SELCO Releases Anti Racism Statement

The SELCO board recently approved the following anti racism statement:

“SELCO commits itself to not only ensuring that its policies and practices are anti racist, but also to promoting equity and diversity within the organization. In addition to our role of helping libraries provide services, we also pledge to educate, foster dialogue, and provide resources so that our member libraries have the tools to address any inequities that they may see in their communities.”

As we continue to listen, learn, and grow, this statement will guide SELCO’s policies and procedures. You can find the statement at any time on the policies page of our website. 

ALA Condemns Police Violence

In a June 11 statement, the American Library Association condemned police violence against people of color, protesters, and journalists. The full statement reads as follows:

The American Library Association is deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the killings by police or vigilantes of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others. We are in solidarity with the statements of BCALA [the Black Council of the American Library Association] and APALA [the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association], and affirm our earlier statement [on June 1] condemning violence and racism toward black people, indigenous people, and all people of color.

We recognize “that institutionalized inequities based on race are embedded into our society and are reinforced through social institutions,” and we condemn the systemic racism and violence that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience on a daily basis in our inequitable society.

We also condemn the violence that protesters and journalists across the country are facing while exercising their First Amendment rights. The former raise their voices to demand justice; the latter seek to document and share history as it is being made. Both have been subject to gratuitous attacks from police. The First Amendment promises freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government, all of which are essential freedoms of our democracy and vital components of intellectual freedom.

ALA has long sought to safeguard the rights of library users, libraries, and librarians, in accordance with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and ALA has pledged to “[s]upport antiracism work within the broader society by monitoring, evaluating, and advocating for human rights and equity legislation, regulations, policy, and practice.” Furthermore, as stated in “The Universal Right to Free Expression: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights, ALA “opposes any use of governmental prerogative that leads to intimidation of individuals that prevents them from exercising their rights to hold opinions without interference, and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas. We urge libraries and librarians everywhere to resist such abuse of governmental power, and to support those against whom such governmental power has been employed.”

As such, ALA calls upon its members to support initiatives to end police violence against Black people, to combat the systemic racism that infects our society, and to speak out against all attempts to restrict First Amendment rights. ALA further calls upon federal, state, and local governments to uphold, preserve, and respect the constitutional rights of protesters, of journalists, and of all people who want to make their voices heard and to share their words and ideas with the rest of the world and future generations.

Approved by the ALA Executive Board June 9, 2020

Original Statement drafted and approved by ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee

Endorsed by the Social Responsibilities Round Table

Niche Academy now offering free COVID resources

The training platform Niche Academy is now offering free online training and resources on a variety of COVID-related topics. Whether it’s myths and facts about the virus itself, or information regarding the ripple effect the virus has created, there are plenty of resources to choose from on the Niche Academy COVID page.

Some of the classes you can expect to find on the page include the spread, symptoms, and prevention of COVID. However, there are also a number of classes that address mental health, job searching, and other issues that have arisen as a result of the COVID pandemic. 

Niche Academy will be curating this collection of training and resources, so check back frequently for new courses!

OverDrive to donate ebooks and audiobooks for simultaneous use library lending

In response to the unprecedented demand for digital books for your readers, OverDrive paid participating publishers and authors for rights to a growing collection of ebooks and audiobooks that will be provided for unlimited simultaneous use, at no cost for your library. Created to help your library deliver more titles to more readers, OverDrive’s COVID Response Collections will supplement your catalog with titles that can be used for student summer reading programs, digital book clubs, community reading events, and general inventory support.
Libraries are working to meet urgent demand for Juvenile and Young Adult content to serve remote learning during shutdowns. The first set of titles donated by OverDrive will be a Kids & Teens bundle including over 200 ebooks, audiobooks, and Read-Alongs from Rosen Publishing, Lerner Publishing Group, Britannica Digital Learning, Triangle Interactive, and other participating publishers.
OverDrive is also acquiring rights from leading publishers for Adult Fiction and Nonfiction collections to support your library. We will update you as new collections are confirmed.
The Kids & Teens bundle of donated titles will be added to your OverDrive collection during the last week of June 2020. All ebooks and audiobooks will be available in simultaneous use, at no cost to your library, through August 31, 2021. When new titles are added to this program, we will automatically add them to your collection. As with all OverDrive-supplied content in your collection, you will be able to curate these donated titles in any way you’d like.
We will follow-up when the first titles in the OverDrive COVID Response Collections are live. Until then, please feel free to reach out to your Account Manager with any questions, or if you wish to opt out of receiving this donation.

