202: Library Comic – Gene Ambaum and Willow Payne

Steve chats with Gene Ambaum and Willow Payne, the writer and artist of Library Comic, about the transition from Unshelved to Library Comic, integrating spiders into the strip as much as possible, creative Kickstarter merch ideas, and Gene’s terrible taste in books and movies (according to Willow).

Gene Ambaum is a library guy who lives in the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time he reads and dreams of having more spare time. He co-created and wrote Unshelved.

Willow Payne is a Florida-based artist who has worked with Gene on Unshelved Book Club comics and their as-yet incomplete epic Barbarian Girl: The Burning Blade of the Badlands. She graduated from The Center for Cartooning Studies in 2014 and will inevitably take over the comics world. Her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, and Philip Pullman. She took over as the artist for Library Comic in June of 2019 with strip 581.

Today’s show is brought to you by Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing. Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.

SHOW NOTES:

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Library Comic
Barbarian Girl
Fiends of the Library
Bookstabber podcast

201: David Lankes – Forged in War

Steve chats with David Lankes, author of Forged in War: How a Century of War Created Today’s Information Society, about his new position at the University of Texas at Austin, whether or not libraries are neutral (spoiler: they’re not), knowledge infrastructure, and how the wars of the 20th century shaped propaganda, how data is collected and used, and the development of our information society, from telegraphs to the internet.

R. David Lankes is the director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Information Science, soon-to-be Full Professor and Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin, a Visiting Researcher at the French National Library School ENSSIB,  and recipient of the American Library Association’s 2021 Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award for distinguished contribution to reference librarianship and the 2016 Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship. His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature. Lankes is a passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today’s society.

Today’s show is brought to you by Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing. Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.

SHOW NOTES:

Sign up the Circulating Ideas newsletter!
“Lankes to join Texas iSchool as Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship”
“Are Libraries Neutral?” American Libraries
Forged in War: How a Century of War Created Today’s Information Society | audiobook
Information Hunters by Kathy Peiss
Libraries Lead the New Normal podcast

200: Tracie D. Hall

Steve chats with Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association, about her path to librarianship, her role as ALA’s Executive Director, what ALA has done and can do for library workers, libraries working for social justice, and accepting ourselves as members of the human race.

In February 2020, Tracie D. Hall was appointed the American Library Association’s 10th executive director in its 143-year history. In her new role, Hall oversees the oldest and largest library association in the world, made up of 57,000 members and more than 200 staffers. Hall is the first female African American executive director in ALA’s history.

Upon Hall’s appointment ALA President Wanda K. Brown observed that “Her unique combination of philanthropy and library know-how position her to be the leader ALA needs today. She is optimistic, energizing, and innovative, qualities that will serve the association well as it continues its investments in advocacy, development, and information technology.” Hall is no stranger to libraries, or to ALA. Over the years she has worked at the Seattle Public Library, the New Haven Free Public Library, Hartford Public Library, and Queens Library. In 1998, she was among the first cohort of ALA’s Spectrum Scholars, a grant program to diversify librarianship, and she served as the director of ALA’s Office for Diversity in the early 2000s and has served on advisory councils for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and written for the field’s major publications. She was highlighted as a “Mover and Shaker” in the field by Library Journal  early in her career. Most recently, Hall directed the culture portfolio at the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, developing new grant programs designed to foster greater equity and diversity in arts administration, catalyze and scale neighborhood-based arts venues, cultural programming and creative entrepreneurship. Prior to that she worked as Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and as community investment strategist in Global Corporate Citizenship at The Boeing Company. A civic leader in Chicago, Hall was appointed to serve on the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council at the beginning of 2020. Hall has also served in multiple roles in academia, including as assistant dean of Dominican’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science in River Forest, IL and as visiting professor at Wesleyan, Southern Connecticut State, and Catholic Universities among others. In addition to her MLIS from the Information School at the University of Washington, Hall holds an MA in International and Area studies with an emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa from Yale University and dual bachelor’s degrees in Law and Society and Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Hall has also studied at the Universities of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in East Africa. Hall was born and raised in Los Angeles.

Today’s show is brought to you by Syndetics Unbound, from ProQuest and LibraryThing. Syndetics Unbound helps public and academic libraries enrich their catalogs and discovery systems with high-interest elements, including cover images, summaries, author profiles, similar books, reviews, and more. Syndetics Unbound encourages serendipitous discovery and higher collection usage, and was recently awarded Platinum distinction in the LibraryWorks 2021 Modern Library Awards. To learn more about Syndetics Unbound, visit Syndetics.com. While there, be sure to visit their “News” tab to check out the Syndetics Unbound Blog for news and analysis, including a break-down of 2020’s most popular titles in public and academic libraries.

SHOW NOTES:

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195: Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara

Steve chats with Callan Bignoli and Lauren Stara, authors of Responding to Rapid Change in Libraries: a User Experience Approach, about how they met and decided to write a book together, how the New York Public Library lions guided their thinking, and the myriad issues libraries need to consider to prepare for future change.

CALLAN BIGNOLI is the director of the library at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. She gathers inspiration from everywhere to inform user-centered practices and push the profession forward. Callan studies and speaks about user experience design, library management, and social issues in technology, challenging students and colleagues to fight for a more just and human future. She tweets at @eminencefont and can be reached at callan.bignoli@gmail.com.


LAUREN STARA is a library building specialist with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, helping public libraries around the Commonwealth improve their physical spaces. A registered architect and a librarian, she has worked in and/or consulted for libraries in eight US states, three Canadian provinces, and three Eastern European countries. She has taught at library schools in Canada and Bulgaria, and she speaks and presents frequently on library design, design thinking, and service design. Lauren can be reached at lauren.stara@gmail.com.

