Wednesday News: Librarian of Congress vote, “book deserts,” Tor eBook Club, and paleo pets
Anonymous Republicans Blocking Librarian of Congress Vote – In a major WTF move, an “anonymous Republican hold” now keeps Carla Hayden from a final Senate confirmation vote. What is particularly odd about this situation is that Hayden has had absolutely no difficulty getting to this late stage of the process, and the move could mean that when Congress adjourns for its summer recess in less than a week, the vote on Hayden’s candidacy will be in limbo for who knows how long. The ALA president called out the anonymous senator(s), saying that they have “the obligation” to disagree “in public and with specificity on the floor of the Senate.”
A highly respected and accomplished librarian, Hayden, currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, would be the first woman, and the first African American Librarian of Congress. She will also be the first professional librarian to hold the post in over 60 years. – Publishers Weekly
Study identifies ‘book deserts’—poor neighborhoods lacking children’s books—across country – A new study, funded by JetBlue and led by NYU’s Steinhart School, looked at neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Detroit, comparing access to and availability of books for children. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the differences between very low-income neighborhoods and higher income neighborhoods were stark and discouraging. And given the clear connection between early reading and academic achievement, and between academic achievement and social mobility, it’s a good reminder that it’s not just about libraries.
Going street by street in each neighborhood, the researchers counted and categorized what kinds of print resources—including books, magazines, and newspapers—were available to purchase in stores. (While online book sales have grown in recent years, three out of four children’s books are still bought in brick and mortar stores.)
The researchers recorded a total of 82,389 print resources in 75 stores. Three of the six neighborhoods had no bookstores, while dollar stores were the most common place to buy children’s books.
The researchers found stark disparities in access to children’s books for families living in high-poverty areas. Borderline communities in all three cities had substantially greater numbers of books – an average of 16 times as many books per child – than did the high-poverty neighborhoods in the same cities. – Phys.org
One Free Book Every Month: Announcing the Tor.com eBook Club! – I’ve always loved the free monthly ebook from The University of Chicago Press (even though they use Adobe Digital Editions), and am happy to see that Tor is doing the same for US and Canadian readers (hopefully without ADE). All you have to do is sign up for the eBook Club to receive a monthly download link (the first book is Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem). Then,
After every new Ebook Club offering, Tor.com’s non-fiction contributors will explore the book in the form of social media chats, Tor.com articles, and sit-downs with the authors. We’ll get granular (“But how fast can your dragons fly?”) and silly (“If they were space dragons then here’s what their space dragon space suit would look like”) and cultural (“Did the dragons’ society calcify once they moved from three genders to two? Would humanity benefit from intellectual innovation by moving from two genders to three?”), and more. – Tor
These Paleo Pets Made Fossil Hunting Less Lonely – Who doesn’t love the idea of Mary Anning hunting for fossils with her loyal dog Tray???
The most famous rockhound of all was one of the first. Tray, a mutt of a terrier sort, was the loyal friend of early 19th century paleontologist Mary Anning. Fossil lore says that Anning was the inspiration for the rhyme “She sells seashells by the seashore” but, regardless of whether that’s true or not, Anning made a reputation for herself as a skilled field expert with a sharp eye for strange marine reptiles eroding out of the Jurassic stone on England’s southern coast.Tray followed Anning on her shoreline expeditions, and even helped out as a field assistant. When Anning would temporarily leave a find to go get help digging it out, Tray would stay behind, marking the place where the fossil rested. – Smithsonian Magazine