Hunting for books in the ruins: how Syria’s rebel librarians found hope (The Guardian)

The Guardian: Hunting for books in the ruins: how Syria’s rebel librarians found hope. “These young Syrians cohabited with death night and day. Most of them had already lost everything – their homes, their friends, their parents. Amid the chaos, they clung to books as if to life, hoping for a better tomorrow, for a better political system. Driven by their thirst for culture, they were quietly developing an idea of what democracy should be. An idea that challenged the regime’s tyranny and Islamic State’s book burners.”

Chicago Tribune: From food pantries to parking lot Wi-Fi, public libraries evolve during COVID-19 pandemic

Chicago Tribune: From food pantries to parking lot Wi-Fi, public libraries evolve during COVID-19 pandemic. “When Illinois’ latest COVID-19 mitigation rules went into effect recently, public venues from casinos to museums were ordered to shut down as the virus continues its ruthless spread. One notable exception, though, was public libraries. The decision on whether to stay open remained with them, and while many have concluded that the risk is too high, others say they’re going to stick it out, and not just for the book lending.”

Texas State Library and Archives Commission: Virtual Mental Health First Aid Training available free of charge for Texas public library workers

Texas State Library and Archives Commission: Virtual Mental Health First Aid Training available free of charge for Texas public library workers. “Thanks to a grant from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Center (Hill Country MHDD), in partnership with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is offering free online classes in Adult and Youth (Adults Assisting Youth) Mental Health First Aid for the next five months for Texas public library workers, Texas public library board members, and Texas public library volunteers.”

AL .com: Alabama’s libraries want to return post-pandemic world

AL .com: Alabama’s libraries want to return post-pandemic world. “Most Alabama librarians interviewed in the last few weeks believe they’ve made a way through the pandemic, but there’s a big exception. Birmingham’s library system, the state’s largest, furloughed 158 employees in September due to city budget cuts resulting from pandemic, but it did reopen the downtown Central Library Oct. 1.”

VTDigger: How libraries across Vermont are continuing to serve people despite a pandemic

VTDigger: How libraries across Vermont are continuing to serve people despite a pandemic. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, Vermont’s public libraries have figured out how to serve their communities despite mandatory closings and limitations. Initially, like every institution in Vermont, libraries across the state shut down in early March to help combat Covid-19. But in mid-April, libraries found ways to reach people — through curbside services and expanded digital resources. In the months since, the individuality of each of Vermont’s libraries has shone through.”

Los Angeles Times: As COVID-19 cases surge, L.A. librarians join the ranks of contact tracers

Los Angeles Times: As COVID-19 cases surge, L.A. librarians join the ranks of contact tracers. “Lupie Leyva is good at tracking things down. A kind of detective, if you will. She’s organized and meticulous, curious and tech-savvy. For the last nine years, it has served her well as senior librarian and manager at the Robert Louis Stevenson Branch Library in Boyle Heights, where no book — however obscure — can escape her once she’s on the case. Now, Leyva is using those skills to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The 46-year-old is doing contact tracing of people who have tested positive in an effort to reduce their chance of infecting others.”

Washington Post: Librarians alarmed about coronavirus safety at D.C.’s reopened public libraries

Washington Post: Librarians alarmed about coronavirus safety at D.C.’s reopened public libraries. “When the District’s public libraries began gradually reopening in late May, many residents rushed to check out books for the first time in six weeks. By mid-July, the library was opening its doors for six hours a day, five days a week, for patrons who could come inside to borrow items and spend time using public computers at 14 locations. But librarians say the reopening has been poorly handled, exposing both staff members and the public to potential coronavirus risks. They also say library managers have kept staff in the dark about colleagues who come down with the virus and have struggled with cleaning protocols and mask requirements.”

New York Times: Ola Mae Spinks, Who Helped Preserve a Slave Archive, Dies at 106

New York Times: Ola Mae Spinks, Who Helped Preserve a Slave Archive, Dies at 106. “Ola Mae Spinks, a librarian and descendant of slaves who went to the Library of Congress in 1972 to bring order to a vast but scattered archive of interviews with former slaves, thus helping to preserve them for scholars, died on June 16 at her home in Southfield, Mich. She was 106.”

The Verge: Librarians Turned Google Forms Into The Unlikely Platform For Virtual Escape Rooms

The Verge: Librarians Turned Google Forms Into The Unlikely Platform For Virtual Escape Rooms. “On the day the Peters Township Public Library in McMurray, Pennsylvania, was supposed to unveil a superhero-themed escape room, the library had to close its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. With no physical location to work with, librarian Sydney Krawiec started to devise an alternative: a digital escape room created in Google Forms.”

Nonprofit Quarterly: Libraries Face Reopening Dilemma as Pandemic Escalates

Nonprofit Quarterly: Libraries Face Reopening Dilemma as Pandemic Escalates. “Schools aren’t the only public institutions locked in debate over the need to reopen amid skyrocketing coronavirus infections nationwide. Libraries are facing the same dilemma. Library services are more critical than ever as COVID-19 continues affecting communities across the US. Yet as library systems eye reopening to the public, the surge of new coronavirus cases in most states could keep doors closed for months to come.”

What Librarians Are Doing to Support Students and Teachers in the Shutdown | SLJ COVID-19 Survey (School Library Journal)

School Library Journal: What Librarians Are Doing to Support Students and Teachers in the Shutdown | SLJ COVID-19 Survey. “School Library Journal’s School COVID-19 Response Survey queried K-12 librarians from April 2 to April 12 about their experience. More than 1,000 librarians responded, providing information about preparedness for remote learning; how librarians are supporting students and teachers, and more. Topics included services they have provided staff and students, school schedules and curriculum, plans for returned library books when schools reopen, and the pandemic’s possible impact on future purchasing.”

American Library Association: Public libraries launch, expand services during COVID-19 pandemic

American Library Association: Public libraries launch, expand services during COVID-19 pandemic. “As public libraries close their buildings to the public, staff continue to serve their communities in innovative ways. Those are among the chief findings the Public Library Association (PLA) announced today in the broadest survey of public libraries’ response to the pandemic to date, with 2,545 unique responses nationwide. Most respondents (98%) reported their buildings were closed to the public but, in many cases, staff continued to expand access to digital resources, launch virtual programs and coordinate services with local government agencies.”

American Libraries: How Public Libraries Are Responding to the Pandemic

American Libraries: How Public Libraries Are Responding to the Pandemic. “On April 9, the Public Library Association (PLA) announced the release of the broadest survey to date—with 2,545 unique responses nationwide, representing 28% of all US public libraries—on how public libraries are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings show that as public libraries close their buildings to the public, staff continue to serve their communities in innovative ways.”