ATG Hot Topics 6/5/15 

Erin Gallagherby Erin Gallagher

Did anyone else have full moon fever this week?  No, not the marvelous Tom Petty album, but the phenomenon (real or imagined) by which humans and non-human animals alike become a bit wonky on or around the full moon.  Things have felt discordant in our library this week, but I can’t tell if it’s the full moon effects or the fact that we’ve just gone live with the new library system and discovery layer that will run and provide access to all resources and operations here in our library.  No big deal, right?

Speaking of fevers, followers of political library news have been feverishly following the progress of the Patriot Act sunset/USA Freedom Act sunrise this week.  Earlier this spring ALA released their support of an “unweakened USA Freedom Act”, which would limit the power of government agencies like the NSA to collect bulk data on our phone conversations and would also limit their surveillance maneuvers.  After various provisions of the much-contested Patriot Act expired due to Senatorial shenanigans, the USA Freedom Act was approved unanimously.  Organizations like the ACLU are thrilled about this progress, though many who voted against the act do not believe the language and limitations are strong enough.   Before deciding where you stand on the issues, I suggest reading up on both news media and informed private sites, like lifehacker, who provides a good summary of what this means for us as individual US citizens.  If you want something really chewy, read the legislative documents on congress.gov.

For something a bit (or a lot) more fun, Margaret Atwood finished her manuscript for Scribbler Moon, her latest work which will most likely never be read by anyone alive today.  Why?  Because it’s going to be sealed in a special room in a library in Oslo, Norway for the next 100 years.  This is all part of the Future Library project, conceived as a way to entomb literary works by a variety of authors, with the intent of not being looked at or breathed on until 2114.  One manuscript from one author will be sealed each year for 100 years.  While I’m intrigued by the romantic mystery of this project (Maggie Atwood compares it to Sleeping Beauty), the voracious reader in me is heartbroken to know that I will never read the entire works of favorites like David Mitchell, slated to be 2015’s Future Library author.  I can’t imagine a world in which I’d never read Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, and it’s hard to know that I will never read the manuscript he’s submitting for 2015.  I’ll console myself with the knowledge that in 2114, humans may need printed literature more than ever to remind us of our connection to the physical printed word.  And to trees.  Or, I’ll spend the next several years of my life devising a way to break into that Norwegian library…

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