COVID-19 : Guide to Handling Materials

Hi everyone,

Many of us have received questions about how, in this time of extreme uncertainty as the pandemic continues, are we going to work through the important topic of lending materials in school and public libraries. While we have e-materials that can be safely circulated by our users, the bulk of most collections in school and public libraries remains physical, tangible items.

The Maryland State Library Resource Center and Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore) have put together a Guide to Handling Materials during COVID-19. This document, as stated, outlines the safest practices known updated March 30, 2020.  It includes references and links to associated information.

Another notable article from American Libraries, “How to Sanitize Materials in a Pandemic” (dated March 27, 2020), similarly outlines suggestions for handling library materials.

This quote from Jacob Nadal, Director for Preservation at the Library of Congress is included in the first document, and indicates that there are still many unknowns about the viability of the virus on various library materials:

“There are no studies that specifically answer the question of how transmissible COVID19 might be from the most common library materials – for example coated and uncoated paper, bookcloth, or polyester book jackets. Quarantine of materials for 72 or more hours seems to be the safest course.… There is very little research on the effects of medically effective sterilization and sanitization measures on the condition of library materials, another reason to favor quarantine.”

It should be noted that due to the national shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment), items such as gloves should be reserved for medical, health care, and first responders and not purchased or stockpiled by libraries at this time. Use your judgment about how many gloves currently on hand at your school or library would be needed for the safe handling of library materials, and if  large amounts of unopened boxes of gloves could be donated to more pressing needs in your community.

Thank you for your continuing work for and with both teens and everyone within your service populations,

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter : @toddbcpl

COVID-19 : ALA Annual Conference canceled

Hi everyone,

As you have likely heard by now, the ALA Annual Conference scheduled for late June in Chicago has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall, along with current ALA President Wanda K. Brown and ALA President-elect Julius C. Jefferson Jr. explain the reasoning in their press release.

Please note that I am investigating the many questions that I have received since the announcement was made late yesterday afternoon. I will update this blog post when I learn more about:

  • Registration and hotel refunds [Edit 3/27/20: On Peak (the company that ALA uses for hotel reservations) is going to cancel all hotel reservations for Annual made through them. They will send an e mail to the attendees. Obviously, if someone booked a room outside of the ALA block (did not use On Peak) they will need to cancel it themselves.]
  • If there will be any virtual component to the conference
  • YALSA programs that were to be presented at the 2020 Annual conference
  • How YALSA award committees will meet (the Board will be working through this in the coming days)
  • the Printz Celebration and honoring the 2020 authors and committee

 

While we are obviously saddened and disappointed that the ALA Annual conference had to be canceled, we are looking to the future and hopes for better days. With that in mind, please consider attending the YALSA Symposium, scheduled for November 6-8 in Reno, Nevada. Sign up to learn more and get updates about the symposium here.

Thanks as always for the work you do for and with teens,

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

 

YALSA and COVID-19 – A Message from the President

Hi everyone,

As we continue to adjust our lives to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to send a short message of assurance that YALSA continues to support its members during this unprecedented crisis. Our mission states that we support library staff in alleviating challenges that teens face, and this may be the greatest challenge of our time. COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, and as testing ramps up, it is a foregone conclusion that many, many more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days and weeks. Healthy teens and young people, thankfully, seem to be able to weather the virus themselves, but as we know, they also have a tendency to feel invincible. Young people sometimes do not realize the consequences of their actions; in this case, unknowingly spreading the virus throughout the community and to those who are immunocompromised, along with the elderly. These are two populations that have not had the same rate of success dealing with the lethal strain. If you are in communication with teens, please encourage them to stay at home with their families or guardians as they are able. Community spread must be tempered to prevent the virus from wreaking havoc with our lives.

Your YALSA virtual volunteer work is always appreciated; however, during this difficult time, we understand that committee, task force, and/or jury work has taken a backseat to your daily life. While there may be an opportunity to get things done, as many of us now have unexpected “downtime”, the YALSA Board and YALSA staff understand that not every volunteer has the same amount of time or mental energy to devote to these projects. We will continue to assess previously stated deadlines and goals as the days go on.

If you haven’t yet, please read the message from ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall about the ALA response to COVID-19, and check out the #LibrariesRespond information on the ALA site, which also addresses the xenophobia that sadly has already become associated with this outbreak.

The CDC has provided resources to deal with manage anxiety and stress as we work through this uncharted territory. Keeping yourself healthy and uncompromised is of paramount importance.

Something to consider, depending on your current work and life schedule: if you haven’t cast your ALA/YALSA ballot yet, this may be a good chance to do so. Virtual ballots arrived to your email on file with ALA last Monday through Wednesday, March 9-11. The election ends April 1, 2020, at 11:59pm. If you have not received an ALA ballot for the spring election, contact the ALA office for more information.

