The link below is to an article that looks at the role of digital archives and libraries.
The link below is to an article that takes a look at the US Library of Congress.
The link below is to an article reporting on the 2020 SLQ Young Writers Awards winner.
The link below is to an article that takes a look at the costs of ebooks and audiobooks for libraries.
Students in Australia and around the world have experienced significant challenges this year, including the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.
Globally, as many as one in five young people may experience mental-health problems. These can be exacerbated, or even brought on by, stressful life events including economic pressures related to the pandemic.
We know teacher librarians and school libraries play an important role in supporting young people’s reading and broader academic achievement. But school libraries play a more diverse role in students’ lives, among which is to support their well-being.
Here are five ways they do this.
1. They can be safe spaces
Creating a positive, safe and supportive school environment can help schools meet young people’s academic, emotional and social needs.
Whether students are victims of bullying or simply feel like they don’t fit in, school libraries can provide safe spaces in sometimes challenging school environments. In some schools, the library is the only space intentionally created as a refuge for young people.
Both the library as a whole, and spaces in it, can be adapted to be comforting sanctuaries. A quiet space with comfortable furniture can make the library a place to “get away from it all”.
In recent times the school library has been expected to cater to a growing array of diverse purposes such as sports equipment storage and meeting venues, perhaps challenging its ability to be a safe space. It’s important for schools to ensure, within these demands, students still have a special spot to come to for refuge.
2. They provide resources for well-being
When students are experiencing health and other well-being issues, libraries can have valuable resources to help them understand what they are going through and where to get help. School libraries can also potentially provide valuable health resources to the broader community.
Teacher librarians curate resources (and weed out irrelevant ones) to ensure students get current, quality information. Library staff may also work with teachers and school psychologists to ensure the school community is well resourced for meeting young people’s needs.
3. They help build digital health-literacy skills
The World Health Organisation has emphasised the importance of health literacy and its potential to support better individual and community health outcomes.
Young people need these skills to prevent potentially dangerous misconceptions, such as those that have circulated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a 2017 study, researchers worked with school librarians to improve young people’s digital health-literacy skills. The study showed young people had good digital literacy skills when it came to searching for general information. But they had poor knowledge when it came to evaluating the credibility of websites and health information.
School librarians are digital literacy experts. Supporting staff and students with their information skills is part of their job description. School libraries can build students’ digital and information health-literacy skills, helping them evaluate online health information sources.
4. They support reading for pleasure
Reading for pleasure is associated with mental well-being.
School libraries facilitate reading for pleasure by providing comfortable reading spaces, as well as access to interesting texts. Visits to the library encourage young people to read more and positive attitudes toward reading.
Teacher librarians may also make recommendations and read books aloud, which is relaxing for young people.
While much is known about the literacy benefits of reading, keen reading in childhood is also linked to healthy choices and fewer issues with behaviour in the teen years. Reading for pleasure can provide a valuable escape from the challenges of everyday life.
However, the crowded curriculum can lead to reading for pleasure being undervalued in schools. Students at schools with libraries do not always have regular access to them, which is something schools need to ensure is provided.
5. They encourage healing through reading
Teacher librarians may also support students to engage with literature in healing ways. Known as bibliotherapy, which is “healing through books”, students can deal with issues challenging their well-being from a safe distance when they are experienced by book characters. They can also get guidance on how to cope from the experiences and perspectives of book characters.
Teacher librarians may select specific literature to support students encountering particular challenges. This is one of the numerous benefits of the literature expertise of teacher librarians.
Where school libraries do not have the staff and materials they need, this can limit their ability to support student well-being. We need to better understand how our school libraries and staff contribute to student well-being so we can make the most of this valuable resource.
The link below is to an article reporting on the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library project.
The link below is to an article reporting on the end of the Kindle Owners Lending Library.
A seasonal change is in the air. With a minimal amount of nostalgia about the dwindling days of this unique summer, let’s turn to how we can make the most of the rest of 2020 — clearly a year for the history books.
As a historian, what concerns me is: What will our history of this unprecedented year look like in a quarter century? As the world is reshaped by COVID-19, as well as ongoing protests on a nearly unprecedented scale against racism and police brutality in the United States, Canada and around the world, it’s clear that this will be a year for future historians to make sense of.
