Weekly Spotlight!

Each week, we reflect on the top articles, blog posts, tweets, news, thoughts, and other tidbits we’ve found interesting or useful. Check out what our writers have spotted this week in library news. Enjoy!


In database/museum news, the Google Arts and Culture app has gone viral. In some states, its feature allows you to take a selfie and then, by using facial recognition technology, matches your picture to a specific painting logged in their database. Though surrendering your information to Google is not everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s not exactly flattering (I got matched with A Young Man by Piero di Cosimo, which is not exactly a photo that I’d use as a profile pic…), I had fun using this app. Better yet, the app gives you an opportunity to read up on your artsy doppelgängers too! Download the app and then scroll down to the text “Is your a portrait in a museum?”


This week, I came across this article by Matt de la Peña called “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children from Darkness.” He discusses his decision to keep a “heavy” illustration in his newly released picture book, Love, and shares his thoughts on the importance of exploring tough or dark subject matter with children. I especially liked the following passage:

A few weeks into the revision process, my wife and I received some bad news, and my daughter saw my wife openly cry for the first time. This rocked her little world and she began sobbing and clinging to my wife’s leg, begging to know what was happening. We settled her down and talked to her and eventually got her ready for bed. And as my wife read her a story about two turtles who stumble across a single hat, I studied my daughter’s tear-stained face. I couldn’t help thinking a fraction of her innocence had been lost that day. But maybe these minor episodes of loss are just as vital to the well-adjusted child’s development as moments of joy. Maybe instead of anxiously trying to protect our children from every little hurt and heartache, our job is to simply support them through such experiences. To talk to them. To hold them.


A post over at ACRLog alerted me to an article published by In The Library With The Lead Pipe called, “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves.” In this piece the author, Fobazi Ettarh, describes the concept of vocational awe as, “the set of ideas, values, and assumptions librarians have about themselves and the profession that result in notions that libraries as institutions are inherently good, sacred notions, and therefore beyond critique.” Ettarh believes that vocational awe contributes to many common problems in librarianship, such as burnout and low salaries.

I encourage everyone to read the piece. As Abby Flanigan, author of the ACRLog post, notes, librarians are often in the position of defending their chosen profession. This can sometimes put us in a position from which it is difficult to find space to look at librarianship critically, and think about ways in which it can be improved. Ettarh’s article opens up some space for librarians to be able to engage in critical reflection about the profession.


Cover photo from Alan Wu on Flickr Commons. Changes were made in adapting this image.  Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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