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Three Years of Pandemic Life: A Roundup of Information Today's COVID-19 Content
Posted On November 1, 2023
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Jan/Feb 2022 IT coverJANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

A Day in the Life by Justin Hoenke, “The Dynamic Duo of Burlington, Part 2,” page 4

From interviewee Emer Pond Feeney:

From re-envisioned programming and use of spaces, to hard looks at where we were focusing our materials budgets, to partnering with local agencies to provide new avenues to social services access, we were driving pretty hard toward some of our goals. The pandemic slowed this down, for sure, but our staff has been very resilient, incredibly so.

We the People, “In 2022 …” by Brandi Scardilli, page 6

As we start a new year, I want to check in with people who help make Information Today happen. … [A]s we slowly emerge into the next normal of a post-pandemic world, what activities do they want to engage in? What pandemic-inspired attitudes or ideas do they want to keep?

Database Review by Mick O’Leary, “BUDDIE Winner Rejects Alternative Facts,” page 26

A good way to understand Knowable Magazine’s system is with a case study showing how it tracks a single subject: the pandemic.

March 2022 IT coverMARCH 2022

Editor’s Note by Brandi Scardilli, “Book Banning Reaches a Fever Pitch,” page 1

We Don’t Talk About Bruno, but unfortunately, we still have to talk about COVID. We’ve got lots of pandemic content this issue (when do we not, these days?!). …

We the People, “Supporting Digital Sprinters: How to Improve Global Internet Access” by Nancy K. Herther, page 6

The United Nations (UN) Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development reports, “… The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly underscored humanity’s growing reliance on digital networks for business continuity, employment, education, commerce, banking, healthcare, and a whole host of other essential services. Yet today, almost half the global population has still never accessed the internet. …”

EDI Perspectives by Gwen M. Gregory, “Together/Apart—Online,” page 10

Pandemic at-home isolation seems to have increased both people’s desire to connect with others and their capabilities to do it online, hence [conversation facilitator company] Inclusivv’s switch from in-person to online events. This desire will probably continue, even when we can meet in person more safely.

Product News, page 11

Kudos and Impact Science are building the Coronavirus Knowledge Cooperative with launch partners De Gruyter, Hindawi, SAGE, the University of Toronto Press, the American Chemical Society, and Wolters Kluwer.

“Law Libraries and Evictions: A Case Study of Oregon’s Linn, Benton, and Lincoln Counties” by Amber Boedigheimer, page 17

The Oregonian [reports] that in December 2021, the Oregon legislature “approved $215 million in funding to extend protections for renters facing eviction and provide more rent assistance to Oregonians.” … The legislation extends the repayment period for residential rent accrued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Database Review by Mick O’Leary, “Strike Databases Track New Labor Turmoil,” page 26

The COVID-19 pandemic has been described as an accelerator that speeds up social, economic, and political trends. This is surely occurring in labor markets, as unprecedented numbers of workers quit or change jobs, retire, stay home, or walk off the job, prompting the “Great Resignation” tagline.

In Other Words by Lauree Padgett, “Pivoting to Direct Mail for Library Marketing,” page 30

Many of the 300,000 patrons at Anchorage Public Library (APL), which features a main library and four branches, fall into the no-or-iffy-internet category. This meant that when all five branches in an area bigger than the state of Rhode Island closed down in March 2020, library staff members were left to figure out how to reach—let alone serve—the patrons who needed the library and its offerings now more than ever.

Outside the Box by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, “When Your Home Office Becomes Quarantine Central,” page 37

The omi got me, y’all! … [I] echo the warnings surrounding the initial virus and its most recent quick-moving variant. Additionally, I hope my tale will provide some support for the home-based business owners—like me—who are impacted in unique ways [when they contract COVID] that those who work outside the home are not.

April 2022 IT coverAPRIL 2022

A Day in the Life by Justin Hoenke, “Always Listening,” page 4

Justin Hoenke: In July 2021, the Vermont Department of Libraries was awarded more than $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding by IMLS. … Have you already seen positive impacts as a result?

Interviewee Jason Broughton: This was such an unexpected windfall during a very strange and unique time across the world. … Our team …  methodically went to work surveying, reviewing, and creating conversations to understand what Vermont libraries needed immediately to help them provide library services. … Libraries alerted us to the many ways this funding helped them in providing safety, security, access, and delivery of services during the pandemic.

