The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) featured stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and funds COVID-19 vaccines. It also provides $200 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In addition to supporting the IMLS, ARPA also included additional provisions for broadband assistance, such as funds to be appropriated towards schools and libraries to support remote learning.
In response to the exclusion of library broadband funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (COVID-19 relief package passed in december), ALA has passed a “Resolution in Support of Broadband as a Human Right.” Now Congress has passed the American Rescue Plan Act which includes the Emergency Education Connectivity Fund. #LibrariesStrong
Agenda-driven books regarding COVID-19 and vaccines are appearing as top results on retail searches. Those of you who have worked library reference are most likely accustomed to patrons showing you an Amazon page on their phone asking “can you get me this book?” Performing a book search for “COVID-19” via both Amazon and Barnes and Noble shows books suggesting debunked conspiracy theories within the first ten results. Additionally, searches on OCLC WorldCat reveal that books with such misleading or debunked information wind up on the shelves of public, college, and high school libraries.
Last month, we celebrated Mercer Mayer’s birthday! Well-known for the Little Critter and Little Monster series, we also recognize his books which used striking and frightening illustrations to engage young readers and teach them about courage.