A child today will be a historian of 2020 in the future. What sources will they turn to? How will they verify scattered memories? How will people tell the story of the tumultuous times that we’re living in today? 2020 may be a year for the history “books” but of course, the record we leave behind will be digital in manner.
But right now, Canada, unlike many other countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Denmark and others, doesn’t mandate its national library to capture a comprehensive digital record of Canadian life. This needs to change so we can ensure historians of the future have all the sources possible to write a rich, equitable and robust historical record.
Social movements, virus
From the role of video and social media in sparking and documenting protests to companies and educational institutions that moved online en masse in a matter of days this past March, 2020 will be a year that will be understood through digital media.
With coronavirus isolation, digital media has been enormously important for our interactions with colleagues, friends and loved ones.
Some trends: Zoom’s daily meeting participants went from 10 million in December to 300 million in April and we “doomscroll” through social media feeds before bed. As The New York Times explained: “The virus changed the way we internet.”
Because in part the British Library is empowered to collect millions of their web pages every year through the use of “legal deposit” power, a historian in the U.K. will have a rich record to explore.
For example, what did Britons think of senior adviser Dominic Cummings’ 418-kilometre trip from London to Durham while his wife was unwell? A researcher will be able to visit the British Library (in most cases, an in-person visit is required due to legal reasons) to consult not only social media feeds of everyday researchers, but news websites, U.K. blogs and beyond.
They will be able to draw on nearly everything published on the U.K. web in 2020. Right now a researcher can already view thousands of pages — and, most importantly, these are stewarded by the British Library for future preservation.
This information will be accessible to our future researcher thanks to the power of legal deposit. Legal deposit is defined by the International Federation of Library Associations as a “statutory obligation [that] requires publishers, distributors and, in some countries, printers, to freely provide copies of their publications to the national collection,” and is a power that builds the collections of national libraries including Library and Archives Canada (LAC).
What this has meant in practice is that when a book or publication is published, there has been a legal requirement to deposit the book with a national library.
What happens when a publication moves online? What about blogs? Should they have a similar responsibility to deposit their material? And, critically, does a national library have a duty to preserve this information at scale?
The British Library has, since April 2013, been “entitled to copy U.K.-published material from the internet for archiving under legal deposit.” In practice, this means that it annually archives websites of the U.K.; it also supplements this archive through curated collections such as the earlier mentioned one around global pandemics. Those tweets, blogs, health websites and so on all form part of the historical record — and once archived, there is no legal ability to retroactively delete them.
Crucially, sweeping collections of material under legal deposit means that material is being amassed that does not seem important today — but could be invaluable to a historian in years to come.
Canada should aggressively follow
The remarkably forward thinking Library and Archives of Canada Act of 2004 gives Library and Archives Canada similar powers. One section of the act, for example, gives the institution the power to take a “representative sample of the documentary material of interest to Canada that is accessible to the public without restriction through the internet or any similar medium.”
These laws, however, aren’t used to their fullest. Canada’s national library doesn’t carry out a comprehensive snapshot of the entire Canadian web domain, meaning that countless voices will be lost for future historians.
This is not to paint too dire a picture. Library and Archives Canada does a great job of capturing material of interest. During COVID-19, it has selectively captured some 38 million digital assets related to COVID-19 by July 2020, which add to their robust web archives including the Government of Canada web archive, which collects and maintains a comprehensive record of federal government’s websites.
Increasingly, it’s making collections, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s collection, available online. In doing so, Library and Archives Canada is explicitly noting its collecting powers under the 2004 act, suggesting an increasing willingness to share these materials.
We should laud this great work, and use it as a launchpad for the comprehensive collection of all Canadian material.
Patchwork collecting: not enough
While Library and Archives Canada has been collecting material for COVID-19, including social media hashtags as well as media and non-media related websites, even 900 websites being regularly collected is patchwork compared to the sheer amount of information published by Canadians online every day.
To do justice to what’s happening around us, and to make sure that historians of the future can understand this moment, the institution and policy-makers need to move quickly.
We need to aim to collect the entire Canadian web domain on an ongoing basis, both during and after COVID, to enable future researchers to understand our country. This will require additional funds to Library and Archives Canada. But, at what better time?
The link below is to an article reporting on a new Australian project to digitise and make available out-of-print Australian titles.
The link below is to an article reporting on the long history of book stealing at the Carnegie Library.