We the People, “The Human Library Aims to Bring Forth Social Change” by Nancy K. Herther, page 6

[Kelly] Logue-Echols[, literacy coach at Virginia Beach’s Green Run High School, says,] “We were actively looking for ways to help our kids connect because of the isolation surrounding COVID-19. The Human Library helped fill this void even in a virtual world.”

Database Review by Mick O’Leary, “Democracy Watchdog Barks Loudly,” page 30

The Global State of Democracy Indices provides extensive country-level data, and the Global Monitor of COVID-19’s Impact on Democracy and Human Rights delves deeply into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on governance and human rights.

Let’s Get Strategic by Linda Pophal, “What Marketers Need to Know About the Metaverse,” page 38

During the pandemic, sales and business development professionals had to quickly shift from live, in-person interactions to virtual ones. To a large degree, they’ve found that these interactions can work, but they can also offer more cost effective ways to do business—saving both time and money on travel costs, for instance.

May 2022 IT coverMAY 2022

We the People, “An Entrepreneur Creates a Product to Benefit an Endangered Species: Journalists” by Terry Ballard, page 6

From Muck Rack’s homepage, you can click on a section called Trends that tracks buzzworthy topics from around the world, including COVID-19 and streaming platforms.

In Other Words by Lauree Padgett, “‘Read’ Letter Days,” page 11

Just as the [State University of New York (SUNY)–Oswego’s Penfield Library] staff was getting familiar with the transition to Alma, in which patron emails are automatically generated after circulation transactions, COVID-19 hit. This necessitated policy changes in patron communication. …

Database Review by Mick O’Leary, “Chapman Survey Tracks American Fears,” page 30

The [Chapman University Survey of American Fears] is a project of the Chapman University Division on the Study of American Fears. There are seven surveys, called Waves, conducted annually from 2014 through 2020/2021. … In 2020/2021, for example, there are topical reports on fears about vaccine hesitancy, civil unrest, and COVID-19.

June 2022 IT coverJUNE 2022

After Hours by Thomas Pack, “An Easy Way to Track Bands Headed to Your Town,” page 9

Demand for live music is back in a big way. The number of tickets sold through Bandsintown, a concert-tracking website and app, was twice as high in January of this year as it was in January 2019—even though people could attend more concerts in that pre-pandemic month.

Product News, page 11

Elsevier published the “Research Futures 2.0” report, a free-to-download look at the challenges and opportunities for researchers post-pandemic.

‘An Open Book’: Bibliotheca Enters the World of Digital Streaming for Libraries” by Justin Hoenke, page 14

[W]hen the COVID-19 pandemic hit and we had to stay at home, the [streaming] landscape changed even more [than it had before]. Once a side note to library services, streaming video, digital content, and connection over digital platforms quickly became the focus.

NewsBytes, page 27

ALA joined forces with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ We Can Do This campaign to provide libraries with expert-verified information about COVID-19 vaccines that they can share with parents and guardians of children younger than 12 years old.

“War, Fake News, and Schrödinger’s Cat” by Amy Affelt, page 32

During the pandemic, a study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene found that at least 800 people died because of coronavirus-related misinformation on social media during the first 3 months of 2020.

July/August 2022 IT coverJULY/AUGUST 2022

Videoconferencing and the Future of Public Meetings” by Nancy K. Herther, page 21

Due to the pandemic, an increasing number of bills are coming up in state legislatures that would make videoconferencing an ongoing option for open government meeting requirements. COVID-19 has made the use of technology for governmental agencies essential.

International Report by John Charlton, “A Tidal Wave Can’t Keep Tonga’s Library Down,” page 26

Pacific island nation Tonga got its first public library in October 2019. Two years and 3 months later, trouble arrived in the form of an eruption of a submarine volcano. This caused a tidal wave that swept across Tonga and damaged the library. Throw in a strict anti-COVID policy, and getting the library up and running again has been a challenge.

Product News, page 27

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) published a free ebook, The Covid Archive: A Finding Aid to Government Documents Related to the Covid19 Pandemic.

September 2022 IT coverSEPTEMBER 2022

A Day in the Life by Justin Hoenke, “Staff First,” page 4

From interviewee Laurinda Thomas:

Our approach during COVID has really been one of “staff first.” Without our staff, there is no service. So, we do everything we can to keep them safe and well.

We the People, “Michigan Libraries Team Up With Health Services for COVID Test Kits” by Sophia Guevara, page 6

Upon visiting a local library branch in my community, I learned about an interesting partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and public libraries to provide free at-home COVID-19 test kits to Michigan residents.

