On August 4, ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. paid a virtual visit to the Jemez Pueblo (N. Mex.) Community Library to discuss the dire need for broadband access among tribal communities and the central role libraries can play in connecting diverse populations with high-speed internet access. This event, “The Imperative of Broadband for Tribal Libraries,” was one of the stops on Jefferson’s 12-stop virtual tour, Holding Space.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services released the latest data from its 2018 Public Libraries Survey on July 31. The Public Libraries Survey collects information on key indicators of public library use, financial health, staffing, and resources. Explore the FY 2018 data and documentation or query the Library Search and Compare Tool. Each year since 1988, the survey has provided a national census of America’s public libraries. The data are collected from approximately 9,000 public library systems composed of more than 17,000 individual main libraries, branches, and bookmobiles in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories.
Much has been happening behind the scenes to prepare for Core’s upcoming launch on September 1st, and the Core Transition Committee provided an update. Core staff members have been working with ALA staff to build new systems and structures so that we can start the day on September 1 as a (relatively!) organized Core community. So far work has been done on changes in the member database, budget lines, new sections, and membership dues. During August, staff will be working on the new website, Connect site, committee rosters, online learning setup, new communication channels, and other infrastructure pieces.
University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries has been digitizing the largest collection of historic Mexican cookbooks in the US. The pandemic has brought that project to a halt, but the library is now releasing recipes from the collection in free ebooks. Postres: Guardando Lo Mejor Para el Principio, or Desserts: Saving the Best for First, brings recipes in English and Spanish from generations of Mexican cooks to foodies at home looking to whip up some historic sweets.
Thor Benson writes: “Back in February, the World Health Organization called the flood of misinformation about the coronavirus flowing through the Internet a “massive infodemic.” Since then, the situation has not improved. While social media platforms have promised to detect and label posts that contain misleading information related to COVID-19, they haven’t stopped the surge. But who is responsible for all those misleading posts?”
A new Pew Research Center analysis of surveys conducted between October 2019 and June 2020 finds that those who rely most on social media for political news are less likely to follow major news stories, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election, and tend to be less knowledgeable about these topics. Demographically, US adults who rely most on social media for news tend to be younger, are less likely to be white, and have lower levels of education than those who mainly use several other platforms.
Maggie MacPherson writes: “Public library buildings are safe shelters and economic drivers that quietly operate within every community. They live in the bricks-and-mortar space as well as the virtual, assisting patrons with such life basics as finding employment, starting their own businesses and teaching their kids to read. During the pandemic, libraries had to close their buildings to the general book-reading public, but facilities were used in different ways, for example, as food bank distribution centers and emergency computer labs for low-income groups. In recent weeks, they have slowly started to reopen, with a renewed understanding of the unique and essential role libraries play within the physical community.”
The Library Leadership and Management Association has chosen eight winners for this year’s John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards. Each library receives a $10,000 grant provided by the H. W. Wilson Foundation. The 2020 winners will be honored at a reception held by EBSCO Information Services at the 2021 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.
On August 3, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. paid a virtual visit to Pioneer Library System in Norman to discuss how Oklahoma libraries play an invaluable role in supporting career and workforce development. This town hall event “Partnering to Advance Career and Workforce Development” is one of the stops on Jefferson’s 12-stop virtual tour, Holding Space.
Barbara Macikas, executive director of the Public Library Association, a division of ALA, has announced her retirement effective August 31. Since 2009, Macikas has led the division and inspired innovative programs and initiatives that have empowered public library staff and strengthened their contributions to their communities. Through her leadership and in partnership with the PLA Board of Directors, members, and staff, she has helped transform the association and the field.
Czech writer Milan Kundera will donate his books, photos, and other documents to the Moravian Library in his hometown of Brno, Czech Republic, this fall. The library plans to allow access to the books for scholars and researchers as well as other people interested in Kundera’s works. Kundera has been living in exile in France since 1975.