Engage with ALA leaders online, June 22.

American Library Association • May 22, 2020
Library Systems Report

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2020 ALA Virtual Membership Meeting

ALA Virtual Membership Meeting and Information Session

Join ALA on June 22 for its Virtual Information Session for members, councilors, and Executive Board at 12:30 p.m. and the Virtual Membership Meeting at 3 p.m. Central time. These two livestream sessions will allow personal members to hear first-hand updates from ALA leaders and engage with them in real time. Members can learn more about the governance of ALA and share the experience with others. Register online....

Office of ALA Governance

Librarians recruited as COVID-19 hunters

Lisa Fagundes, adult services librarian at San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library, doing contact tracing work. Photo by Lisa Fagundes

Timothy Inklebarger writes: “Gathering information, educating patrons, hunting down hard-to-find items—it’s all part of the everyday work of librarians. That’s why some cities are turning to them to serve on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic as so-called contact tracers. The work entails searching for individuals believed to have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19, warning them that they might have contracted the virus and encouraging them to self-quarantine. ‘I think it’s a great fit,’ says Lisa Fagundes, adult services librarian at San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library, who first discovered the contact tracer program through a local news story.”...

AL: The Scoop, May 22

Prisoners pay to read

From left: Beth Staley, Katy Ryan, and Gabriella Pishotti of the Appalachian Prison Book Project in Morgantown, West Virginia. Photo by Raymond Thompson

Eldon Ray James writes: “In fall 2019, while doing research on book restrictions in prisons, Katy Ryan, professor of English at West Virginia University and founder of the Appalachian Prison Book Project, learned that the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation was introducing a new tablet program. WVDCR had entered into a contract with prison telecommunications giant Global Tel Link to provide people in state prisons with tablets at no charge. Of concern to Ryan and others was the fine print: Tablet users would be charged up to five cents per minute to access most of the tablet content. This included otherwise free public-domain materials, such as books from Project Gutenberg.”...

AL: The Scoop, May 22

Alaska school board rescinds its book-removal site

The Great Gatsby, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Catch-22

An Alaska school board that fell under the national spotlight after removing five books from high school reading lists has rescinded its vote. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Palmer voted in April to scratch five books off the district’s curriculum for high school English elective courses. On May 20, six members voted in favor of rescinding that vote and taking another look at the proposed curriculum and books. The books the board had voted against were The Great Gatsby, Invisible Man, Catch-22, The Things They Carried, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The board’s April vote drew backlash from hundreds of community members and residents across the US as well as organizations like the ACLU....

CNN, Apr. 28, May 21

Fighting anti-Asian racism: Tools for librarians

Covers of four APALA award-winning books

Lisa M. Rand writes: “One painful result of COVID-19 misinformation has been increased violence against Asians and Asian/Pacific Americans. On March 13, APALA issued a statement condemning the rise in xenophobia, and calling on the library community to stand in solidarity. Many of our libraries are closed due to the public health crisis. When it’s possible, take a look at the books on your shelves that depict the Asian/Pacific American experience. Do the books represent a range of life experiences? Do the titles depict outdated stereotypes? Do your shelves reflect the diversity within Asia? We can send a message to publishers by choosing diverse titles for our collections.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, May 21; Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, Mar. 13

The Library Is Open in New Jersey

The Library Is Open portal

Steve Tetreault writes: “Schools are closed. Libraries are closed. And yet, peoples’ information needs haven’t gone away. If anything, students in particular need more information than ever. And with the rafts of misinformation floating around online, information professionals are more needed than ever. New Jersey’s librarians recognized this need. Working together, the New Jersey Association of School Librarians and the New Jersey Library Association created a virtual library. Dubbed ‘The Library Is Open,’ this online space is focused primarily on serving the needs of K–12 students, along with educators, administrators, and parents. The portal provides users with a variety of useful curated resources.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, May 20
ALA news

Ohio teen overcomes poverty by going to the library

Lashawn Samuel

For five years, Columbus (Ohio) City Schools student Lashawn Samuel walked three miles round trip from his home to the Franklinton branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library to get help with his homework, and all that hard work has paid off. Samuel says this spring he was accepted to 12 colleges and universities, and several of them offered a full scholarship, including his number one choice, Ohio State University. He will be the first person in his family to go to college. He achieved his goals despite many challenges to his health, personal safety, and financial security. “The kid has tremendous perseverance and he just keeps going,” said Kelly Young, one of the Homework Help associates at the library....

WCMH-TV, Columbus, Ohio, Apr. 16

A different slant on photographic research

After the earthquake—frame houses tumbled from their foundations, San Francisco Disaster, U.S.A. Stereograph copyrighted by H.C. White Co., July 29, 1907

Kristi Finefield writes: “When I envision how to research a photograph, one methodology I come back to consists of ever-widening circles, with the photo in question at the center. Picture a stone thrown in a still pond and the ripples flowing outwards, growing ever wider. Today’s stone is the photo from our collections featured here. I was asked if I could determine where exactly these two houses were in San Francisco when they were knocked off their foundations and set at this precarious angle by the April 1906 earthquake. As always, I start my search with the item itself. The original caption offered no further clues.”...

Library of Congress: Picture This, May 21
Latest Library Links

Lessons on working from home

Pet distractions

Joe Hardenbrook writes: “I used to think I was the textbook example of a classic introvert; that is, until I started working from home. Now I realize how much I crave those social interactions. My family is at home with me, so it’s not like I’m ‘alone alone’ but it’s just different not seeing coworkers every day. The now ubiquitous Zoom video meetings get the work done, but are not a replacement for in-person interactions. It’s also given me time to think about working from home. Something I always wished I could do. I guess be careful what you wish for! Now that I’ve been doing it for the past two months, I’ve learned some things about myself and some about being a manager. Here are a few things that come to mind.”...

Mr. Library Dude, May 20

A free PDF for coloring, writing, and quoting

Cover of Stay Well, Stay Inspired

Library workers everywhere continue to serve their communities in countless innovative ways. Take some time out for yourself with this free PDF of relaxing activities. Featuring excerpts from Check This Out! A Coloring Book for Library Lovers, This Journal is Overdue, The Librarian’s Book of Quotes, and Future-Proof Your Team, the creative writing prompts, coloring book pages, and uplifting quotes inside will help you unwind and de-stress. Share your finished colored pages online with the hashtag #ColorMeALA....

ALA Editions, May 19
Dewey Decibel podcast

NYPL releases list of “125 Kids Books We Love”

Three of the books on NYPL’s kids list

As the New York Public Library marks its 125th anniversary, it’s celebrating by giving kids age 12 and under a treat that will have them booked all summer. NYPL released a list of 125 children’s books from the last 125 years to help spark a child’s love of reading. “125 Kids Books We Love” was curated by youth librarians from children’s literature over the past 125 years. It’s a follow-up to “125 Books We Love” released by the library on Valentine’s Day featuring titles for adults. NYPL will release its final list in the fall, with “125 Books We Love for Teens.”...

New York Post, May 22

Best practices for Little Free Libraries

A Little Free Library in Minneapolis

If you are concerned about spreading COVID-19, closing your Little Free Library is the safest way to ensure that the disease cannot be transmitted through it. But we also understand people want to provide book access—and a sense of hope—in their communities. If you choose to keep your library open, the Little Free Library organization offers these suggestions for cleaning your library to help make it safer for all. If you choose to clean your books, use a microfiber cloth rather than disinfectant wipes on paperbacks or books with cloth covers. For books with plastic covers, you can use disinfectant wipes....

Little Free Library, Apr. 14

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