Cast your digital ballots.

American Library Association • March 6, 2020
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ALA gears up for its 2020 elections

Cover of Guide to the 2020 Elections

ALA is getting ready for its upcoming 2020 election. Polls will open at 9 a.m. Central time on March 9. ALA members are encouraged to cast a digital ballot to vote for leadership that will shape the future and direction of the Association. ALA’s annual election will close on April 1 at 11:59 p.m. Central time. Members can learn more about this year’s candidates by reviewing Your Guide to the 2020 ALA Elections. The guide contains general information about the ALA presidency and candidates, recent ALA presidential initiatives, and Council information....

Office of ALA Governance, Mar. 5

Libraries and pandemic preparedness

COVID-19 cases in 22 US states as of March 6

Lara Ewen writes: “The coronavirus known as COVID-19 began spreading across the globe in December 2019, and has now been detected in 22 states across the US (right, as of March 6). Its rapid proliferation and the protracted timeline needed to develop a vaccine have led to public concern and questions, which librarians across the country are working to address. In Arlington Heights, Illinois, which has seen two of the state’s four diagnosed cases, Mary Hastings, director of communications and marketing for Arlington Heights Memorial Library, is relying in part on a three-level pandemic response plan that was recently updated.” US universities are also making plans for an increased threat to their students. South Korea has temporarily closed 97% of its public libraries, and citizens are making use of the Korean National Digital Library instead....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 5; NPR, Mar. 6; Wired, Mar. 4 (subscription might be required); Korea Bizwire, Mar. 5

20 tips for working from home

Working from home

Jill Duffy writes: “The global spread of COVID-19 is keeping people at home. Major conferences have been canceled to decrease the risk of infection. Some employers are encouraging or requiring people to work from home for an indeterminate amount of time. If you’re new to the work-from-home lifestyle, whether due to coronavirus or because you’ve managed to find a remote-based job, you’ll need to change some of your habits and routines to make working from home a success. Here are 20 tips for leading a better and more productive remote-working life, based on my experience and what I’ve learned from others.”...

PC Magazine, Jan. 14, Feb. 25, Mar. 5

Libraries help assuage census anxieties

Census fear. Illustration by Kristen Solecki

Anne Ford and Meghan Murphy-Gill write: “Government attempts to gather citizen data are often met with hostility—and this year’s census is no exception. The flames of any mistrust that might have already surrounded this census have been fanned at least twice: First, by the new option to complete the form online, which may be met with diffidence. And second, by the Trump administration’s controversial and ultimately failed attempt to add a citizenship question. The good news: Libraries are well placed to mitigate misconceptions around the census and encourage participation in it.” Check out some tips for library census teams, and discover some census statistics and myths in our special 2020 Census report....

American Libraries features, Mar./Apr.

After the census: How to use the data

Census data. Illustration by Kristen Solecki

Emily Udell writes: “Libraries are long-trusted partners in helping the government collect an accurate count every 10 years. But a librarian’s role doesn’t have to end once all the forms are submitted. Around the country, libraries are using census data to augment their programming, train staff members, connect with patrons, and collaborate with local organizations. These unique experiments and projects offer opportunities to teach skills and engage people within the larger community and the issues that affect it.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.
ALA news

50 years of Earth Day: Libraries and sustainability

Solar panels on the roof of McMillan Memorial Library in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Alison Marcotte writes: “Earth Day will be observed April 22. Widely recognized as launching the modern environmental movement, Earth Day has been observed for 50 years. One year ago, ALA added sustainability as a core value of librarianship. At the 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, ALA Council committed to the triple bottom-line framework for sustainability: practices that are environmentally sound, economically feasible, and socially equitable. Here are some other statistics to mark a half-century of Earth Day.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

Learning to code? Language is more important than math

Coders at work

Jennifer Walter writes: “What does it take to be a modern-day coding whiz? Stellar math skills might be one of the first things to come to mind. But a new study published this week in Scientific Reports suggests there’s more to coding competency than the ability to crunch numbers. Lead author Chantel Prat, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, has spent years studying how brains learn. She had an inkling that people with strong language skills might also be good at learning computer programming—an idea that has been mentioned in a handful of prior studies, but has fallen short on data, especially in recent years.”...

Discover magazine, Mar. 5 (subscription may be required); Scientific Reports, Mar. 2; Computers and Education 10, no. 2 (1986); Journal of Educational Computing Research 7, no. 1 (1991)

Understanding copyright and permissions for OER

Creative Commons licenses

Morgen Larsen writes: “Even among librarians, the distinction between ‘freely available’ and open educational resources is often murky, according to a recent survey. While one-half of the respondents said that they knew what OER was and were using it, many confused OER—openly licensed learning materials that reside in the public domain or that have been released under a license that permits no-cost use, adaptation, and redistribution—with any free materials available online. Here are some common practices to secure permissions, recognize copyright, and understand some of the differences in different types of OER licenses.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Mar. 5; Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, May 12, 2018
Latest Library Links

The library that Dolly built

The Library That Dolly Built

Stephen L. Betts writes: “Since its inception in 1995, global music icon and humanitarian Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted more than 135 million books to children. On April 2, the organization, which is currently gifting books to 1.45 million children around the world each month, will be the focus of a nationwide film event with the premiere of the documentary The Library That Dolly Built (1:43). A behind-the-scenes glimpse into the literacy-focused nonprofit, the film screenings will be integrated with Imagination Library affiliate partners in multiple communities nationwide.”...

Rolling Stone, Mar. 4; Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library YouTube channel, Mar. 4

Two interesting music sites

Italian music from the 1970s, courtesy of Radiooooo

Mark Frauenfelder writes: “When you go to Radiooooo you see a map of the world. You click on any country on the map and select a decade beginning with 1900. It will start playing music from that country and decade. I love it! You can also register to post songs that are not yet in the database.” And if you are ready for a time-suck internet experience that will also make you feel slightly old and out of step with the culture, feel free to dive into Every Noise at Once. A scatter-plot of over 1,530 musical genres sourced from Spotify’s lists and based on 35 million songs, Every Noise at Once is a bold attempt at musical taxonomy....

Boing Boing, Mar. 5; Open Culture, Oct. 13, 2017
Dewey Decibel podcast

First edition of Newton’s Principia discovered in Corsica

Title page of 1687 edition of Newton’s Principia

A first-edition copy of Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687) that describes his three laws of motion has been rediscovered at a library on the French island of Corsica. Vannina Schirinsky-Schikhmatoff, director of conservation at Fesch Public Heritage Library in Ajaccio, said she discovered the copy while studying an index from the library’s founder Lucien Bonaparte, one of Napoleon’s brothers. “I found the Holy Grail in the main room, hidden in the upper shelves,” she said....

Agence France-Presse, Mar. 4

Six picture books about vehicles

Cover of All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors, by Davina Bell, illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

Jen Sherman writes: “Vroom. Clank. Beep beep! Whee-ooo whee-ooo whee-ooo. I’ve learned a lot about heavy machinery and the sounds that various vehicles make since having a toddler and reading many books about trucks and planes and heavy machinery to her. ‘Books about heavy things with wheels’ is basically an entire subgenre within the world of children’s literature in itself, and here are six of my favorite picture books about vehicles (these are also all toddler-approved!).”...

Book Riot, Mar. 5

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