Library advocates can make the case for funding.

American Library Association • May 26, 2020
Dewey Decibel

For daily ALA and library news, check the American Libraries website or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Pinterest icon YouTube icon RSS icon

HEROES Act stalls in Senate

What you need to know about the HEROES Act

On May 15, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. While the act includes fiscal stabilization for state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, schools, and colleges, the funding earmarked for libraries is far from enough to prevent additional cuts to library jobs and services that are crucial to the recovery ahead. The Senate is not expected to put the HEROES Act on the fast track. Republican Senate leaders have expressed a desire to evaluate the effectiveness of the CARES Act, in which libraries received $50 million. As the debate continues, it is likely that senators will pause relief funding legislation until June....

AL: The Scoop, May 22; Institute of Museum and Library Services, Mar. 27

Midland library fights to save collection

Library Director Miriam Andrus moves books from the basement of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland, Michigan

Thanks to the efforts of the Michigan National Guard, the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library in Midland, Michigan, has saved the majority of its collection housed in the lower level. The library staff has kept track of the situation since May 19 when the heavy rains passed through. By 3:30 a.m. May 20, staff members were present, removing books from the lower shelves, attempting to divert water to the pump room, and raising furniture. But the situation worsened, and the Michigan National Guard arrived on May 21 and transported all of the library’s 80,000 YA and children’s materials from the lower level to the main level—all without the use of an elevator because the elevators were out of service at the time....

Midland (Mich.) Daily News, May 24; WJRT-TV, Flint, Mich., May 24

Illinois library sets up an outside obstacle course

Donna Forbis, Illinois Prairie District Public Library

While libraries are still closed in Illinois, one branch has given locals a chance to test themselves in a different kind of way. After seeing a video of an obstacle course set up outside a library in Nebraska, the Germantown Hills branch of the Illinois Prairie District Public Library was motivated to create its own challenge. “Libraries are nothing if not a place to share information, so I took their inspiration,” Marketing and Events Coordinator Donna Forbis said. “We came and we painted Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning last week, and people have been coming out ever since.” The course starts with a running segment before going into four straight jumps, followed closely by an area where you must spin four times. That’s just the beginning....

WMDB-TV, Peoria, Ill., May 22

A bleak picture for international enrollment

International students at Wichita State University

Elizabeth Redden writes: “As colleges try to plan their fall operations and shape their classes, they face a big question that will largely be answered by forces outside their control: If they do resume in-person classes, will international students be able to join them? The global pandemic is causing widespread uncertainty: routine visa processing is suspended at US embassies and consulates worldwide. International travel restrictions are in place in many countries. Commercial flight options are limited at best. The University of Arizona is projecting losses of 80% for new international students and 30% for continuing international students, an outcome that translates into a projected $33.1 million revenue loss.”...

Inside Higher Ed, May 26; US State Department: Bureau of Consular Affairs, Mar. 20

Five resources for teaching and learning about copyright

Screenshot from Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens video

Richard Byrne writes: “In this week’s Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week newsletter I shared a short guide to finding and using media for use in classroom projects like videos, slideshows, and podcasts. This morning I’ve already had a few requests for more information and more resources to help students understand copyright, Creative Commons, and fair use. In no particular order, here are some of my go-to resources for helping students and teachers understand the importance and the key concepts of copyright as it relates to school projects.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, May 25

Copyright bots vs. classical musicians

An image from a Camerata Pacifica video that was blocked on Facebook for alleged copyright violations. Molly Morkoski on piano, Richard O’Neill on viola, and Jose Franch-Ballester on clarinet play Mozart’s Kegelstatt. Photo by Camerata Pacifica

Michael Andor Brodeur writes: “As COVID-19 forces more and more classical musicians and organizations to shift operations to the internet, they’re having to contend with an entirely different but equally faceless adversary: copyright bots. Or, more accurately, content identification algorithms dispatched across social media to scan content and detect illegal use of copyrighted recordings. You’ve encountered these bots in the wild if you’ve ever had a workout video or living room lip-sync blocked or muted for ambient inclusion or flagrant use of Britney or Bruce. But who owns Brahms?”...