SHOW NOTES:

Responding to Rapid Change in Libraries: a User Experience Approach
Ambient Findability by Peter Morville
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
“Vocational Awe and Librarianship: the Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Fobazi Ettarh | In The Library With The Lead Pipe
Library Space: A Planning Resource for Librarians

194: Carrie Rogers-Whitehead

Steve chats with Carrie Rogers-Whitehead, founder of Digital Respons-Ability, library consultant and author of Serving Teens and Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Libraries, about her work with libraries, why she founded Digital Respons-Ability, using person-first language, and how libraries can better serve teens and adults on the autism spectrum.

Carrie Rogers-Whitehead worked in libraries for nearly a decade and now consults and trains with librarians around the nation. As a librarian in Utah, she created the first library program aimed at individuals on the spectrum in the state. She later expanded that work to teens and adults on the spectrum. Carrie is the author of the book Teen Fandom and Geek Programming and Digital Citizenship: Teaching and Practice from the Field (Rowman & Littlefield) She is the founder of Digital Respons-Ability, a mission-based company that educates students, parents and educators on digital citizenship. She continues to work with individuals with autism in her current work.

SHOW NOTES:

Serving Teens and Adults on the Autism Spectrum: A Guide for Libraries
Digital Respons-Ability

193: Kathleen Willis

Steve chats with Representative Kathleen Willis, who represents Illinois’s 77th District, about her past experience in libraries, her legislative priorities, the parts of writing a bill that Schoolhouse Rock doesn’t cover, and how library staff can successfully lobby for funding.

Kathleen Willis is serving her fourth term in the Illinois General Assembly as State Representative of the 77th District, which includes O’Hare Airport and portions of Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, Stone Park, and Wood Dale. Representative Willis now serves as leadership in the Illinois General Assembly as House Majority Conference Chair.

As a full-time state representative, Kathleen’s top priorities are to improve access to quality education, human services, prevent unfair property tax increases on local families, make our neighborhoods safer by keeping deadly assault weapons off our streets and out of the hands of criminals, and work to get Illinois’ state government and economy back on the right track. Representative Willis was the primary sponsor and instrumental in passing the Red Flag law, which is a gun violence prevention law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

Kathleen has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services Administration from Elmhurst College and a master’s degree in Library and Information Services from the University of Illinois. She and her husband, Tom, reside in Addison.

192: Jeremy Shermak

Guest host Troy Swanson chats with journalism professor Jeremy Shermak, about the state of journalism, misinformation vs. disinformation, the collapse of local news, and the media literacy skills librarians need to understand.

Jeremy Shermak is a journalism professor and the faculty advisor to the student newspaper, Coast Report, at Orange Coast College. He earned his Ph.D. in journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and previously studied journalism at the University of Missouri and Indiana University. He is a former journalist, managing editor and media analyst. His research interests include sports journalism, weather and climate communication, political communication, and journalism routines. You can follow him on Twitter @JeremyShermak.

Troy A. Swanson is Teaching & Learning Librarian and Library Department Chair at Moraine Valley Community College. He is also the President of the Moraine Valley Faculty Association. Troy is the author or editor of several books and articles including co-editor of Not Just Where to Click: Teaching Students How to Think About Information which received the Ilene F. Rockman Publication of the Year Award from ARCL’s Instruction Section. His Ph.D. dissertation focused on the management of technology policy in higher education. He served on ACRL’s Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force which issued the Framework for Information Literacy.  Over his tenure as a librarian and educator, Troy has won his campuses Master Teacher and Innovation of the Year awards, as well as the Proquest Innovation in College Librarianship award from ACRL. 

191: Guy LeCharles Gonzalez

Steve chats with Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, project lead for the Panorama Project, about what the project is, how he came to it, what libraries and publishers can learn about each other, and why he is optimistic about the future of reading.

Guy LeCharles Gonzalez is project lead for the Panorama Project. Previously, he was publisher & marketing director for Writer’s Digest; director, content strategy & audience development for Library Journal & School Library Journal; and founding director of programming & business development for Digital Book World. 

SHOW NOTES:

Panorama Project 

190: John Bracken

Steve chats with John Bracken, Executive Director at Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), about why he left the Knight Foundation to take on the challenge of the DPLA, how the DPLA works with its partners, and how DPLA is working to protect democracy and advance needed conversations about race.

John Bracken has served as executive director at Digital Public Library of America since December 2017. Previously John worked for nearly two decades as a philanthropic investor in digital media, media policy, and innovation. He most recently served as vice president for technology innovation at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he oversaw the Knight News Challenge, Knight’s Prototype Fund, and other efforts to improve the creation, curation, and accessibility of information. He previously managed technology and civic innovation programs at the MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. He has a master’s degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Pitzer College. He also serves on the board of the Illinois Humanities Council.

SHOW NOTES:

Digital Public Library of America
Circulating Ideas 44: Dan Cohen
Race, Power, and Curation: Launching the Black Women’s Suffrage Digital Collection | Register

189: Esther Safran Foer

Steve chats with Esther Safran Foer, the author of I Want You to Know We’re Still Here, about releasing a book during a pandemic, her time at Sixth & I, the exploration of her past leading to the writing of her memoir, and whether she sought writing advice from her sons.

Photo by Laura Ashbrook Photography

Esther Safran Foer was the CEO of Sixth & I, a center for arts, ideas, and religion. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Bert. They are the parents of Franklin, Jonathan, and Joshua, and the grandparents of six.

SHOW NOTES:

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here
Interview with Jonathan Safran Foer
Interview with Franklin Foer
Yizkor Books at NYPL
Library of Congress digital map collection
Sixth & I