ALA’s 2020 cohort of policy advocates.

American Library Association • April 28, 2020

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Meet the 2020 ALA Policy Corps

The 2020 ALA Policy Corps cohort

In late March, ALA announced the eight members of this year’s Policy Corps, now in its third year. Policy Corps members advocate for national public policy that advances the interests of libraries and librarians. ALA President Wanda Kay Brown said in a March 25 statement that “As our libraries—and the nation—struggle to respond to the current COVID-19 crisis, we know our advocacy for libraries and our values will be even more critical in the months of economic shock and recovery that will certainly follow.” Meet this year’s Policy Corps class, eight individuals who represent different library types and experiences....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 28; ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Mar. 25

Becoming a certified sustainable library

Lisa G. Kropp, Sustainability in Libraries

Lisa G. Kropp writes: “Sustainable thinking aligns a library’s core values and resources with both the local and global community’s right to endure, bounce back from disruption, and thrive by bringing energetic new life to fruition through the choices made in all areas of library operations and outreach. Libraries are perfectly positioned to become leaders in sustainability, helping their communities thrive and bounce back from disruption. Lindenhurst (N.Y.) Memorial Library began work on a proposal to renovate and expand its existing building in 2018, and I thought the Sustainable Libraries Initiative’s Sustainable Libraries Certification Program would be a perfect fit.”...

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 28

PLA and Microsoft microgrants to expand broadband

The Hoag Library in Albion, New York, offers free Wi-Fi from its parking lot

PLA and Microsoft announced a new initiative April 28 to increase access to technology in rural communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft will provide funding to help public libraries in rural communities extend wireless access by installing public Wi-Fi access points on or near library grounds. Microsoft is committed to closing the rural broadband gap through its Airband Initiative. The first microgrant application period opens April 28, and awards will be made on a rolling basis until resources are depleted. A list of eligibility criteria, grant information, and application instructions are posted on the PLA and Microsoft Public Hotspot Microgrant program website....

PLA, Apr. 28

Appeals court: Students have a right to an education

Students walk outside Detroit’s Pershing High School in 2017. Photo by Carlos Osorio / AP

In a landmark decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that children have a constitutional right to literacy, dealing a remarkable victory to students. The ruling comes in response to a lawsuit brought by students of five Detroit schools, claiming that because of deteriorating buildings, teacher shortages, and inadequate textbooks, the state of Michigan failed to provide them with the most fundamental of skills: the ability to read. The ability to read and write is “essential” for a citizen to participate in American democracy, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on April 23....

National Public Radio, Apr. 27
Dewey Decibel podcast

Georgia loses legal code copyright case

US Supreme Court building

Georgia lost a close case in the US Supreme Court over the state’s ability to copyright its annotated legal code, in a ruling that dissenting justices said would shock states with similar arrangements. Copyright protection doesn’t extend to the annotations in the state’s official annotated code, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for a 5–4 majority on April 27 in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., that crossed ideological lines. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh joined Roberts. An array of outside interest groups had also weighed in on the case, ranging from small-firm lawyers looking to maintain access to a coalition of states looking to uphold existing business arrangements....

Bloomberg Law, Apr. 27

IFLA calls on WIPO to help preserve cultural heritage

Preserve cultural heritage

Five cultural institutions have issued an open letter to the World Intellectual Property Organization and its member states to pass international copyright laws that can empower them to prevent further loss of the world’s cultural heritage due to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and other disasters linked to global warming. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, International Council on Archives, International Council on Museums, Electronic Information for Libraries, and Society of American Archivists are asking for the legal right to make preservation copies of works in libraries, archives, and museums....

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Apr. 26–27
ALA news

Library associations collaborate on reopening protocols

Cleaning materials

ALA and five other library organizations released a statement April 28 in response to the new collaboration announced by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support the nation’s libraries and museums as they consider safe reopening practices in light of COVID-19. It reads, in part: “We believe strongly that we must develop science-based protocols so that visits to libraries can resume safely for the benefit of patrons, staff, and our communities. While there is a need to develop these protocols quickly, we also believe it is essential to be accurate and provide the best possible guidance.”...

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Apr. 28; Institute of Museum and Library Services, Apr. 22; Public Libraries Online, Apr. 27

Netflix puts free documentaries on YouTube

Netflix educational documentaries

To help teachers and students learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Netflix is making a handful of documentaries available for free on its Netflix US YouTube channel. At the moment, there are 10 documentary films and series available, including 13th, Babies, Chasing Coral, Knock Down the House, and Our Planet. Each comes with educational resources, like discussion questions, ways to take action, and more info. Netflix says it plans to add Q&As with some of the project creators soon.”...

Engadget, Apr. 17; Netflix Media Center, Apr. 17
Latest Library Links

June is Rainbow Book Month

Rainbow Book Month

ALA will now observe the month of June as Rainbow Book Month, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community. Formerly known as GLBT Book Month and originally established in the early 1990s as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, Rainbow Book Month provides an opportunity for book lovers and libraries to highlight the best in LGBTQIA+ literature. Since 2015, ALA continues to lend support to the month, with activities coordinated through its Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and Rainbow Round Table....

Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, Apr. 27

San Diego mayor hosts online storytimes

On April 26, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer reads Sleepy Bird by Jeremy Tankard to children

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer (right) and San Diego (Calif.) Public Library staff are offering online services to children affected by the stay-at-home order. For the last three weeks, families have been greeted each Sunday with a book read by “Mayor Kevin” as part of the library’s Stay-in Storytime Club. “Life is particularly stressful right now for families with young children, but we want you to know that San Diego libraries are still here for you online,” said Faulconer. Recent videos can be seen on multiple platforms including Twitter and Facebook. Videos of “Mayor Kevin” are published Sunday evenings at 5 p.m....

San Diego (Calif.) Community News Group, Apr. 25

Books for tweens in uncertain times

Cover of 24 Hours in Nowhere, by Dusti Bowling

Pamela Groseclose writes: “More than ever, librarians are offering dynamic programming from their homes. Cooking, craft programs, and book talks are filling up YouTube. All of these things are needed, but do not forget to add book lists to your lineup. In a rush for programming, it is hard to stop and remember how much books offer both us and tweens. One thing I am noticing is that tweens are requesting books that center on hope and community. Here is a quick list of some of my top tween recommendations during the COVID-19 crisis.”...

ALSC Blog, Apr. 27

More ways to help librarians from home

University of Iowa science fiction zines

Jessica Leigh Hester writes: “A couple weeks ago, we shared six digitization and transcription projects that curious and cooped-up readers can contribute to from home. As countries continue to respond to the pandemic, many libraries and archives remain closed, and will likely stay shuttered for months. In the meantime, try sublimating your intellectual wanderlust with more ways to give researchers a (virtual) helping hand. These projects won’t help you stretch your legs, but they will give your brain a workout.”...

Atlas Obscura, Mar. 23, Apr. 7

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