Wi-Fi benches bridge the digital divide

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A bench with a solar panel

Bill Furbee writes: “On a bright, sunny day in Norman, Oklahoma, patrons of Pioneer Library System (PLS) are browsing available titles, messaging friends and family, and powering up personal devices. The twist? Those patrons are doing this all outside while sitting at benches placed throughout the community—sometimes mere steps away from their own homes. PLS is one of a growing number of libraries nationwide to install high-tech, solar-powered benches that offer more than just a place to rest; they also provide free Wi-Fi and charging stations. In this case, benches also advertise library resources via QR codes.”...

American Libraries Trend, May

A photo of a handout that reads 'How to test your drugs for fentanyl"

Opioid overdoses remain a significant health crisis. In western Alberta, near the Canadian Rockies, sits Banff, a resort town of nearly 8,500 residents and an internationally known outdoor sports destination. Banff is also known for its nightlife, which has exacerbated its opioid problem. To help tackle the issue, Jessia Arsenio, access and inclusion library assistant at Banff Public Library, created an innovative program to offer test strips for fentanyl—a potent synthetic opioid and major contributor to overdoses—available to library visitors....

American Libraries Trend, May

Jess Williams photo

Jess Williams writes: “Academic libraries in the US have shifted service models over the years for several reasons. Rapid changes in technology play a large role, but other external factors—like budget cuts and institutional needs—also drive evolution. As new skillsets are identified and positions created, leaders can also introduce new frameworks. Many academic libraries have pivoted away from subject-based or discipline-based liaison models, which have traditionally relied on designated staffers to build relationships with faculty and act as points of contact for specific services. They are now switching to team-based or hybrid models.”...

American Libraries column, May

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A collage of covers of books about school shootings

Chelsey Roos writes: “There have been . Every shooting leaves shocked, scared, and traumatized children in its wake. Children who have never had an act of gun violence in their school are also aware of these shootings. Sharing books can be a great way to support kids who have fears and to start a conversation about gun violence—but this is not easy, given the very small number of books published on the subject. How can we build a strong collection when there is so little published?”...

ALSC Blog, May 12

A map of Rikers Island

Medar de la Cruz writes: “For more than a year, I’ve been working in New York City jails as a library assistant for Brooklyn Public Library. I started out at the jail complex on Rikers Island. Now I work at the Vernon C. Bain Center. The Department of Correction doesn’t give us any bookshelves, so at Rikers my colleagues and I rolled a squeaky cart from dorm to dorm. I’m always moved by the sense of gratitude and warmth that some people express when we’re able to get them the books that they asked for.”...

The New Yorker, May 12

A literary magazine cover, Ploughshares

Becky Spratford writes: “Today, I would like to argue for those of you who work with leisure readers to consider looking into adding some print literary magazines to your fiction collections—not magazine collections. I realize this is outside the norm of how we shelve our collections. Normally you would not have a literary magazine interfiled with fiction, but I would argue that if we have any of the Best American anthologies in our fiction collection, shelved by title of the series—and we all do—then we can also add literary magazines.”...

RA for All, May 10

Latest Library Links

Two Black people at a laptop speaking to each other

Twanna Hodge writes: “The catalyst for this piece was when I worked as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Librarian at the University of Florida Libraries during my mentoring sessions with Melody Royster, an exemplary mentor and tenured faculty librarian. I was honored to be her mentee. I wanted to share why having a Black mentor at a predominantly white institution was vital to my mental, physical, and emotional health. We cultivated a space where we focused on our well-being, prioritized exploring our Blackness, de-centered whiteness, and interrogated what it means to dismantle white supremacy culture from Black spaces.”...

WOC+lib, May 10

Internet Archive Wayback Machine logo

Craig Silverman writes: “The previous edition of Digital Investigations offered advice for . Now I’m back with even more tips, thanks to an interview with Mark Graham, director of the Wayback Machine. He pointed to a few features I forgot to mention, along with one I wasn’t aware of. We also talked about the challenge of archiving social media content.”...

Global Investigative Journalism Network, May 11; Digital Investigations, Mar. 5

A stylized grey and purple digital thing

Google has introduced passkeys, an alternative to passwords for security and preserving privacy. Dan Goodin writes: “My attracted significant interest, and a number of the 1,100-plus comments raised questions about how the passkey system actually works and if it can be trusted. In response, I’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions to dispel a few myths and shed some light on what we know—and don't know—about passkeys.”...

Ars Technica, May 12; May 8

ALA news and press releases

Hands exchanging a credit card through a  computer screen

Elizabeth Yuko writes: “A lot of people find online shopping therapeutic: A way to zone out and de-stress at the end of a long day. However, in most situations, buying things you don’t need isn’t a great idea. In 2019, we suggested (but not actually booking them) as a way to avoid stress shopping. Now we’re back with something better: Requesting books and other items from your local library as a way to curb impulse shopping.”...

Lifehacker, May 13; June 16, 2019

A sound graph

Karen MacPherson writes: “If you’re a baby boomer like me, you probably remember libraries as places of silent reading; any loud voices were immediately shushed by a librarian. These days, however, libraries are more like bustling community centers, where being at least somewhat noisy is the new normal, especially when kids are involved. As someone who led hundreds of circle times at my public library, I can tell you there’s just no quiet way to do the Hokey Pokey.”...

The Washington Post, May 12

Elena Ferrante book covers

Joanna Biggs writes: “A friend of mine used to joke that women writers discovered friendship in 2015, when the last volume of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet came out. I laughed, but I knew what he meant. The men might not like it, but in 2023 women are overwhelmingly the ones who write, read, edit, and buy books, particularly fiction. Female friendships, rather than literary marriages or bros with quills, are a force for the creation and continuation of literary culture in a way that simply hasn’t been true before.”...

Granta, May 11

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