Libraries adapt programming quickly for COVID-19.

American Library Association • March 31, 2020

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Digital escape rooms and other online programming

Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) Public Library’s Harry Potter-themed escape room

Anne Ford writes: “On March 12, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) Public Library canceled its in-house programming. By March 13, Young Adult Coordinator Angela Flock and Youth Services Coordinator Mandi Harris had a plan for moving some of that programming online. Why the urgency? ‘Sure, we want to increase literacy and provide fun events,’ said Flock. ‘But I was more concerned about my teens’ mental health. Social interaction is important for a teen’s development.’ Flock has moved two of its weekly teen clubs online: a Dungeons and Dragons group and a videogame club. Coeur d’Alene is just one of many libraries that has altered its programming plans—for children, teens, and adults.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 31

Stacey Abrams on civic participation

Stacey Abrams. Photo by Gerri Hernández

Terra Dankowski writes: “When Stacey Abrams (right) did not win the Georgia governorship in 2018—a contest she has famously declined to concede, believing the election was mismanaged—she didn’t wallow or disappear. Instead, the politician, author, and entrepreneur thought about how else she could serve. She started Fair Fight and Fair Count, two nonprofits aimed at countering voter suppression and encouraging participation in the 2020 Census, respectively. American Libraries talked to Abrams—fresh off her PLA 2020 Conference appearance and ahead of Census Day (April 1)—about her forthcoming book, the role of libraries in a democracy, and why meeting civic duty matters more than ever.”...

American Libraries Newsmaker, Mar. 31; AL: The Scoop, Feb. 27

Tomie dePaola dies at 85

Tomie dePaola in his studio in New London, New Hampshire, in 2013. Photo by Jim Cole / Associated Press

Tomie dePaola (right), the celebrated author and illustrator of scores of beloved children’s books including the Strega Nona series, whose heartwarming stories nurtured and delighted many young generations, has died. He was 85. He died on March 30 at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, because of complications from a surgery he had after a fall, Doug Whiteman, his literary agent, told the Associated Press. DePaola stirred imaginations by writing or illustrating more than 270 books. The ones that resonated most with children, he told the New York Times in 1999, were inspired by his own life....

New York Times, Mar. 31; Nov. 14, 1999; Tomie dePaola Facebook page, Mar. 30; Associated Press, Mar. 30

Dav Pilkey and LC offer fun online events

Dog Man series author Dav Pilkey gives a presentation to local students, October 11, 2019. Photo by Shawn Miller / Library of Congress

Dav Pilkey, the children’s author and illustrator behind the award-winning series Dog Man and Captain Underpants, is collaborating with the Library of Congress to serve children and families online during the coronavirus pandemic. Dav Pilkey at Home will feature new video content created by Pilkey himself on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. Eastern time on social media channels and the LC and Scholastic websites. Beginning April 1, fun and free activities will be available online including how-to-draw demonstrations, engaging read-a-louds, and inspiring resources from the library’s collections....

Library of Congress, Mar. 30; American Libraries Newsmaker, Apr. 16, 2019

Lead virtual museum field trips using Zoom

Journey with Jones virtual museum tour

Amanda Jones writes: “I came across the article ‘Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch’ on Facebook and I was struck with an idea. What if I shared these field trips online for my students? I visited the websites of all 12 museums listed in the article and was impressed, but wondered how some of my students would navigate these sites, as some of them were a little difficult to traverse. I began to wonder if there was a platform I could use to navigate these sites for my students while they followed along. I reached out to my PLN on Twitter, and the consensus seemed to be that the best way to lead a virtual trip would be using Zoom.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Mar. 30; MSN, Mar. 13
ALA news

Internet Archive draws the ire of some authors

Brewster Kahle, the founder of Internet Archive, a nonprofit that has drawn criticism for making more than a million scanned books available free online. Photo by Lianne Milton / New York Times

Alexandra Alter writes: “Last week, Internet Archive announced that it would drop the access restrictions for its scanned books to make them widely available to readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Calling it ‘a National Emergency Library,’ the group said it would suspend the waitlists for about 1.4 million books until the end of the crisis. Authors soon began criticizing the effort, calling it piracy masquerading as public service. Some argued that it would deny royalty payments at a moment when many writers are struggling. Founder Brewster Kahle (right) responded in an open letter, but the Authors Guild slammed the effort, arguing that it advances a ‘copyright ideology that violates current federal law and hurts most authors.’”...

