Homelessness, Libraries, and Human Rights

Are you concerned about homelessness, housing, food insecurity, and other challenges facing your community and library? Join the ALA Social Responsibilities Roundtable on Monday, November 14, for all or part of a day-long summit on “Homelessness and Libraries: A Social Justice Summit.” (Please note the event starts early because it originates in Central time and runs from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Pacific time.)

This one-day virtual conference is free and does not require ALA membership.

A dynamic slate of speakers will share the innovative partnerships, programming, and in-reach initiatives they are implementing to address the needs and uplift the experiences of vulnerable populations in their respective communities. The speakers represent diverse backgrounds, geographies, areas of expertise, and angles of inquiry.

Panels include sessions on libraries and social workers, public health partnerships, rural homelessness, and education and sensitivity. Speakers include community advocates, scholars, public library staff and administrators, representatives of community-based organizations, and social workers. Keynotes will address homelessness as a social justice issue.

The ALA Social Responsibilities Roundtable believes that libraries and librarians must recognize and help solve social problems and inequities in order to carry out their mandate to work for the common good and bolster democracy.

The full schedule and registration links are available on the CALL calendar.


Building Maintenance, Building Projects, and Building Forward

California’s public library buildings need help. Thanks to the California legislature (and Senator Toni G. Atkins, a champion for libraries), the 2021-2022 state budget allocated $439 million in one-time funds to the California State Library to address life-safety and critical maintenance needs of public library facilities throughout California, prioritized for high poverty areas of the state.

The Building Forward Grant Program is the single largest investment in California’s public libraries in over 20 years. The State Library recently awarded over $313 million in grants to 246 local libraries to address pressing life-safety and critical maintenance needs in high poverty areas of 182 cities across 34 counties. Round One funding prioritized projects in high-poverty areas and addressing life-safety and critical maintenance and infrastructure needs. Additional funding and application opportunities will be announced in the near future.

What can you do to prepare?

CALL is offering four webinars on Building Basics on Tuesdays at noon, starting November 1. This webinar series is intended for library workers to better understand their physical workspace and to provide foundational knowledge for intelligent decision-making. Directors, managers, supervisors, and all interested library staff are encouraged to register. You’ll develop an understanding of building concepts, master the terminology, and learn to navigate through complex building management issues.

The first webinar, Know Your Library—An Introduction to Library Buildings from the Facilities Management Perspective, will discuss library building conditions and perception and reality in facilities maintenance. Session two on November 15 is Inner Workings – A Close Look at Library Building Design and Key Systems, followed on November 29 by Wear and Tear – Signs of Disrepair, Causes, and Ways to Avoid Building Issues and December 13 on Building Relationships – Knowing Your Partners within Library Facility Management. You can sign up for one or all. Although registration is unlimited, only the first 100 attendees will be admitted to each live session. These webinars will be recorded, and the recordings, slides, and any other resources will be available in CALL Academy after each webinar occurs.

The Building Basics instructor, Carlos Baffigo, is Deputy Director of the Pasadena Public Library in charge of library operations, facility management, IT systems, and security. His 30-year facility management experience includes major relocations, remodels, historic building renovations, build-outs, retrofits, building safety management, technology implementations, EOC management, disaster mitigation, and security response. Previously, Carlos worked in the residential construction industry and enjoys renovating houses. He got his start in libraries as a Page and performing “PJ Storytime” at the Glendora Public Library in Glendora, CA.

One more thing: if you’re interested in general project management skills, you might want to check out the Project Management Fundamentals, a short course from Library Journal.


Dyslexia Awareness

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month…but libraries should be aware of dyslexia and neurodiversity throughout the year. Over 40 million Americans have some level of dyslexia, which is a neurological variation affecting phonological processing.

People with dyslexia use libraries all the time, but some of them struggle to access library resources. When staff build their knowledge and awareness, libraries can better serve the public.

CALL is offering a new training, Supporting Dyslexia at Your Library. The webinar, on Monday, October 24, at 11:00 a.m. is the first in a series of five events this year with learning and library specialist Renee Grassi.

Want to learn more?

First, this TED Talk explains what dyslexia is. As there’s a continuum of dyslexia, individuals may face a range of challenges in reading. Did you know that brain scans (fMRIs) have demonstrated that appropriate intervention and education changes the brain?

Second, we love the example that the Library of Virginia created for certifying Dyslexia-Friendly Librarians. What a great idea! Although their material is specific to Virginia laws (here are California guidelines), and some links are past their due date, it’s still a nice introduction to dyslexia for library staff. Check out their resource guide!