$15 Million in IMLS CARES Act Grants Now Available for Museum and Library Services

May 8, 2020

$15 Million in IMLS CARES Act Grants Now Available for Museum and Library Services
Applications for Pandemic Response Funding Due June 12, 2020

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced two new funding opportunities for museums, libraries, federally recognized tribes, and organizations that primarily serve Native Hawaiians. The combined $15 million federal investment will provide direct support to these institutions, equipping them to respond to community needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Museums and libraries have never been more essential to their communities,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “COVID-19 has not only created a public health emergency, but it has also created a deep need for trusted community information, education, and connection that our libraries and museums are designed to provide.”

The CARES Act allocated funding to IMLS to enable libraries, museums, and organizations serving tribal communities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including by expanding digital network access, purchasing Internet accessible devices, and providing technical support services to their communities. The $15 million available through these new grants follows previous phases of funding announced over the past few weeks.

The deadline for submitting applications to either funding opportunity is June 12, 2020, with award announcements anticipated in August.

IMLS CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries support museums and libraries in addressing their communities’ immediate and future needs caused by the pandemic. Projects may focus on preserving jobs, training staff, addressing the digital divide, planning for reopening, or providing technical support and capacity building for digital inclusion and engagement. Applicants are encouraged to prioritize services for high-need communities.

IMLS CARES Act Grants for Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum and Library Services assist tribes and organizations that primarily serve and represent Native Hawaiians in responding to the urgent and future needs of their communities. Applications focused on digital inclusion, technical support, rehiring or retraining staff, reopening planning, and other pandemic-related priorities are welcomed.

“Access to and use of all kinds of health, job, government, educational, social, and cultural resources are necessary to weathering the current situation, beginning efforts to reopen, and providing services to sustain communities,” said Kemper. “Together, we can brighten the future for museums, libraries, tribal communities, and people across America.”

Upcoming Webinars

Interested applicants are invited to attend free informational webinars to learn more:

These webinars will be through GoToMeeting, and advance registration is required. Recordings will be made available on-demand on the IMLS website.

For More Information
To apply for these grants, as well as to IMLS’s other available funding opportunities, please visit the IMLS website.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Programs: 
IMLS CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries
IMLS CARES Act Grants for Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum and Library Services

ALA releases 2020 State of America’s Libraries report

CHICAGO – Today the American Library Association (ALA) released its 2020 State of America’s Libraries report, an annual summary of library trends released during National Library Week, April 19 – 25, that outlines statistics and issues affecting all types of libraries during the previous calendar year.

Although the report focuses on 2019, libraries are shown to be on the frontlines addressing societal and community challenges – a role they are certainly playing during the COIVD-19 pandemic today. Many libraries serve as first responders who take on roles outside of traditional library service that support patrons’ needs and community development. Functioning at various times as career counselors, social workers, teachers and technology instructors, library staff give special care to adopt programs and services that support the most vulnerable and curious.

The report found that the popularity of libraries in 2019 continues to soar. According to a recent Gallup poll, visiting the library is the “most common cultural activity Americans engage in by far.” In 2019, US adults reported taking an average of 10.5 trips per year to the library, a frequency that exceeded their participation in other common leisure activities like going to the movies, a museum or the zoo.

The best proof that public libraries are about more than just books is their evolution into libraries of things, offering nontraditional collections that are community-specific and imaginative. The wide array of items available to check out includes mattresses, dolls, bicycles, binoculars, and accordions.

Our nation’s academic libraries have a major impact on student success. Statistics gathered by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of ALA, demonstrate how academic libraries support many types of high-impact educational practices (HIPS) that have beneficial effects on student retention, graduation rates, time to graduation and grade point average. Academic library staff provided instructional sessions (both face-to-face and electronic) to more than 7 million students. More than 57% of the almost 800,000 instructional sessions were digital or electronic.

