The curious task of digitizing Darwin’s beans and butterflies

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura.

Squeaky beans may have inspired a few fits of giggles, but the task of conserving organic material for digitization is serious, occasionally even dangerous work. Conservation of the beans is part of the Darwin Correspondence Project, a massive undertaking to digitize thousands of Charles Darwin’s private letters. By 2022, the team aims to release a complete archive of the late botanist’s work to the public.

Oakland, California, planning e-bike library to cut congestion and carbon

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

The city is using a state grant to offer bicycle lending — along with instruction on how to ride a bike and maintenance — in low-income neighborhoods.

New project to assist libraries with data storytelling

Read the full story from the University of Illinois.

A new project led by Associate Professor Kate McDowell and Assistant Professor Matthew Turk will help libraries tell data stories that connect with their audiences. Their project, “Data Storytelling Toolkit for Librarians,” has received a two-year, $99,330 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS grant RE-250094-OLS-21), under the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, which supports innovative research by untenured, tenure-track faculty.

American Library Association Sustainability and Libraries LibGuide

This guide, maintained by the American Library Association (ALA), includes links to ALA sustainability resources as well as a brief list of books and online materials related to sustainable libraries.

Sustainable Swag Self-Evaluation rubrics for library workers and vendors

Have you thought about the environmental impact of the swag items that your library provides at events? From the raw materials used to create the items through their lifecycle until their final disposal, promotional items have an impact on the planet. These self-evaluation rubrics developed by the American Library Association’s Sustainability Roundtable will help library workers and vendors evaluate the sustainability of promotional materials before they buy.

Science Librarianship and Social Justice

Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship recently published a three-part series about science librarianship and social justice. Each part includes a short discussion of foundational, intermediate, and advanced concepts related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How public libraries are seeding America’s gardens

Read the full story at Eater. See also the University of Illinois Library’s Seed Libraries Research Guide. If you live in the Champaign-Urbana area, check out the Urbana Free Library’s Seed Exchange.

Seed sharing at public libraries date back to at least 2010, and while no one tracks just how such programs many there are across the, but it’s likely the number has now reached into the hundreds. Many started after the pandemic forced people outside and encouraged them to find ways to be more resilient, especially in how they procure food.

Evanston Public Library’s first annual Blueberry Awards highlight nature, sustainability in children’s literature

Read the full story at the Daily Northwestern.

Slimy insects, invasive species and hidden foxes brought home the prize this week as some of the subjects of Evanston Public Library’s inaugural class of Blueberry Award-winning books.

EPL designated 26 awardees, including one winner and six Blueberry Changemaker honorees, for excellence in ecologically-focused children’s literature intended to strengthen young readers’ connection with nature and encourage stewardship of the environment.

Webinar: Environmental Monitoring and Integrated Pest Management at UIUC

Apr 27, 2022, 10 am CDT
Register here.

Environmental monitoring and integrated pest management (IPM) are two essential aspects of preserving library collections. Attendees will learn how storage environments can impact library materials and the elements of a successful IPM program. We will also cover how to identify pests and mold and what to do when you see them. This session is open to anyone, and is especially geared toward UIUC library staff.

This event is part of Preservation Week 2022. For more information, visit or contact Shelby Strommer (

Using data science to uncover the work of women in science

Read the full story in Smithsonian Magazine.

Scientists’ personal papers often offer key insights into a scientist’s goals and character. Without them, digital curator Dr. Elizabeth Harmon must act as a detective.