ALA, libraries, and COVID-19.

American Library Association • March 13, 2020

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ALA statement on COVID-19

COVID-19 update

On March 13, ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall issued a statement regarding COVID-19: “We are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving COVID-19 developments. ALA is continually updating this resource page for the library community about pandemic prevention, including guidance on disinfecting workplaces. Libraries should follow local health department and CDC guidelines about whether to remain open during the pandemic. If libraries stay open, they should follow CDC recommendations for environmental cleaning and disinfection. ALA is mindful of the valid concerns and questions from members regarding the 2020 Annual Conference. At this time ALA is proceeding with the event as planned and monitoring the situation daily. In response to our conversations with many of you, we have extended the early registration rate through April 1. Be well and take good care.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 13; National Association of County and City Health Officials; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Library closures, event and programming cancellations

Seattle Public Library

To combat the spread of COVID-19, Seattle Public Library is closing all of its locations for at least one month. The closures take effect March 13 at 6 p.m. and will last until at least April 13. The Library of Congress has closed all LC buildings to the public until April 1. All National Archives research rooms nationwide, including those at presidential libraries, are closed to the public until further notice. ALA has canceled National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C., on May 4–5. The Texas Library Association has canceled its March 24–27 Annual Conference in Houston, and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations and Manitoba Library Association have canceled their joint National Forum in Winnipeg on April 6–8. Italian libraries are on lockdown, and many public libraries across the US have canceled or postponed their public programming during the pandemic crisis....

Seattle Times, Mar. 12; Seattle Public Library, Mar. 12; Library of Congress, Mar. 12; National Archives, Mar. 13; Publishers Weekly, Mar. 12; Manitoba Library Association, Mar. 13; Programming Librarian, Mar. 12–13

Working from home 101

Your home office

Tyler Hayes writes: “Whether you work remotely year-round or have been forced to work from home for the foreseeable future due to the coronavirus outbreak, there are a few things you can do to make your setup more pleasant and productive. From the devices you need to get tasks done to the niceties that help keep things moving smoothly, these items will help keep you on task.” Here are eight tips for making the most of video conference calls....

PC Magazine, Mar. 5, 11–13

Trust in doctors is high, public officials not so much

Trust in doctors

Cary Funk and John Gramlich write: “The spread of the new coronavirus in the US comes at a time of low public trust in key institutions. Only around one-third of US adults (35%) have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in elected officials to act in the public’s best interests, and fewer than half say the same about business leaders (46%) and the news media (47%), according to a January 2019 Pew Research Center survey. In the same survey, 74% of Americans said they had a mostly positive view of medical doctors, while 68% had a mostly favorable view of medical research scientists.”...

Pew Research Center, Mar. 13; Aug. 2, 2019

Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces

Disinfecting inanimate surfaces for coronavirus

Human-to-human transmissions of COVID-19 have been described with incubation times between 2–10 days, facilitating its spread via droplets, contaminated hands, or surfaces. German researchers reviewed all available studies of the persistence of human coronaviruses (such as SARS and MERS) on inanimate surfaces as well as inactivation strategies with biocidal agents used for chemical disinfection. The studies show that the viruses can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass, or plastic for up to 9 days. The contagious coronavirus can survive on a cardboard delivery box for at least a day and lives even longer on steel and plastic. Contamination can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62–71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite....

Journal of Hospital Infection, Mar.; MIT Technology Review, Mar. 11
ALA news

Misty Copeland to open ALA Annual Conference

Misty Copeland

American Ballet Theatre principal dancer and author Misty Copeland (right) will speak at the Opening Session of the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago on June 26, sponsored by Penguin Young Readers. Copeland first made history in 2007 as the second African American to be promoted to the rank of soloist in two decades at the ballet company. She is also is the bestselling author of Life in MotionBallerina Body, and Firebird. Bunheads, to be released in the fall, will be the first in a series of children’s picture books inspired by Copeland’s early dance experience....

