Midwinter wrap-up; Annual news

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Boxes of medical supplies await use at Schenectady County (N.Y.) Public Library, which is serving as a COVID-19 vaccination site. (Photo courtesy Karen Bradley)

Cass Balzer writes: “In 2020, many libraries proved essential to their counties’ coronavirus pandemic response by acting as testing sites, manufacturers of 3D-printed personal protective equipment, and donation centers for food pantries. In 2021, some are once again being called to assist in the fight against the virus—this time to serve as sites for vaccinations. Several factors may make libraries suitable in this regard: They’re usually open seven days a week, are typically wheelchair-accessible, and often boast safety features such as security cameras.”...

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 2

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The American Library Association’s Executive Board announced January 28 that the  scheduled for June 23–29 in Chicago will take place virtually. “We hoped that by this summer, it would be safe to meet again in person. However, that is clearly not the case. Despite the promise of vaccines, the pandemic continues to devastate our country. For the safety of everyone involved, we will be moving our Annual Conference to a virtual format,” said Julius C. Jefferson Jr., ALA president....

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 28

Midwinter Virtual Wrap-Up

Since 1908, ALA’s Midwinter Meeting has taken place 107 times, with only a few pauses. Held virtually, this year’s Midwinter was the last in its current format; next year ALA will launch , a learning, networking, and collaboration experience scheduled for January 21–24, 2022, in San Antonio. Though this year’s event was the final meeting, it was a consequential one with more than 7,100 participants and marquee speakers such as Ruby Bridges, Ethan Hawke, Ziggy Marley, Cicely Tyson, Emmanuel Acho, US Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and new US First Lady Jill Biden. Many sessions centered on two major themes: equity, diversity, and inclusion; and library responses to the coronavirus pandemic....

American Libraries feature, Feb. 3

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Youth Matters by Jennifer Casa-Todd

Teacher-librarian Jennifer Casa-Todd writes: “We’re in a crisis unlike any other, so we must make time to check in with our students. Similar to the way we hold icebreakers and getting-to-know-you activities in our classrooms at the beginning of each school year to familiarize ourselves with our students, we can find ways to gauge wellness and build connection amid this new reality. Here are five practices to try.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

Dispatches by David Lee King

Library digital services director David Lee King writes: “The majority of your library customers already use smartphones for a variety of tasks. They want to use them in and around the library as well—to keep up to date with library news and events, check out ebooks, register for events, or even ask a quick question via Facebook Messenger. How can you help patrons have a great mobile experience while connecting with your library? Here are five ways to improve your library’s mobile game.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

Virtual Visit with Jason Reynolds

School librarian Amanda Jones writes: “From the very beginning of my career as a school librarian, I’ve known that author visits were something I wanted to make available for my students. My school is located near Baton Rouge, home to our Louisiana Book Festival, and I’ve been lucky to have authors such as Nick Strong and Mariama Lockington visit my school while they were in town for the festival. It’s always an amazing experience to witness the wonder in students’ faces when they get to ask their favorite authors questions about a book they’ve read.”...

Knowledge Quest, Feb. 2

Latest Library Links

Lafayette (La.) Public Library, main branch exterior

A discussion on the history of voting rights that the Lafayette Parish (La.) Library Board halted last week because they said it was not politically balanced has found new life. State Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, in a February 2 news release called the library board’s decision to for a community discussion on books about the history of voting rights “incomprehensible.” to the Lafayette Public Library Board of Control on February 2, urging them to reconsider their vote....

Acadiana Advocate, Jan. 29, Feb. 2; OIF Blog, Feb. 3

Profile portrait of Carter G. Woodson, creator of Black History Month

February 1 is the start of , an annual observance that originated in the United States as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. If you are looking for a way to share and elevate Black stories this February, one of the best places to do so is on Wikipedia. Why? Wikipedia is one of the first places people go when looking for information....

Wikimedia, Feb. 1

Benton County (Ark.) Sheriff's Office (screenshot, KFSM-TV, Fort Smith, Arkansas)

The ACLU of Arkansas wants the Benton County Sheriff’s Office to restore access to reading material at the county jail, claiming a book ban violates inmates’ First Amendment rights. The Sheriff’s Office removed almost all reading material from the jail last year because some inmates were damaging and destroying the books, said Lt. Shannon Jenkins, a spokesperson for the department....

El Dorado News-Times, Jan. 29

ALA news and press releases

Screenshot from Speedtest for Windows

Charlie Osborne writes: “As working from home is now quickly becoming entrenched in the workforce, a reliable internet connection is a must. Bandwidth is now demanded by not only our PCs, but also our mobile devices, Internet of Things products, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming services. With so many of us now spending a substantial amount of time at home, especially when there are multiple people in the same property, the fight for capacity can lead to a host of connectivity issues. We explore seven major reasons why your internet might be slow—and how to fix them.”...

ZDNet, Feb. 1

Screenshot: PBS Sports The Suberb Owl

February 7 is a big day for the football people, and Richard Byrne at Free Technology for Teachers has compiled some resources to appeal to those students who are interested in the game. Links include an virtual field trip of Tampa, Florida, where the game will take place; a ; and a PBS video on ....

Free Technology for Teachers, Feb. 1; TED-ed, July 17, 2017; It's Okay to Be Smart, Jan. 31, 2017

covers of Date Me, Bryson Keller and Super Fake Love Song

Laura Lambert writes: “First love. First kiss. First heartbreak. These are moments you never forget—even as adults. For teens just starting to dream about finding their person and all that it entails, YA books about love offer a glimpse of what’s to come—from the light, funny, and sweet to the heartrendingly tragic. And for those who’ve already experienced some of their firsts, those very same books can help them navigate all the feelings. If you’re looking for young adult books on love, these 16 are a great place to start.”...

Brightly, Jan. 29

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