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Weekly News Digest

April 14, 2020 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Public Libraries Launch, Expand Services During COVID-19 Pandemic'

The Public Library Association (PLA) shared the results of its survey of U.S. public libraries’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic—2,545 libraries responded. “Most respondents (98%) reported their buildings were closed to the public but, in many cases, staff continued to expand access to digital resources, launch virtual programs and coordinate services with local government agencies.”

In addition, “A substantial majority of respondents report they have extended online renewal policies (76%), expanded online services like e-books and streaming media (74%) and added virtual programming (61%). In open-ended responses, library staff described a range of new activities ranging from reallocating print collection budgets to digital materials, [and] reaching out by phone to those digitally disconnected. … Smaller percentages of libraries have expanded the range of their public Wi-Fi, checked out mobile internet hotspots or used their bookmobiles to provide internet access.”

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: IGI Global's 'What Is the Role of Libraries During the COVID-19 Pandemic?'

IGI Global posted an article that shares some of its resources on disaster management. It is providing complimentary access to a selection of them, including the following:
  • “The Transition From Teaching F2F to Online”
  • “Factors Affecting Community Empowerment During Disaster Recovery”
  • “Planning for a Disaster: Effective Emergency Management in the 21st Century”
  • “Beyond the Collection: Emergency Planning for Public and Staff Safety”
  • “Emergency Preparation for the Library and Librarian”

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Most Libraries Are Closed. Some Librarians Still Have to Go In.'

Colin Moynihan writes the following for The New York Times:

The Houston Public Library told its staff that, though its branches were closed, the city remained ‘open for business’ and they must report to work.

And so they have for several weeks, filing into the largely empty branches, where city officials say social distancing is maintained, and gloves, wipes and hand sanitizer have been made available.

Still, several Houston library employees said it did not make sense to have workers showing up at buildings closed to the reading public—especially when one employee has already had the virus. …

Though many libraries have sent workers home, with pay, several systems in states like TexasMassachusetts and Colorado have required at least some staff members to keep coming to work. This has prompted criticism from some librarians, including those whose systems have made different arrangements.

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'IMLS Announces New Stimulus Funding for Communities Across America'

IMLS is implementing “measures to award the first $30 million of $50 million appropriated to the agency in the CARES Act.” The money will be distributed based on population size to institutions in all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; the U.S. territories; and the Freely Associated States. IMLS “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.”

The funds are intended to help institutions “expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services to citizens to address digital inclusion efforts and related technical support. …”

“Together, we must address this challenge in the places most affected by coronavirus,” says 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.”

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Q&A: What Do People Ask a Librarian in a Pandemic? L.A. Library's InfoNow Has the Answer'

Chris Barton writes the following for the Los Angeles Times:

For seven years librarian Tina Princenthal has fielded all manner of questions at the Los Angeles Public Library’s InfoNow desk. While the coronavirus pandemic has closed the landmark Central Library and all 72 branches for the foreseeable future, InfoNow remains open and fully staffed—albeit with a shift in approach.

Once drawing an eclectic variety of requests by phone, Princenthal and her colleagues have shifted to a more digital focus while still assisting those in great need who may have limited internet access.

City librarians now work from home answering dozens of emails a day. They aim to guide Los Angeles toward remaining connected to the library both as a vital source of information and a familiar resource that can provide comfort or distraction in an uncertain time. …

In a recent phone interview, Princenthal talked about the dramatic ways her job has changed in recent weeks and how residents still can get access to books, music, movies and other information through lapl.org.

For the full interview, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'EveryLibrary Creates Fund to Help Library Workers in Need Because of COVID-19 Shutdowns'

Lisa Peet reports the following for Library Journal (LJ):

The inclusion of $50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the CARES Act Economic Relief Plan legislation is good news for libraries everywhere. But librarians and other library staff, especially part-time workers and those who have been laid off or forced to take pay cuts or personal leave, are often struggling to pay their own bills, the promised $1,200 stimulus check notwithstanding. To address that need, the EveryLibrary Institute, the educational and charitable arm of political action committee EveryLibrary, has launched the Help a Library Worker Out (HALO) Fund—a mutual aid fundraising drive for library workers, staff, and librarians in financial need because of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘What we’re looking to do is provide a little gap filling,’ EveryLibrary Executive Director John Chrastka told LJ. He was inspired by the UK’s CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals), which has had a benevolent fund for a number of years. Members can contribute to the fund, which is available to other members in times of need.