ALA Conference Services, Mar. 11; American Libraries Newsmaker, Feb. 1, 2018

States act on ebooks

Macmillan update

Alan S. Inouye and Emily Wagner write: “On March 3, library advocates in New York sent 10,000 letters to state lawmakers as part of a public campaign in response to recent efforts to limit library access to ebooks. On the same day, the Rhode Island Library Association, ALA, local library workers, patrons, and elected officials gathered at Cranston (R.I.) Public Library’s Central branch to speak against Big Publishing’s practices that limit libraries’ ability to provide full access to new publications. Meanwhile, Macmillan Publishers followed through on CEO John Sargent’s forecast that he would return to the library community in March with potential alternatives to the publisher’s library ebook embargo.”...

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 25, Mar. 13; July 25, 2019

Digital rights management

Dispatches, by Mirela Roncevic

Mirela Roncevic writes: “Since the beginning of digital rights management for ebooks, library users have expressed frustration with reading and navigating digital files. Many have pointed out how DRM has challenged their ability to access information online, pointing to the lack of interoperability and standards among dedicated ebook vendors, among other issues. Public and academic librarians are also vocal in their concerns. Because of their challenging roles as go-betweens, librarians must figure out how to meet patron demands while complying with publisher restrictions.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.
Latest Library Links

South Dakota library wins Fitbit grant

Huron (S.Dak.) Public Library staffers Angela Bailey and Danyelle Casper wearing Fitbits

The Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine has awarded the Huron (S.Dak.) Public Library a 2020 Resolve to Stay Active: A Fitbit Kit for Your Community grant. The $2,500 grant supports public libraries or other organizations serving populations that are underrepresented in biomedical research by providing access to health technology and resources. As part of the grant, the library will partner with the City of Huron Get Fit Committee to offer a six-week “Get Active, Stay Active” program. Afterward, the library will have Fitbits available for checkout to the public to use for their personal fitness programs....

Huron (S.Dak.) Daily Plainsman, Mar. 13

Responding to the vaping health crisis

Speaking at Trexler Library, Chrysan Cronin, assistant professor and director of public health at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, discusses the dangers of vaping. Photo by Paul Pearson / Muhlenberg College

Mark Lawton writes: “North Haven (Conn.) Memorial Library is one of many libraries across the US addressing the vaping scare that gained momentum in summer 2019. As of December 27, 2019, 2,561 confirmed and probable lung-injury cases have been linked with the use of e-cigarettes—called vaping—as well as 55 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. NHML hosts STEM-themed programs once a month, usually in cooperation with nearby Yale University, so a vaping program already fit into the curriculum, said Library Director Susan Griffiths.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.
Dewey Decibel podcast

What does green mean?

On My Mind, by Kayla Kuni

Kayla Kuni writes: “Sustainability initiatives often focus primarily on environmentalism, that is, the importance of reducing the footprint we leave on our physical spaces in order to preserve them over time. But social and financial measures are just as important to the longevity of our work, and by incorporating these principles into our programming, we can help different sectors embrace a holistic approach to sustainable living. Libraries serve diverse communities; socially sustainable libraries reflect this diversity in their collections, programming, and staff.” The Mill Valley (Calif.) Public Library has launched a year-long series of programs called Borrowed Time, and they are encouraging other libraries to join them in their efforts. Find out how your library can participate. ALA has created a Task Force on the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to develop a multiyear strategic plan in the coming year to increase participation by libraries in efforts to achieve them....

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.; WebJunction, Feb. 13; ALA International Relations Office, Mar. 10

Minnesota legislature goes after Drag Queen Story Hour

Minnesota State Capitol

Kelly Jensen writes: “In a story that’s played out in Missouri and Tennessee, Minnesota’s state legislature is taking aim at Drag Queen Story Hour at public libraries. Introduced March 9, new language in Minnesota Statutes 2018, Sections 134.34, explicitly undermines public library autonomy. Unlike other bills, this language is crystal clear that choices about public library programming will not be left to libraries, nor even the communities those libraries serve. Instead, Minnesota would unilaterally disallow public libraries from hosting Drag Queen Story Hour events if they want to receive funding from the Department of Education.”...

Book Riot, Jan. 15, Feb. 24, Mar. 12

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