ATG Hot Topics 3/4/16  

Erin GallagherBy Erin Gallagher

Don’t worry, readers, I’m not getting political, but this week I’d like to share some ways that libraries and the book industry are getting national recognition.  Every now and then, issues near and dear to those of us in the world of information provision are deemed important enough to warrant some real press coverage.  And I don’t mean what J.K. Rowling or Stephen King at for breakfast (though, now I want to know!).  Check out these truly Hot Topics:

News from the White House is that President Obama has nominated Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress.  Notwithstanding the fact that she would be the first woman and the first African American to hold this illustrious position (President Obama says that this is “long overdue”…does anyone else think that’s a clever library pun?  Overdue?  Get it?  Okay then…moving on…), she also has an impressive background in both public and academic libraries.  She’s obviously got the chops for the job, but if you read more about her background and watch her interviews, you’ll see that she also embodies a spirit of energy and activism that reflects the national climate.  She’s not just the best librarian for the job; she’s the best librarian for the job right now.

And in other news from the White House, the Open Ebooks App has now been launched for thousands of schools in the U.S.  The app will allow users (students, librarians, teachers, etc.) to access thousands of books via devices like smartphones and tablets.  As someone who spent my childhood with my nose frequently buried in a book, I cannot understate the importance of providing kids with access to books.  We take for granted that schools and libraries will always be around and that children will have the ability to choose among colorful stacks of books that will inspire and delight them as they grow into adults.  Those of us in the education sector know that this is not a given, and that access to books is not always that easy.  I’m glad to see we’re investing in literacy, imagination, and curiosity.  To quote ALA President Sari Feldman, “…what smarter investment in our future could we make than getting books in front of kids?”. 

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