Lindsey Simon writes: “With food insecurity on the rise in the wake of COVID-19, libraries have continued to work tirelessly to keep local families fed. Many libraries across the country have been pursuing partnerships with local food banks and hunger relief organizations to distribute free meals to those in need. Curbside or drive-through pickup has allowed library staff to pass out the food while maintaining social distancing, mitigating further spread of COVID-19.”
I Love Libraries, July 7
In the absence of in-person journeys, travel writer and TV host Rick Steves reminisces on his favorite European libraries, their ornate interiors, and their impressive histories. On his list: the Bodleian Library at England’s Oxford University, the grand Baroque King João’s Library at Coimbra University in central Portugal, and the library at Strahov Monastery in Prague.
Luxury Travel Advisor, July 6
Jarrett Dapier and Emily Knox write: “Calling the police when a patron is disruptive may seem like a library’s only course of action. But often, the potentially violent results aren’t considered. They should be. Black people are three times more likely than white people to be killed by police according to Mapping Police Violence, a research collaborative that collects national data on police killings. Every time library staffers call the police, we put the lives of our Black patrons in danger.”
American Libraries column, July 8
Cass Balzer writes: “Amid mass protests of police violence against Black people, some libraries are revisiting the ways in which they’ve historically interacted with law enforcement—such as by hosting police-led community programming like Coffee with a Cop, hiring off-duty police as security officers, or calling 911 on disruptive patrons.”
American Libraries feature, July 8
ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services awarded 2020 Spectrum Scholarships to 61 exceptional students pursuing graduate degrees in library and information studies. The Spectrum Scholarship Program actively recruits and provides scholarships to American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern and North African, and/or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students to assist them with obtaining a graduate degree and leadership positions within the profession and ALA. Read the full list of 2020 Spectrum Scholars.
ODLOS, July 7
Sally Stieglitz writes: “The Association of Jewish Libraries Digital Conference (June 28–July 2) was held online for the first time this year. Over the five-day conference, which drew nearly 350 worldwide participants, a thread quickly emerged: the importance of diverse representation in collections, voices, and scholarship.”
AL: The Scoop, July 7
Rutgers, Harvard, Princeton, and Georgetown Universities on July 6 announced plans for a largely online fall, following a similar announcement on July 1 from University of Southern California. However, a decision from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement means students from other countries who are studying in the US will not be able take a fully online course load and remain in the country.
Inside Higher Ed, July 7
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals issued a July 7 statement in response to the call for libraries and information services to collect data as part of the government’s contact tracing initiative in England. CILIP advises that librarians and information professionals should not participate unless several criteria are met, including that there should be no deterrent to library use, no impact on marginalized or vulnerable groups, and no detriment to a user’s right to privacy.
CILIP, July 7
In February the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas in Austin opened a major new exhibition, “Gabriel García Márquez: The Making of a Global Writer.” The galleries are closed because of the pandemic, but online visitors can still see the digital archive, manuscripts, the exhibition guide, and a video.
Fine Books and Collections, July 7
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is now accepting FY21 proposals for National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG-L) and the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program (LB21). Applicants have through October 2, 2020, to submit their two-page preliminary proposals. National Leadership Grants for Libraries support projects that enhance the quality of library and archives services nationwide by advancing theory and practice. The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program invests in developing a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public.
IMLS, July 2
Julius C. Jefferson Jr. writes: “As I assume leadership of ALA, we are confronting an unprecedented global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen since 1918; an economic collapse, including the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression; unjust police killings of unarmed Black people and domestic civil protest not seen since the Sixties; and, like 1968, another pivotal election year. Racial animus and a pandemic make a perfect storm for a revolution, and we are in uncharted territory.”
American Libraries column, July/August
Agostino Ramelli, a 16th-century Italian military engineer, designed many Renaissance-era contraptions, including a geared wooden wheel with angled shelves, which allowed users to read several books at once. A group of undergraduate engineering students at Rochester Institute of Technology built two of them—one resides in the Melbert B. Cary Jr. Graphic Arts Collection at RIT’s Wallace Library, and the other at University of Rochester’s Rossell Hope Robbins Library. Each weighs about 600 pounds and has room for eight books.
Atlas Obscura, July 1