2021 Library Design Showcase

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Phil Morehart writes: “Welcome to the 2021 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries that address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. That this year’s slate features building projects completed during the pandemic makes them even more noteworthy. Despite libraries being temporarily closed or operating at reduced hours because of COVID-19 restrictions, beautiful new facilities and innovatively renovated spaces continued to open to the public over the past year and a half.”...

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong writes: “In our all-too-recent past, entire groups were denied access to the institutions we serve. That’s why during , celebrated each September, I am calling on all of us to recognize the errors of the past and commit to fighting for improved access for groups that may still be excluded, such as people experiencing homelessness and undocumented immigrants.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

Cass Balzer writes: “Libraries have been experiencing for several years, but there has been an uptick in reported cases during the first eight months of 2021, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. And while these audits take the same format as before, libraries report more aggressive, targeted, and organized operations than in years past.”...

American Libraries feature, Aug. 26; Jan./Feb. 2020

Crowley Patron Scanners

Patty M. Wong writes: “There’s an old proverb: If you plant a tree, it provides shade for generations. As Congress prepares a budget package aimed at expanding opportunity, we must plant the tree of knowledge by rebuilding our nation’s libraries. America’s 16,000 public libraries are footholds for working families, especially during uncertain times. They’re centers of lifelong learning, job training, digital access, and lifeline services for folks from all walks of life. But our libraries are in fragile shape, and in many communities, they’re falling behind—or falling apart.”...

Roll Call, Aug. 30

On September 1, the Public Library Association (PLA) issued its 2020 Public Library Technology Survey report, detailing how libraries are further extending their technology services and resources in the face of pandemic limitations. Survey data, captured for the first time, shows that more than half of public libraries report circulating technology (such as hotspots, laptops, and tablets) for patron use offsite. A similar percentage provided streaming public programs, such as storytimes and author events, in the previous 12 months, as well as diverse digital content, resources, and training....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 1

School board members are largely unpaid volunteers, traditionally former educators and parents who step forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent, and review the budget. But a growing number are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests between deeply political constituencies over how racial issues are taught, masks in schools, and COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirements....

AP News, Aug. 29

Call Number Podcast

Boston Public Library was hit with a cybersecurity attack August 25 that crippled its computer network, the library said in a statement August 27. There is no evidence that sensitive employee or patron data has been compromised; affected systems were taken offline immediately, and steps were taken to isolate the problem and shut down network communication. BPL’s IT department is working with the mayor’s Department of Innovation and Technology on restoring services, and law enforcement has been contacted. As of September 1, most business functions had been restored....

Boston Public Library, Aug. 27

Libraries and library workers interested in examining racism, bias, and inequity have a new tool to do so. The University Libraries at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has released the syllabus of its recent 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge focused on libraries and archives. The syllabus is the work of the University Libraries’ IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) Council. It is part of the library’s , which commits to using equity, inclusion, and social justice as a lens for its work....

University of North Carolina Libraries, Aug. 24

Valerie Wirtschafter writes: “Confronted by viral conspiracy theories, climate change denialism, extremist movements, and antidemocratic groups (among others) feeding off false information online, social media platforms have taken steps in recent years to curtail the spread of misinformation. But even as tech companies have come under pressure to crack down on misinformation, one key avenue of information distribution in the digital economy—podcasting—has escaped significant scrutiny, despite the massive scale of the podcast ecosystem.”...

Brookings TechStream, Aug. 25

ALA news and press releases

Nora McGreevy writes: “Anyone with an internet connection can now access more than 3.5 million records documenting the lives of free Black people during the Reconstruction period. Created by genealogy company Ancestry, the amounts to a treasure trove of information about Black communities in the US between 1846 and 1878. The newly debuted tool will allow researchers to study the records of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (also known as the Freedmen’s Bureau).”...

Smithsonian Magazine, Aug. 26

Marshall Gunnell writes: “With the recent boom in smart home technology, even our garage doors and light bulbs are connecting to the internet. And because of this, you may now need Wi-Fi coverage in parts of your home that previously didn’t need access. There are numerous products that aim to solve this pain point, but you’ll need to understand the differences between them to know which one to buy. We’ll detail the major differences between Wi-Fi extenders, repeaters, boosters, and bridges.”...

PC World, Aug. 27

Tina Jordan writes: “You might think of them as solitary creatures, furiously scribbling or typing alone, but as long as there have been writers in New York City, they have socialized together in an assortment of bars, restaurants, apartments, and clubs. Here, we celebrate a few of the most memorable ones.”...

New York Times, Aug. 26

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