AL Direct: Ukraine, digital equity, grant proposals

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Special Report: Digital Equity

Library workers have been working to address the complex issue of the digital divide and advance digital equity for more than two decades. Now, armed with new tools, funding, partnerships, data, and social awareness, many groups, including libraries, see that a more equitable digital future is within reach. In American Libraries’ latest special report, you’ll find articles on free resources for libraries, including the ; statistics and context on ; —and what’s on the policy horizon—for libraries working toward digital inclusion; ; and a round table discussion on ....

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

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Bess G. de Farber writes: “Grant proposals that include partnerships have a significant competitive advantage. Whether these partnerships are with other departments within the same library or with external groups that allow the funder to invest in multiple groups through one grant, collaborations can give you a leg up. But most people have little or no training in developing grant proposals. And to make things more complicated, imagine doing this work with little or no familiarity with those you may want to partner with. For both seasoned and novice grant seekers, and for applicants and their partners, the following steps demystify the partnership process.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong

ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong writes: “We know our libraries are hubs of connectivity for communities that have no other access, and the disparity between the haves and have-nots in our digital age was laid bare during the first months of the pandemic. When libraries closed their physical buildings in spring 2020, users who relied on their broadband internet were cut off from a vital lifeline. Many libraries responded by leaving their Wi-Fi on around the clock or boosting their signals so patrons could access the internet from the parking lot. With greater awareness of the importance of broadband connectivity in our communities comes the responsibility of all library workers to advocate for digital equity.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

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ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall

ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall writes: “‘I work from the inside out,’ architect Frank Gehry once noted about his practice. The current Pivot Strategy, too, works from within—with our internal processes, structures, shared values, and common goals. But its terminus is a vision of ALA as an agent for social change: for information and digital access (including universal broadband); for equity, diversity, and inclusion in libraries and the LIS workforce; for preservation of library services (across library types, settings, and services); and as a driver of shared power in and among communities. Achieving this impact will require leaders and staff who are willing to organize and be organized, and, most critically, to belong.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

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On March 1, ALA released . “ALA and its divisions support our Ukrainian colleagues and will work with the global library community to answer the appeal from the Ukrainian Library Association to provide accurate information as a means to support democracy and freedom of expression,” the statement reads. “ALA has adopted into its policies Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.’”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 1; ALA Governance Office, Mar. 1

ALA and eight other organizations, including the Open Technology Institute at New America, Consumer Reports, and the Center for Rural Strategies, have launched Airwaves for Equity, a coalition proposing that Congress dedicate net proceeds from future wireless spectrum auction revenues to endow a Digital Equity Foundation. This endowment would provide sustainable funding for initiatives to promote digital literacy and inclusion, including local digital navigator programs, telehealth, disability access, and efforts to close the learning gap....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Feb. 23

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The American Association of School Librarians has added its signature to an open letter to state legislatures calling for a halt to discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. AASL is one of 22 organizations that have signed the letter, collectively representing more than 7 million professionals serving youth. The letter reads, in part, “These appalling proposals would compromise the safety and well-being of the young people we all have the duty and obligation to support and protect.” The is available from the Human Rights Campaign....

ALA American Association of School Librarians, Feb. 24; Human Rights Campaign, Feb. 15

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Abby Ohlheiser writes: “The fast-paced online coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday followed a pattern that’s become familiar in other recent crises that have unfolded around the world. Photos, videos, and other information are posted and reshared across platforms much faster than they can be verified. The result is that falsehoods are mistaken for truth and amplified, even by well-intentioned people. This can help bad actors to terrorize innocent civilians or advance disturbing ideologies, causing real harm.”...

MIT Technology Review, Feb. 25

The ASERL 11

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries has issued (PDF). ASERL writes: “This booklet and accompanying Google Drive document summarize 11 key principles and suggested language to assist ASERL libraries and others in securing better terms for content and services they license. Published under a Creative Commons noncommercial license, the Google Drive document allows users to easily copy and paste the suggested license language as part of negotiations with service providers.” Principles address topics such as accessibility, digital rights management, price and cost transparency, and support for open access....

Association of Southeastern Research Libraries, Feb. 15

Latest Library Links

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Samuel L. Garbett writes: “Anyone with experience in web design, whether you’ve used DIY website builders or made a site from scratch, is likely to have heard of CSS before. This incredibly powerful tool can be used to transform your web layouts, giving you the power to take control of your website and achieve your creative vision.” Garbett reviews how CSS can manipulate images, create responsive text and pictures, and handle content that flows beyond its planned boundaries....

MakeUseOf, Feb. 25

Panels from Maus

As an editor at Pantheon Books in the 1980s, Tom Engelhardt accepted the proposal that became Maus. He writes: “I still remember [Art Director Louise Fili] telling me that it had already been rejected by every publisher imaginable. In those days, that was, I suspect, something like a selling point for me. Anyway, I took the couple of teeny chapters and the proposal home—and all these years later, I still recall the moment when I decided I had to put Spiegelman’s book out, no matter what.”...

TomDispatch, Feb. 17

Paige Szmodis writes: “Libraries have long claimed that they’re not just warehouses for books, but many have been increasing their circulating collections of nontraditional library materials—otherwise known as a Library of Things—in the past few years. After all, media isn’t the only way to increase your knowledge; equipment and tools are just as essential to boosting your skills and providing entertainment when participating in certain activities. I wanted to bring attention to more ideas for creating or adding to a Library of Things, including examples from what some libraries around the US have created.”...

Hack Library School, Feb. 22

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