Libraries exist to help people find information that solve problems, answer questions, or otherwise address important individual and community interests and needs. This blog was created to highlight some of the issues faced by libraries and the work carried out by librarians, library staff, library science students, and library supporters in New York City and beyond.
Rest in Power, Cynthia G. Hurd, Librarian, among those killed in the hate crime shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. To honor their coworker and the 8 other victims, St. Andrews Regional Library and John L. Dart Library of Charleston County Public Library are closed today, Friday June 19. All 16 of CCPL’s locations were closed Thursday in mourning.
Hurd worked with CCPL for 31 years. At the time of her death she served as manager of the St. Andrews Regional Library branch. From 1990–2011 she was manager of the John L. Dart branch, named after the founder of the Charleston Normal and Industrial School for local black children in 1894. Charleston’s first free public library for African Americans was established in 1927 by Dart’s daughter, Susan Dart Butler, and when the 75th anniversary of its founding was commemorated in 2012, Hurd worked on the planning committee. She was active in the community as well, serving on the Charleston City Housing Authority board of commissioners. [Library Journal. June 18, 2015]
Hurd was the sister of former North Carolina Sen. Malcolm Graham. In a statement released Thursday, Graham said, “My sister, Ms. Cynthia Marie Graham-Hurd, was a victim of the senseless hate crime at Emanuel AME Church. It is unimaginable that she would walk into church and not return. Graham spoke through tears, the Charlotte Observer reported, remembering his sister. “’She was a nerd,’ Graham said lovingly. ‘She was a librarian.’”
From the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign at Oakland Public Library. A woman holds a #WeNeedDiverseBooks sign up. Photo: Courtesy of Oakland Public Library (via NPR)
Across the country #BlackLivesMatter is inspiring action and conversation. Thank you to the Oakland librarians who have compiled resources to support these conversations (all of which are available to view here; however placing holds on materials via the OPL catalog would require a library card).
While area schools cancelled classes for the day following a grand jury’s decision not to indict white police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, the library pledged to open its doors and provide lunch for schoolchildren. The library’s director, Scott Bonner, said that the library was slowing filling up with children this morning, and described the atmosphere as a “mix of emotions.” He said, “I’ve had one or two people come in and just basically cry to me because of what happened last night, how they’re feeling about it and how tough it is for them,” he told TPM. “And we’ve had a whole lot of volunteer teachers come in here with this drive to help people, bring that kind of optimism in.”
Related to libraries and education, I received an email from an instructor today asking, “What can educators and students actually do to affect change in Ferguson and beyond?” I sent her a link to a collaborative online document, Teaching #Ferguson #sschat Resources, a collection of teacher-recommended materials and teaching strategies ranging from pre-k to college-level. I have since also found a relative document, Teaching About the Jordan Davis Murder Trial, which includes lesson plans for high school students. The first document includes curricula and resources for answering questions such as how has media bias influenced understandings of Ferguson? What historical/civic issues could help provide context for the events in Ferguson? How can teachers address social justice issues (police brutality, racial/economic discrimination, etc) related to Ferguson? Regardless of where and how you teach, I hope instructors everywhere will accept the challenge of helping students understand how to think critically about systems, power, and the media.
” Librarians & Libraries Lovers Descend on SXSW Interactive”, ATX Librarians Social Club. Events March 5-10, 2014
Want to see more library, archive, & museum content come to SXSW 2015? The SXSW PanelPicker is now open for public voting. 30% of the decision to pick a panel is based on public input, so sign up for an account, and get your votes in before Friday, Sept. 5! Feel free to add comments to the proposals to show additional support, and share far and wide! Selected panels will be announced starting Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Below is a short list of SXSW 2015 LAM (Interactive and EDU) panels. See a more inclusive list here and don’t forget to vote!
There is no better time of the year than September to sign up for a library card. All next month, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries all across the country are celebrating the value of getting a library card. If you don’t already have a library card, then be sure to stop by your local public library sometime during the month of September. If you have one, but know a friend or young person who doesn’t, then bring them to the library to get a card! They will want one to check out books, ebooks, audio tapes, cds, videos, dvds, and access computer terminals, databases and download mp3s—all free!
Steve Keene painting at the Brooklyn Public Library. Photo by Julia Lipkins. 2014.
I appreciated a quote that I stumbled on today in the lobby of the Central Branch of Brooklyn Public Library by Steve Keene. Keene is BPL’s 2014 artist-in residence. His art can be seen through August 29 in an exhibition that pays homage to Brooklyn and to BPL, rendered in Keene’s Wood Sculpture and Tattooed Plywood.
“I’m excited about working with Brooklyn Public Library,” stated Keene. “A library is like a train station for the mind. It is the point from which you can travel anywhere, everywhere. There is something so energizing about both the familiar and the unknown all at your fingertips waiting for new connections to be made. I try to include this sense of unlimited possibility in my work.”