New York Times, Mar. 30; Internet Archive Blogs, Mar. 24, 30; Publishers Weekly, Mar. 30

What your coworkers need is compassion

Stress while working at home

Amy Gallo writes: “Many of us are working in new and suboptimal conditions with unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. The future of our jobs and the economy is uncertain. This lays the groundwork for tension. Unfortunately, in stressful situations our compassion goes out the window, according to Monica Worline, research scientist at Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. This is not a time to move away from kindness and caring, even if our brains nudge us in that direction. Compassion correlates with your own level of job satisfaction and the degree to which you find your work meaningful. But how do you find and show empathy for coworkers when your cognitive resources are depleted?”...

Harvard Business Review, Mar. 23, 30

Put a bear in the window

Wood County District Public Library’s bear hug pictures

Teddy bears around the world are appearing in windows in global "Teddy Bear Hunts" for children, giving them a social distancing–safe scavenger hunt activity during coronavirus lockdowns. The Children’s Place at the Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green, Ohio, has joined the fun. Taking inspiration from the classic picture book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, the library is urging residents to put bears in their windows, and if they don’t have one, a picture of a bear. The library has provided one to print out or copy for coloring. The library’s bears hold hearts with the outline of the State of Ohio and then another heart marking the location of Wood County....

Bowling Green (Ohio) Independent News, Mar. 28; USA Today, Mar. 30
Latest Library Links

The Library for Birds is still open

Patron interaction at The Library for Birds

Cady Lang writes: “While many libraries across the country have closed due to coronavirus, there’s one library that’s staying open—and its flocks of visitors are overjoyed about it. The Belmont Library for Birds, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, has open hours all day for all avian friends (and even a few squirrels) and a livestream for human companions who are responsibly practicing social distancing. The library has adopted the motto that their spot is ‘where the need to feed meets the feed to read.’ Watch the Bird Library livestream on YouTube, or follow along with its adventures (and fairly hilarious jokes) on Twitter.”....

Time, Mar. 30; Bird Library YouTube channel livestream, Twitter feed

Vintage ads that encourage social distancing

Wash Your Hands poster, National Tuberculosis Association, ca. 1960s

Emily Temple writes: “On March 27, Rebecca Makkai tweeted a 1918 advertisement that suggested readers could ‘escape the flu by spending the evenings in your own home’ with a phonograph. (Turns out social distancing to prevent illness isn’t exactly a new idea.) Interested, I hunted around to find more vintage ads that used the flu to sell their products, as well as some public health posters from years past that encourage social distancing and personal hygiene as a way of combating the spread of disease. As ridiculous as some of these images are, information is power, after all—and in fact, we’re just starting to see public awareness campaigns popping up again in the face of the current pandemic.”...

Literary Hub, Mar. 30; Rebecca Makkai Twitter feed, Mar. 27; US News and World Report, Mar. 28
Dewey Decibel podcast

Transcribe, decipher, and tag in your spare time

The Newberry Library wants help deciphering 140-year-old letters such as this one, written by a teacher named Anna Everett, who settled in her family’s home in Remsen, New York

Jessica Leigh Hester writes: “If time at home has you missing life in the stacks or sifting through old papers in search of pieces of the past, fear not: You can do the same thing online. Slews of institutions are in the market for armchair archivists—volunteers who can generate knowledge by clicking through digitized resources, deciphering handwriting, or tagging photos. Several institutions have already seen an uptick in digital detective work since the start of the pandemic. Here are a few projects you might consider.”...

Atlas Obscura, Mar. 23

Explore the world with a virtual 4K walking tour

Screenshot from Relaxing Walk in the Rain: Umbrella and Nature Sounds for Sleep and Relaxation

Ted Mills writes: “Many of us right now are sheltering in place, dreaming of that day when we can once again travel the world. And that day will come. But until then, there are already several YouTube channels set up to provide you with a chance to go on walking tours around the world, with only the sounds of the environment in your headphones. Your mileage my vary, as they say, but here’s some trips I found particularly relaxing in these anxious times. I started with a walk through Pimmit View Park in Falls Church, Virginia. Despite an umbrella dipping into view, I found this a relaxing walk in the rain through a verdant wonderland, with occasional pauses to admire the flowing streams.”...

Open Culture, Mar. 31; Nomadic Ambience YouTube channel, Sept. 3, 2019

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