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Page 2 • Cognotes 2012 Midwinter Meeting HIGHLIGHTS—Dallas

The 2012 ALA Midwinter Meeting concluded with the popular Wrap Up Rev Up event on Monday, January 23. Pop star Lisa Loeb kicked off the event with a performance of some of her songs from her first children’s songbook Lisa Loeb’s Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs. After Loeb’s performance, the winners of an array of prize giveaways were announced. Next Stop: Anaheim and the 2012 ALA Annual Conference. Visit for more information

Author John Green Greets Cheering Fans

By Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress

Young adult author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars, Penguin, 2012), introduced as “famous on the Internet” due to his blog and Twitter activities, paid tribute on Sunday, January 22 to librarians for keeping him employed because “only librarians watched and adopted [his and his brother Hank’s] social media presence” long before others did.

Green’s Auditorium Speaker Series presentation included an opening video made six days ago during the signing tour for his novel about sick kids, based on his experience as a hospital chaplain. He admitted the story might be a bit “self-indulgent and sentimental.” His telling the tale through the voice of a young woman was a challenge, however.

An enthusiast of social media (except for Facebook), this Indianapolis resident maintained that “there is no such thing as a non-social media” because “searching is already social.” He noted that Google and Yelp keep track of searchers’ interests, so sharing of information about oneself online sometimes takes place without one realizing it. He asserted, however, that Internet use can be improved. “Librarians can infiltrate and then raise the level of discourse” in online communities. He deplored the fact that Internet use too often takes the form of superficial skimming. Deep reading, by contrast, builds connections.

» see page 7

John Green

King Celebration Features Keynote, Calls to Action

By Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress

On Monday, January 23, ALA emphasized the continuing relevance of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a sunrise program sponsored by ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table, the Black Caucus of ALA, and World Book. The format consisted of a collection of readings from his works by representatives of constituent units of the organization; a keynote address by Rev. Dr. Lewis V. Baldwin, Professor of Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University; and a call-to-action speech by Oralia Garza de Cortes, Past-President of the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA.) The event opened with rousing audience participation in the singing of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” and closed with “We Shall Overcome.”

Among the many who quoted from King’s remarks and writings were:

ALA President Molly Raphael – “today the question is not whether we shall be free, but by what course we will win.”

Jos N. Holman, President of the Black Caucus of ALA – “direct action is not a substitute for work….Indeed, direct action and legal action King Celebration Features Keynote, Calls to Action complement each other.”

Tess Tobin, Chair, of ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table – “no social advance rolled in on the wheels of inevitability … This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”

Alexandra P. Rivera, ALA Committee on Diversity – “I have seen too much hate to want to hate myself … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Baldwin has published many works on King, including the latest Thou Dear God: Prayers That Open Hearts and Spirits. He stated, “Dr. King has affected each of us in profound ways. But we have not yet assessed him fully.” Addressing the competing images of this iconic figure, Baldwin asserted that there is a need to rediscover and to reclaim “the true spiritual genius… a quintessential image of Christian spirituality and action” which is the essence of the man. Combining “Christian social witness” with “Christian social practice,” the civil rights leader drew a connection between prayer and social justice work in the quest for “the beloved community,” uniting the prayer circle and the picket line in his quest to transform society.

Baldwin contrasted this “vital and engaged spirituality” with the “entrepreneurial, feel-good spirituality” that too often characterize today’s mega churches. In King’s last book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? he maintained that the richer we have become materially the poorer we have become spiritually and called for “a revolution of values and priorities.”

de Cortes deplored the continuing inequality of access in the types of library and language programs offered in our communities. She challenged those assembled to determine “how can we occupy our libraries with programs that are relevant” to the needs of diverse publics.

Andrew P. Jackson (Sekou Molefi Baako), Co-chair of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Task Force, closed with Bishop Desmond Tutu’s thoughts on King, pointing out his openness and large-heartedness. King believed that “the only way we can ever be human or free is together.”

Librarians hold hand in a circle and end the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance and Sunrise Celebration with song.


ISBN: 0738-4319
Volume 2012 Issue 5

Frederick J. Augustyn, Jr.
The Library of Congress
Washington, DC

Kacee Church
Harmony Science Academy
Euless, Texas

Brad Martin
LAC Group
New York, NY

ALA Liaison
Paul Graller

Publisher/Managing Editor
Deb Nerud Vernon

Curtis Compton

Tim Mercer
CustomNews, Inc.

Jenn Waters
CustomNews, Inc.