Midwinter Virtual details announced

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ALA Graphics: Keep calm and read on with library-themed face masks

ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021 speakers Ibram X. Kendi, Keisha N. Blain, Joy Harjo, and Emmanuel Acho

ALA Midwinter Virtual will be held January 22–26 and will include the Symposium on the Future of Libraries, News You Can Use series, notable featured speakers, special author events, a virtual Exhibit Hall, the Youth Media Awards, the I Love My Librarian Award Ceremony, live-chat presentations, and social networking opportunities. Confirmed featured speakers include Opening Session speakers Ibram X. Kendi, author, historian, and scholar of race and discriminatory policy in America, and Keisha N. Blain, coauthor of Four Hundred Souls. The ALA President’s Program speaker will be author and US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. Also featured will be former NFL player and author Emmanuel Acho....

ALA Conference Services, Sept. 15

Wing, the first commercial drone delivery service in the US, operates in Christiansburg, Virginia. Kelly Passek, middle school librarian at Montgomery County Public Schools, uses Wing to deliver library books to the town's students.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Montgomery County Public Schools in Christiansburg, Virginia, got books from their school library shelves. Now they’re getting them from the sky. Thanks to an idea from MCPS middle school librarian Kelly Passek and a partnership with Wing, the first commercial drone delivery service in the US, any student in the district who lives within Wing’s delivery zone can request a book through the school system’s library catalog. As the pandemic continues to make indoor library visits difficult for many (and impossible for some), Passek is just one of many librarians across the country who have turned to the outdoors as a means of putting books in the hands of readers....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 14

Dewey Decibel podcast: Small and Rural Libraries

This past summer, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. —virtually—to spotlight issues affecting libraries across the country, in particular small and rural libraries. In , Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries Senior Editor Phil Morehart speaks with Jefferson, as well as two librarians whose work was showcased on his tour....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 15, Aug. 12

San Jose State University Online Open House September 17

New York Library Association members and staffers meet virtually with Christina Henderson (bottom row, pink shirt), Legislative Assistant for US Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) handling education, workforce, and census issues for both the Senate leadership and Sen. Schumer’s personal office.

The US House and Senate returned from their August break after Labor Day, and library advocates are continuing to press elected leaders to support the Library Stabilization Fund Act before the election in November. LSFA (/) would establish a $2 billion emergency fund to address financial losses and bolster library services for libraries of all types, with priority given to the hardest-hit communities. Most of the funding ($1.7 billion) would go directly to states to meet local library needs such as avoiding furloughs, providing safe workspaces, or purchasing technology....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 14

Teen participants in Boston Public Library’s “Drag vs. AI” program test their makeup and props against facial recognition software. (Photo: Kathy Pham/American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts)

Teen librarian Maty Cropley writes: “In November 2019, Boston Public Library’s Teen Central hosted a digital privacy instruction workshop for teens that centered on facial recognition technology. I wanted to connect my antisurveillance and privacy work to my Teen Central patrons, many of whom are queer or trans. Public libraries are among the few venues that offer digital privacy training. Making space in the library for teen patrons to explore identity and creatively resist oppressive technology with their own aesthetic was an important goal.”...

American Libraries Trend, Sept./Oct.

Dispatches by Heather Moorefield-Lang

LIS professor Heather Moorefield-Lang writes: “When you hear the terms digital legacy or digital afterlife, what comes to mind? An episode of Black Mirror, maybe, or the sci-fi series Upload, in which characters choose their own afterlives? How about The Good Place? The themes of afterlife and legacy have become prominent in popular media over the past few years, but the lifecycle of our digital footprint is less understood.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

OverDrive Back-to-School Sale

In Practice by Meredith Farkas

In Practice columnist Meredith Farkas writes: “Libraries should not be beyond critique. At a time when the structural racism inherent in American institutions is being starkly exposed, narratives that portray libraries as institutions that neutrally welcome everyone erase the marginalization, racism, and exclusion experienced by Black, Indigenous, and people of color and people from other marginalized groups at the hands of library employees and inequitable library policies. Our rhetoric around the value of libraries often centers on the people who work there, but library workers are humans who can’t just leave their unconscious biases at the door.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

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ALA Council will hold the first of its two fall virtual meetings on September 18. The first meeting, , will focus on budget updates and approval of the annual estimates of income for the association. The second meeting, held from , will concentrate on updates from the Forward Together Working Group. No resolutions will be submitted from either of these meetings. Council documents, including the agenda, will be made available . Members are also encouraged to for the 2021–2023 term (beginning July 1, 2021). Members can  by September 30....

ALA Governance Office, Sept. 14, Sept. 15

Screenshot of Barry Penzel, Douglas County (Nev.) Commission Chair

The chair of the Douglas County (Nev.) Commission wanted to cut funding for Douglas County Public Library in Minden . Through a public records request, a local news channel uncovered emails between Douglas County Chair Barry Penzel (left) and Sheriff Dan Coverley suggesting the library's budget should be cut. The library board voted earlier this month to spend $30,000  because of the controversy....

KRNV-DT Reno, Sept. 11

ALA news and press releases

Sorry We're Closed but Still Awesome window sign (Photo: Photo by Tim Mossholder/Pexels)

Sophie Haigney writes: “Enclosed public spaces like libraries and trains face significant challenges due to social distancing regulations, and ongoing, warranted fears about indoor spread of the virus. And race and class-based disparities in access to and amenability of public space in the US have manifested in a variety of ways: when law enforcement disproportionately enforces social distancing regulations on people of color; in transit systems upon which nonwhite and lower-income people rely; and in the shuttering of libraries and public restrooms, used heavily by homeless populations in cities and towns across the country.”...

Insider, Sept. 14

Game Boy Advance

Ernesto Van der Sar writes: “The US Copyright Office regularly reviews exemptions to Section 1201 of the DMCA, which prevents the public from ‘tinkering’ with DRM-protected content and devices. During the , there was a  for nostalgic gamers. To preserve ‘abandoned’ games for future generations, the Copyright Office expanded the game preservation exemptions to games that require an online component. A few weeks ago the Copyright Office started its  of the DMCA exemptions which will be updated next year.”...

Torrent Freak, Sept. 10, Oct. 26, 2018; Ohio State University Libraries, March 20, 2019; Regulations.gov, June 21

Detail from cover of Sanctuary

Sarah Mangiola writes: “Each year, we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month—also referred to as —between September 15 and October 15. These children’s and YA books written by Latinx authors provide the perfect way to mark the month. Featuring a wide variety of titles for kids of all ages, including picture books, middle grade and chapter books, and young adult reads, these stories recognize Latinx contributions to the world of children’s literature and are great for reading at any time of year. Share these books with little and big kids alike.”...

Brightly, Sept. 15; AL: The Scoop, Oct. 12, 2015

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