Washington Post, May 21 (subscription required)
ALA news

Astronaut tips for surviving quarantine

Astronaut Sunita Williams on a 2007 mission

Three weeks into the coronavirus crisis, astronaut Sunita Williams stands in the middle of a street in her neighborhood in Houston, leading kids who are safely spread out on their own front lawns in an exercise regimen. A veteran of NASA space station expeditions 14, 15, 32 and 33, Williams is the first person to run a marathon in space—on a treadmill. Now she’s training to fly the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft for NASA. These days, that training is virtual; like most of the rest of America, she is working from home—in her case, in Texas with her Labrador retriever. But Williams’s extraterrestrial adventures have uniquely prepared her to weather such a scenario. Here is her quarantine coping advice.”...

AARP, May 6

Experts rate the risks of 14 summer activities

Eating at a restaurant: Medium to high risk

Allison Aubrey writes: “It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what’s safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities—from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household. One big warning: Your personal risk depends on your age and health, the prevalence of the virus in your area, and the precautions you take during any of these activities. Also, many areas continue to restrict the activities described here, so check your local laws. And there’s no such thing as a zero-risk outing right now.”...

NPR: Morning Edition, May 23
Latest Library Links

Art in Place: A virtual exhibition

Raúl Colón, Love in a Time of Fear, 2020

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is presenting Art in Place: Social Distancing in the Studio, its first online exhibition, organized while the museum is temporarily closed. Illustrator and author Mo Willems co-organized the exhibition with Ellen Keiter, the Carle’s chief curator, inviting 21 picture book artists, isolated in studios around the world, to share their most recent works. The artists also share photographs of their studios and reflect on the importance of creativity. The curators hope the exhibition will provide solace to everyone counting on picture books during this challenging time. “Science is going to get us out of this,” says Willems, “but art is going to get us through this.”...

Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, May 26

Why science denialism persists

Cover of Galileo and the Science Deniers, by Mario Livio

Elizabeth Svoboda writes: “To hear some experts tell it, science denial is mostly a contemporary phenomenon, with climate change deniers and vaccine skeptics at the vanguard. Yet the story of Galileo Galilei reveals just how far back denial’s lineage stretches. As astrophysicist Mario Livio writes in Galileo and the Science Deniers, Catholic clerics—heavily invested in older geocentric theories—labeled him a heretic and banned his writings. He spent the last years of his life under house arrest. Yet denialism has also sprouted some distinctly modern features: As Alan Levinovitz points out in Natural: How Faith in Nature’s Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science, sometimes we can become unwitting purveyors of denial.”...

Undark, May 22; National Center for Science Education, Aug. 26, 2013
Dewey Decibel podcast

Security for work-at-home computers

Security at home

Neil J. Rubenking writes: “When you step into your office and sit down to work at a company-owned computer, you shouldn’t have to worry much about security. That’s what the IT department is for. But these days things are not so simple. If you’re working from home, you’re responsible for doing so securely. Don’t worry. There are plenty of things you can do to upgrade your work-from-home security, and many are simple to implement. Follow these tips to make sure that you’re not the one who accidentally exposes all the HR records or leaks sensitive information.”...

PC Magazine, Mar. 27, May 21

How to look better on Zoom

Before / after in Zoom

Harry Guinness writes: “More professional (and personal) interactions are happening via Zoom and other video-calling apps, and it doesn’t look like that’ll be changing anytime soon. The same as an in-person meeting or date, it’s important to look your best on video calls. Here’s how to work it for your webcam. In a professional broadcast studio, the cameras aren’t what make people look good—it’s the lighting. The same is true at home. What you’re looking for is a spot with nice, even front lighting. The easiest place to find it is in front of a big window. This is one of the best photography hacks to look good, whether you’re taking a selfie or doing a professional presentation.”...

How-To Geek, May 12, 26

AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Tuesday and Friday to personal members of the American Library Association.

Editor, AL Direct: George M. Eberhart,

Send news and feedback:

Direct ad inquiries to: Michael Stack,

AL Direct FAQ:

All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site.


AL Direct will not sell your email to outside parties, but your email may be shared with advertisers in this newsletter should you express interest in their products by clicking on their ads or content. If the advertisers choose to communicate with you by email, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future emails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation of 2018. Read the ALA privacy policy.

American Libraries
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext. 4216

ISSN 1559-369X

ALA Publishing