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American Library Association • February 28, 2020
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PLA Conference 2020

Opening Session speaker Stacey Abrams on stage at the 2020 PLA Conference in Nashville on February 26

Terra Dankowski writes: “Stacey Abrams (right) wants a fair fight—and a fair count. ‘In 2018, I did not become governor of Georgia,’ the nonprofit CEO, 11-year Georgia House representative, recent Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and author of the forthcoming Our Time is Now told a packed auditorium at the Opening Session of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 26. ‘I had some time on my hands.’” See all of American LibrariesPLA conference coverage....

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 26–28

Say no to censorship and support Tennessee libraries

Stand up to censorship and support Tennessee libraries

A bill pending in the Tennessee legislature threatens fines and jail time for staff and volunteers in public libraries, attempts to censor library resources and programming, and undermines the role of locally appointed or elected library boards. The next stop for the legislation will be March 4, when it will be taken up by subcommittees in both the Tennessee Senate and the General Assembly. ALA, Tennessee Library Association, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and PEN America have also issued statements. Tennessee residents use this form; out-of-state supporters use this form....

NBC News, Feb. 27; Office for Intellectual Freedom, Feb. 20; Tennessee Library Association, Feb. 20; National Coalition Against Censorship, Feb. 25; PEN America, Feb. 24

Libraries Ready to Code awards mini-grants

Map of Digital Learning Day grantees

The ALA Libraries Ready to Code initiative, sponsored by Google, awarded more than 100 academic, school, and public libraries with $700 mini-grants to encourage digital skills education in honor of Digital Learning Day, February 27. Awardees will use their grants to implement video-based lessons from Google’s Applied Digital Skills program to prepare learners for the future of work. Libraries are expected to carry out four sessions of digital skills programming by May 31. Digital Learning Day is an annual event to promote effective use of technology tools and rich learning opportunities for learners of all ages....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Feb. 27

Polish American Librarians Association is an ALA Affiliate

Polish American Librarians Association

ALA Council has voted to make the Polish American Librarians Association an ALA Affiliate. The action was taken January 27 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. PALA applied for affiliation in 2019, and the application was vetted by the ALA Executive Board to ensure that PALA’s bylaws and mission were in compliance with ALA. PALA joins 27 other affiliated library organizations and, with the Chinese American Librarians Association, becomes one of only two affiliates that are nation-specific....

Office of ALA Governance, Feb. 27

Library of America poetry grant deadline extended

Lift Every Voice logo

The publisher Library of America is offering 50 libraries, museums, and nonprofit cultural institutions $1,200 grants to host a minimum of two public programs celebrating African-American poetry. “Lift Every Voice” programs will take place from September 2020 to March 2021. The application deadline has been extended to March 20. A multimedia website will fully launch in June to promote the events, and Library of America will publish African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song, an inclusive new canon of African-American poetry for the next century edited by Kevin Young, in September....

Library of America
ALA news

How to prepare for coronavirus in the US

Global Covid-19 cases by country as of February 25, 2020

Reis Thebault, Alex Horton, and Lateshia Beachum write: “If unchecked internet information is any guide, there’s an inexhaustible list of products ‘you should buy’ to prepare for the spread of coronavirus—which, according to US health officials, now appears inevitable. But here’s the thing: COVID-19 may be novel, but you really don’t need to buy anything new or special to brace for it. In fact, the Washington Post spoke to epidemiology experts, and they said the most important aspect of preparedness costs nothing at all: calm. Here’s what doctors, researchers, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say you can do now to prepare and protect yourself.”...

Washington Post, Feb. 25, 28

Strategies for public library responses to the opioid crisis

Cover of Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis

OCLC and PLA have released Call to Action: Public Libraries and the Opioid Crisis, a report that offers tested strategies to consider as libraries determine local responses to the nationwide public health emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose. As trusted local institutions, public libraries connect community members to credible, accurate information and services that can help support needs around substance use disorder. The OCLC-led project was supported by a $249,714 IMLS National Leadership Grant....

PLA, Feb. 26

Smithsonian releases 2.8 million images into public domain

Sampler of images from the Smithsonian collection

Katherine J. Wu writes: “For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian Institution has released 2.8 million high-resolution images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse, and transform them into just about anything they choose. Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images.”...

Smithsonian magazine, Feb. 25
Latest Library Links

Every pop melody possible now in the public domain

All the Music

David Crotty writes: “The number of notes on the musical scale offers a finite number of combinations that can be used to generate a melody. Infringing on the melody someone else found first can be costly. Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin argue that songwriters spend every day navigating a potential copyright minefield. To address this, they developed an algorithm that uses a brute force approach to generate every possible melody, which they’ve subsequently released under CC0 license to the public domain. The code and the datasets of melodies are openly available. They suggest that since they’re doing this in MIDI form, the notes are just numbers.”...

The Scholarly Kitchen, Feb. 28; Vice: Motherboard, Feb. 25

Graphic novels are real books

Graphic novels: American Born Chinese, New Kid, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Karen MacPherson writes: “Adult resistance to comics isn’t unusual, despite the growing popularity of the format among young readers. In fact, dealing with parents and teachers who see graphic novels as a low form of entertainment—instead of a valuable literacy tool—is a key topic of discussion among many children’s librarians. We know that comics are especially beneficial to struggling or reluctant readers and English-language learners. These books also offer all readers a way to practice important reading skills such as building vocabulary, understanding a sequence of events, discerning the plot of a story, making inferences, and training in visual literacy.”...

Washington Post, Feb. 27
Dewey Decibel podcast

Five new books written by women about mental health

Cover of Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me: Depression In The First Person, by Anna Mehler Paperny

Michelle Regalado writes: “These days, we’re hearing more honest discussion about mental health than ever before. Though there’s still a long way to go toward breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness, public attitudes about conditions like depression and anxiety have gradually begun to shift from scrutiny to understanding. This year, several women are helping to continue that conversation by releasing insightful nonfiction works about their own mental health journeys.”...

Book Riot, Feb. 28

Google is adding icons to image search results

Google image search icons

Alex Perry writes: “Google announced February 25 that its iconic image search feature will get some new icons to clarify things a bit before you click on an image. On the search page itself, you’ll start seeing small badges on the lower left corner of each result letting you know if they came from shopping pages, recipe websites, or YouTube videos, for example. Mousing over them will give you more specific information. Giving users a quick heads-up before they click through is a nice change. But the icons will take the place of the image dimensions display that currently shows up when you mouse over a search result.”...

Mashable, Feb. 26

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