Accessibility, true-crime archive, Google Earth

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Baby using accessible device in library

Annemarie Mannion writes: “When her son brought home speech cards from elementary school to help him better learn and articulate words, Jen Taggart could barely see what the cards depicted. The cards had been duplicated and the images were blurry, says Taggart, head of youth services at Bloomfield Township (Mich.) Public Library (BTPL). That experience more than 13 years ago inspired her to start BTPL’s Youth Accessibility Support Collection, a set of items designed to meet the needs of children with various types of disabilities and learning needs. Since 2009, families have been borrowing from the collection, which includes adaptive toys, sensory storytime boxes, speech therapy cards, and skills development sets.”...

American Libraries Trend, May

Person pulling cart on street

Austin Persinger writes: “Last November, our local police department wrote on Facebook that it had received complaints about misused and abandoned shopping buggies strewn about Hinton, our city of 2,800 people. The police, using the tools at their disposal, threatened disciplinary measures for what it referred to as the unlawful removal of buggies. I thought this was a knee-jerk reaction and not the best solution for the situation. I read this story through the lens of a rural librarian conducting a reference interview. The story that I heard was that there are lower-income people in our community who take these carts because they live in a food desert and lack reliable transportation.”...

American Libraries Trend, May

Taylor Healey-Brooks and Michelle Lee

Taylor Healey-Brooks and Michelle Lee write: “Research across many fields has shown that having a mentor can be crucial for people of color. Mentoring can lead to knowledge, experience, networking opportunities, and increased job satisfaction. One of the most important things mentoring offers is a sense of community and emotional support in one’s career. But it can be difficult for new librarians to find such a person with years of training. Because of the lack of diversity in librarianship (in 2020, approximately ) and problems retaining librarians of color, it can be challenging for new librarians to find a mentor with ample experience in the field. Peer mentoring—a relationship in which the participants are at similar points in their career—can help fill this gap.”...

American Libraries column, May; AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees, June 10, 2021

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Amelia M. Anderson and Abigail L. Phillips

Amelia M. Anderson and Abigail L. Phillips write: “The US Census Bureau reported in 2019 that 40.7 million Americans—or about 12% of the population—have some sort of disability. Libraries work hard to meet the needs of patrons and staff with disabilities and make our facilities accessible to all, but there’s one space that’s too often left out of these conversations: the makerspace. Acknowledging that gap, our research team set out to explore the accessibility of public library makerspaces. Every makerspace is different, we learned, but there were some common themes in our discussions with participants.”...

American Libraries column, May

Suzanne Noruschat

Sallyann Price writes: “Long before the popularity of true-crime podcasts, there was True Detective, a pulp magazine published from 1924 to 1995 that, at its peak, chronicled real-life crimes for millions of readers. Edward S. Sullivan, an editor for The Los Angeles Examiner and a True Detective correspondent, would arrive at a crime scene with his notebook and camera, find out what he could from law enforcement, and begin his own investigation into what really happened. In early 2020, University of Southern California (USC) Libraries acquired Sullivan’s personal archive of 1,200 photographs and 50 meticulously annotated case files: murders, assaults, stick-ups, forgeries, grifts, kidnappings, and other criminal acts spanning from the 1930s through the 1960s.”...

American Libraries feature, May

Idina Menzel, Cara Mentzel

On May 18, the American Library Association announced that actor, singer-songwriter, and philanthropist Idina Menzel and her sister, author and educator Cara Mentzel, have been named this year’s honorary chairs for Library Card Sign-Up Month. This September marks 35 years since the Library Card Sign-Up Month campaign began. Menzel and Mentzel are coauthors of the forthcoming picture book, Loud Mouse. For more information, ....

ALA, May 18

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Teens reading books in library

Hannah Natanson writes: “On a hot, dusty Wednesday afternoon, 10 girls gathered in their high school library to talk about a book the adults said they weren’t allowed to read. The teens came complaining about tests and chattering about TikTok dances—but they quieted when Ella Scott, the 16-year-old cofounder and copresident of the Vandegrift High School (Tex.) Banned Book Club, cleared her throat. Ella looked at her notes for the club’s 14th meeting, convened to review I. W. Gregorio’s None of the Above. The book tells the story of Kristin, a high school student who discovers she is intersex, a condition in which people are born with atypical combinations of chromosomes, hormones, gonads, or genitals. In December, the Leander (Tex.) Independent School District had banned the novel from classroom libraries and from use in high school student book clubs—along with 10 other books.”...

The Washington Post, May 22

Teen taking test

Gretchen Corsillo writes: “High school students around the country could now stand to lose even more as a result of the recent widespread efforts to ban and challenge books. Earlier this month, College Board, the nonprofit that administers testing and college readiness programs such as the SAT, Advanced Placement (AP) Program, and PSAT, released a new set of guiding principles. Titled , the statement directly opposes censorship and clarifies that schools that remove essential topics or readings from AP classes could lose their official designation.”...

OIF blog, May 18

Rhode Island state house

Andrew Albanese writes: “While a federal court is now deciding how to dispatch with Maryland’s library ebook law, lawmakers in Rhode Island this week On May 18, the Rhode Island Senate Education Committee unanimously voted to recommend passage and advanced out of committee and to the floor for a full vote. Like Maryland’s library ebook law—which was preliminarily enjoined after federal judge Deborah L. Boardman in February ruled that the law is preempted by the federal Copyright Act—Rhode Island’s law would also require that publishers that offer ebook licenses to the general public also offer to license those works to libraries and schools on ‘reasonable terms’ that would ‘permit libraries, schools, and educational institutions to provide their users and students with access.’”...

Publishers Weekly, May 20

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Google Earth logo

Richard Byrne writes: “In the book Outdoor Kids in an Inside World, Steven Rinella presents a lot of ideas for getting kids interested and involved in learning about nature. In the first chapter, he presents a big list of ideas for things that you can do to spark kids’ curiosity before you even head outside. As I was reading through those ideas, it struck me that many could be done or be aided by the use of Google Earth. Inspired by Rinella’s book, here are five Google Earth activities that you can do to get kids interested in learning about the world around them.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, May 21


Adi Robertson writes: “For weeks, tech news has been dominated by billionaire Elon Musk’s attempts to buy (and subsequently avoid buying) Twitter. And since Musk announced his plans in April, people have debated whether it’s better for online social spaces like Twitter to remain publicly traded companies—where they’re under pressure from shareholders—or be owned by a single wealthy figure like Musk. But Ben Tarnoff, author of the upcoming book Internet for the People, believes there’s a better way. Tarnoff’s book discusses common proposals like lessening the power of internet gatekeepers with antitrust reform, but it also argues that promoting competition isn’t enough: there should also be a political movement advocating for local, noncommercial spaces online.”...

The Verge, May 23


Yashvi Peeti writes: “Music has been a way to feel connected to the world beyond my existence. This comes in the form of singing in the car, too. However, music’s most defining quality, for me, is that it isn’t always something I have to ponder. It is something I can simply rejoice in or be comforted by even without actively listening. Everything that music means to me has led me to wanting to read about it. So here’s a list of diverse and brilliant nonfiction books about music.”...

Book Riot, May 20

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