Libraries across the country will observe National Library Outreach Day (formerly known as National Bookmobile Day) on April 7 during National Library Week. Communities will celebrate the invaluable role library professionals and libraries continuously play in bringing library services to those in need. ALA, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries agreed to rebrand National Bookmobile Day in recognition of all that outreach library professional do within their communities.
Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, Feb. 22
Charlie Warzel writes: “Misinformation rides the greased algorithmic rails of powerful social media platforms and travels at velocities and in volumes that make it nearly impossible to stop. That alone makes information warfare an unfair fight for the average internet user. But Michael Caulfield [digital literacy expert at Washington State University Vancouver] argues that the deck is stacked even further against us. That the way we’re taught from a young age to evaluate and think critically about information is fundamentally flawed and out of step with the chaos of the current internet.”
New York Times, Feb. 18
On February 15 Iowa state lawmakers advanced a measure requiring public universities to publish all course outlines online, part of a growing catalog of proposed legislation this session aimed at addressing Republican concerns over suppression of conservative voices at Iowa’s universities. Lawmakers also have advanced a pair of widely-debated bills to make Iowa the first state in the nation to ban tenure, and another requiring universities poll and report to the General Assembly the political affiliation of all of its tens of thousands of employees.
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Feb. 15
Three brown recluse spiders were discovered in University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library at the end of January, an email sent to library staff on February 22 announced. A pest management system is monitoring the situation, employing traps and pesticides within and near the tunnels, but no more spiders have been found since late January. The library will reopen February 23 for individual study by appointment only.
The Michigan Daily, Feb. 22
Academic librarians Sommer Browning and Kelsey Brett write: “Auraria Library is the library for the Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the University of Colorado Denver. We are committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in our services, resources, spaces, and organization. In 2020, we focused on algorithmic bias and how it can perpetuate racism against marginalized communities.”
ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services Intersections blog, Feb. 19
Ashley Hoffman and Jessica Bohrer write: “As children’s librarians, we are always trying to showcase the importance and meaning of words on the page (or screen, as the pandemic has moved us more towards digital storytimes). We can take any topic and turn it into a storytime lesson, but free speech is often a theme that is overlooked. Here are some ways librarians can play an active role in educating children about freedom of speech, free expression, and encouraging them to use their voices and respect the voices of others.”
ALSC Blog, Feb. 17
The US Census Bureau said February 12 it won’t be delivering data used for redrawing congressional and state legislative districts until the end of September, causing headaches for state lawmakers and redistricting commissions facing deadlines to redraw districts this year. Officials at the statistical agency blamed operational delays during the 2020 census caused by the pandemic.
AP News, Feb. 12
Katie Barrett writes: “As our global society grows ever more connected, it can be easy to assume that all of human history is just one click away. Yet language barriers and physical access still present major obstacles to deeper knowledge and understanding of other cultures, even on the world wide web. That is why the Internet Archive is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the University of Tokyo General Library.”
Internet Archive blog, Feb. 18
Lilly Smith writes: “Sustainability isn’t just measured in pounds, emissions, and material sourcing. It’s also measured in bytes. Amsterdam-based design studio Formafantasma, whose work focuses on sustainable design, has a newly redesigned website that’s better for the environment. The site looks about as plain as you can get: It has lots of white space, few images, and only two typefaces: Arial and Times New Roman, in standard blue and black that harkens back to the early days of the web.”
Fast Company, Feb. 18
Whether you’re moving to a new place or simply shopping around for new options, trying to figure out an internet plan can be more complicated than you might assume. Most plans have you pay for your internet speed and capacity, which prompts the question: How much internet speed do you really need?
CNet, Feb. 21
Researcher Vicky Armstrong writes: “When young children make art together with their caregivers, they share a new experience which can reinforce bonding. Creativity is an extension of babies’ natural desire to share and communicate. My research, in collaboration with Dundee [Scotland] Contemporary Arts, found that in art therapy the art making process encouraged behaviors that build strong relationships, such as eye contact, pleasant touch, shared goals, responsiveness. You may notice during art making that there is lots of joint attention—where you both look at the same thing together. This helps babies learn social skills, such as language and perspective taking, and feel connected to others.”
The Conversation, Feb. 18
Najiba Hussaini was killed in a Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul in 2017. Rahila Monji was killed the following year when an Islamic State bomber detonated himself at a university entrance exam preparation center. Their loved ones were inspired to fulfill the same dream: to build public libraries memorializing the women they had lost. Today, those libraries—one in Kabul and the other in Daikundi Province—stand as symbols of the progress made toward gender equality and access to education in Afghanistan where as many as 3.5 million girls are enrolled in school, according to a recent US watchdog report, and where, as of 2018, one-third of the nation’s teachers were women.
New York Times, Feb. 21