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Recap: Third Annual Battle of the Librarians Trivia Night

Recap: Third Annual Battle of the Librarians Trivia Night

By Emily Florio

Members of LLSDC, DC/SLA and DCLA showed their trivia smarts at the Third Annual Battle of the Librarians held October 25th at Hill Country. The teams definitely showcased our profession through their team names: Make Librarians Great Again, Book Vixens, Plato’s Stepchildren and Dewey Decimal’s Damsels. The various trivia rounds included current events, audio and images, Halloween questions and much more. All teams put in a great effort and Team Dewey had a come from behind victory to win.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it another fun event!



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A Day at the Zoo

A Day at the Zoo

Last weekend, a group of DC/SLA members braved the District heat and visited the National Zoo. While the crowds made it difficult to get a glimpse of baby panda Bei Bei, the DC/SLAers got to meet a Great Ape zookeeper, watched the elephants get trained, and saw the Sloth Bear enrichment demonstration.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the zoo!

Here are a few pics from the event. Stay tuned for other DC/SLA events on the calendar or on SLA Connect.


2016 Summer National Zoo Outing

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DC/SLA Members Sweep Medals At Museum Scavenger Hunt

DC/SLA Members Sweep Medals At Museum Scavenger Hunt

By Lois Ireland, DC/SLA Program Director

Eight DC/SLA members took on a different challenge recently, as they put their heads together to solve a murder.

Well, OK, it was a pretend murder but the search to uncover who dunnit required attention to detail, an ability to detect patterns in disparate things and good-natured teamwork – sounds like a typical librarian job description!

We joined a larger group at the National Gallery of Art (West) and listened as Sharlette from Watson Adventures described how a museum curator had been found in his office. Our job, she told us, was to use the clues he’d left behind to suss out the murderer and the motive. The group divided into 8 teams of 4 people, and set off through the galleries, finding answers hidden in the artwork.  The 20 clues involved word play, a little history, a keen eye and some quick thinking to come up with the answers. Our 2 librarian teams, “Better Than Google” and “The Late and the Lost,” finished the search with a comfortable margin on the clock.  When the score sheets were tallied, the DC/SLA  teams were tied for first place. “The Late and the Lost” edged past “Better Than Google” after a tie-breaker question.

With congratulations all-round and medals to prove ourselves worthy of Nancy Drew’s admiration, the triumphant teams retired to Ella’s Wood-Fired Pizza for a celebratory dine-around. The decision was unanimous – this was a very fun way to explore the gallery and see the artwork in a different way. Watson Adventures also runs other scavenger hunts – check out their website. http://www.watsonadventures.com/public/location/washington-dc/

DC/SLA Scavenger Hunt Teams:

Better Than Google

  • Beth Kirton-Crane                                                                            
  • Kate McNamara                                                                               
  • Cheri Widowski                                                                                
  • Susan Wright                                                      

The Late & The Lost

  • Johnna Childs
  • Lois Ireland
  • Becky Steindorf
  • Amy Taylor









Photos – the winner’s medal; attendees – Cheri Widowski, Susan Wright, Beth Kirton-Crane, Kate McNamara, Becky Steindorf, Lois Ireland, Johnna Childs, Amy Taylor

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Event Recap – Non-fiction Book Club Discusses “The Shallows”

The Association of Graduate Library and Information Students of Catholic University (AGLISS) selected The Shallows:  What the Internet is doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr as their common read this year, and they held a joint-sponsored book club meetup at Zorba’s Cafe Tuesday night. The discussion went well, and some attendees tweeted about it.

Stay tuned for the next Non-fiction book club event. You can view upcoming and past reads on the Professional Book Club page. Contact Jessica Fomalont with questions, comments or suggestions.

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Event Recap – World Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk:  Preservation Efforts in Libraries & Archives in the Middle East

Event Recap – World Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk: Preservation Efforts in Libraries & Archives in the Middle East

By Jan Zastrow

Gathering at the beautiful Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center on 16th Street in downtown Washington, DC, a whopping 40-plus DC/SLA members met for an update of cultural heritage sites at risk in the Middle East on Thursday, April 21.

The Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center (SQCC) is dedicated to educating people of the United States about the breadth and richness of Omani culture. Through outreach programs, language scholarships, lectures, educational resources, cultural partnerships—and its wonderful exhibits and library—SQCC brings the culture, history, and heritage of Oman to US audiences.

JesseAfter enjoying the exhibits and indulging in yummy appetizers, we were welcomed by DC/SLA President Beth Maser who talked about joining SLA. SQCC Librarian Jesse Lambertson, who moderated the event, said his library includes a range of cultural heritage books and publications in both English and Arabic, many by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Also represented are novels and short stories, contemporary Omani poetry, and digitized materials such as wills, trusts and other administrative archival documents from the days when the Sultans of Oman lived in Zanzibar and the Portuguese controlled the Sea of Oman. All materials are open for public research and scholarship.

MichaelLambertson introduced Michael Albin who described his recent visit to Kurdish Iraq investigating the work of digitizing books in the north of Iraq. He specifically highlighted the work of Father Najeeb Michael, who is working to protect Christian documents and materials from destruction, decay and theft in the northern city of Erbil, Iraq. This is interesting because the conservation and preservation issues not only affect Arabic or Islamic materials, but reflect the more diverse population of those who live in Iraq and Syria.

JohnThen we heard from John Van Oudenaren, LC’s Director for International Programs with the World Digital Library. The WDL started in 2006 and now has content from ~130 sites around the world. Although it wasn’t intended to preserve actual physical objects, the World Digital Library has created digital images of cultural heritage materials that have since been destroyed, in effect serving as their substitutes. The WDL has a range of materials from the Arabic language in digitized manuscript form sourced from many institutions from the Middle East. To make the searching of the domain easier, the interface has been translated into seven languages, including Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and others.

Finally, Peter Herdrich joined us via Skype to describe the work of “The Antiquities Coalition” which combats cultural racketeering—the illicit trade in antiquities—and cultural cleansing. He hopes to create a Digital Library of the Middle East (similar to the Digital Public Library of America), which will be an aggregated collection of resources on a single website. His presentation revealed how systematic the cultural heritage looting has become in Syria—incredibly, even backhoes are being used at several sites to dig up antiquities in bulk! Herdrich is particularly focused on library and document preservation, and on providing access to materials that might rarely be seen without digitization.

Many thanks to our speakers for sharing their sobering experiences saving cultural patrimony in the Middle East, and to Jesse for hosting us at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center.

Until next time,
Jan Zastrow
DC/SLA Communications Team

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