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Weekly News Digest

April 27, 2021 — 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 Urban Libraries Council's New Leadership Brief Is a Guide to Anti-Racism

The Urban Libraries Council (ULC) unveiled a new Leadership Brief, sponsored by Gale: Anti-Racist Executive Leadership for Public Libraries, which “examines the deep roots and enduring harm of structural racism in public libraries and challenges library executives to take on a more active, intentional and accountable role in strengthening their libraries as anti-racist institutions. … To guide library executives in taking meaningful steps forward in their work as anti-racists, the Leadership Brief provides key messages, action strategies and examples of leading practices. This includes recommendations not only for advancing organizational change and staff growth, but also identifying and addressing personal blind spots, biases and racist attitudes.”

For more information, read the press release.

OverDrive Adds New Content Services to Libby App

OverDrive announced a new category of content called Databases & Streaming Media, which are available via the Libby app alongside the existing ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. According to the blog post, “These services include a wide variety of compelling content providers that offer new opportunities to engage your community with entertainment, education, and unique digital experiences.”

The new and upcoming content services include ArtistWorks (“instruction for the most popular string and band instruments through self-paced video lessons from professional musicians”), Craftsy (“from basic instruction to advanced techniques for fabric and yarn crafts, baking, drawing” and more), The Great Courses (“lectures by esteemed professors, professionals, and experts in topics ranging from history, better living, science, language learning, and more”), and Method Test Prep (“resources that help students prepare for the SAT and ACT”).

For more information, read the blog post.

Elizabeth Warren to Speak at the U.S. Book Show

Publishers Weekly’s U.S. Book Show (May 25–27) added another speaker, building on the announcements from earlier in the week. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will give a talk on May 27 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The press release shares, “Pinkie Promises, the forthcoming children’s book by Elizabeth Warren, promises to wow young people and kids’ book advocates alike. Speaking to booksellers and librarians, Senator Warren will take the virtual stage at the U.S. Book Show to discuss her Fall 2021 book and her special ‘pinkie promise’ relationship with the girls who supported her candidacy for President in 2020.”

For more information, read the press release.

OverDrive Is Making the American Rescue Plan Act Work for Libraries

OverDrive published a blog post, “Using American Rescue Plan Act Funds for Purchase of Digital Books for US Libraries,” which states the following:

Over the past several weeks, we here at OverDrive have been in dialog with leadership from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), and top publishing houses to learn the details of and help facilitate how U.S. libraries can use funds under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) for digital books and materials. …

When we learned that the MA [metered access] 24-month model might either be rejected for library use of ARPA funds, or risk that 33% or more of the amount allocated to MA 24-month titles might not qualify, we reached out to publishers to request their collaboration in finding a solution that supports use of ARPA funds. …

There are numerous workflows in development that will impact the ordering and reporting on use of funds. We are here to make this work to enable library partners to continue to serve your communities of readers. Our team will provide regular updates to keep you current on this quickly developing set of services. ...

For more information, read the blog post.

PLOS to Publish New OA Journals Focusing on Sustainability, Equity, and Health

PLOS is rolling out five new peer-reviewed OA journals this year. They all have “an emphasis on directly addressing the most pressing health and environmental issues facing society today” and “will have institutional business model options that do not require individual Article Processing Charges (APCs).”

PLOS notes, “Even though Open Access is now widely adopted, and Open Science is advancing, current frameworks exclude many voices and communities. Our next phase of work is more than just enabling someone to read or share an article, it’s about building a framework for equitable participation and distribution of knowledge.”

The five journals are PLOS Climate (“to tackle the challenges of a changing climate at a global scale”), PLOS Sustainability and Transformation (to drive “critical progress in optimizing the use of renewable biological resources”), PLOS Water (to drive “safe water sanitation and hygiene measures, as well as the sustainable consumption, management and supply of water as a vital resource”), PLOS Global Public Health (“a global forum for public health research of the highest ethical and methodological rigor”), and PLOS Digital Health (which “will publish boundary-breaking research that uses digital tools, technologies, and data science to advance every aspect of health care”).

For more information, read the press release.

'Libraries Are Key Tools for People Getting Out of Prison, Even During a Pandemic' by Sally Herships

Sally Herships writes the following for Georgia Public Broadcasting:

Though Lee Horton was a model prisoner, he says that when he got out [after 28 years] he had trouble navigating daily life. He didn't know how to send a text. Imagine trying to write a resume or to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine. …

Before the pandemic, odds are he would have walked into a library to get it. … In prison, libraries are known as safe welcoming places. Peggy Cadigan, with New Jersey Public Libraries, says that in normal, pre-pandemic times the formerly incarcerated stream into libraries when they get out. …

A New Jersey Public Libraries program called Fresh Start provides help to the formerly incarcerated. Everything from training in how to make a FaceTime call to compiling resources for job fairs and food banks.

