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Weekly News Digest

August 11, 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.

The Scholarly Kitchen's 'An Antiracist Framework for Scholarly Publishing'

The Scholarly Kitchen blog published a guest post by Niccole Coggins, Jocelyn Dawson, Melanie Dolechek, and Gisela Fosado. They write the following:

The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies, now available on the website of the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communication, is the first of three planned toolkits incubated at [the Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute] that will provide a common framework, shared vocabulary, and best practices to address racial disparities specific to scholarly publishing. Developed with the involvement of more than 50 individuals across races and organizations, the toolkits are designed to accelerate progress toward a more equitable and inclusive workplace culture.

Drawing on the structure and framework of the American Alliance of Museums’ guides for transgender inclusion, we, as the project organizers, identified a need for three toolkits:

  • The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies promotes awareness and understanding of white advantage as well as information about how to disrupt racism and create workplace communities where everyone thrives. The toolkit includes a chronology of white supremacy in the United States, sample equity and inclusion programming, a sample list of affinity and inclusivity groups, and a list of recommended racial equity training organizations.
  • The Antiracism Toolkit for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (forthcoming) will provide advice on safely navigating predominantly white spaces that may feel exclusionary, building mentorship relationships, expanding career paths, advocating for change, and self-care.
  • The Antiracism Toolkit for Organizations (forthcoming) will provide tools for understanding institutionalized racism, broadening hiring and recruiting, working to correct bias, including historically marginalized perspectives in decision making, and creating affinity groups and mentorship programs.

We believe that concrete actions towards equity in our industry have the potential to be transformative not just in our workplaces but for the worldwide research community. Our publishing programs shape understanding and debate about public policy, history, science, medicine, and critical race theory in all areas of scholarship across the academic and public arenas. Yet, most scholarly publishing companies are composed of workforces that do not reflect the public we engage and educate.

To ensure that scholarly publications reach their widest possible audience and provide scholars a path to publication unimpeded by bias, it is essential that our industry address the systemic role that racism plays in shaping our workplaces. The fallout from our industry’s lack of diversity includes racial bias in citation impactworkplace microaggressionsracially insensitive and offensive business strategies, and racial and ethnic disparities in research studies. Collectively and individually, these experiences impede our missions as scholarly publishers.

For more information, read the blog post.

ALA Applauds the ACCESS the Internet Act

ALA shared the following:

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Accelerating Connected Care and Education Support Services on the Internet Act (ACCESS the Internet Act), which includes funding for libraries. The $2 billion legislation addresses immediate gaps in internet access necessary for distance learning and telehealth. The distance learning provision will fuel a two-year, $200 million hotspot pilot program for libraries, to be administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. A minimum allotment of $1.6 million per state will allow states, tribes, and territories to purchase and distribute internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas. The bill includes funding for the Department of Education, the Veterans Administration and the Federal Communications Commission. 

ALA president Julius C. Jefferson Jr. said, in part, “The ACCESS the Internet Act is a timely step in the right direction and ALA commends the Senators for recognizing that investment in libraries is the most effective way to put the broadband provisions to work. This bill alongside legislation to ensure libraries are fully staffed will help millions of under-connected Americans during this critical time.” 

For more information, read the press release.

COVID-19 NEWS: 'Penguin Random House Extends Temporary E-Book, Digital Audio Terms for Libraries'

Andrew Albanese reports the following for Publishers Weekly:

As the pandemic continues to impact the country, Penguin Random House has announced that it is extending its temporary digital license terms for libraries through December 31, 2020.

“With the uncertainty of what this upcoming school year will bring—either home-learning, in-classroom or a combination of both—and the pressures that our library partners are facing with closures, modified openings and budget constraints, we are extending our Temporary Library Terms of Sale,” reads a note sent to digital vendors from Penguin Random House senior v-p Skip Dye. “It is clear that this extension is necessary to assist in meeting the needs of patrons and homebound school kids,” Dye writes, adding that announcing the extension now will hopefully give librarians and educators a chance to better plan for the rest of the year.

Under the terms of its temporary program, PRH is offering libraries the option to license e-books and digital audio for one-year terms at a 50% prorated price as an alternative to the existing two-year term (for e-books) or perpetual access (for digital audio). A cost-per-circulation model is also available.

For more information, read the article.

SAE Partners With General Motors for a STEM Education Program

SAE International and General Motors have joined forces to create Programming Each Other, a STEM curriculum program that focuses on IT. It is part of SAE International’s A World in Motion program, which fosters STEM skills for pre-K–8 grade levels. According to the press release, “Each lesson in the Programming Each Other challenge includes optional tech extensions and supporting videos, as well as opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and present their findings in a collaborative environment. However, the curriculum is designed as an ‘unplugged’ way to introduce students to IT, so it doesn’t require access to computers to help students grasp basic computer science fundamentals. Instead, students will learn to write programs by developing computational thinking skills with increasingly complex tasks.”

For more information, read the press release.

Mellon Foundation Provides Grants for Prison Education Services

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded 15 emergency grants totaling $1.5 million to help providers of higher education in prisons. According to the press release, “The grants will allow incarcerated students across the nation to continue learning while in-person instruction is paused as part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. … Prison education providers will use the grants to experiment with virtual classrooms, retain key staff, and plan for 2020–21 instruction.”

“The Mellon Foundation believes in each and every student’s humanity,” says Elizabeth Alexander, the foundation’s president. “Expanding access to higher education is an essential step in the creation of a more just and equitable society. Millions of our fellow human beings are incarcerated in US prisons, and these grants will help ensure that even during the COVID crisis, these students have meaningful educational support as they pursue new knowledge and ideas.”

For more information, read the press release. 



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