Edited to add, 12:15pm March 17, 2020: The ALA Executive Board has just released a statement, encouraging all libraries to be closed to the public.

Thank you as always for the work you do for and with teens, and please, stay safe and healthy.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

Speaking up for teens & libraries during the federal budgeting process

Each year the federal budgeting process kicks off when the White House releases a draft budget.  This will happen sometime in February, and there’s talk that the FY19 draft budget may be released on February 12, 2018.  If you recall last year, the White House’s draft budget called for the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as well as all of the federally earmarked funds that the nation’s libraries depend on to provide critical services to their community.    However, a grassroots advocacy effort led Congress to keep funding for IMLS and libraries for FY18.

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I Love My Librarian Award Spotlight: Sheikla Blount

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Sheikla Blount, library media specialist at Columbiana Middle School in Columbiana, Alabama. Ms. Blount was recently named one of the recipients of the I Love My Librarian Award.  The award is a collaborative program of Carnegie Corporation of New York, the New York Public Library, The New York Times and the American Library Association.  A graduate of Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama, Sheikla clearly has a passion for libraries and children. She’s involved in the middle school, even outside the library, and the sponsor for the Junior United Nations Assembly and yearbook club. Continue reading

Update on the Search for the Next ALA Executive Director

Currently a petition is circulating among ALA members that attempts to put a measure on the ALA spring ballot in an effort to overturn the most recent decision by ALA Council to change the language of the job announcement for the next ALA Executive Director from “MLIS preferred” (or CAEP/school librarian equivalent) back to MLIS required. YALSA’s Board of Directors strongly favors retaining the current status that prefers that candidates hold the MLIS/CAEP degree rather than require it. We feel that in order to effectively lead a professional organization the size and scope of ALA, a person’s skill as an association executive is critical. If there is a degreed librarian with these skills, that would be most desirable.

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How YALSA Funds Member Services & Support for Library Staff

A common question that I get, especially from new board members, is about where funds come from to support YALSA and its members.  The answer is pretty straightforward, although not one many people expect.  Member dues make up only about a third of YALSA’s total funding.  The other two thirds comes from product sales (award seals, books & e-learning); events (YA Services Symposium & ticketed events at ALA conferences); grants; corporate sponsorships; interest from YALSA’s endowments; and individual donations.  Many people are surprised to learn that funds from ALA or the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are not a part of YALSA’s annual budget.  Actually, YALSA receives important services from ALA, such as HR and legal counsel, but not regular financial support.  IMLS offers competitive grants that YALSA is eligible for, and we have been awarded two.  If you’re interested, you can learn more about YALSA finances in my latest annual report.

All the funds that come into YALSA, from whatever source, are used to

  1. Provide members with services and support, like free monthly webinars and the summer learning grants we now have available
  2. Create and share resources with the library community, at no cost to library staff, such as our short, informational videos and newest toolkit about teen literacies

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What We Learned from a Visit to Washington DC & how You can Help

On May 2nd, I traveled to Washington DC with YALSA President Sarah Hill and other YALSA members to participate in National Library Legislative Day.  We focused our conversations on

Sarah and I met with Congressional staff who work for committees that are relevant to libraries, such as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.  We participated in seven meetings in seven hours and here’s what we learned from this speed-dating with Congressional staff:

  • Your emails, calls, Tweets and letters are working—especially your calls and letters—but we need more. Everyone we met admitted that Congress is pretty old school.  So, calls and letters get more attention than social media or email.  This includes letters to the editor and op-ed pieces in local newspapers.  Please keep sending letters and making calls!  As of May 4, only 20 Senators have signed the letter supporting federal funds for libraries in FY18.  Check out this earlier YALSAblog post for sample messages and a ready to use letter to the editor (docx).

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Contact your Senator to Support Library Funding

Last month library supporters were called on to contact their Rep in the House.  Now it’s the Senate’s turn!  Please email, Tweet and/or call the offices of your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sign on to the “dear appropriator” letters for two critical pieces of library funding: the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL).  Please share this widely and encourage your colleagues, coworkers, friends and family to contact the offices of their Senators as well.  This is an extremely tough budget year, and without huge grassroots support (i.e. thousands of voters contacting Congress), the nation’s libraries will lose this critical funding.  The deadline to sign the letter is May 19.

  • Go here to contact your Senators’ offices: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home –ready to use messages are waiting for you!
  • Check up on your Senators after you contact them.  Use ALA’s easy tracking tool  to find out if your Senators signed the letters.  Then thank them if they did, or contact them again if they haven’t yet done so.
  • To learn more about the issue, read this ALA blog post.

Thank you for all that you do to support teens and libraries and don’t forget we have everything you need to be a part of National Library Legislative Day, May 2, on the wiki as well as 10 other ways you can take action right now to support libraries!

-Beth Yoke

P.S. If you’ve been trying by phone to reach your Senator and the lines are busy, try Resistbot instead