Professional Tools

Donating Ebooks?

Q. Our local library, like so many others, now offers ebooks for loan. Their inventory is not as great as I would like. I’d like to be able donate ebooks I have purchased, just as I would donate paper copies of books I no longer wish to own, but I’m told this isn’t possible. Could you explain the difference to me and let me know if there is legislation in the works that can correct this seemingly unfair disparity?

Coretta Scott King Award Seal Design by Lev Mills

Q. I was recently teaching my students about the various literary awards for children’s writers and was asked an interesting question by a student. I have looked on your website as well as on the internet in general and cannot find a complete answer. I am hoping you can help me.

In the design for the Coretta Scott King Award, there are five religious symbols that are in line underneath the child reading the book. . . . My student asked me what they are. And his whole class is now fascinated with knowing about the design. Can you verify for me what these symbols actually are? Thank you so much for your help.

Top 100 Libraries By Collection Size

As you may know, the ALA Library has several pages in its section of the ALA website called “ALA Library Fact Sheets,” which answer fairly common questions about libraries, with sources noted. At some point in our history (and on September 30, we turned 88-years-old!), someone asked what were the top 100 libraries in the country, and we decided to use existing national surveys to respond, ranked by collection size.

Librarians Who Interview Authors on Television

The ALA Library recently responded to a rather specific question: What television programs consist of librarians interviewing authors? We found a good handful of librarian-hosted TV talk shows from all across the country that provide insight into the writer and writing process. We believe that all of these are current. Please do not hesitate to comment below with corrections. And let us know any that we have missed!

Librarian Ethnicity

Q. Does ALA have recent information on the ethnic distribution of librarians?

A Number of Children's and Young Adult Books as well as Audiobooks and Ebooks

In the newest edition of the Library and Book Trade Almanac   (formerly known as The Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac) put out by Information Today, Inc., the annual report on book title production now includes audiobook and ebook numbers.

Dewey or LC?

Q. Which is older, the Library of Congress Classification or Dewey? Which is more popular?

A. Quickly, Dewey is older and more popular, depending somewhat on the type of library. But let’s step back to the purposes of a classification system to understand a bit more about classification.

To “catalog” a book or other form of library material involves several interrelated processes which all contribute to the achievement of Charles Ammi Cutter’s “objects” for a catalog:

Historical Awards

Q. In a few weeks, one of our colleagues will retire. We know she has received several honors from the American Library Association. Is there any place we can research what they are?

A. We in the ALA Library—and in the divisions and offices, as well—have received this question, or similar ones, over the years. With ALA offering nearly 200 awards or other forms of recognition each year, some at the Association level, others by divisions or round tables, researching the question can be slow.

Using Other Sources

Q. Today's been tough.  Kids are coming in with left-to-the-last-minute homework assignments for which they normally turn to Wikipedia.  We're getting them to print resources and our online databases, but do you have suggestions for teaching research skills? 

Recommended Listening and Audiobooks

Q. I got to explain to an older patron today that audiobooks can be downloaded! She last listened to an audiobook when they were still on cassette tapes.  Now that she knows, she would love to give her 13-year-old granddaughter something else to listen to on her tiny music player. I told her about the Odyssey Award. Does ALA have any lists of audiobooks for children?

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