Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Smithsonian Announces Release of Freedmen's Bureau Records

On the 150th anniversary of “Juneteenth” (June 19), the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and FamilySearch announced the digital release of 4 million Freedmen’s Bureau historical records. In addition, a nationwide effort seeking volunteers to transcribe the handwritten entries has begun.

A collaboration with FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum, the Freedmen’s Bureau Project makes the records of freed slaves available and accessible by taking the raw records, extracting the information and indexing them to make them searchable online. Once indexed, it will be possible to find an ancestor by going to the site, entering a name and discovering a family member.

The Freedmen’s Bureau was organized near the end of the American Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. From 1865 to 1872, the Bureau opened schools, managed hospitals, rationed food and clothing and even solemnized marriages. In the process, it gathered priceless handwritten personal information, including marriage and family information, military service, banking, school, hospital and property records on potentially 4 million African Americans. The records are the property of the National Archives and Records Administration, where they have been carefully preserved and protected for decades.

More from the Smithsonian.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Libraries in Nepal

The American Library Association is partnering with READ Global (Rural Education and Development) libraries in Nepal to collect monetary donations in North America, which will be sent to READ Nepal, which is leading the relief effort. The Nepal Library Relief Fund will help to rebuild libraries and archives in Nepal that were destroyed or damaged by the earthquake on April 25, 2015, followed by a series of aftershocks including one of 7.3 magnitude on May 12. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Albany (NY) School District needs candidates for vacant seat on Board of Education

The City School District of Albany Board of Education is inviting candidates to apply for its vacant seat.

Albany residents interested in filling the volunteer position can apply through the end of business June 10. Please visit the Board of Education section to find out how to apply.

Interested candidates will have an opportunity to make a five-minute public presentation at the board's June 18 meeting. The board could make an appointment as soon as its July 16 meeting.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Can books save us from what digital does to our brains?

from Medium.com

When I think back on my life, I can define a set of books that shaped me — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. Books have always been an escape, a learning experience, a saviour, but beyond this, greater than this, certain books became, over time, a kind of glue that holds together my understanding of the world. I think of them as nodes of knowledge and emotion, nodes that knot together the fabric my self. Books, for me anyway, hold together who I am.

Books, in ways that are different to visual art, to music, to radio, to love even, force us to walk through another’s thoughts, one word at a time, over hours and days. We share our minds for that time with the writer’s. There is a slowness, a forced reflection required by the medium that is unique. Books recreate someone else’s thoughts inside our own minds, and maybe it is this one-to-one mapping of someone else’s words, on their own, without external stimuli, that give books their power. Books force us to let someone else’s thoughts inhabit our minds completely.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The library is the last, best socialized institution in America today and you're about to lose it

From Daily Kos:

As an American librarian I am glad to be living in the European Union where library funding isn't under attack to the extent that it is back home in the United States, because readership, literacy and an open based knowledge system that is publicly funded is still valued. In America, library budgets have become low hanging fruit for conservative local and state politicians.

Not only does t beg the question will your state be next but it asks the question what will you do when they come for your library and your kid's summer reading program? Do you really know how many books it's really going to take to make that special child or grandchild in your life a lifelong reader. Do you think you have anywhere near those numbers of books in your private collection?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Job opening: Manager, Adult and Outreach Services - Upper Hudson Library System (Albany, NY)

The Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS) has a challenging opportunity for a creative library professional to join our team. We are a cooperative library system headquartered in Albany, NY, providing services to enhance, support and connect the 29 independent public libraries in New York’s Albany and Rensselaer Counties.

Our new colleague will collaborate with UHLS staff and our member libraries to provide System services focusing on:
• adult services support and continuing education
• e-content collection growth and management
• resource sharing services (delivery, inter-library loan, etc.)
• outreach services

We are looking for a professional who:
• is passionate about public library service
• is ready to be a strong leader in helping our member libraries make a difference in their communities
• understands and seeks to further the important role public library systems play in strengthening library service

You should be able to demonstrate through your skills and experience:
• the ability to plan and organize multiple priorities effectively and efficiently
• resourcefulness and creativity as an approach to both relationship building and problem solving
• the ability to work effectively with other people in a variety of situations
• a confident and effective public presentation style
• an awareness of current trends in public library services, especially in digital collections and resource sharing
• engagement in professional organizations and activities

You must have:
• an MLS/MSIS degree from an ALA accredited institution; and
• a New York State Public Librarian’s Professional Certificate; and
• a valid driver’s license; and
• at least 5 years of relevant professional experience working in a public library, two years of which must include supervisory responsibilities.

This is a full-time position with a competitive benefits package, including participation in the NYS Retirement System. The starting salary range for this position will be $58,000-$63,000, depending on experience and qualifications.

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references via e-mail to searchcommittee@uhls.org.The review of applications will begin on June 8, 2015, and continue until the position is filled.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do We Really Need Libraries?

Andrew Carnegie — in Johnny Appleseed fashion — planted 1,679 library buildings in communities throughout the nation between 1886 and 1919, according to the National Park Service. From Caribou, Maine, to Clarksdale, Miss; from Honolulu to Miles City, Mont.

Many of the structures are grandiloquent cathedrals — edification edifices, little Louvres for the intellect — designed to send the message: Learning is everlasting.

They also gave us the sense that we lived in the United Smarts of America.

Carnegie paid for the construction; the community was charged with providing upkeep and operating costs. Eventually, some of the buildings became obsolete and were repurposed or demolished. Some are still living, breathing libraries.