Since the ALA Chapters’ briefing on the Build America’s Libraries Act, the legislation has garnered more than 100 cosponsors, DC is abuzz with talk of a massive infrastructure plan, and states have begun to share their library infrastructure needs with members of Congress. Hear from some of those states and get an update on this fast-moving, once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure federal funding to update, furnish, and build libraries that meet our communities’ 21st century needs, May 5, 2:00 p.m. Central. Register here.
ALA Chapter Relations Office, May 5
Claire Zulkey writes: “Gloria Vela, fresh from receiving her MLIS and earning her Texas school librarian certification, did all the right things when she applied for school librarian jobs. She set up a tidy workspace well-lit for Zoom interviews. She applied makeup, styled her hair, and made sure her 6-month-old miniature Australian shepherd, Olive, was out of audio range. She rehearsed and smiled and made eye contact and sent thank-you notes. But after 34 job applications, six interviews, some close calls but no bites—plus ‘some good cries’—Vela was burned out.”
American Libraries feature, May
The 2021 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition (Virtual) Program Scheduler is now open. Among the live and on-demand educational sessions, attendees will have access to exhibitors, featured speakers, authors, and more than 200 educational sessions. The News You Can Use series, interactive Discussion Groups, and president and chair programs are also available. The ALA Annual Conference (Virtual) takes place June 23–29. Registration is now open.
ALA Conference Services, Apr. 29
Anne Ford writes: “Even before COVID-19 struck early last year, the LIS job market was a competitive one. Now, with the pandemic’s one-year anniversary behind us, the employment landscape for librarians has become even rockier and more unstable for entry-level candidates.”
American Libraries feature, May
ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall writes: “Of the 90,400 public K–12 schools in the United States, only 62% have full-time librarians. That’s despite the dozens of studies that show students in schools with well-equipped libraries and certified school librarians demonstrate stronger academic performance and school persistence. By contrast, almost 71% of public high schools have sworn law enforcement officers carrying firearms.”
American Libraries column, May
Rachel Rosenberg writes: “Perhaps you, like me, are a bit of a library nerd and you heartily enjoy some bibliotourism. On top of that, maybe you are also a movie geek who digs learning about the inner workings of films and TV. Well, if so, do I have a list of cool libraries for you—these 10 famous libraries are well-used as film sets. While you might not recognize the names of all these famous libraries, you’ve probably seen them in numerous movies and television shows.”
Book Riot, May 3
It’s been a year since teachers were handed an unprecedented request: Educate students in entirely new ways, amid the backdrop of a global pandemic. In this comic series for NPR, Eda Uzunlar is illustrating one educator’s story each week from now until the end of the school year. Episode 6 features librarian Emily Curtis and bus driver Edwin Steer of Georgetown, Texas, on creating places of “peace and security” by delivering books to students who can’t be in school.
NPR, Apr. 27
Tom Brant writes: “Gone are the days when a decent laptop would cost you north of $1,000. It’s now possible to pick up a full-size or ultraportable Windows 10 notebook with a processor powerful enough for use at home, school, or work for around $400–$700. It’s also easy to find full-featured Chromebooks and hybrid systems that give you both laptop and tablet functionality in one device for as little as $300. Here’s help.”
PC Mag, May 3
Shoshana Wodinsky writes: “A new report published May 4 by the tech-focused nonprofit Me2B Alliance found the majority of school utility apps were sharing some amount of student data with third-party marketing companies. The Me2B team surveyed a few dozen so-called utility apps for school districts—the kind that students and parents download to, say, review their school’s calendar or busing schedules—and found roughly 60% of them sharing everything from a student’s location to their entire contact list, to their phone’s mobile ad identifiers, all with companies these students and their parents likely never heard of.”
Gizmodo, May 4
Kimberly Knight and Melanie Lyttle write: “Many states have enacted mask mandates at some point during the pandemic. However, some never enacted a mandate and at the writing of this piece, more states are dropping or relaxing their requirements every day. While it would be tough to list those here, AARP has a continually updated list of how each state is handling masks. Some library systems in states without mandates have been able to rely on city, county, or local mandates. Still others may not have any consistent support or guidance.”
Public Libraries Online, Apr. 30
According to data from Statista’s Advertising & Media Outlook, ebook sales still trail print books by a wide margin across the globe. In the US, 23% of the population are estimated to have purchased an ebook last year, compared to 45% who bought a print book. These findings suggest that ebooks will not be the final nail in the coffin of print books but rather a complementary product that should benefit the publishing industry.
Statista, Apr. 23
Andrew Tarantola writes: “Last week, the US Senate played host to a number of social media company VPs during hearings on the potential dangers presented by algorithmic bias and amplification. While that meeting almost immediately broke down into a partisan circus of grandstanding grievance airing, Democratic senators did manage to focus a bit on how these recommendation algorithms might contribute to the spread of online misinformation and extremist ideologies. The issues and pitfalls presented by social algorithms are well-known and have been well-documented. So, really, what are we going to do about it?”
Engadget, May 3