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Advancing digital equity (Illustration ©ivector/Adobe Stock)

Our latest issue features public librarians strategizing during COVID-19, this year's , our Newsmaker interview with author , and a profile of the in Jordan's Zaatari camp.

American Libraries features, July/Aug.

From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

, Julius C. Jefferson Jr. reflects on taking the lead during a time of change and upheaval and invites readers to join him in the fight for social justice and humanity. ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall invites readers to explore the role of the library as both a vehicle and driver of justice and in her latest column.

American Libraries columns, July/Aug.

ALA COVID-19 update logo

Kathi Kromer writes: “On July 2, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) introduced the Library Stabilization Fund Act, companion legislation endorsed by the American Library Association calling for $2 billion in federal support for libraries. When the act was introduced with 13 cosponsors in the Senate (S. 4181) and 27 cosponsors in the House (H.R. 7486), ALA called for advocates to contact their senators and representatives to cosponsor the bill.”

AL: The Scoop, July 8

Vannet Technologies

Policing in libraries

Cass Balzer writes: “Amid mass protests of police violence against Black people, some libraries are revisiting the ways in which they’ve historically interacted with law enforcement—such as by hosting police-led community programming like Coffee with a Cop, hiring off-duty police as security officers, or calling 911 on disruptive patrons.” And in , Jarrett Dapier and Emily Knox write: “Every time library staffers call the police, we put the lives of our Black patrons in danger.”

American Libraries feature, July 8; American Libraries column, July 8

Screenshot from the session “Listening and Learning about Diversity in Jewish Literature for Children and Teens” (clockwise from top left: moderator Heidi Rabinowitz, librarian Anjelica Ruiz, librarian and author Esmé Raji Codell, publisher Joni Sussman, and author Aviva L. Brown).

Sally Stieglitz writes: “The Association of Jewish Libraries Digital Conference (June 28–July 2) was held online for the first time this year. Over the five-day conference, which drew nearly 350 worldwide participants, a thread quickly emerged: the importance of diverse representation in collections, voices, and scholarship.”

AL: The Scoop, July 7

Arizona State University's Hayden Library

Arizona State University Library’s first  is a five-sentence statement about the place that the library and the university have inhabited in Tempe for more than a century. “The statement represents ASU Library’s intentions to begin a healing process,” said Lorrie McAllister, associate university librarian for collections and strategy. “We need to acknowledge that ASU is an occupant on Indigenous lands and that we need to take active steps to forge relationships of reciprocity.”

ASU Now, July 2

Latest Library Links

British Library exterior

At an online meeting on June 30 to which all British Library staff were invited, Chief Executive Roly Keating spoke of the urgent need for a “generational shift” to ensure that the library becomes truly representative in terms of its staff, collections, and users. Issues discussed included the long-standing lack of minority representation within executive management and senior curatorial staff, along with the urgent and overdue need to reckon fully and openly with the colonial origins and legacy of some of the library’s historic collections and practices.

British Library, July 6

Covers of The New Jim Crow, Kindred, and Their Eyes Were Watching God

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the largest humanities philanthropy in the US, announced on June 30 that it is adjusting its mission and grant-giving to emphasize programs that promote social justice. A new $5.3 million program will distribute collections of 500 books—“freedom libraries” of fiction, poetry, science, social thought, and more, curated by program leaders—to 1,000 prisons across the country.

New York Times, June 30

Monterey County (Calif.) Free Libraries staffer distributes food to patrons

Lindsey Simon writes: “With food insecurity on the rise in the wake of COVID-19, libraries have continued to work tirelessly to keep local families fed. Many libraries across the country have been pursuing partnerships with local food banks and hunger relief organizations to distribute free meals to those in need. Curbside or drive-through pickup has allowed library staff to pass out the food while maintaining social distancing, mitigating further spread of COVID-19.”

I Love Libraries, July 7

ALA news and press releases

Harvard's Widener Library entrance

Rutgers, Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown Universities on July 6 announced plans for a largely online fall, following from University of Southern California. However, a  from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement means students from other countries who are studying in the US will not be able take a fully online course load and remain in the country.

Inside Higher Ed, July 7; USC, July 1; ICE.gov, July 6

The library at Strahov Monastery in Prague (Photo by Peopanda)

In the absence of in-person journeys, travel writer and TV host reminisces on his favorite European libraries, their ornate interiors, and their impressive histories. On his list: the  at England's Oxford University, the grand Baroque  at Coimbra University in central Portugal, and the library at  in Prague.

Luxury Travel Advisor, July 6; American Libraries Newsmaker, Jan. 18, 2019

The RIT bookwheel was a thoroughly modern take on a Renaissance design. Before building it, the students designed a 3-D digital model. (Image: Matt Nygren and Ian Kurtz)

Agostino Ramelli, a 16th-century Italian military engineer, designed many Renaissance-era contraptions, including a geared wooden wheel with angled shelves, which allowed users to read several books at once. A group of undergraduate engineering students at Rochester Institute of Technology built two of them—one resides in the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection at RIT’s Wallace Library, and the other at University of Rochester’s Rossell Hope Robbins Library. Each weighs about 600 pounds and has room for eight books.

Atlas Obscura, July 1

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