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Weekly News Digest

October 31, 2019 — 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.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

UNESCO Promotes Free Ebook on Prison Libraries

UNESCO is making a book on prison libraries freely available online. Books Beyond Bars: The Transformative Potential of Prison Libraries, by Lisa Krolak, was published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in 2019.

The announcement states, “This publication explores the extent to which prison authorities fulfil their societal mandate to rehabilitate and reintegrate inmates by enabling them to use prison libraries to pursue their right to education. … [It] takes a closer look at selected examples of prison library systems around the world, outlining best practice and possible challenges, thus demonstrating their transformative potential as informational, educational, cultural and recreational meeting and learning spaces.”

For more information, read the announcement.

Knight Foundation Study Shares Attitudes Toward Local News

Knight Foundation’s Trust, Media and Democracy initiative with Gallup conducted a recent study, “State of Public Trust in Local News.” It “sheds light on what Americans value about local media outlets, and the areas they think need improvement,” finding that “local news remains more trusted than national news,” but “this trust advantage is tenuous and in danger of falling prey to the same forces eroding trust in the national news media.”

The press release continues, “Overwhelmingly, Americans value local news outlets, believe they are doing their job well and do a better job than national news outlets at reporting without bias and covering news they can use in their daily life. … [But w]hen compared with other local institutions, local news organizations are among the least trusted—ranking below public libraries and local law enforcement, and only ahead of local government.”

For more information, read the press release.

Boston Public Library Removes Children's Overdue Fees

As of Nov. 1, 2019, Boston Public Library (BPL) will go fine-free for its 150,000-plus library card holders who are younger than 18. Pending overdue fines as of this date will be waived, but patrons “will still be required to return any overdue books in order to check out additional materials.”

“We are proud to be joining the ranks of libraries across the country who are moving towards being fine-free,” says David Leonard, BPL’s president. “Too often, fines penalize those least able to afford them and have the unintended effect of turning young people, in particular, away from their libraries. That’s just not what ‘Free To All’ should mean in the 21st century. Eliminating youth fines reflects core values of the BPL—to be accessible, to be welcoming, and to ensure we are promoting youth reading, not preventing it.”

For more information, read the press release.

'Fugitive Libraries' by Shannon Mattern

Shannon Mattern writes for Places Journal, “Public libraries may be a democratic commons, but they have often excluded Black voices and perspectives. Communities have responded by creating their own independent, itinerant libraries—spaces for learning together and building futures together.”

She continues with the following:

Librarians generally are aware of these problems (they tend to be a self-critical lot), and the field’s main institutions have launched programs to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion. Some people are even starting to question the core professional value of neutrality, which has too often been used to justify ‘disengagement from crises in urban communities.’ Libraries are embracing their role in creating sanctuary for the homeless, impoverished, and undocumented, and in providing safety from violence and oppression. And many librarians have aligned with activist movements. …

Such efforts to position the American library as a democratic (or even radical) space have to acknowledge the institution’s own deep history of racial inequity. And even as we celebrate the library as a public commons, we should recognize that not everyone participates in that space, or not in the same way. By choice or by necessity, many marginalized communities have established their own independent, itinerant, fugitive libraries, which respond to conditions of exclusion and oppression. Understanding the politics and practices of these fugitive libraries, and the conditions that have led to their emergence, would improve the discussions about “libraries of the future” that are happening in the halls of power and privilege. That doesn’t mean public libraries should fold outsider projects into mainstream practice, though. Shining light on marginalized populations and informal spaces carries ethical obligations, and visibility sometimes yields vulnerability. In the second half of this article, we’ll get to know some of these fugitive librarians. I’ve spoken with most of them personally so that they can tell their stories in their own words.

For more information, read the article.

Japanese Universities Are First in the Country to Start Using Ex Libris Products

A consortium formed by Keio University and Waseda University in Japan implemented the Ex Libris Alma library services platform and the Primo discovery and delivery solution in order to create the country’s first fully cloud-based library system.

According to the press release, “Keio University and Waseda University will collaborate in the management of library purchases and in the handling of electronic and physical resources. Through their partnership, the universities aim to enhance their students’ experience by providing a wealth of scholarly materials in various formats via a single interface for students. In addition, Keio University and Waseda University are standardizing the cataloging format and plan to leverage Alma analytics to reduce operational inefficiencies and costs.”

For more information, read the press release.

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli
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