EDI Perspectives by Gwen M. Gregory, “EDI in Person at ALA,” page 7

The Spectrum Chair’s Program, a panel session titled BIPOC Burnout During Times of COVID, focused on burnout and stress, especially for library workers of color.

“Librarians Need to Be Mindful of Mindfulness” by Anthony Aycock, page 14

[W]e all know how, during the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries fought to stay active for the benefit of people struggling with lockdowns, job losses, and fraught or sparse contact with friends and loved ones.

It isn’t just patrons, however, who need support. Librarians do as well.

“The Mental Health Needs of the Library Professional: How Are We Doing?” by Abby Phillips, page 16

As a result of the pandemic, says an article in Technical Services Quarterly, there has been a noticeable decrease in motivation and an increase in stress, which is resulting in library workers leaving the field in droves.

Terms of (Dis)Use: Where Modern Libraries Fit in the Overabundant—Yet Limiting—Online Information World” by Jessica Hilburn, page 18

Money from federal programs such as the American Rescue Plan Act and the Emergency Connectivity Fund is supposed to be supporting [library] needs that resulted from remote learning, working from home, and subpar internet connectivity to the tune of $7.17 billion. Is this money really addressing these problems in concrete and sustainable ways? What about when the money runs out and libraries are stuck holding the bill for services they can no longer afford and that patrons have grown to expect?

NewsBytes, page 23

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is creating a Digital Equity Project to help support underrepresented, under-resourced archives. … Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will expand its Living Archives Project, which is documenting the impact of the pandemic on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. …

International Report by John Charlton, “Copyright Extension Woes,” page 24

Israel’s book publishing market has recovered some ground after something of a slump during the pandemic. The National Library of Israel’s 2021 report says 7,344 printed books were published in the country, plus 982 digital ones.

Database Review by Mick O’Leary, “Opportunity Insights: Big Data Tackles Social Ills,” page 26

Opportunity Insights’ newest Big Data project is the Economic Tracker, which details the economic impacts of COVID-19 on people, businesses, and communities across the U.S. in real time.

Outside the Box by Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, “Getting a Helping Hand With Homework Apps,” page 34

According to a January 2022 article in EdSurge, studies show that the COVID-19 pandemic caused students who already struggled with homework to have more challenges in completing it; they were sometimes averaging 3 hours of homework a night, up from 2.7 hours pre-pandemic.

October 2022 IT coverOCTOBER 2022

Kudos and the Knowledge Cooperatives: Bringing Quality Information to the People” by Justin Hoenke, page 12

From interviewee Charlie Rapple:

Given the kinds of topics [Kudos’ knowledge cooperatives are] addressing, publishers are really engaged at a corporate level—the … coronavirus showcase has lots of useful guidance for companies in terms of how to manage things like long COVID in employees.

AI Ethicist by Kashyap Kompella, “Fair Work as a Tenet of AI Ethics,” page 39

A few years ago, pre-COVID, fears about mass unemployment due to automation were featured regularly in mainstream media and future-of-work discussions, centered on what jobs were likely to be automated because of AI. Nowadays, future-of-work discussions have taken a different angle; they revolve around (knowledge) workers returning to the office, working from home, or a hybrid configuration.

November/December 2022 IT coverNOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2022

The Help Desk by Sophia Guevara, “A Look at Google Wallet,” page 8

You can store your COVID-19 vaccination card [in Google Wallet]. According to Google Wallet Help, you can add both your vaccination card and test records.

An Info Pro’s Guide to Graphic Medicine” by Patti Gibbons, page 21

The 2020 and 2021 Graphic Medicine International Collective annual conferences were canceled in response to the pandemic, but in place of the 2020 meeting, the group launched a virtual Drawing Together event [that] continues today.

Database Review by Mick O’Leary, “The Digital Intelligence Index: A Digital World Multitool,” page 30

It’s been repeatedly noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a giant accelerator, and this is certainly true for the world’s digital environment. … To help get a grip on all of this, there is a handy digital data multitool: the Digital Intelligence Index (DII).

Let’s Get Strategic by Linda Pophal, “Zigging When They Zag: The Potential of Traditional Marketing Communication,” page 38

“Nondigital approaches to marketing are becoming more and more popular, especially after the pandemic,” [Kathy] Bennett[, CEO and founder of the Bennett manufacturing company,] says. “I think this is because people started to become more concerned with having a personal feel and interaction with the people they do business with.”

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Brandi Scardilli is the editor of NewsBreaks and Information Today.

Email Brandi Scardilli

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