COVID-19 is causing prisons to send people home early. Last year, between March and just a few months later, more than 100,000 people returned home from prison. That's 3 1/2 times more than the year before.

At the same time, many libraries have had to sharply limit and close their physical locations. And that means those who help with prison reentry are having to get creative.

For more information, read the article.

APA Shares Statement on Derek Chauvin's Guilty Verdict

Jennifer F. Kelly, president of the American Psychological Association (APA), released the following statement in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s trial, in which he was found guilty of murdering George Floyd:

The American Psychological Association believes the jury reached the correct decision. It is right that Derek Chauvin is being held accountable, as should every person and system in the nation that supports or reinforces racism. Justice will never be achieved until we dismantle unjust systems. …

This case’s conclusion does not eliminate the deeply rooted inequities that exist in our country and the racism and unconscious bias that permeate our structures and systems.

Black people experience collective and vicarious trauma that escalates with every murder of an unarmed Black person at the hands of police. These unconscionable acts take away an important sense of safety and normalcy and have long-lasting effects on mental and physical health. Injustice affects everyone. That is why we need to address systemic and structural factors, such as policies in law enforcement and criminal justice.

For the rest of the statement, read the press release.

Kanopy Increases Its Criterion Collection Offerings

Kanopy added nearly 60 films from The Criterion Collection to its platform. Now there are more than 500 films from the collection available for academic institutions to stream via Kanopy. New films include:
  • Black Girl (1966): Ousmane Sembène’s future debut is a harrowing human drama as well as a radical political statement—and one of the essential films of the 1960s.
  • The Spirit of the Beehive (1973): Widely regarded as the greatest Spanish film of the 1970s, Víctor Erice’s The Spirit of the Beehive is a bewitching portrait of a child’s haunted inner life and one of the most visually arresting movies ever made.
  • Paris is Burning (1990): A landmark documentary made over seven years, providing a vibrant snapshot of the rampant homophobia, transphobia, racism, AIDS, and poverty in New York City’s African American and Latinx Harlem drag-ball scene.
  • Slacker (1991): Directed by Richard Linklater, this film is a prescient look at an emerging generation of aggressive nonparticipants, and one of the key films of the American independent film movement of the 1990s.
  • Beau Travail (1999): Claire Denis and cinematographer Agnès Godard fold military and masculine codes of honor, colonialism’s legacy, destructive jealousy, and repressed desire into shimmering, hypnotic images that ultimately explode in one of the most startling and unforgettable endings in all of modern cinema.

For more information, read the press release (via INFOdocket).

IMLS Promotes Student Poets

IMLS celebrated the 25th National Poetry Month in April by sharing information on its National Student Poets Program (NSPP). The news item notes the following:

National Student Poets are chosen from the pool of National Medalists in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards with input from a panel of judges. It’s the country’s highest honor for teen poets presenting original work. …

[NSPP] identifies teen poets with unique perspectives and powerful voices, invests in training and mentoring them, then launches them on a year of service as national poetry ambassadors to lead community-focused projects for a wide range of audiences throughout their regions.

By amplifying youth voices to create and sustain meaningful change, the program supports them in being heard and aims to promote reading, writing, and appreciation of poetry in people of all ages. The NSPP also strengthens the connections between the schools and libraries and museums while providing forums for the poets and the public to interact, learn, and grow. …

NSPP not only recognizes exceptional youth poets, but also gives them an opportunity to develop their leadership potential. …

Although their year of service is still underway, the students have adapted well to current circumstances and pivoted to a virtual space to carry out collaborative and individual work. In addition to partnering with organizations, the students partner together for projects; recently, they served as panelists during a virtual event—Poetry for the Pandemic—that reached about 1,000 people.

For more information, read the news item.

ACRL Gives Post-Conference Wrap-Up

ACRL 2021, held virtually April 13–16, published a press release recap of the conference, which had both live and on-demand sessions. The theme was Ascending Into an Open Future, and there were “more than 300 programs showcasing the most current and relevant academic and research librarianship trends by boldly delving into such topics as open access, information literacy, collection development, collaboration, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and social justice. The inclusive conference reflected the library community’s diverse range of race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, economic background, age, and ability.”

For more information about sessions and speakers, read the press release.



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