New $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program

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Starting May 12, families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic can get help from a new federal program. The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission, provides a discount up to $50 per month for broadband service (or up to $75 per month on qualifying tribal lands) and a one-time discount up to $100 for a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer purchased through a participating provider. Library staffers in all settings and other broadband equity advocates can help raise awareness of this new emergency funding....

AL: The Scoop, May 11

T. J. Rankin writes: “When in-person programming is unsafe, how do you help community members find much-needed employment? Tyler (Tex.) Public Library came up with a novel way: creating a ‘job fair in a bag.’ Through a lot of community partnering and a little creativity, the library was able to reach 150 patrons in need. It all began with a question: ‘If a crafting event can be turned into a kit, why can’t a job fair?’”...

American Libraries Trend, May

Sallyann Price writes: “Since her first novel, The House of the Spirits, was published in 1982, Isabel Allende has written frequently about the interior lives of women. Her latest book, The Soul of a Woman (Ballantine Books, March), is a collection of essays that follows the trajectory of Allende’s life and evolving approach to feminism—as the daughter of a single mother in Chile, as a journalist covering women’s issues in the 1960s and 1970s, as a mother herself, and now as a US citizen and internationally acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction. She spoke with American Libraries about her influences, challenges to her books, and fighting the patriarchy.”...

American Libraries Trend, May

Chicago Manual of Style

Mercedes Rutherford-Patten and Nicki Viso write: “Across the country, the makeup of university student populations is changing. First-generation students are organizing on campuses and prompting MLIS programs—such as the one we were enrolled in at San José State University iSchool—to rethink how they are engaging with students. As representatives of the first generation of college graduates in our families, we face a distinct set of challenges entering grad school.”...

American Libraries column, May 11

In 2008, Gabriel Levinson, often described as the founding father of the present-day book bike, began riding his custom-built Haley book tricycle around Chicago’s parks to hand out free materials. May is National Bike Month, and we’ve got stats celebrating library cyclists, book bikes, and bike-share programs in this issue’s By the Numbers....

American Libraries Trend, May

Russell Brandom and William Joel write: “If broadband access was a problem before 2020, the pandemic turned it into a crisis. As everyday businesses moved online, city council meetings or court proceedings became near-inaccessible to anyone whose connection couldn’t support a Zoom call. Some school districts started providing Wi-Fi hotspots to students without a reliable home connection. After years of slowly widening, the broadband gap became impossible to ignore. This map shows where the broadband problem is worst. Specifically, the colored-in areas show US counties where less than 15% of households are using the internet at broadband speed.”...

The Verge, May 10

University of Rhode Island

Kip Hill writes: “A four-way race for two seats on the board responsible for running the library system in parts of Kootenai County (Idaho) has prompted questions about censorship of materials and charges that the local Republican Party is injecting partisan politics into a nonpartisan position. Incumbents Bob Fish and Michele Veale face challenges from Vanessa Robinson and Rachelle Ottosen for their seats on the Community Library Network board of trustees, a body controlling a roughly $7 million budget and a seven-library system. The challengers have drawn the support of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and have advocated for the removal of certain materials from the children’s section of the library dealing with social causes, including gender identity, racial discrimination, and sexual orientation.”...

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.), May 8

Research and instruction librarian David Sye writes: “The term intellectual freedom has been recently tossed around by state lawmakers to justify new laws targeting college campuses. The laws and policy changes mainly target one of three things: faculty tenure, curriculum, or freedom of speech. This post provides an update on new laws or incidents happening in various states. Many bills discussing curriculum target Critical Race Theory, whether directly or indirectly.”...

OIF Blog, May 11

Kim Bellware writes: “A 5th-grade classroom has become the latest collision point for America’s cultural reckoning with racial bias, police violence, and academic freedom after Florida’s second-largest school district temporarily pulled the award-winning youth novel Ghost Boys over a police complaint that the book was ‘propaganda’ against law enforcement.”...

Washington Post, May 10


Author Carmen Maria Machado writes: “I have teamed up with Margaret Atwood, Jodi Picoult, Jacqueline Woodson, and many other authors . In conjunction with PEN America, a group that promotes free literary expression, demanding that our books remain available to students. While our books may contain passages that are potentially uncomfortable, challenging, or even offensive, exposure to our books is vital to expanding minds, affirming experiences, creating appreciation for the arts, and building empathy—in short, respecting the adults that the students in Leander, Texas, will soon become.”...

New York Times, May 11; Austin (Tex.) American-Statesman, March 8; PEN America, Apr. 21

Books written by Hong Kong pro-democracy figures and critics of Beijing have been removed from local public libraries in Hong Kong for review, after the authorities cited potential national security law violations. According to a , the government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department ordered library staff to remove copies of nine books by six authors from the shelves as the titles had to undergo a review. The LCSD confirmed on May 9 that they have suspended services relating to the nine books, saying the move was to “avoid breaking the law.”...

Hong Kong Free Press, May 10; Apple Daily (Hong Kong), May 7

Kevin Reome writes: “Every year around this time  to the grounds near the  to combat the ever-present danger of wildfires. They do not put on fire helmets or ride around in firetrucks, though I bet we can find photos of that on the internet somewhere. The goats are brought in to eat the surrounding dry vegetation thus giving less fuel to any possible fires and creating a fire break.”...

Boing Boing, May 7; AP News, May 6

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