What's happening at ALA Virtual?

American Library Association • June 9, 2020
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Virtual Event preview

ALA Virtual, Community Through Connection, with featured speakers

ALA made a historic decision to cancel its 2020 Annual Conference in Chicago, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But in these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever for librarians and library workers to seek and embrace community and keep up with professional development opportunities. ALA Virtual (June 24–26), the organization’s first-ever online-only member engagement event, will offer the programming, speakers, exhibits, and social networking attendees have come to expect from Annual Conference. Join your colleagues in this virtual space to learn, grow, and adapt together in these changing times....

American Libraries feature, June 9

Narcan or no?

Anti-opioid overdose Narcan Nasal Spray

Anne Ford writes: “If your library were offered two chances to save a life, would it take them? The response might seem like an obvious ‘yes.’ But for many public libraries the answer is more nuanced. In October 2018, Emergent BioSolutions, the company that manufactures the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan (generic name: naloxone), issued a press release offering two free doses of Narcan to every public library and YMCA in the US. The response to that offer has been ‘lighter than we anticipated,’ said Thom Duddy, Emergent BioSolutions’ vice president of communications. Of the 16,568 individual central and branch library buildings in the country, only about 357, or 2.2%, have accepted.”...

American Libraries Trend, June; AL: The Scoop, Oct. 24, 2018

Voice assistants for teaching and communicating

Dispatches, by Win Shih and Erin Rivero

Win Shih and Erin Rivero write: “Voice technology has transformed the way we interact with the digital world. Voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana, aid users by answering questions and performing tasks. Sometimes called virtual assistants, digital assistants, or intelligent personal assistants, VAs expose consumers to the power and potential of artificial intelligence by performing multiple tasks in response to one request. With an eye toward cultivating AI literacy through VA technology, some new library and educational applications are emerging.”...

American Libraries column, June

Pay attention to attention

In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Meredith Farkas writes: “I think many of us are uneasy about our relationships with online technologies, whether it’s the time we spend on them, the fragmented state of our attention, or how using them makes us feel. During this pandemic, these technologies have suddenly become more critical than ever to support our work and keep in touch with friends and family. I find great professional value in tools like Slack and Twitter, and I’d like to believe that there’s a way to conquer the addictive and distracting aspects of them without needing to take a technology sabbatical or quitting them altogether.”...

American Libraries column, June; Next Web, Jan. 24, 2015; Straight Dope, May 8, 2018

University of Alabama to move library's Confederate plaques

Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at the University of Alabama (Image source: Wikimedia Commons/DXR)

University of Alabama has authorized moving three Confederate plaques and studying the names of buildings on campus with an eye toward possible change. The plaques will be moved from the main library to “a more appropriate historical setting,” a news release said Monday. It did not say whether officials have decided where to move the plaques. Some of the school’s Board of Trustees also have been appointed to study the names of buildings on all University of Alabama System campuses and report to the board on any recommended changes, the statement said....

Alabama Today, June 9

#LibrariesRespond: Black Lives Matter

Libraries Respond logo

Since 2016, ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services has maintained the Libraries Respond page—a resource for addressing current social justice issues. Its newest installment is Libraries Respond—Black Lives Matter. This resource provides key definitions and concrete tools for library workers on how they can be involved in the Black Lives Matter movement, from resources on self-education to critically examining library policies....

ALA news

Prioritizing staff mental health when reopening

Close-up of a therapist gesticulating while talking to a group of listening people during a support group.

Patrick Lloyd writes: “Many of our best staff members are feeling angry, isolated, and resigned. Some feel unsafe at work yet trapped in their jobs as they watch friends and colleagues fall victim to layoffs and furloughs. How do I know so much about my coworkers’ feelings? I began facilitating voluntary lunch-hour support groups for our staff in late March. These groups continue twice a week.”...

Public Libraries Online, June 5

Webinars: Reopening best practices from around the world

International Relations Round Table Webinar Series logo

ALA's International Relations Round Table Webinar Committee is hosting a series of free webinars focusing on perspectives from libraries around the world dealing with COVID-19. The series includes experiences from libraries in Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Qatar, and Sweden on how they addressed and are currently addressing reopening. Register at IRRT's webinars page....

IRRT blog, June 2
Latest Library Links

Wakelet in the library

School librarians to follow on Wakelet

Librarians Deb Zeman, Kristina Holzweiss, Shannon Miller, and Sherry Gick gave a presentation during Wakelet Community Week (June 1–5) on how librarians can use the sharing and organization platform in their libraries and schools, for professional development, and in their personal lives....

Library Voice, June 5

Accepting queer realities

On My Mind, by Rae-Anne Montague

Rae-Anne Montague writes: “We all know about schoolyard bullying. Let’s focus on how school librarians can help stop it. As our schools and communities grapple with fostering a broader recognition of sexual orientation and gender identity diversity, school librarians play crucial roles in building a welcoming environment and providing access to inclusive resources and services. Social stigma of non-mainstream experiences in schools, particularly among LGBTQ+ students, is reinforced by a lack of accurate information and positive media representation. For educators and students, this results in a knowledge gap. The width and depth of that gap and the collective efforts to bridge it vary dramatically.”...

American Libraries column, June
Dewey Decibel podcast

Trans, nonbinary, and GNC books for Pride

Cover of Tomorrow Will Be Different, by Sarah McBride

Jill Rothstein, chief librarian at Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, writes: “Welcome to Pride Month, everyone! Whether you are looking for stories you can relate to, books to help you learn more about trans and gender nonconforming friends and family, diverse titles to broaden your understanding of our city and community, or just a fun, romantic, or educational read, we have something at New York Public Library for you.”...

NYPL Blogs, June 1

An oral history of Party Girl

Poster for the 1995 movie Party Girl

Ari Saperstein writes: “So many aspects of the 1995 film Party Girl have the makings of a fairytale: a wise godmother, handsome strangers from far-away lands, dazzling outfits, jubilant soirées. In her breakout role, actor Parker Posey plays a young woman who works in a libary during the day and hits downtown Manhattan dance floors packed with glamorous drag queens at night. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Party Girl’s theatrical release, WSJ spoke with the film’s cast and crew, who together remembered the movie’s unlikely origins, iconic moments and how, against the odds, it became the first feature-length film to ever be streamed over the internet.”...

Wall Street Journal (paywall), June 8

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