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Weekly News Digest

May 19, 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.

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COVID-19 NEWS: 'Libraries Around the World Prepare for a New Normal'

bibliotheca published an article stating the following:

Across the world, many countries have begun a gradual reopening of public life in an attempt to return a sense of normalcy to residents’ lives and diminish the economic impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic. …

[L]ibraries are struggling to figure out the best course of action to safely resume providing services to their communities. The Australian Library and Information Association sums it up nicely: ‘Reopening will not mean going back to the way things were pre-COVID-19; it will mean putting in place the “new normal” approach to library services.’ …

In British Columbia, the Vancouver Public Library allows users to schedule a time to pick up holds. Users provide identification through a window, then back up beyond 6 ft. while library staff leave a bag of requested materials outside the door to be retrieved. When materials are returned through the book drop, staff members leave them untouched for 72 hours as a safety precaution. …

Additionally, remote holds pick-up solutions further reduce user/staff contact while still providing access to physical library materials. Ulsan Metropolitan City Library in South Korea has been using bibliotheca’s remoteLockers to provide access to physical materials during the pandemic. … 

Continued social distancing concerns mean it will be a while before libraries are again the bustling centers of community activity, full of story time tots, book clubs, and study groups. Still, as some businesses begin to reopen at limited capacity, it may be helpful for libraries to take cues from those that have begun to reopen as they determine their own process for a phased approach. 

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Reopening Libraries in New Zealand: Slow and Steady Wins the Race'

Justin Hoenke writes the following for his blog, Justin the Librarian:

[Last] week our libraries here in Wellington, New Zealand began the process of reopening our spaces to the public. …

There were many meetings and discussions around what reopening could look like and all angles and ideas were heard, considered, and then eventually decided upon. … [M]y goal with this post is to share some overall ideas to help guide public libraries as they think about or begin reopening to the public. …

Our staff returned to our physical spaces on Tuesday 12 May 2020 to prepare our library space for public use. In no particular order, here are the things that were done during the next two days to get the space ready:

  • Move all furniture to a storage location …
  • Work on checking in returned items …
  • Establishing an entrance/exit for the library …
  • Create hand sanitising stations …
  • Hang up posters and information about social distancing and library rules during Covid-19 …
  • Rostering staff for reopening …
  • Connection …

For more information, read the blog post.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'FlatWorld Announces Textbooks Will Include COVID-19 Updates for Fall Semester'

Twenty-plus FlatWorld authors made substantial additions to their textbooks to reflect how COVID-19 has impacted their fields. FlatWorld will start publishing these revised textbooks over the summer, and it plans to update more than a dozen titles by the start of the fall 2020 semester.

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted virtually every aspect of our lives. Therefore, it is essential that students who are studying a wide range of subjects—from psychology or personal health to American government—begin to understand the many implications of the pandemic as soon as possible,” says Sean W. Wakely, FlatWorld’s VP of product and editorial.

For more information, read the press release.

 

COVID-19 NEWS: Inside Higher Ed's 'What It's Gonna Take'

Elizabeth Redden writes the following for Inside Higher Ed:

As college administrators across the country continue announcing plans to reopen their institutions this fall, two important questions have been largely lost in the debates over those decisions. What will it take for colleges to reopen responsibly as long as there is no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19—and how realistic is it that colleges can put measures in place by fall?

Testing, contact tracing and isolation and quarantining of ill individuals are among the steps public health experts say will have to be taken. But myriad other measures will also have to [be] adopted. A 20-page document from the American College Health Association outlines considerations for colleges to take into account, from local public health challenges to containment and surveillance capabilities of campuses to the need to space out students in residence and dining halls. The ideal, the guidance states, would be to have one resident per room and per bathroom, which is not how most college dormitories are currently set up. …

The guidance outlines various measures for [colleges] to take into account in relation to their employees, their facilities, their athletics programs and recreation facilities, their student health centers. Mental health services, already stretched at many campuses, will need to be stretched further. Health promotion activities will be paramount. …

Many of the steps colleges may need to consider in reopening—from testing students in large numbers and reducing the numbers of students in residence halls to accommodate social distancing to monitoring quarantined students, disinfecting common spaces and classrooms more frequently, and installing signage promoting social distancing and Plexiglas at reception desks and other high-contact areas—come with price tags, some of them hefty. …

For more information, read the article.

COVID-19 NEWS: Inside Higher Ed's 'Open-Access Publishing and the Coronavirus'

Jack Grove (for Times Higher Education) writes the following for Inside Higher Ed:

The unrestricted sharing of scientific papers during the coronavirus pandemic may have hastened the shift toward more open-access publishing, scientists believe, as several leading journals move to make content publicly available.

Last month, Britain’s Biochemical Society became the latest organization to make all of its published content free to view, citing the ‘extraordinary times with the current Covid-19 pandemic’ as its reason for lifting paywalls on its Portland Press imprint until further notice.

It follows the decision by Springer Nature, announced on April 8, to offer researchers a route to publishing open access in Nature and most Nature-branded journals from 2021. The plan will allow the titles to become compliant with Plan S, an international open-access initiative that has softened its guidelines and expectations around hybrid journals, which allow some content to remain behind paywalls. …

‘The writing is on the wall for journals with a paywall, and many of us can no longer serve in good faith on the board of such journals,’ says the letter calling for the change, which was signed by more than 75 leading scientists.

For more information, read the article.



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