School librarians have focused on instructing students in information literacy to ensure they are ready to use data in decision-making. The perception is that youth growing up with access to ubiquitous technology can easily and effectively use data; however, a recent report on data literacy found that “60% of US workers 16 to 24 years old—people who had been raised surrounded by technology—are overwhelmed by the data they must read and analyze as part of their jobs.”

Additional report findings illustrate a 17% increase in the number of books targeted for removal or restriction fueling library staff efforts to protect the freedom to read. Hundreds of attempts from the public to remove or restrict materials, cancel programs, and dismantle displays and exhibits took place in public, school and academic libraries. The majority of library materials and services targeted for removal included or addressed LGBTQIA+ content.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Overall, 566 books were targeted. Here are the “Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2019,” along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

1. “George,” by Alex Gino

Reasons: to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”

2. “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out,” by Susan Kuklin

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased

3. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo,” by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning

4. “Sex is a Funny Word,” by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”

5. “Prince & Knight,” by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis Reasons: featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint.

6. “I Am Jazz,” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”

7. “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood

Reasons: profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

8. “Drama,” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”

9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Reasons: referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals

10. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole

Reason: LGBTQIA+ content

Access to a video announcement and infographics regarding the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019 are available at ala.org/bbooks/freedownloads. Previous lists of Top 10 Most Challenged Books dating back to 2001 are available at ala.org/bbooks/top.

Other library trends are available in the full text of the State of America’s Libraries 2020 report, available at http://bit.ly/soal-2020 .

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is observed each April by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country. National Library Week celebrations include National Library Workers Day, April 21; National Bookmobile Day, April 22, and Take Action for Libraries Day, April 23. For more information on National Library Week, please visit ILoveLibraries.org/NLW or follow #NationalLibraryWeek.

American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit ala.org.

IMLS Announces New Stimulus Funding for Communities Across America

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced measures to award the first $30 million of $50 million appropriated to the agency in the CARES Act.

The $30 million in the funding phase announced today will be distributed to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the Freely Associated States based on population. The agency is allocating these grants through its most significant in-place funding vehicle for all states and territories, State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs), who are encouraged to use all available mechanisms to reach museum and tribal partners, as well as traditionally eligible libraries.

These funds are in addition to previously announced measures to support the urgent needs of museums, libraries, their staff, and the communities they serve. On April 6, IMLS authorized new flexibilities for its nearly 1,300 open awards in response to the impact of COVID-19.

“Together, we must address this challenge in the places most affected by coronavirus,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “This pandemic has highlighted the fact that people in rural and tribal communities, as well as those in high-poverty areas or remote regions lacking access to broadband, have been disproportionately affected. We must target these funds to provide job, health, economic, and other high-impact relief, and this funding round focuses on providing efficient, urgent help to citizens across the nation.”

States and territories will be able to use the funds to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services to citizens to address digital inclusion efforts and related technical support, using the following types of data to prioritize efforts:

  • Poverty/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Unemployment; and
  • Broadband availability.

“The urgent expansion of broadband access and digital services enables people to connect to the health, community, government, and job information so critical today, and to the other programs and services that play an enhanced role in the current health emergency,” said Kemper. “While we are distributing these funds through State Library Administrative Agencies, we urge museums and related organizations to partner with libraries in this vital endeavor.”

The state allotment tables can be viewed here; IMLS will provide additional details and anticipated timelines of this funding availability directly to SLAAs. The agency also plans to announce additional measures to aid museums and libraries, both through its current funding and that received through the CARES Act.

More information is available at imls.gov/coronavirus. For the latest information, subscribe to IMLS news updates.

Updated information from IMLS/CDC

Hello Library Directors,

I hope this Monday finds you and yours well. Today I’m just passing along a couple of resources. First, from the CDC/IMLS webinar this morning, please visit this page https://www.imls.gov/coronavirus-covid-19-updates for information from IMLS.  It includes the links that the CDC referred to in the presentation this morning. A recording of the presentation will be posted there when available. There were a couple of takeaways from the session: first, be in close contact with your local public health authority as you are decision-making; second, hand hygiene is critically important; third, the CDC does not consider library materials to be at high risk for transmitting the virus. However, if you are particularly concerned about specific items, use an approved cleaner and disinfectant to the extent that the material allows, and if additional concerns, quarantine materials for up to 24 hours.