‘In any economic crisis, folks who are hourly are affected more dramatically than folks who are salaried,’ said Chrastka. ‘Folks who are in areas that are already economically depressed will be affected more than folks who are in more economically stable places. We’re hoping that being early to this conversation about mutual aid and relief will help us build a good enough bank so that the library industry can work with trust, and we don’t have to throw money at multiple GoFundMe’s.’

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Library of Congress Cancels Public Events Until July 1'

The Library of Congress (LC) canceled all public events through July 1. Some programs will be rescheduled, and the LC will provide regular updates on the operating status of its facilities, which will remain closed to the public. The LC’s online events and programs include Library of Congress: Engage!, which features original content from Dav Pilkey (a bestselling children’s author) and Jason Reynolds (the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature); The Poetry of Home, a weekly video series in collaboration with The Washington Post that highlights poet laureates; and videos every weekday of author talks from the past 20 years of the National Book Festival.

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'How Effective Is Quarantine Alone or in Combination With Other Public Health Measures ... ?'

Cochrane released a Rapid Review “assessing the effectiveness of quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.” It “summarizes evidence available from modelling studies that show how quarantining affects the spread of COVID-19. The studies included in the review consistently conclude that quarantine can play a role in controlling the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. While early implementation of quarantine and its combination with other public health measures helps to ensure effectiveness, key uncertainties remain as to how these measures can best be adopted and when they can be relaxed.”

Additional conclusions are the following:

  • Quarantine of people exposed to confirmed cases may avert high proportions of infections and deaths compared to no measures.
  • The effect of quarantine of travelers from a country with a declared outbreak to avert transmission and deaths was small.
  • In general, the combination of quarantine with other prevention and control measures, such as school closures, travel restrictions, and physical distancing, had a greater effect on the reduction of transmissions, cases which required critical care beds, and deaths compared with quarantine alone.
  • More comprehensive and early implementation of prevention and control measures may be more effective in containing the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: CRP's 'The Psychological Fight of Our Lives'

Central Recovery Press (CRP) published an article by Jennifer Kunst with tips for staying “sane and grounded,” including the following:
  • Breathe more intentionally, even for just ten minutes a day. If you need some guidance, there are free online resources that will walk you through the basics of mindfulness meditation. 
  • Get some fresh air.Go for a walk. Sit on the porch or the balcony. Get some sun. Smell the rain. Even if you have to be creative about it, connect somehow with Mother Nature. She will help hold you and heal you.
  • Indulge in the tastes of your favorite things, at least a little and not too much.Treat yourself. Make that favorite recipe or get take-out from a special place. Maybe you don’t usually eat pizza. Now is the time for pizza.
  • Take on a small project around the house.Clean a drawer, fix a piece of furniture, change a light bulb, and organize that stack on the corner of the kitchen table. The feeling of satisfaction will lift your spirits.
  • And don’t forget the basics.Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Get a good night’s sleep, as best as you can. Eat regularly and healthfully. Drink lots of water. Take your medicine. Move around.

For more information, read the article.

Nature Agrees to Support Plan S

Richard Van Noorden writes the following for Nature:

After a change in the rules of the bold open-access (OA) initiative known as Plan S, publisher Springer Nature said on 8 April that many of its non-OA journals—including Nature—were now committed to joining the plan, pending discussion of further technical details.

This means that Nature and other Nature-branded journals that publish original research will now look to offer an immediate OA route after January 2021 to scientists who want it, or whose funders require it, a spokesperson says. (Nature is editorially independent of its publisher, Springer Nature.)

The announcement marks the first time that the publisher has said its most prestigious journals will be compliant with Plan S, meaning that researchers whose funders have joined the OA initiative should be able to continue publishing there. Previously, Springer Nature had said it wanted to offer an OA route in these titles, but not unless Plan S rules changed.

For more information, read the article.



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