Coping during the pandemic.

American Library Association • March 17, 2020

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ALA Executive Board recommends closing libraries

ALA COVID-19 update

The ALA Executive Board released a statement March 17 in support of libraries and library workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It reads in part: “The ALA Executive Board unequivocally stands in support of the safety and well-being of library workers and the communities we serve. To protect library workers and their communities from exposure to COVID-19, we strongly recommend that academic, public, and school library leaders and their trustees and governing bodies evaluate closing libraries to the public and only reopening when guidance from public health officials indicates the risk has significantly subsided. We encourage libraries to ensure that all library workers receive fully paid leave, including health coverage, while libraries are closed.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 17

A few more COVID-19 responses

Flattening the Curve: Infographic from Information Is Beautiful

Sarah Ostman writes: “You’ve been to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. You’ve bookmarked the National Library of Medicine’s coverage. You’re getting notifications from your local public health officials. You know how to find information in a crisis; you’re a library worker, after all. But with so much information out there about the coronavirus pandemic, it’s impossible to catch everything. The following resources can help you share vital information with the public whether your library is open to the public or temporarily closed; libraries that are still operating virtually might consider sharing them over the phone, in library e-newsletters or on social media.”...

Programming Librarian, Mar. 16

When will a COVID-19 vaccine be ready?

Vaccine illustration by James Melaugh

Laura Spinney writes: “Even at their most effective, containment strategies have only slowed the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19. With the World Health Organization finally declaring a pandemic, all eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick. About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to create such a vaccine, at least four of which already have candidates they have been testing in animals. The first of these—produced by Boston-based biotech firm Moderna—is being tested in Seattle this week. This unprecedented speed is thanks in large part to early Chinese efforts to sequence the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”...

The Guardian (UK), Mar. 16; CNN, Mar. 17

Building your remote workforce

Remote workforce

Alison Mudditt writes: “Working from home is creating real challenges for those who aren’t used to supporting a remote workforce. I’ve had this post rumbling around in my head for some months now, largely because we’re shaping a different way of working at PLOS as we downsize our downtown San Francisco space by 50%. While these ideas are influenced by my thinking about a longer-term and permanent transition, much here will be useful for those of you who have been forced to adapt quickly to a temporary situation. One of our most important roles is staying close to our teams and helping them to create new ways to connect. It’s also quite likely that we’ll learn things that change our workplaces permanently.”...

The Scholarly Kitchen, Mar. 17

Taking your conference online

Online conference

Brianna Beehler and Devin Griffiths write: “What options do conference organizers have in responding to the coronavirus outbreak? A little over a week ago, we hosted the 20th annual meeting of Interdisciplinary 19th-Century Studies. As concerns increased over the spread of the coronavirus in the US and abroad, we were able to quickly expand our virtual program and ended up taking about a quarter of the conference online. It was challenging, and we had to scramble, so we’d like to share what we learned in order to help others who are thinking about whether and how to host large events in the coming months.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 16
ALA news

Can the internet handle everyone working at home?

Illustration by Pete Gamlen

Davey Alba and Cecilia Kang write: “As millions of people across the US shift to working and learning from home this week to limit the spread of coronavirus, they will test internet networks with one of the biggest mass behavior changes that the nation has experienced. That is set to strain the internet’s infrastructure, with the burden likely to be particularly felt in two areas: the home networks that people have set up in their residences, and the home internet services from Comcast, Charter, and Verizon that those home networks rely on. That may challenge what are known as last-mile services, which are the cable broadband and fiber-based broadband services that pipe the internet into homes.”...

New York Times, Mar. 13, 16

Stay home, they told us...

Empty street

Italian editor Sara Reggiani writes: “‘Stay home, if you can,’ they told us in the beginning. And I could. I run a small publishing house from my home and at home is where I have always spent the majority of my time. I was not afraid. I can do it, I told myself. This changes nothing. Then the advice became an order. ‘Stay home!’ they told us. And everything changed. Usually crowded with tourists from all over the world, the streets of our beloved Florence are now totally empty. Pigeons and crows, taken aback from the sudden quiet, look at each other in disbelief. Spring is coming but we won’t be able to enjoy it. Things we used to take for granted, like taking a walk in the park or visiting a friend, have become a luxury that we cannot afford.”...

Literary Hub, Mar. 16

Eight ways the pandemic will affect retirements

Boomer retirement boat

Janet Novack writes: “After years of hearing how 60 is the new 40, boomers are now being told that those as ‘young’ as 60 have weaker immune systems and face greater risk from COVID-19, particularly if they have certain other health problems. Boomers are a diverse group. The majority are still working and plan to stay in the labor force longer, assuming the tanking economy permits it. Much will depend on how severe and prolonged the pandemic is; how long the bear market lasts; and how deep a recession is caused by the shutdowns and social isolation. Here are eight likely longer term effects on Boomers’ retirements. (For current survival advice, read Rational Panic: Coronavirus Plan For Retirees.)”...

Forbes, Mar. 12, 14, 16; Pew Research Center: Fact Tank, July 24, 2019
Latest Library Links

Fair use and emergency remote teaching

Copyright icon

This public statement is meant to provide clarity for US colleges and universities about how copyright law applies to the many facets of remote teaching and research in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. We write this as copyright specialists at colleges, universities, and other organizations supporting higher education in the US and Canada who work every day with faculty, staff, and librarians to enable them to make ethical and legal choices about copyright issues in online teaching....

Collaboration of library copyright specialists, Mar. 13

“I Will Survive”: Teaching online

Michael Bruening, “I Will Survive,” YouTube screenshot

Colleen Flaherty writes: “First Gloria Gaynor showed us how to wash our hands properly while singing ‘I Will Survive.’ Now Michael Bruening, an associate professor of history and political science at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is serenading professors with an online teaching-themed cover of Gaynor’s hit. Bruening’s lyrics are tongue-in-cheek. They’ve nevertheless rung true with thousands who have shared his video (2:44) via Facebook and YouTube. While he isn’t particularly tech-savvy, Bruening is not as uninitiated as his song perhaps suggests: ‘I am not particularly adept at Panopto yet, but I use Canvas regularly and have a decent grasp of Zoom.’”...

Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 17; Gloria Gaynor on Twitter, Mar. 10; Michael Bruening on Facebook, Mar. 15; Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) YouTube channel, Mar. 16
Dewey Decibel podcast

Dewey Decibel: Telling women’s stories

Dewey Decibel: Telling women’s stories

In Episode 48, Dewey Decibel celebrates Women’s History Month with conversations about feminism, storytelling, and the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote 100 years ago. First, American Libraries Editor-at-Large Anne Ford speaks with author and activist Mikki Kendall about her book Hood Feminism. Next, AL Senior Editor Amy Carlton talks with author and cultural critic Roxane Gay about the importance of oral histories in social justice movements. Finally, AL Senior Editor Phil Morehart speaks with Marilyn Harhai on resources related to the 19th Amendment....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 17

Books and authors hurt by COVID-19

New releases affected by COVID-19

Michael Seidlinger writes: “The effects of the pandemic are rippling through the publishing industry. AWP 2020 in San Antonio skirted by on low attendance. The London Book Fair, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, National Book Critics Circle Awards, Whiting Awards, and other physical events have been canceled. There is speculation about whether BookExpo will be forced to change its plans for its annual conference at the end of May at the Javits Center. This affects the entire industry, including authors—especially emerging and indie authors whose books are coming out now and over the next six months. PW spoke with authors with spring 2020 book releases on how the pandemic has affected their plans and careers.”...

Publishers Weekly, Mar. 11–12, 17

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