Taking on additional tasks during a shutdown.

American Library Association • April 24, 2020

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Other (pandemic) duties as assigned

Some San Francisco Public Library staff have been redeployed during the COVID-19 pandemic to work at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Photo by SFPL

Anne Ford writes: ”Staffing homeless shelters, taking nonemergency calls for the city, distributing food, making wellness checks on fellow citizens: These are just a few of the jobs that public librarians find themselves performing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, being asked to take on tasks that fall outside their traditional job description is nothing new for librarians. But the unprecedented, widespread closure of libraries has made conditions especially ripe for staff redeployment—particularly since many localities consider librarians ‘city workers.’”...

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 24

Sustainability in libraries

Sustainability in Libraries series, Mandi Goodsett

Mandi Goodsett writes: “Two years ago, the Sustainability Interest Group of Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library decided that one way to educate the campus community and advance the library’s efforts in this area was to host a faculty speaker series featuring and celebrating research on sustainability topics. When I asked CSU Sustainability Officer Jenn McMillan if her office would be interested in cosponsoring the series, she said she loved the idea. She suggested we pair each faculty member with a leader from the community who could relay how the given topic or research was being implemented outside of the university.” Read Sally Romero's article on how academic libraries can meet their mission of sustainability....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 22, 24

How to protect your library from Zoombombing


Lara Ewen writes: “The attack came without warning, in front of hundreds of people. ‘It was our second AASL town hall meeting, at the end of March,’ said Kathy Carroll, AASL president-elect, ALA councilor-at-large, and lead library media specialist at Westwood High School in Blythewood, South Carolina. Prior to this incident, she had been unaware of Zoombombing. Carroll said the incident lasted for 10 minutes before the meeting was shut down. ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall is putting in place a series of protective measures to train ALA leaders on Zoom security. She said using the mute function in chat and moderating comments can help minimize disruption immediately.”...

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 23; TechCrunch, Mar. 17

Freddie Gray and Baltimore, five years later

Dewey Decibel: Freddie Gray and Baltimore: A Conversation with Wes Moore

Five years ago this week, the city of Baltimore was upended by protests and riots following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old unarmed black man who died while in Baltimore Police Department custody. Wes Moore, a Baltimore native and author of The Other Wes Moore and The Work: Searching for a Life That Matters, looks at Gray’s death and its aftereffects in his upcoming book, Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City. In this special bonus episode of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries Senior Editor Phil Morehart talks with Moore about his book, socioeconomic conditions in Baltimore, and how Enoch Pratt Free Library was the bedrock of the city during the riots....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 24
Dewey Decibel podcast

Safe handling and reopening practices

Cleaning materials

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, together with OCLC and Battelle Memorial Institute, announced a new collaboration to support the nation’s libraries and museums as they consider safe reopening practices. Other federal contributors include the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives and Records Administration. While most museums and libraries’ physical spaces are closed to the public, some are already working with local health officials to compile plans on when and how to safely reopen. The partnership will curate and develop information on how to handle materials, training, and cleaning in support of safely reopening and maintaining operations. Many libraries, including New York Public Library, are wondering whether they should impose a quarantine period on books that lasts as long as scientists determine the virus can survive on the materials....

Institute of Museum and Library Services, Apr. 22; Yahoo Finance, Apr. 23

Johns Hopkins rethinks report after librarian pushback

Johns Hopkins phased reopening report

Leah Rosenbaum writes: “On April 18, the Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security issued a report offering science-based guidance for state officials including governors on how to safely reopen communities. The report offered a risk assessment for various types of businesses and public spaces, with advice on how to best ease out of social distancing without creating a spike in coronavirus cases. The recommendations got swift and immediate pushback from librarians. On Twitter and other social media platforms, they were quick to criticize the paper’s characterization of libraries as being ‘low risk’ for reopening. The report was amended on April 20.”...

