What’s new in library tech! Welcome to our monthly collection of fun and hopefully useful news items from our admittedly great Twitter feed and wherever else we find them.
June is American Humane Adopt-A-Cat Month! Every library needs a library cat, no? In this month's newsbytes, we cover news on Amazon's deal with the Digital Public Library of America to finally make e-books and audiobooks available to U.S. libraries. We also have news on how your patrons can save $50 per month on their broadband bills, where the broadband deserts are and some great cool tech tools courtesy of David Lee King. Oh. I almost forgot. You probably need to know about the new cybercrime — just for libraries. It's called "Spooking." We're not making this up!
Here's our full roster of news this month:
- Amazon Will Finally Make Their E-Books and Audiobooks Available to US Libraries
- News Corp Acquires Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- How Patrons Can Apply to the FCC for a $50 Monthly Discount on Broadband Bills
- Where the Lack of Broadband Is Worst in the U.S.
- The Cybercrime Just for Libraries: Meet "Spooking"
- Teach Your Patrons How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication on Their Phones
- UserWay.org to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
- David Lee King on Google Jamboard and Making a Google Ad for Your Library
- Library Telehealth Kiosks
Here's your library tech newsbytes for June 2021.
Amazon Will Finally Make Their E-Books and Audiobooks Available to US Libraries
At long last, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has signed an agreement with Amazon Publishing to make 10,000 e-books and audiobooks available to U.S. libraries. This is the first time Amazon digital content will be made available to libraries. Titles can be licensed this summer through the DPLA Exchange. Patrons will be able to check out the digital content through the SimplyE app, the open-source app developed by New York Public Library. Find out more here.
In the meantime, Library Journal reports that Maryland has passed a law requiring publishers to license e-books to libraries under "reasonable terms." The new law prohibits publishers from instituting embargo periods during which e-books and audiobooks are available for sale to the public but not to libraries.
News Corp Acquires Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Library Journal's Laura Winnick reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp as acquired the Books & Media segment of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the big five publishers. It will be operated by News Corp subsidiary HarperCollins. The company will transition to focus exclusively on K–12 education and digital sales. Is this yet more industry consolidation. Oh yes.
How Patrons Can Apply to the FCC for a $50 Monthly Discount on Broadband Bills
USA Today has published handy how-to information on how your low-income patrons can apply to the FCC for a $50 monthly discount on their broadband bill from the new Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Any household with income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines is eligible. The first step is to visit the Get Emergency Broadband site.
Where the Lack of Broadband Is Worst in the US
The Verge has published a handy heat map that shows county-by-county where the lack of broadband is worst in the U.S. The New York Times has also reported the good news (account needed) that the Biden administration's infrastructure plan proposes $100 billion to build out our broadband. The bad news: little will be devoted to connecting millions of urban families.
Cybercrime Just for Libraries: Meet "Spooking"
WILX in Lansing, Michigan, reports that cybercriminals are "spooking" Capital Area District Libraries card holders. How does spooking work? The criminals call patrons on the phone to "verify" their accounts and ask for social security numbers and other personal information. Not coincidently, the U.S. Government Accounting Office reports that cyber insurance premiums went up 10 percent to 30 percent in 2020 based on more frequent cyberattacks.
Teach Your Patrons How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication on Their Phones
Two-factor authentication is a fairly simple cybersecurity technique in which you log in to an important online account, like your bank, and then it sends a code to a device other than the one you're using. The Verge has published a simple tutorial to teach your patrons how to set up two-factor authentication on their phones for their important online accounts.
UserWay.org to Make Your Website ADA Compliant
UserWay.org is a cool affordable widget for libraries that want to make sure your website is ADA compliant so that everyone regardless of their disability can access your digital content.
David Lee King on Google Jamboard and Making a Google Ad for Your Library
Speaking of cool tools, library tech expert David Lee King recommends Google Jamboard as a cool free tool for doing online brainstorming. He describes it as a virtual sticky note whiteboard that's saved to the cloud and works great in person or online. He also has some great tips on how to make a YouTube ad for your library. Smart fellow, that David Lee King.
Library Telehealth Kiosks
What are library telehealth kiosks? They are private little Internet-connected spaces in the library that are not a lot bigger than a phone booth. You never saw a phone booth? Really? Sigh. Technical.ly shows what the kiosk things look like and how Delaware libraries in Sussex County are trying them out to give patrons a place they can privately conduct virtual therapy sessions, job interviews, and more.
Nick Martin, emerging technology consultant for Delaware Libraries, has been developing the project for several years now. The telehealth kiosk concept grew out of a partnership with Delaware Health and Social Services to put social workers into the libraries. The first three libraries to have the kiosks are Seaford Library, which is considered the hub for the pilot, as well as Milford Library and Laurel Library.
We hope you like our latest batch of newsbytes this month!
Top photo: Shutterstock