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Magazines > Information Today > January/February 2017

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Information Today
Vol. 31 No. 1 — January/February 2017
EDITOR'S NOTE
Let Freedom Ring
by Brandi Scardilli


As Kool & The Gang said, “Let’s all celebrate and have a good time.” After all, a new year means we can move forward. No matter your opinion on the outcome of the presidential election, it’s finally over. Read on to find out more about how you can adjust to our new reality.

Festive Features

First, let’s get back to ringing in 2017. OCLC celebrates its 50th birthday this year, so Nancy Herther looks back on its accomplishments and shares its future plans (“As OCLC Turns 50, It Focuses on the Future”). The Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) held its annual conference in Europe for the first time. Get the lowdown on what happened during the gathering from Emil Levine (“The ASIS&T Annual Meeting Goes to Europe”). And Marydee Ojala got the scoop on the British Library’s new initiatives (“Digital Scholarship Is a Piece of Cake”). There is one more celebratory feature in this issue: Random House’s Cheryl Herman applauds the increasing diversity of audiobooks. Look for her take on page 27.

Follow the Constitution

Information Today is a nonpartisan publication, but we cover issues relevant to the library field—and library workers in general are advocates of free speech and defenders of equal rights for all. So we know you’re probably already working on ways you can keep your patrons informed about (and make them feel safe from) any future discriminatory actions by the new presidential administration. Let us know your thoughts by tweeting (@ITINewsBreaks) or emailing (itletters@infotoday.com).

We’ve created a new section on page 6 that will serve as a monthly update on the new administration and Congress and the issues that they raise for all Americans. This month, we look at fake news, which dominated the media’s coverage of the election. Lauree Padgett speaks to the National Association for Media Literacy Education’s (NAMLE) Michelle Ciulla Lipkin about the importance of teaching citizens to evaluate what they’re being told.

The section is called We the People, because if there’s one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s the sacred nature of our nation’s founding document:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.(archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript).

If we want to achieve all of the goals set out by the first sentence of the Constitution, it’s time to get to work.

Speak Your Mind

Former congressional staffer Emily Ellsworth got a lot of attention after the election for her tweets about how to contact government officials. You can read them at storify.com/editoremilye/i-worked-for-congress-for-six-years. Now, she’s released a free, downloadable PDF (a donation is requested) titled “Call the Halls” (callthehallsguide.com).

Ellsworth says the best way to contact your representatives is to call them. They get so many emails and letters that yours may be too easily lost in the shuffle. It’s much more difficult to ignore a ringing phone. When Congress, the president, or even your mayor does something you don’t like, literally call them on it. Our government officials’ job is to represent us, and they can’t do that if they don’t know what we want. Visit usa.gov/elected-officials to find out how to contact your representatives at the local, state, and federal levels.

Give What You Can

As the saying goes, put your money where your mouth is. Give to charities that have missions you believe in; every dollar helps. You could make a plan to donate $5 each month to a charity of your choice. That way, you’re only giving up, let’s say, one Starbucks coffee a month—but if 100 people each do that, the charity gets $500. The Nov. 13 episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (youtube.com/watch?v=-rSDUsMwakI) listed organizations you might be interested in learning more about:

Other Resources

Although Michael Moore is anything but subtle about his political beliefs, his 2015 documentary, Where to Invade Next (wheretoinvadenext.com), is a surprisingly nonpartisan look at what other countries do for their citizens. Moore speaks to an elementary school chef in France, a CEO in Italy, university students in Slovenia, the world’s first female president in Iceland, prisoners in Norway, and others to discover their best ideas for making their country great. You’ll learn a lot about how other countries see their citizens—and be inspired to work on keeping America great too.

The Nov. 15 issue of the enewsletter Lenny features an essay on the importance of self-care as well as caring for others: the “Survival Kit for Lives Affected by Trump: A Living Document of Things Women, POC, Immigrants, the Working Poor, and the People Who Love Them Can Do to Keep Going” (lennyletter.com/health/a614/survival-kit-for-lives-affected-by-trump).

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, and productive new year,Brandi Scardilli

Brandi Scardilli is Editor of Information Today and Newsbreaks. Send your comments about this article to itletters@infotoday.com.
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