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Weekly News Digest

September 15, 2022 — 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.

PLA Releases Its Next Strategic Plan

The Public Library Association (PLA) announced the availability of its 2022–2026 strategic plan. The press release notes, “Informed by member surveys, member and partner interviews, and PLA leadership and staff engagements, the PLA strategic plan centers Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (EDISJ) and expands PLA’s role as a platform for innovation and amplifier for sharing public library community impacts.”

PLA’s board of directors began updating the plan in 2021, with “[t]he pandemic and national outcry for racial and social justice, and the impact of both on public libraries” serving as “key considerations in the strategic plan refresh. A lot has changed since 2018, and PLA’s 2022-2026 strategic plan aims to keep pace with these changes. The plan embeds Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice throughout the four other refreshed strategic goals: Transformation; Professional Growth; Advocacy; and Organizational Excellence.”

For more information, read the press release.

ALA and Sourcebooks Publish a Banned Books Reading Challenge

ALA’s book publishing imprint, ALA Editions | ALA Neal-Schuman, joined forces with publisher Sourcebooks to release an interactive recommended reading list of banned or challenged books: “Read These Banned Books: A Journal and 52-Week Reading Challenge.” Available via ALA’s bookstore or in bookstores across the U.S., it “presents readers with a different banned or challenged book to explore each week.”

ALA shares, “Each recommended title features a synopsis, review, and prompt for reflection, drawing on the expertise of editors from the association and its book review magazine Booklist, delving into why the book was censored. The titles span categories and genres, from fantasy and graphic novel to nonfiction and romance, but all have been challenged or banned at some point.”

For more information, read the press release.

Content From NISO Plus 2022 Is Now Free to Everyone

“As an organization committed to making our outputs openly available, we’re delighted to share with the community all the content from the NISO Plus conference held virtually earlier this year,” writes Alice Meadows, NISO’s director of community engagement. “The 80 videos cover a wide variety of topics of importance to the information community and include not just the presentations, but also recordings of the extensive discussions that followed them—making NISO Plus a place where conversations become outcomes, which become projects, that yield solutions for the information community.”

Meadows encourages people “to clip, share, and cite [the content] widely.” For more information, read the news item.

View NewsBreaks’ coverage of NISO Plus conferences from 2020, 2021, and 2022.

U.S. Libraries Pay Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Libraries in the U.S. are marking the death of Queen Elizabeth for their royal-watching patrons. Here are a few examples:

Stamford Advocate reports that the Darien (Conn.) Public Library “quickly pulled together books on the monarch to display,” and the paper shared photos of the showcase.

SWARK.TODAY says, “The Hempstead County Library [in Hope, Ark.] … set up a display of books … about Queen Elizabeth II and her late husband Prince Philip in observance of the Queen’s death. Alongside it is another display commemorating the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.”

“Librarians at the Blasco Library [part of Erie County, Pa.’s public library district] have set up two displays celebrating the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family,” Erie News Now writes. “The displays are set up near the entrance, and in the children’s section, and feature books, DVDs, and other forms of physical media about the Queen’s life, as well as other members of the Royal Family.”

CBS Boston reports, The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum “is inviting people to sign a condolence book in honor of the late monarch. … The library also shared a gift from the queen to former President John F. Kennedy—a signed photo gifted during the president’s visit to Buckingham Palace in 1961.”

The Library of Congress blogs, “She visited the Library twice and left the staff in awe both times. The lady had presence.” It continues:

Here’s [an] account of [her 1991] visit from the Library’s Information Bulletin:

‘On May 15 the Library rolled out the red carpet. The occasion was a call from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, as part of a three-day state visit to Washington. She came … with a party of 17, including her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

As hundreds of onlookers craned their necks, stood on their toes, binoculars at the ready, for even a peek at her majesty from behind a blockade across the street, the official party was greeted at about 1 p.m. … A long, black limousine with the queen arrived at the southwest front of the Jefferson Building driveway …’

The royal party was greeted by then-Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and led up a red carpet to be received by a large delegation of Senators and Congressmen. A high school band played, and a reception included film and entertainment personalities including actors Jane Fonda (with her then-husband Ted Turner), Ben Kingsley and Angela Lansbury, who, with director Martin Scorsese, were in attendance as part of a British film festival co-sponsored by the Library and BAFTA, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts.

