Special report on libraries and the 2020 Census.

American Library Association • March 3, 2020
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Reaching the hard to count

Special Report: 2020 Census. Illustration by Kristen Solecki

Terra Dankowski writes: “The Toledo–Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library is one of a handful of libraries that have brought on contractors to help with census engagement. In New York City, where the 2010 Census self-response rate was below 62% (the national average is 76%), Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Public Library are putting some of the city’s $1.4 million investment in library census efforts toward the Census Navigators program. At NYPL, this 20-week effort brings six part-time employees with customer service skills and fluency in a non-English language to neighborhoods most in need of census education.” Read more about libraries and the 2020 Census, including how to leverage networks and technology to support an inclusive count, in our special 2020 Census report....

American Libraries features, Mar./Apr.; American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Soledad O’Brien on media and libraries at PLA

Journalist Soledad O’Brien at the 2020 PLA Conference in Nashville February 28. Photo by Laura Kinser/Kinser Studios

Terra Dankowski writes: “Soledad O’Brien (right) sees a lot of overlap between journalism and the work that libraries do. ‘Stories have value. And I think that libraries have inherently gone down a path that people have value,’ the award-winning anchor, entrepreneur, and television host said at the 2020 PLA Conference in Nashville on February 29.” Late-night host, actor, and author Samantha Bee was also on hand to remind everyone that during these strange times, we can still share a message of joy and a sense of mission. See all of American Libraries’ PLA conference coverage....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 1

Sponsored Content

Checking out a human book

Human “books” combat bigotry

How did you recover from addiction? What’s your experience wearing a hijab as an American Muslim? These are some questions asked during Human Library events throughout the country in which people “check out” human “books” to discuss prejudices. The goal? To confront stereotypes and discrimination.

Students exploring similar dialogue on discrimination for scholarly research can turn to Gale Primary Sources, which include access to thousands of documents on such topics as Religions of America and Archives of Sexuality and Gender.

Read the seventh article in this multipart series on how librarians are growing relationships within the academic community.

Advocates in motion to #FundLibraries

Fund libraries

Kevin Maher and Emily Wagner write: “With more than $220 million in direct funding and millions more in library-eligible funding on the line, library advocates are responding to the White House’s devastating budget proposal. Library champions in the Senate and House are stepping up. Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are calling on their colleagues to support LSTA. In the House, Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) are doing the same. Dear Appropriator letters are circulating until March 9 defending these programs. Email your elected officials and urge them to sign on to these letters in the House and Senate.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 3; ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Feb. 10

A time for change and thanks

From the Executive Director, by Mary Ghikas

ALA Deputy Executive Director Mary Ghikas writes: “On February 24, Tracie D. Hall stepped into the position of ALA executive director. I have stepped back and am working at her direction to assist during the initial months of her tenure as executive director. We worked together before when she was director of what is now known as the Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with her again. At the end of the 2020 ALA Annual Conference, I will retire. What will I miss? Too many things to count.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.; AL: The Scoop, Jan. 15, Feb. 21

Phoenix hospital opens library for newborns

A parent reads to her newborn at the Nursery ICU at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona

St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, is launching a new reading program aimed at its tiniest patients. The “Littlest Readers Library” makes donated books available to every family in the Nursery Intensive Care Unit so they can read to their babies. The program launched on March 2, Dr. Seuss’s birthday and National Read Across America Day, so the hospital unit was filled with babies dressed in Seussian onesies and hats on the program’s first day. Doctors say reading to babies can help boost language development, sleep habits, and overall health....

KPNX-TV, Phoenix, Ariz., Mar. 2
ALA news

A comic explores the coronavirus

Let’s find that coronavirus, and let’s stop it!

Malaka Gharib writes: “Kids, this comic is for you. It’s based on a radio story that NPR education reporter Cory Turner did. He asked some experts what kids might want to know about the new coronavirus discovered in China. To make this comic, we’ve used his interviews with Tara Powell at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, Joy Osofsky at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and Krystal Lewis at the National Institute of Mental Health. Print and fold a zine version of this comic here.”...

NPR: Morning Edition, Feb. 28

Going fine-free improves library access

A fine-free library. Photo by Michael Rubinkam / Associated Press

Fourteen libraries in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, are experimenting with a fine-free program, joining a growing movement of libraries that are doing away with the punitive practice in an effort to improve access to libraries. The Allegheny County Library Association began piloting the program with nine libraries in September, and the impact has been immediate. Circulation in seven of those libraries increased by almost 14%. New library card registrations increased by 15% in just three months. At the Baldwin Borough Public Library, active library users increased by nearly 50%. This inspired ACLA to test the program in five more area libraries....

Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gazette, Mar. 3

Building a personal learning network

ALSC New Member Dinner, 2018 Annual Conference

Abby Johnson writes: “Starting in a new role can be hard, especially if you’re the only one doing what you do in your system. About two years ago, I switched positions from youth services manager to collection development leader, and it’s been a big change. I’m now selecting and managing all our materials (youth and adult), cataloging, and working with vendors in a much more involved way than before. And one big challenge for me has been building my personal learning network (PLN) in this new-to-me area. It has made me really appreciate the youth services PLN that I had built over the years, and I want to make sure you have one, too.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 2
Latest Library Links

Peru recovers Inca manuscript stolen in the 1880s

Color illustration from Memories of the Peruvian Monarchy manuscript

Peru unveiled a priceless manuscript containing the memoirs of former Inca leaders that had disappeared during Chile’s occupation of Lima during the 1879–1884 War of the Pacific. The manuscript, “Memories of the Peruvian Monarchy or Outline of the Inca’s History,” was written in the 1830s by Justo Sahuaraura Inca (1770–1853?), a descendant of the Inca emperor Huayna Capac (1468?–1524). Sahuaraura was a member of the indigenous nobility in Cusco and dedicated his time to preserving the memory of the Inca empire. “It’s a pretty rare and strange manuscript because it has colored sheets that represent the different Incas,” said Gerardo Trillo of the National Library of Peru....

Agence France-Presse, Feb. 20

Librarian of Congress seeks input on Register of Copyrights

Seal of the US Copyright Office

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced March 2 that the public will have the opportunity to provide input to the Library of Congress on expertise needed by the next Register of Copyrights. Beginning March 2, a form to solicit this feedback is online and open to the public. The form will be posted through March 20. The Library of Congress will review all input and use it to help develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities requirements for its announcement to fill the Register of Copyrights position....

Library of Congress, Mar. 2
Dewey Decibel podcast

2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award

Cover of Small in the City, by Sydney Smith

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, has announced the winners of its 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award. Each year an outstanding writer and illustrator are recognized early in their careers for having created an extraordinary children’s book that reflects the diverse nature of our culture. The 2020 winning writer is Sydney Smith, for Small in the City, and the winning illustrator is Ashleigh Corrin, for Layla’s Happiness, written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie....

Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Mar. 2

2020 Audie Awards

Box for The Only Plane in the Sky audiobook

The Audio Publishers Association announced 24 Audie Award winners, the top awards in the audiobook industry, at the 2020 Audie Awards Gala in New York City on March 2. The Audies recognize outstanding achievement from authors, narrators, publishers, and producers across a wide array of genres and categories. The 2020 Audiobook of the Year went to The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff, narrated by a full cast led by Holter Graham. Another evening highlight was the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the APA to Stephen King in recognition for his achievements in the audiobook industry....

Audio Publishers Association, Mar. 3

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