affiliate organizations of ALA have come together to form one body called the Joint Council of Librarians of Color, Inc. (JCLC, Inc.).  According to the listserv email, this includes the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), the Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA), the American Indian Library Association (AILA), the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and REFORMA: The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking.  This collaboration was the result of joint conferences held previously and with such great success that a formal organization was called for.  Their official purpose statement, “To promote librarianship within communities of color, support literacy and the preservation of history and cultural heritage, collaborate on common issues, and to host the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color every four to five years”, promises great things and the continued support for the shared needs and concerns of these affiliate groups.  Look out for more updates.

On the quirky front, a friend sent me this piece from Huffington Post’s blog on strange, comical, and sometimes inappropriate questions librarians are asked.  I’ve definitely been asked by friends and family to recount odd requests from patrons, and one of my favorite dinner table conversations among librarians is bizarre reference questions.  Some of the questions in this blog piece are hilarious, some are maddening, and some are downright kooky.  One of my personal favorites came on virtual chat reference when I worked as a graduate assistant at a large, public university research library:  “Does the library have an elevator that runs from the front to the back of the building?”  Is that even possible?!  I’d love to hear from others on this.

And because the much-anticipated Jurassic World opens this weekend (I will definitely be seeing this one), I must share a well-written piece from Grantland on author Michael Crichton’s lasting legacy.  After seeing the original movie when I was around 11, I picked up the book in my school library and barely came up for air until I finished it.  It was a revelation to me at that age.  I’d always loved and obsessed over dinosaurs, but now I could read a Real Adult Book and actually keep up with it!  I ended up devouring everything else Crichton wrote, but Jurassic Park is the one I always returned to, and always will.

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