Chronicling America Collection Reaches New Milestone: Coverage From All 50 States

The Library of Congress (LC) announced that—with the addition of content from New Hampshire—its Chronicling America historical digitized newspapers collection now encompasses papers from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Chronicling America, which is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, provides free online access to U.S.-published newspapers from 1777 to 1963. The LC shares, “Dartmouth College will serve as the New Hampshire state hub, partnering with the New Hampshire State Library, the New Hampshire Historical Society, and the University of New Hampshire Library to identify historical newspapers that reflect the state’s political, economic, and cultural history for inclusion in Chronicling America. Among the first newspapers to be digitized and added to the online repository are the New Hampshire Gazette, the first newspaper known to be printed by an enslaved person; The Dartmouth, founded in 1799 as the Dartmouth Gazette, the nation’s oldest school newspaper; and Among the Clouds, a newspaper printed on top of Mount Washington between 1889 and 1917.”

For details on an upcoming historical newspaper-related online talk and more information, read the press release.

The Civil Rights Digital Library Gets an Update

Mandy Mastrovita writes the following for the Digital Library of Georgia (part of the University System of Georgia), which administers the Civil Rights Digital Library:

A premier online compilation of digital civil rights content is relaunching with a new look and thousands of additional pieces of history.

The milestone marks a new era for the Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL). This project brings together more than 200 libraries, archives, and museums to provide free online access to historical materials documenting the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. …

Since 2005, the portal has grown from about 100 collections to more than 350 collections of digitized content, including primary sources and educational resources.

The Civil Rights Digital Library contains contributions from statewide and national partners, documenting the civil rights era. …

For more information, read the blog post.

The Future of Automation in Ecommerce

Greg Nichols writes the following for ZDNET:

What’s the state of retail and e-commerce? When it comes to fulfilling orders, it’s clearly gone to the robots, and there’s no turning back.

That’s the conclusion of a new state of the industry report by Berkshire Gray. The reason will be familiar to those who have tracked industries like durable goods manufacturing, agriculture, and commercial trucking: A new generation of workers don’t want jobs with low pay, low stability, and high burnout. …

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of executives who responded to Berkshire believe robotics automation is necessary. That’s driven in part by changing labor dynamics and in part by consumer trends that are straining online retailers. …

Here’s why this matters to the consumer: In the short term, it’s going to enable the comfort and convenience we’ve so quickly grown to demand. In the long term, however, no one has the slightest inkling what an increase in automation in sectors as varied as warehousing, fast food, construction, and manufacturing will do to the blue collar leg of a national economy that in modern times has always employed a sizable number of lower paid workers. 

For more information, read the article.

The MIT Press Fund for Diverse Voices Gets New Backing

The MIT Press is getting more funding support for its MIT Press Fund for Diverse Voices from the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and individual donors.

The MIT Press states, “The Fund was established in 2019 to grow and sustain the publication of books by and about women in male-dominated fields and other authors whose voices have been chronically excluded across the sciences, arts, and humanities.” The latest funding will go toward publishing 10 or more new works each year over the next 3 years.

For more information, read the news item.

'Four Lessons I've Learned as a Woman in Technology' by Katie Scranton

Katie Scranton, a principal data scientist for Elsevier Health, writes the following:

Since joining Elsevier Health, I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects and seen commonalities among them. I’ve also learned something new from each project. Four main lessons stand out:

  • Trusting my voice
  • Leaning on a network for support
  • The importance of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Maintaining an ethics-first mindset

For more information on each of the lessons, read the article.

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