Storytellers-in-residence program, virtual reality, Jewish fantasy books

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Academic Insights

Raymond Pun, Melissa Cardenas-Dow, and Kenya S. Flash write: “Ethnic studies is a multifaceted field that connects to other academic disciplines such as history, religious studies, literature, sociology, political science, education, and health sciences. While not every state has adopted an ethnic studies curriculum, it is time for libraries to create space for ethnic studies. Examples include committing to proactive, culturally competent outreach and engagement in these areas, expanding ethnic studies collections, supporting events and programs hosted by ethnic studies departments, and engaging with communities outside university and school walls.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.


Tana Elias and Neeyati Shah write: “Madison, Wisconsin, is on land that is the ancestral home of the Ho-Chunk people. The tribe was forced to cede its territory in 1832, and in the decades that followed, state and federal governments violently removed the Ho-Chunk people from their lands in Wisconsin. Today, the rich history and ongoing traditions of the Ho-Chunk Nation in Madison are often overlooked. To promote intercultural understanding, Madison Public Library introduced a three-month Native storyteller-in-residence program. The first installment, ‘Ho-Chunk through Story: The Origin, the Wayz, and the Life,’ debuted last fall.”...

American Libraries trend, Mar./Apr.

Araceli Mendez Hintermeister

Araceli Méndez Hintermeister writes: “When trying to bring harmony to the workplace, these titles can help equip employers and employees with tools to facilitate engagement and change.” She reviews six books that offer guidance on team-building, overcoming self-doubt, having difficult conversations, and more....

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

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Michelle Schaub

Phil Morehart writes: “Michelle Schaub believes in the restorative power of movement. So when the library media specialist at Monona (Wis.) Grove High School (MGHS) and certified yoga instructor saw changes in her students brought on by pandemic stressors, she thought that lessons from her yoga practice could help. In October 2021, she began a club at MGHS to teach yoga and mindfulness exercises to students. They meet one morning each week in the library and twice a week in the afternoon, either in the choir room or auditorium, to learn basic yoga poses.”...

American Libraries Bookend, Mar./Apr.

American Library Association

ALA announced March 16 that it will make available more than $1.5 million in emergency relief grants to more than 75 libraries that have experienced economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund, supported by Acton Family Giving, will award grants of $20,000 to help libraries bolster operations and services, in areas such as technology access, collection development, digital instruction, staffing, and outreach. Public, school, academic, tribal, and correctional libraries across the US and its territories can . Libraries serving low-income, rural, and predominately BIPOC communities are especially encouraged to apply. The fund previously awarded more than $1.2 million to 34 libraries in 2021....

ALA, Mar. 16

Child reading a book in a library

Chelsey Roos writes: “Anecdotally, I have noticed changes in what and how the kids that come into my library are reading. I’ve had many more requests for phonics and sight reading books from caregivers. I notice more early elementary school students hanging out in the picture book section instead of the early readers and chapter book section. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing—there are lots of great picture books for older students! But it is a change. In older readers, I’ve seen a big drive toward comfort reading, and some apprehension towards new authors, series, and genres.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 15

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Teen wearing VR set

Seattle Public Library, D.C. Public Library, and Fayette Public Library, Museum, and Archives in La Grange, Texas, have launched , a website “that provides a roadmap for using virtual reality design to support the mental health of adolescents.” The site grew out of a project funded by an IMLS grant and the Seattle Public Library Foundation in which the three libraries created virtual reality design pilot projects with teens in their communities. VRtality includes these designs, and step-by-step guidelines for planning other VR design programs....

Seattle Public Library, Mar. 17

Book covers

Jordan Smith writes: “Late last year, Texas State Representative Matt Krause to the Texas Education Agency and superintendents across the state; included with the letter was a . Krause requested that each district list which of the 850 books they had in their libraries and classrooms and how much money they had spent on them,” making it a likely precursor to challenges, Smith asserts. This post highlights the graphic novels on Krause’s list....

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Mar. 18; NPR, Oct. 28, 2021

Yes, No sign

Meredith Farkas writes: “Workaholism is a hard addiction to recover from. It’s not like some addictions where you can avoid the places or substances that played a role. Most of us are not in a position to just stop working. As a life-long anxious people-pleaser, it’s taken me a long time to get good at saying no. I used to volunteer for everything out of fear of missing out or fear about my job security or fear of just straight-up not being liked.”...

Information Wants To Be Free, Mar. 14

Latest Library Links

3D printer

Nachiket Mhatre writes: “Your 3D printer’s heated bed wastes more than half of the total energy it consumes. Here’s how you can reduce power consumption with a simple mod.” Insulating the printer bed with cork or silicone requires only basic tools and techniques, and will allow the printer bed to heat faster and reduce power consumption....

MakeUseOf, Mar. 16

Book covers

Jamie Herndon writes: “I have to admit: when I think of science fiction and fantasy, I don’t often think of Jewish themes. At least, I didn’t use to. Which is ironic, because the Hugo awards are named after Hugo Gernsback (nee Gernsbacher), a Jewish immigrant to the US who coined the term ‘science fiction.’ More stories in SFF are containing explicitly Jewish themes and characters. These Jewish fantasy books and sci-fi novels include not just Jewish characters, but Jewish themes, stories inspired by Kabbalistic elements or Jewish folktales/fables, or spiritual elements.”...

Book Riot, Mar. 8

Tess McClure writes: “As New Zealand celebrated a national holiday, one of the country’s largest city libraries was closed, with staff and security given the day off. But an error with the automated door programming meant Tūranga’s doors opened to the public as usual—and the unstaffed and unsecured library was happily used by the public, who browsed and checked out books for hours before someone realized the mistake.” A staff member said 380 people entered the building and used the self-checkout machines to check out 147 books, but no thefts or damage were reported....

The Guardian, Mar. 14

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