Libraries and copyright lawsuits

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Our online column  explores a wide range of legal issues that arise in libraries. In this edition, librarian-turned-lawyer Mary Minow explores the process through which libraries can immunize themselves from copyright lawsuits based on user postings....

American Libraries column, Aug. 18

that it would remove or suspend nine books from its secondary school book club reading lists. This comes as part of a months-long process in which the Leander Independent School District, near Austin, has removed or threatened to remove a number of books including titles from Jacqueline Woodson, Margaret Atwood, and Carmen Maria Machado, among others. The removals come in response to a campaign from some local community members against books they say are “inappropriate” for children. Many of the removed or suspended books address difficult but important issues related to race or gender, including racial discrimination, LGBTQ+ relationships, mental health, and sexual assault and violence....

PEN America, Aug. 5

Bobbi Newman writes: “Many people are experiencing increased stress and anxiety as we continue to battle COVID-19. states: ‘The mental health impacts of COVID-19 continue. From all that we know, it is clear these impacts will outlive the pandemic itself.’ The that many people are coping with their stress in unhealthy ways including increased alcohol consumption.”...

National Library of Medicine, Aug. 3; National Institute of Mental Health, Apr. 9; American Psychological Association, Mar. 11

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Katherine Jardine writes: “Before the pandemic, Lisa Fagundes was working as an adult services librarian in the Information Services Department of San Francisco Public Library. On March 16, 2020, the library closed its doors to the public, and one month later Lisa was deployed as a for the city. We caught up with Lisa to ask her about her experience over the past year.”...

WebJunction, Aug. 11; AL: The Scoop, May 22, 2020

Dean Sterling Jones writes: “David Mikkelson, the cofounder of the fact-checking website Snopes, has long presented himself as the arbiter of truth online, a bulwark in the fight against rumors and fake news. But he has been lying to the site’s tens of millions of readers: A BuzzFeed News investigation has found that between 2015 and 2019, Mikkelson wrote and published dozens of articles containing material plagiarized from news outlets such as the Guardian and the LA Times.”...

BuzzFeed News, Aug. 13

Natalia E. Contreras writes: “In recent months, Black librarians and library workers of color in Indiana have been speaking out about the racism and sexism they have experienced. Some have resigned from their jobs at public libraries and others have left the profession. Some librarians say this lack of diversity and the turnover of workers of color can also negatively affect library patrons who need or depend on the services libraries provide.”...

Indianapolis Star, Aug. 12

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 from Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse, presented by Kaplan, found most students are unaware of just how much data their institutions have about them, but they also are not overly concerned about it. While four in 10 think it’s important for their college to have a data privacy policy, only about one in 10 is aware of such a policy and has read it. Experts list nine ways higher-ed institutions can help students think more critically about data use and protection....

Inside Higher Ed, Aug. 17

Cassandra Brindle writes: “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve developed something of a love/hate relationship with take-home kits. Intellectually I can appreciate them. But why do take-home kits have to involve crafts? The point is creating a program a patron can take home and do on their own, but crafts are only a part of what programming librarians do. That’s what inspired my series ‘Prompted.’ This involved three sheets a month: a creative exercise, a list of writing prompts, and a list of art prompts.”...

Teen Services Underground, Aug. 5

Farmingdale Public Library in South Farmingdale, New York, apologized after a parent noticed a “mature” comic book in a free giveaway bag to families on August 14 as part of Free Comic Book Day. The cover of “Tales of a Grown-Up Nothing” shows a teenage girl skateboarding, but the story features pictures of people in various sexual positions and one woman using a sex toy. “I’m glad that the parent brought it to our attention,” library director Debbie Podolski said. “It was a mistake. It slipped through.”...

WABC-TV (New York), Aug. 17

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Richard Byrne writes: “Historical photographs, paintings, sketches, and maps can inspire all kinds of history questions. Not only are historic photographs, paintings, sketches, and maps useful as discussion starters in a classroom, they’re also useful in prompting fun research questions. Here are 12 good places to find historical imagery to spark inquiry.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, Aug. 16

Alex McElroy writes: “The beach is no place for a book. Reading is not a beachy activity. Reading is for armchairs and bay windows and loverless beds. Bring a book to the beach and you’re agreeing to ruin the book. No matter how careful you are, sand will stuff the creases between the pages—seven years after a beach trip during grad school, I still find sand in my copy of Delmore Schwartz’s collected poems. Life is full of excellent places to read. Stop pretending the beach is one of those places.”...

The Atlantic, Aug. 10

August is Women in Translation Month. To celebrate, Words without Borders has chosen 11 books by some of its favorite Asian women writers. From Indonesia, Macau, Vietnam, India, and more, these titles range across genres and themes, delving into questions of migration, coming of age, family, politics, and other topics. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it may inspire your reading list for #WITMonth and beyond....

Words without Borders, Aug. 5

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