 

This next resource is from Gigabit Libraries Network. They are hosting a series of webinars on digital services that you may find of interest. You can access the first one (Internet Access) at this link: Recording from 3/26: Part 1: Internet Access– https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XscwnzAB0-36z7DiM7ct7G2BDl7_d3AF/view

 

Finally, I’ll be sending along a Skype invite for an MDE  meeting with library leaders on Thursday at 1pm.  Please feel free to forward it on to others who may be interested or want to have a conversation.

 

With my warm regards,

Jen

Jennifer R. Nelson

Director, State Library Services and Charter Center

651-582-8791 |  jennifer.r.nelson@state.mn.us

ALA Recommends Libraries Leave Wi-Fi Open During Closures

The American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board released the following recommendation on March 23 to libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Our current crisis demands extraordinary measures. As most states and the federal government declare states of emergency, we appreciate that libraries and other public facilities have closed temporarily to support critical social distancing efforts. Our top priority and concern is the health and safety of our library staffs and the diverse communities we serve.

As we stated last week, service and stewardship to our communities are core to the library profession. We continue to see this every day even as library buildings close to the public but often sustain or grow their virtual services and resources freely available to all.

But we also are painfully aware that America’s 16,557 public library locations are essential nodes in our nation’s digital safety net—connecting people with no-fee access to computers and the internet, lending internet hotspots and devices, and providing digital literacy training and expansive learning and enrichment digital collections for all ages. The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting this safety net and spotlighting the persistent digital gaps for more than 20 million people in the United States, including millions of school-age children and college students forced out of classrooms and many more workers also displaced.

Libraries can and should leave their Wi-Fi networks on even when their buildings are closed wherever possible. As we have noted to the Federal Communications Commission, ALA believes a 2010 order from the commission permits this use without jeopardizing E-Rate funding that many public libraries and schools rely on to sustain and build their broadband capacity. In these unprecedented times, we should take whatever steps we can to leverage our resources to maximize benefit to our communities—particularly for those with the fewest resources.

ALA has long been at the forefront of promoting broadband equity for all and continues to work in coalition to expand the capacity of libraries, schools, colleges and universities, and other community anchor institutions to strengthen our digital networks. We will continue to advocate for digital inclusion for all today and in the future.

Scholarship Report: Beth Anderson – Public Library Association Conference

Event: Public Library Association Conference

Attendee: Beth Anderson – Director, Preston Public Library


How does attending this event relate to your current role in your library?

Being a library director at a small library I’m involved in all aspects of the library. I looked for sessions that related to our library. The exhibits helped me find new products.

 

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

It is really hard to pick a favorite session. There were a few session that were really good. The one on dementia gave many ideas for hosting programs at the library and going to senior facilities. The other one I really liked was called Bringing Technology & Arts to Senior Adults. We do have an aging population and I would really like to find ways to engage them in various activities. This session talked about STEAM, Arts and Technology for Seniors. All these activities help to increase socialization. Virtual reality was found to bring memory recall!

 

What was your biggest takeaway from the event as a whole?

The PLA conference this year was all about diversity and inclusion. It was about helping people access the information and resources they need. It emphasized the acknowledgement of experiences different from your own, and showing respect to those different from you. In the various sessions and interactions, there was always an element of openness and acceptance, even down to the books in the publishers’ booths. I have always felt a bit of pride working for the library because aside from the emergency services, it’s a place for everyone, no exceptions. It was nice to be reminded of the privilege we have of being a part of that type of service to our communities. The conference this year was an inspiring reminder of that. It feels good to return home with new energy and excitement for the job.

 

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

Only one idea!! There is so much I hope to implement, but i know that realistically I need to focus on only a couple right now. For our library I think going to one or both of the assisted living homes may be best but I do plan on talking to them also to see if it would be feasible for them to bring the residents in their van to the library. Whatever we do I would like to partner with those places to provide them with additional activities.

 

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this conference. There is so much to learn, so many new ideas.