Libraries on the front lines.

American Library Association • April 21, 2020

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The State of America’s Libraries 2020

The State of America’s Libraries 2020

On April 20, ALA released its State of America’s Libraries 2020 report, an annual summary of library trends released during National Library Week, April 19–25, that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries during the previous calendar year. Although the report focuses on 2019, libraries are shown to be on the front lines addressing societal and community challenges—a role they are certainly playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report also includes the Top 10 Most Challenged Books for 2019, along with the reasons that were cited for censoring the books. The report is also available in PDF and HTML formats....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 20; Mar. 1, 2018; Office for Intellectual Freedom

ALA National Library Workers Day statement

National Library Workers Day logo

On April 21, in honor of National Library Workers Day, a celebration during National Library Week, the ALA Executive Board issued a statement that reads in part: “We have been buoyed by the resilience and innovation our profession has demonstrated in unprecedented circumstances. We know that while library buildings may be physically closed, librarians and library workers are busier than ever continuing to safely deliver vital services to their communities. Each of these services takes effort, care, and thought to be uniquely attuned to the needs of each local community, and we applaud the library workers who have stepped up to address needs.”...

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 21

ALA Virtual: Community Through Connection, June 24–26

ALA Virtual, June 24–26

The American Library Association will host ALA Virtual: Community Through Connection, an online event that will offer educational programming, special author events, and social networking June 24–26. The event format, specific content, and additional details will be announced soon on the new ALA Virtual website. The library community is encouraged to join us online as we adapt and evolve in these changing times. Registration will open on May 11. Get #alavirtual20 social media updates on Instagram, ALA Twitter, and ALA Facebook....

ALA Conference Services, Apr. 20

Peggy Sullivan, 1929–2020

Peggy Sullivan

Former ALA Executive Director Peggy Sullivan (right) died of natural causes at her home in Chicago on April 13. She received an MLS from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and a doctorate from University of Chicago Graduate Library School. Sullivan served as both ALA executive director (1992–1994) and ALA president (1980–1981). Her other achievements include serving as dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Rosary College (1995–1997); assistant commissioner of Chicago Public Library (1977–1981); and director of the Knapp School Libraries Project (1963–1967), which had a major impact on convincing the public of the need for high-quality school library media programs....

Lakeview Funeral Home, Chicago

Dewey Decibel: Libraries respond to COVID-19

Dewey Decibel: Libraries respond to COVID-19

In Episode 49, Dewey Decibel looks at the library world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. First, host Phil Morehart speaks with Felton Thomas Jr., executive director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library, about the library’s use of 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for emergency workers. Then Morehart talks with Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, about how to safely sanitize and clean collections to prevent the spread of the virus....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 21
ALA news

Reopening: Not “when?” but “how?”

Reopening the library

Cass Balzer writes: “As stay-at-home orders extend deeper into spring, some public libraries are drafting plans for their eventual reopenings—even as it remains difficult to predict how and when those plans might be implemented. Once reopened, most will likely continue to support social-distancing measures through such steps as rearranging furniture, cleaning computers between uses, disinfecting books and other materials, and—as the Radnor Memorial Library in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is considering—perhaps providing special hours for at-risk populations such as the elderly and immunocompromised.”...

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 17

Library digitization has found its moment

HathiTrust logo

Roger C. Schonfeld writes: “Academic libraries have been on the leading edge of universities’ digital transformation for two decades. As a result, they were prepared for this moment of crisis. The broader lesson here for the entire higher education sector is to continue investing ‘just in case’ in enabling capacities—rather than budgeting narrowly for today’s immediate needs only. But even before the pandemic, the primacy of print had passed. One especially outright hero today is HathiTrust. Its Emergency Temporary Access Service enables its members to make vast swaths of their unavailable print collections accessible digitally. For some members, this amounts to millions of books.”...

Ithaka S+R, Feb. 3, Apr. 21; HathiTrust Digital Library, Apr. 13

The best COVID-19 tracking apps and websites

Dashboard from website

Joel Cornell writes: “Many new apps claim to be aimed at helping combat the coronavirus. Some provide vital notifications and advice, but others are full of misinformation and scams. That’s why we recommend the following trustworthy sources. Always investigate the authenticity of any app or website that claims to provide COVID-19 information. You can thank high school junior Avi Schiffmann for one overview of important pandemic statistics. His website,, aggregates several official sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization. The site presents the total number of confirmed cases and people tested, as well as the number of deaths and those who have recovered.”...

How-To Geek, Apr. 20
Latest Library Links

Online lectures from A to Zoombombing

The risks and rewards of online lectures

Sarah Ostman writes: “Taking library programs online can be effective at reaching audiences that are connected to the internet. Videoconferencing has other benefits: It is cost-effective, you can reach people far outside your service area, and it may be a draw for those who can’t or don’t visit the library in person. But there are risks—like Zoombombing, which occurs when unwanted people enter and disrupt your online event, either as a prank or with serious hate speech. Anthony Wright de Hernandez, community collections archivist at Virginia Tech University Libraries, experienced it all when he recently took a planned in-person lecture series online. We talked to him about what worked and what didn’t.”...

Programming Librarian, Apr. 20

Virtual class visits to the SCU Archives

Social media posts on SCU digital objects

Kelci Baughman McDowell writes: “Not being able to meet face-to-face hasn’t stopped Santa Clara University students from interacting with Archives and Special Collections materials. For one of our critical thinking and writing classes, Digital Collections Librarian Summer Shetenhelm and English Professor Amy Lueck asked students to create social media posts inspired by an object in SCU’s Digital Collections. The activity was divided into two sessions—the first, an asynchronous tutorial on how to select an object and an assignment to post an object on Padlet (an online bulletin board), and the second, a synchronous Zoom session where students discuss their posts and their processes.”...

Santa Clara University: Arthur’s Attic, Apr. 20
Dewey Decibel podcast

Ideas for kids during the pandemic

Librarian Bookends blog

Carol Simon Levin writes: “After being approached by teachers and parents about suggestions for keeping kids engaged during these challenging times, I began to compile a guide. A sampling of the resources include: The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has compiled a page to help kids find readings as well as art/activity ideas from their favorite authors. In an article titled “Home with Your Kids? Writers Want to Help,” the New York Times has compiled a list of authors and illustrators sharing their stories and talents with kids. LibrarianBookends blog has a daily post listing live readings from authors and illustrators. Here are some other resources.”...

ALSC Blog, Apr. 17; New York Times, Mar. 20

Book events you can attend from home

The Everywhere Book Fest

Rachel Brittain writes: “As this quarantine goes on, I think it’s safe to say we’re all feeling more and more isolated. The good news is, in the light of all this isolation, a number of conventions—old and new—have decided to move online in order to keep the book community connected and thriving in the time of COVID-19. Just like the real deal, these online festivals have everything from virtual Q&A’s to signed books and giveaways. Check out and sign up for these awesome virtual book events you can attend from home.”...

Book Riot, Apr. 21

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