Forbes, Apr. 23; Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
ALA news

When the world changes on you

When the world changes

R. David Lankes writes: “What do we do when the world changes on us? It is a question that has been gnawing at me for these weeks at home. Librarians should be mobilized in times of crisis like medical workers to tend to the knowledge needs of our communities. Not to ensure there are enough ebooks to go around, but to provide comfort in knowing and understanding. Librarians with expertise in reference should be building fact sheets and infographics for our communities. Youth librarians should be doing storytime and helping parents explain the crisis to children. School librarians should be helping parents provide distraction and growth. Our systems librarians should be transforming catalogs and social media sites into community forums.”...

R. David Lankes, Apr. 22

Add colorful visuals to library quarantine resources

Educational YouTube channels list

Karin Greenberg writes: “There is something about colorful visuals that excites me. Show me a list of books, and I’ll read it with interest. But provide me with a graphic display of those book covers and my heart races in anticipation. I gravitate toward the pages that are presented with color and simplicity. Because of this, I have begun to tailor the digital tools I send out to my own library community, adding as much color and visual interest as I can. As books are naturally a large part of a librarian’s subject matter, portraits of book covers successfully add interest to resources that include book lists. Other images may include those portraying YouTube channels or helpful apps.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Apr. 23
Latest Library Links

Making face shields with maker hardware

Face shields, Great Neck (N.Y.) Library

Adam Hinz writes: “A week or two after the Great Neck (N.Y.) Library closed, another library professional reached out to me and a colleague about a 3D printing project to create personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. We were all in! The files and designs for the project are all open source. There were several options designers had put out there, but the face shield we ultimately decided to use was one that did not require any foam or elastic. This would help alleviate having to worry about ordering additional components. The only additional piece is an overhead transparency. The 3D printed piece goes around your head, and the transparency connects to it to create a shield.”...

YALSA Blog, Apr. 23

OverDrive’s Instant Digital Card

OverDrive’s Instant Digital Card

Since March 13, 112 library systems in the US have used OverDrive’s Instant Digital Card to connect with their communities, issuing 156,000 (and counting) new cards instantly. These readers now have unlimited access to thousands of ebooks and audiobooks on Libby and their library’s OverDrive website. By comparison, that’s more IDC users created in just over a month than in all of 2019. Any library that signs up for Instant Digital Card before April 30 will have all fees waived by OverDrive. If you haven’t yet added IDC, contact your OverDrive account manager....

Rakuten OverDrive, Apr. 22

Five benefits of eliminating library fines

Five unexpected benefits of eliminating library fines

Sabrina Unrein writes: “The iSchool Public Libraries Initiative is a research group within the Syracuse University iSchool that focuses on public library research. I was curious about what evidence supports the widespread use of library fines, and I was surprised to find that there are few studies that show they are effective at getting patrons to return items on time. So I interviewed 15 librarians across the US who work at libraries that have eliminated fines in the past few years. I want to share five unique benefits these librarians identified. If you want to know more, you can see all of the accompanying research in the full report.”...

InfoSpace, Apr. 21

Mandy the Skeleton watches over the UNLV library

Mandy the Skeleton does a little self-diagnosis. Photo by Aaron Mayes / UNLV Special Collections

While the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus is closed because of coronavirus concerns, nobody is using the Lied Library—except for one dutiful skeleton. As part of a humorous photo essay, Aaron Mayes, curator for visual materials at UNLV’s Special Collections and Archives, staged pictures of Mandy the Skeleton patrolling the library. When classes are in session, Mandy is on loan for students to prepare for anatomy and physiology exams. “It started with a list of poses. Then I started looking at the shelves of books thinking, ‘What would a skeleton read?’ It ended with him taking a photocopy of his backside,” Mayes said. “I think maybe I went overboard.”...

Las Vegas (Nev.) Review-Journal, Apr. 22; University of Nevada, Las Vegas, News Center, Apr. 17

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