Libraries expand home delivery services

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Family care package with a letter

Emily Udell writes: “When Grosse Pointe (Mich.) Public Library (GPPL) outreach librarian Annie Spence was working from home during the pandemic, a colleague dropped off a care package of books at her doorstep. The package made her family feel less isolated, and she didn’t soon forget the gesture. When she returned to onsite work, she thought about the stress new parents and caregivers sometimes feel and how similar deliveries could help keep them connected to the library. GPPL is among a handful of libraries across the country that have expanded their home delivery service to now include families with new children.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

Ken Jennings headshot

Megan Bennett writes: “As a kid, Jeopardy! champion-turned-host Ken Jennings was surrounded by stories about the world’s greatest mysteries: the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, Bigfoot. But for him, what’s beyond our physical world has always been the biggest and most exciting enigma. His satirical travel guide to the afterlife, 100 Places to See After You Die, offers tips for visiting the Great Unknown, as it’s been described in popular culture and lore throughout history. American Libraries spoke with Jennings about his afterlife research, game show hosting duties, and what impact libraries have had on him.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

Mara Rosenberg and Erica Thompson headshots

Mara Rosenberg and Erica Thompson write: “Citywide and institution-wide book clubs have long been used to unify communities around literacy. In 2016, staffers at our school wondered if a book-of-the-month program would do the same for our K–5 division. Could a one-book initiative engage students and enrich our program? We envisioned a club where students, teachers, and caregivers could share a common experience around literature. But it was also important that book selections modeled positive behaviors that align with our school values and fostered conversations around social-emotional learning and equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice.”...

American Libraries column, June

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Steve Tetreault headshot

Steve Tetreault writes: “At a meeting for my county education association last fall, I asked 60 educators to raise their hands if they had heard about any book banning attempts in New Jersey. Zero hands went up. It’s maddening that so few people outside the library profession see what is going on. But unfortunately, it’s not surprising. The school librarians I know are often too overworked and overextended to help mobilize teachers and other stakeholders to fight book bans alongside us. But in the absence of a celebrity spokesperson, it’s up to us to break through the library bubble.”...

American Libraries column, June

An older adult holds a piece of paper in an art gallery

Lynne Weintraub writes: “It’s never too late to learn new skills. My mission is to help adult newcomers to the US find a way to learn English, whether through individual tutoring, informal conversation groups, or program referrals. I aim to find a solution for any community member who asks for help, but over the years this has been a challenge for older beginners. My colleagues and I have found that many older residents come into the library asking for practical communication skills, but they don’t necessarily thrive in the fast-moving programs usually designed for younger immigrants.”...

American Libraries Trend, June

Thinking Money for Kids logo

ALA and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's Investor Education Foundation invite public libraries to apply for a , a collection of programming resources to help libraries offer financial education for children ages 3–12. The kit provides materials needed to host five different in-person programs, a set of Playaway Launchpad tablets preloaded with aligned content, instructions and resources for planning and hosting programs, promotional materials, and access to virtual training and a community of practice. and by September 8. Approximately 200 public libraries will be selected....

ALA Public Programs Office, June 15

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A screenshot of ACRL's Library Worker Retention Toolkit

Erin Nevius writes: “Retention is the ability of an organization to reduce turnover among employees and keep them for as long as possible. It is an important part of building a cohesive team, increasing productivity, and improving morale. While effective retention strategies benefit all employees and organizations, they are especially crucial for institutions committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) is pleased to announce the launch of the new Library Worker Retention Toolkit. This freely available resource provides effective employee retention strategies for academic libraries, including ideas for stay interviews and retention conversations and many other strategies and tools.”...

ACRL Insider, June 14

A photo of the Illinois Governor's mansion. It is a large red brick building.

Isabel Yip and Nicole Chavez write: “Illinois became the first state in the nation to prohibit book bans on June 12, Gov. J. B. Pritzker announced, as states across the country continue to challenge and axe literature from public schools and libraries. The measure, which takes effect January 1, 2024, says public libraries must adopt ALA’s Library Bill of Rights or their own statement prohibiting book banning to be eligible for state money.”...

CNN, June 13

A lock with a stylized digital background

Niels Stern and Ronald Snijder write: “This year, the (DOAB) is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, a great opportunity to reflect on how far we have come with open infrastructures for the distribution and discoverability of open access books. Having spent some 15 years in open access book publishing, we think that the challenge is probably not the lack of well-functioning infrastructures. A bigger issue, in our view, is that there is a lack of global representation in DOAB, which is currently the most global infrastructure.”...

The Scholarly Kitchen, June 14

ALA news and press releases

Eureka Valley library facade

Sydney Johnson writes: “Free Wi-Fi is a staple service of public libraries everywhere today. It’s also become a fixture of local debate around how to address homelessness in one pocket of San Francisco. Last August, the , despite a simultaneous citywide push to increase internet access for San Franciscans with lower incomes. City and library officials said the change was made after neighbors in the area complained that the free Wi-Fi was part of what attracted unhoused people to the area and contributed to crime.”...

KQED-TV (San Francisco), June 5; Mission Local, May 29

A photo of Jane Goodall

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) recently acquired , a series of about 100 interviews and six documentaries on the future of life on the planet and humanity’s collective responsibility to protect it. Interviewees include Margaret Atwood, Jane Goodall, David Suzuki, Mohamed Hage, Gregory Cajete, Edmund Metatawabin, Todd Labrador, Albert Marshall, and more. Topics include climate change, environmental justice, lessons from Indigenous laws and ecology, and urban rooftop farming. Transcripts from 35 interviews are now available online, with the rest to come this summer....

LAC, June 9

Screenshot of an email

Amit Agarwal writes: “The latest version of the Gmail add-on adds support for transcribing audio and video attachments in Gmail messages. The transcription is done with the help of OpenAI’s Whisper API, and the transcript is saved as a new text file in your Google Drive. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can transcribe audio and video attachments in Gmail messages to text.”...

Digital Inspiration, June 14

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