Volume 17, No. 5 • May 2020


  • Breaking News Will Not Break Us: Mental Health and Libraries During COVID-19

    By Payton Smith

    May has been celebrated nation-wide as “Mental Health Month” since 1949, a movement propagated by the Mental Health for America campaign. As information seekers by trade, our primary goal is to facilitate the education and filter false facts, especially as social media algorithms purposefully place incorrect information in the public’s eye. Libraries are warzones of truth, constantly battling the spread of ill-intended messages. This battle for truth is especially crucial as misinformation surrounding COVID-19 marks a life-or-death Read the rest


  • ALA Connect Live: COVID-19 and the Well-being of Library Workers

    In times of uncertainty, connection and conversation are more important than ever. This is what inspired the ALA Executive Board to launch a series of monthly conversations with you, our membership community. Initially a focus of President-Elect Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. to connect with members, ALA Connect Live is an opportunity to bring the ALA family and library community together to discuss our issues and challenges.

    These town hall-inspired conversations allow for an open dialogue with the Executive Board and Read the rest

Career Advancement

  • Interview with Award-Winning Academic Librarian Randi L. Ashton-Pritting, Ed.D.

    By Karen M. Rider, M.A.

    This month’s interview is with Randi Ashton-Pritting, Director, Mortensen Library at the University of Hartford in Connecticut. An award-winning librarian, Randi did not begin her career in library science. In fact, she was rejected by the first graduate school she applied to—even though she had library work experience! She found her way into librarianship by starting in the academic stacks. Randi navigated through roles in cataloging, reference, and acquisitions to land at the director’s desk. Read the rest

HR Practice

  • Reboard to New Cultural Norms

    As this Coronavirus hits its peak and then flattens, businesses and libraries will need to be ready to get people back to work. Some states have already begun the process of reopening. This move to reopen has raised concerns that we may be moving too quickly. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as numerous others, warn against lifting restrictions and opening too soon. Understandably, many people are apprehensive Read the rest

  • How Terminations, Layoffs and Furloughs Differ

    With so many businesses having to remain closed during the pandemic, it is no secret that our economy is taking a hit. The effects may be felt for quite some time. Library budgets, too, are in jeopardy as all options are considered to help balance budgets. Terms like layoffs and furloughs are bandied about as administrators attempt to reduce expenses. What does it all mean? When an employer says you are laid off, are they just trying to soften Read the rest


  • Unemployment Rate Increases

    On Friday, May 8, 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate rose to 14.7% in April due to the wave of job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. April’s rate marks a new record for the post-World War II era. The number represents 20.5 million jobs lost in the country and is a dramatic increase from March’s 4.4% unemployment rate, which only captured the very beginning of the economic downturn. Millions more were also Read the rest


  • Introduction to Mindfulness: Nourishing Ourselves in These Times

    To help us discover strategies for managing stress in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) will host a session, Introduction to Mindfulness: Nourishing Ourselves in These Times on May 27th at 1:00 p.m. (CT).

    This Zoom presentation blends learning, participant sharing, and brief practices: straw breathing, gentle stretching, guided meditation, silent sit, and gratitude. Emphasis is on strengthening our collective immune system and our responsibility (response+ability) to sharpen self-regulation skills in service Read the rest

  • Why It’s Essential to Set Boundaries While Working from Home

    We all have a limited amount of energy we’re trying to manage each day, along with a host of new challenges. Many people are experiencing different mental, emotional, and physical responses to the unprecedented challenges that we continue to face. We must prioritize our health and wellbeing before we can effectively take care of anything else. According to this article, that means setting boundaries by letting people know when you are or are not available. You do not have Read the rest

HR Law

  • EEOC Weighs in on Employers Conducting Temperature Checks and Other Questions

    • If employers are hiring, may they screen applicants for symptoms of COVID-19?
    • May an employer take an applicant’s temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam? 
    • May an employer withdraw a job offer when it needs the applicant to start immediately, but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it?
    • May an employer require employees who have been away from the workplace during a pandemic to provide a doctor’s note certifying fitness to return to work?

    As many workplaces Read the rest