“Libraries Are Holding Space for Their Communities”

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AL Direct is off next week. Look for our next issue August 26.

Clockwise from top left: Karina Quilantan of Jaime Escalante Middle School, Pharr, Texas; Bill Chapman of Jarrell Independent School District; Kristi Starr of Coronado High School, Lubbock; Heather Lamb of Castleberry Independent School District, Fort Worth; Roger Ceballos of Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy, Dallas; Tamiko Brown of Fort Bend Independent School District,
Sugar Land; Stephanie Galvan Russell of Gorzycki Middle School, Austin; Rosenid Hernandez-Badia of Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy, Dallas; and Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Julius C. Jefferson Jr. writes: “When I kicked off ALA’s  on July 27 in Washington, D.C., my primary goal was to elevate the stories and successes of libraries whose work takes place just out of the spotlight. If you scroll through my  between July 27 and August 7, you will see a series of crowded Zoom screenshots. But they don’t do justice to the expert librarians and community partners who participated in our discussions.”...

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 12

United for Libraries Virtual 2020

United for Libraries’ 2020 Virtual Conference—a three-day event covering issues that affect library trustees, foundations, and Friends—kicked off August 4, as Tropical Storm Isaias roared up the East Coast. Though Isaias affected power in several Eastern cities, United’s program proceeded without interruption, covering a variety of advocacy and funding topics. With COVID-19 and social justice in mind, keynotes and sessions introduced management tools and strategies, highlighted opportunities for organizations to pivot and imagine a different future, and explored what these changes might mean for the libraries and nonprofits that support them....

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 11

Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of Book of the Little Axe (Photo: Anna Carson DeWitt)

The latest Libraries Transform Book Pick, an award presented by Booklist and ALA in partnership with OverDrive, is Book of the Little Axe by Lauren Francis-Sharma (Grove Atlantic, April), a historical novel set in Trinidad in 1796 and the Crow Nation of the Great Plains in 1830. All public libraries in the US with OverDrive subscriptions will be able to lend unlimited ebook copies of Book of the Little Axe September 14–28....

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 10

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ALA logo white text on blue background

The ALA Executive Board announced August 6 that the 2021 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits scheduled for January 22–26 in Indianapolis will take place virtually. “It is clear that as we continue to coexist with coronavirus, we need to adjust our approach to meetings and events,” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. “In the last few months, we have successfully pivoted our delivery to present ALA Virtual in June and ALA’s ‘Holding Space’ tour series this summer. Though we very much hoped to be able to meet in person in Indianapolis, the health and safety of conference attendees, ALA members and staff, exhibitors, and other stakeholders are the priority.”...

AL: The Scoop, Aug. 6

My Mask Protects My Community graphic by Hafuboti

Chelsea Price, director of Meservey (Iowa) Public Library, writes: “Though the community spread seems to have waned, I am hesitant to open again. My original gut instinct—to keep the library closed in the first place—was correct, and I should have trusted it. Our state’s numbers have never steadily declined, and it is the only state with no mask mandate in place that also requires in-person schooling with no mask requirement in classrooms. I worry that that Iowa is going to become even more of a disaster when school starts, and I don’t want to play this ‘open–close–open–close’ game.”...

Programming Librarian, Aug. 12

Covers of Me and White Supremacy and Five Days

Librarian Suzanne LaPierre writes: “As indicated by  to the Black Lives Matter movement, libraries have an obligation to act on behalf of racial justice with genuine systemic change, not just statements or book lists. Hosting a book club on a topic that explicitly addresses race relations in the US is among the items on the ALA’s plan for action. One example is the Toledo Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library BLM Book Group, facilitated by King Branch Assistant Manager Franco Vitella and Teen Librarian David Bush. The first meeting was on July 30.”...

Public Libraries Online, Aug. 7; Libraries Respond: Black Lives Matter

Latest Library Links

Princess Mocha read to children during Drag Queen Story Hour at the Five Forks library in Greenville, South Carolina, on February 17, 2019. Jonathan Newton, the former manager of the Five Forks branch, received a $30,000 settlement from the Greenville County Library system after he sued for wrongful termination. (Photo: Natalie Shaik)

The manager of a library in South Carolina said he was pushed out after he became “inappropriately involved” in assisting organizers with a Drag Queen Story Hour in early 2019, according to court filings. Now the county is settling with him for $30,000. Jonathan Newton headed up the Five Forks branch of the Greenville County Library System in Simpsonville until he was reportedly forced to resign in March 2019—three weeks after the Drag Queen Story Hour event, according to a lawsuit filed April 6 in state court against the county library system and its executive director....

The State (Columbia, S.C.), Aug. 11

Instagram and Facebook logos

Tommy Shane writes: “When it comes to data voids, a distinction is usually drawn between search engines and social media platforms. Whereas the primary interface of search engines is the search bar, the primary interface of social media platforms is the feed: algorithmic encounters with posts based on general interest, not a specific question you’re searching to answer. It’s therefore easy to miss the fact that data voids exist here, too: Even though search isn’t the primary interface, it’s still a major feature. And with billions of users, they may be creating major social vulnerabilities.”...

Nieman Lab, Aug. 10

Washington Post logo

The Washington Post and LexisNexis have been unable to agree to terms. As a result, the Post’s content stopped updating on LexisNexis products as of August 8, the service announced to users last week, and archived content will vanish from the service on October 31....

Washingtonian, August 10

ALA news and press releases

Marian Anderson sings before the Lincoln Monument in 1939

University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Libraries has launched  featuring more than 2,500 digitized letters, photographs, diaries, programs, recordings, and other artifacts chronicling the life of opera singer and civil rights activist Marian Anderson. The archive is drawn from the school’s extensive ....

Smithsonian Magazine, Aug. 4

"Camera Bee" by watchsmart is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Barbi Gardiner writes: “You’re looking for the right images for your social media, website, or promotional material. You don’t have time for DIY product photography, so you’ve searched high and low for free images to use but keep running into cheesy stock photos of people high-fiving in boardrooms or staring off longingly into the horizon. Don’t worry, I’ve created the perfect list of websites that have great free stock photos.”...

Best Blog Tools, Aug. 7

Harris Country (Tex.) Public Library's Curbside Larry

In from Harris County (Tex.) Public Library's Barbara Bush branch, cowboy-hat–wearing hype man Curbside Larry shares an irresistible pitch for using the branch’s curbside pickup services. “We got shelves and shelves of books, Blu-rays, and DVDs, and we’d like nothing better than to take care of all your reading, research, and entertainment needs,” Larry exclaims. “What’s all this cost? Just three low payments of zero, zero, zero dollars!”...

I Love Libraries, Aug. 10; Harris County Public Library Twitter, July 21

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