Rethinking digital literacy

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Youth Matters - Molly June Roquet

Molly June Roquet writes: “Networked technology is amplifying deadly misinformation, monetizing surveillance, fueling hatred, and facilitating antidemocratic violence. Digital literacy education has never been more vital. But instead of helping students understand these phenomena, digital literacy curricula tend to focus on individual behavior and responsibilities. These lessons often aim to correct perceived misbehavior or build academic skills but do little to raise students’ awareness of the complex social issues around technology. Frustrated by this disconnect, I went looking for a different approach. I found hope and inspiration in scholarship on critical information literacy and other critical frameworks in education.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Ibram X. Kendi

Since the breakout success of his National Book Award–winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America in 2017, historian Ibram X. Kendi has continued to research and write about antiracism for new audiences. In early 2020, he and author Jason Reynolds adapted the book for young adults, offering a framework and vocabulary for understanding how the US arrived at the current moment of racial reckoning. Kendi spoke with American Libraries about having his work challenged in libraries and schools, the myth of neutrality in libraries, and how to raise the next generation of antiracists....

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.


Carrie Smith writes: “For people who don’t have digital devices at home, accessing critical information can be difficult. As a result, many libraries now lend equipment to increase internet access and help close the digital divide. Tablets and laptops—whether for in-library or home use—allow users to gain computer skills, take advantage of learning resources, and increase digital literacy. We recently talked with workers from three libraries that offer self-service tablet and laptop lending and preloaded tablets with educational apps.“...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.



2022 Virtual Membership Meeting

Register now for the ALA Virtual Membership Meeting on March 17 at 1 p.m. Central. Hear reports from ALA leaders providing important information about the work of the Association and engage with ALA leadership in real time. The agenda will also include an update from ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong and the Office for Intellectual Freedom about ALA’s response to escalating censorship efforts.


More details online—including how to submit a resolution or a question.



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On My Mind - Cynthia Kiyotake

Cynthia Kiyotake writes: “All public libraries offer some form of traditional programming: storytimes, book clubs, crafts, or résumé workshops, for instance. But the best, most innovative programs are tailored to the specific needs of a community, and I’ve found that targeted outreach and collaboration with other organizations often yield the strongest results.” Kiyotake shares about her library system’s success working with preschools, elementary schools, and the nationwide Family Place libraries program....

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Union march at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Cass Balzer writes: “At noon on October 12, 2021, more than 130 library workers at Northwestern University met at the Rock, a well-known gathering space on the Evanston, Illinois, campus. They had decided to march to the provost’s office to declare their intent to organize as an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 and to ask the university to recognize their union. Library unionization efforts are blooming around the country, taking place in public, private, and academic institutions of all sizes.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

ALA Policy Corps headshots

The American Library Association announced the 10 new members of the Policy Corps, who will cultivate expertise in issues critical to the library community and develop skills needed to become effective advocates, such as public speaking and media engagement. “ALA welcomes our fourth Policy Corps cohort of library professionals dedicated to advocacy,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong. “Working with policy experts and ALA’s vast advocacy network, Policy Corps members will help ensure that our profession rises to the opportunities and challenges in the current environment.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 4

Latest Library Links

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ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative will offer more than $7 million in grants to small and rural libraries to increase the accessibility of facilities, services, and programs to better serve people with disabilities. “[This] represents an important next step in ALA’s commitment to serving small and rural libraries as well as emphasizing the essential connection between accessibility and our work in spreading the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong. Beginning in November, ALA will accept distributed over the next three years ranging from $10,000 to $20,000....

ALA Public Programs Office, Mar. 3

"Because librarians stand up for your right to read."

Madison Hall writes: “From Maus to To Kill A Mockingbird, school districts across the country have been the battlefront of the book banning debate. But this year, at least seven state legislatures so far are attempting to codify the concerns of some parents into law with proposed bills aiming to reshape school curricula. The contents of the bills working through statehouses this year differ from state to state. But many of the books that could be taken off of shelves under these bills showcase representations of marginalized communities, said American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Vera Eidelman.”...

Business Insider, Feb. 28

Figure with books for a head

Nikki DeMarco writes: “If librarians got a dollar for every time they were told how nice it must be to read all day, they might make enough to support their book buying habits. It’s no secret that we do not get paid to read. In fact, reading might be the one thing we don’t do in the library, or certainly don’t do enough. Reading is an important part of my job. A key part of my job is being familiar with my collection. Yet I’m also expected to do this reading on my own time.”...

Book Riot, Mar. 3

ALA news and press releases

Wi-Fi symbol

Alvin Wanjala writes: “Wi-Fi 7 is the next major update to the wireless networking standard. The current standard, Wi-Fi 6, debuted with several improvements over its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5, including faster speeds, more efficiency, and more data capacity. Although Wi-Fi 6 is still not yet widely available, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is already working on the next version, Wi-Fi 7. The main upgrades Wi-Fi 7 brings to the table include improved data transfer speeds, less latency, and high bandwidth channels.”...

MakeUseOf, Mar. 5

Book covers

Orlando Figes writes: “Russia and Ukraine share much of their history. At times they have taken different paths, but never have they been at war like this—a war over history itself. Putin has denied the right of Ukraine to exist as a sovereign state. The ideas fueling his aggression have their roots in ancient Russian myths and ideologies. These five books have done as much as any to shape my understanding of the complex region.”...

The Guardian (UK), Mar. 6

NYPL Schomburg Center

Lisa Herndon writes: “Growing up, Virginia Allen admired her maternal aunt Edna Sutton Ballard and loved to see her nurse’s uniform. Both women went on to make history as part of a group of 300 nurses who later became known as Black Angels.” These mostly Black nurses provided care for tuberculosis patients at Staten Island’s Seaview Hospital after white nurses left in 1929 because of the danger. Allen has volunteered at New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture since 2010, and recalls her time at Seaview in a new blog post....

NYPL Blogs, Mar. 1

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