Gun Locks, Mental Health Training, and More at the Library | NewsBites

Salt Lake City patrons line up for free gun locks, while Ohio library staff gets mental health training, and Baltimore system teams up with TV personalities in this edition of NewsBites.

Salt Lake City patrons line up for free gun locks, while Ohio library staff gets mental health training, and Baltimore system teams up with TV personalities in this edition of NewsBites.



Salt Lake Libraries Promote Gun Safety with Free Locks

Libraries offer many different kinds of programming to promote literacy, health, and safety. Over the last few months in Salt Lake City, one of the most popular programs was one that offered free gun locks to library patrons, no questions asked—and library staff hope to keep it going in the new year.

Starting in November, Salt Lake City County branches gave out free gun locks. The initiative began with the Herriman branch, which began hosting QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention Training classes in response to five Herriman High School student suicides. (Utah ranks fifth in the nation in suicide deaths, and a study shows half of those deaths are by firearm.) That program handed out gun locks. When the Herriman branch manager saw how positively patrons responded to the locks, she asked if the Salt Lake County system could provide the locks to patrons.

"For us it seemed like the right opportunity," says Liz Solis, marketing and communications manager of the Salt Lake County Library. "We are a trusted community gathering space."

The Utah Department of Public Safety made an initial donation of 800 locks, which were gone in one day. The system then received another 600 to distribute throughout its branches. Some locks remain at branches and Solis hopes to continue the program in 2019 if she can secure a continuing donation from the state. Being able to pick up a gun lock at a local library offers a convenient, familiar option for gun owners, who would otherwise have to go to the Bureau of Criminal Indentification office or a suicide prevention training class, according to Solis.

Nationally, Project ChildSafe allows website visitors to choose their state and find locations to pick up free firearm safety kits, including gun locks.


Ohio Libraries Get Mental Health Training

With the help of a grant through the Ohio Library Services and Technology Act program, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County is collaborating with Alta Care Group and the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board to conduct mental-health first-aid trainings at local libraries.

Mental-health first-aid training gives lay people the tools for recognizing signs of mental illness and responding appropriately. Two trainings will address adult mental health, and the other two will focus on youth mental health, addressing the fact that adults often assume signs of youth mental-health disorders are just bad behavior. The trainings will be open to the public and benefit professionals such as teachers, probation officers, police officers and library employees, who work with at-risk populations. Library employees have voiced concerns about patrons who may be struggling with mental illness and how they can help them, according to a story on a local news website.


Baltimore County Library Teams Up with NBC TV For Literacy Program

Baltimore County Public Library has partnered with NBC-affiliate WBAL-TV to promote literacy in 2019 with “#BWELLREAD with WBAL-TV.” Once a month, the station’s on-air personalities will recommend a book they liked from the library’s collection and encourage viewers to stop by a library branch and pick up a book themselves. The library branches will display the WBAL employee’s selection along with “read-alikes” recommended by library staff will be displayed at the system’s 19 branches.

Viewers who post a photo of their selection for the month on social media with the hashtag #BWELLREAD can win one of two $25 Amazon gift cars that will be awarded each month. The program aims to have readers and WBAL-TV personalities discuss the books via social media, as well.

The full list for the year has already been released:

January, WBAL-TV’s Jason Newton recommends: Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

February, Tim Tooten: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

March, Theo Hayes: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

April, Mindy Barara: John Adams by David McCullough

May, Lacee Griffith: Run Like a Mother** by Dimity McDowell

June, Andre Hepkins: Burning Down the Haus by Tim Mohr

July, Ashley Hinson: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

August, Jennifer Franciotti: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

September, Deborah Weiner: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

October, Kai Reed: The Lake House by Kate Morton

November, Megan Pringle: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

December, Ava Marie: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer


Beacon Press Brings New Look at History

Beacon Press will publish history titles adapted for middle grade and young adult readers that introduce young people to diverse historical figures and perspectives often left out of traditional narratives and school textbooks, according to the publisher.

“In many ways, this endeavor is led by schoolteachers and librarians who urged us to begin by adapting our adult histories,” Beacon senior editor Joanna Green, said in the December press release. "As one educator recently said to me, 'Having accessible editions of these texts impacts not only the way I teach today but the way I will teach for decades to come.'"

In June 2019, Beacon will publish A Queer History of the United States for Young People, a new edition of Michael Bronski’s Stonewall Book Award–winning original text and, in July, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People , an adaptation of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s groundbreaking book adapted by Indigenous educator Debbie Reese and curriculum specialist Jean Mendoza.

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