Our latest Letters of the Law column

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Letters of the Law by Mary Minow

In the latest edition of our online column, lawyer-librarian Mary Minow explores nuances of meeting room policy affected by pandemic conditions, as well as privacy considerations and liability around tax season....

American Libraries column, Feb. 23

National Library Outreach Day logo

Libraries across the country will observe  (formerly known as National Bookmobile Day) on April 7 during National Library Week. Communities will celebrate the invaluable role library professionals and libraries continuously play in bringing library services to those in need. ALA, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries agreed to rebrand National Bookmobile Day in recognition of all that outreach library professional do within their communities....

Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, Feb. 22

Cute Black girl wearing striped shirt and overalls sits on floor and reads storybooks (Photo: Amina Filkins/Pexels)

Ashley Hoffman and Jessica Bohrer write: “As children’s librarians, we are always trying to showcase the importance and meaning of words on the page (or screen, as the pandemic has moved us more towards digital storytimes). We can take any topic and turn it into a storytime lesson, but free speech is often a theme that is overlooked. Here are some ways librarians can play an active role in educating children about freedom of speech, free expression, and encouraging them to use their voices and respect the voices of others.”...

ALSC Blog, Feb. 17

ALA press releases

Tablet leaning on stack of print books

OverDrive founder and CEO Steve Potash writes: “I have been following the news of the recent Mars landing and the exciting exploration plans that have begun. The flawless landing and early images sent by the rover represent the culmination of years of dreams and aspirations of hundreds of scientists and engineers. I have one request for the NASA team to add to the experiments and discovery on the red planet. Can they scan the Martian landscape to find a digital book lending model that satisfies and balances the interests of libraries, schools, authors, and publishers?”...

Thoughts from a Digital Advocate, Feb. 22

Person using e-reader

Michael Kozlowski writes: “Major publishers change their terms for libraries every single year and this forces them to spend more money in order to have an extensive collection of audiobooks and ebooks for their patrons. Publishers have a few different models for libraries. OverDrive has provided Good e-Reader with . This is not only applicable to OverDrive, but also their competition, such as Hoopla and the Cloud Library.”...

Good e-Reader, Feb. 16

US Census 2020 (white text over blue map of US)

The US Census Bureau said February 12 it won’t be delivering data used for redrawing congressional and state legislative districts until the end of September, causing headaches for state lawmakers and redistricting commissions facing deadlines to redraw districts this year. Officials at the statistical agency blamed operational delays during the 2020 Census caused by the pandemic....

AP News, Feb. 12

Latest Library Links

Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines (Photo: Cburnett, CC BY-SA 3.0)

On February 15 Iowa state lawmakers , part of a growing catalog of proposed legislation this session aimed at addressing Republican concerns over suppression of conservative voices at Iowa’s universities. Lawmakers also have advanced a pair of widely debated bills to make Iowa the first state in the nation to ban tenure, and another requiring universities poll and report to the General Assembly the political affiliation of all of its tens of thousands of employees....

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Feb. 15

Woman reads at Rahila Foundation Library (Photo: Rahila Foundation)

Najiba Hussaini was killed in a Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul in 2017. Rahila Monji was killed the following year when an Islamic State bomber detonated himself at a university entrance exam preparation center. Their loved ones were inspired to fulfill the same dream: to build public libraries memorializing the women they had lost. Today, those libraries—one in Kabul and the other in Daikundi Province—stand as symbols of the progress made toward gender equality and access to education in Afghanistan where as many as 3.5 million girls are enrolled in school, according to , and where, as of 2018, one-third of the nation’s teachers were women....

New York Times, Feb. 21

Satirical illustration of Japanese citizens beating the giant catfish that was believed to cause earthquakes after the 1855 Edo (Tokyo) earthquake, part of the University of Tokyo General Library holdings now available
on the Internet Archive

Katie Barrett writes: “As our global society grows ever more connected, it can be easy to assume that all of human history is just one click away. Yet language barriers and physical access still present major obstacles to deeper knowledge and understanding of other cultures, even on the world wide web. That is why the Internet Archive is thrilled to announce a new partnership with ”...

Internet Archive blog, Feb. 16

Call Number ad

Box of movable type

Lilly Smith writes: “Sustainability isn’t just measured in pounds, emissions, and material sourcing. It’s also measured in bytes. Amsterdam-based design studio Formafantasma, whose work focuses on sustainable design, has  that’s better for the environment. The site looks about as plain as you can get: It has lots of white space, few images, and only two typefaces: Arial and Times New Roman, in standard blue and black that harkens back to the early days of the web.”...

Fast Company, Feb. 18

Generic blue login screen

Barbara Krasnoff writes: “Ever since LastPass announced that it was tweaking its free tier to only allow —mobile or computer—there’s been a lot of interest in  among LastPass users. Luckily, once you do find an alternative, it’s pretty easy to pull your data from LastPass and upload it to another password manager.”...

The Verge, Feb. 16, Feb. 23

Graphic for Dismantling White Feminism course with image of three young women of color embracing

Jae Thomas writes: “While supporting Black creators and getting educated on Black history and antiracism are things we all should be doing every month of the year, Black History Month is a great reminder to put even more time and energy into those pursuits. Each of these programs was made by a Black creator or educator, can be completed in the comfort of your home, and involves both historical education and contemporary tools for antiracism work.”...

Mashable, Feb. 24

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