Friday Roundup: Scholastic, FirstBook, and the National Archives

By Catherine A. Cardno — March 15, 2013 2 min read
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• Publishing giant Scholastic announced today that they have entered into an agreement with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers to offer a selection of titles ranging from picture books to young adult novels via their e-reading app, Storia. The new additions will expand the e-book titles available to teachers and students at Scholastic’s book fairs and book clubs, and include such award-winning titles and authors as The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes; Printz Award-winning author of Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi; Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson; and Hug Time and The Gift of Nothing by New York Times-bestselling Patrick McDonnell.

• FirstBook, a Washington-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting literacy for children in low-income communities, announced this week that they have committed to purchasing $1 million in books, split between two publishers: HarperCollins and Lee & Low Books. The books will feature minorities, characters of color, and other voices that are rarely represented in children’s literature but which resonate with the communities that the organization serves—including special needs and LGBT communities—according to FirstBook. “With these major purchases, First Book is continuing to harness market forces to create social change,” writes the organization’s President and CEO Kyle Zimmer. “By aggregating the untapped demand for books and resources in thousands of low-income communities, we’re helping to create a new market for the publishing industry.”

Reading Room, Library of Congress, ca. 190-: Photograph shows several people seated at tables looking at books or albums, with card catalogs and magazine racks behind them, in the second floor southeast pavilion of what is now called the Thomas Jefferson Building. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-37240

• Have you heard? A new national digital library is in development. David S. Ferriero, the archivist of the United States, announced this week that the Digital Public Library of America, or DPLA, will soon launch its first pilot project. Several content providers, including the National Archives and Harvard University, are sharing digitized content from their online catalogs as part of the Digital Hubs Pilot Project, which will aggregate onlin digital collections into one “hub.” If you are in, or near, Boston, the festivities surrounding the launch of the pilot program will take place on April 18-19 at the Boston Public Library’s central location.

The National Archives will provide a whopping 1.2 million digital copies from its catalog for the DPLA project. For those of you who might not already be aware (I counted myself as part of that crowd up until this week), the DPLA is a “large-scale, collaborative project across government, research institutions, museums, libraries, and archives to build a digital library platform to make America’s cultural and scientific history free and publicly available anytime, anywhere, online through a single access point.” Which is wonderful news, for sure. But I, for one, will miss old-school reading rooms once they are gone for good.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.