American Library Association • April 14, 2015
ALA Annual conference

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The State of America’s Libraries 2015

State of America's Libraries 2015 digital supplement

No longer just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as community anchors, centers for academic life and research, and cherished spaces. This and other library trends of the past year are detailed in ALA’s State of America’s Libraries Report 2015, released during National Library Week, April 12–18, as an American Libraries digital supplement, on the ALA website, and as a PDF file. Also included is the list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2014....

American Libraries, Apr. 13

National Library Week, then and now

National Library Week poster, 1959

Lydia Tang writes: “Sponsored by the National Book Committee and in cooperation with ALA, the first National Library Week was launched March 16–22, 1958. Citing a 1957 survey showing that only 17% of Americans polled were reading a book, the inaugural National Library Week slogan was ‘Wake Up and Read!’” A list of all National Library Week themes and honorary chairs is here. ALA President Courtney Young celebrates this year’s theme, “Unlimited Possibilities @ your library,” with an article in the Huffington Post....

ALA Archives Blog, Apr. 10; Huffington Post, Apr. 13
Recorded Books

How libraries engage local advocates

Apryl Motley writes: “Often it takes everyday people to really bring issues home to local legislators. That’s the thinking behind ALA’s I Love Libraries initiative. ‘We realized that we needed to spend more time on advocacy at the local and state levels,’ said Marci Merola, director of the ALA Office for Library Advocacy. With National Library Week underway, many in the profession will be asked to justify their existence in an age where information is plentiful and budgets are tight. One of the site’s features is a library value calculator that visitors can use to determine how much they would pay for library materials and services if they actually had to buy them.”...

CQ Roll Call Connectivity, Apr. 14

National Library Workers Day

National Library Workers Day logo

April 14 is National Library Workers Day. First celebrated in 2004, the day acknowledges all library employees, including librarians, support staff, and others who play a vital role in connecting library users with the information and critical technology resources needed to transform lives through education and lifelong learning. To honor them, the ALA–Allied Professional Association gathered testimonials about library workers from all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and some international libraries, and posted them as a “Galaxy of Stars.” And don’t forget, April 15 is National Bookmobile Day....

AL: The Scoop, Apr. 14

Tell us what you do at your library

Screenshot from Tell Us What You Do video

Librarians do so many different things while on the job. What is that you do? ALA is looking for your help to show off the diversity of the profession. Using the highest quality camera you have available, film yourself or a coworker somewhere in your library. In the video, state your name and your job title. Entries should be no longer than one minute long and should be emailed no later than May 14....

ALA YouTube, Apr. 14

My time as an Emerging Leader

Alexia Hudson-Ward

Alexia Hudson-Ward (right) writes: “I was a part of the Emerging Leaders class of 2007. The experience was transformational. I grew as a professional and became a more informed ALA member and a leader in our Association. It was also the catalyst to developing a wonderful new network of colleagues, many of whom became great friends. I have to be honest: Learning how large and complex ALA is as an organization was a bit overwhelming at first.”...

American Libraries feature

Iowa teachers fight removal of Sherman Alexie novel

Cover of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

School district administrators and teachers in Waterloo, Iowa, are currently locked in a debate as to whether Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is appropriate for middle school classrooms. The district’s curriculum director sent an email ordering the book’s removal on March 13, but at least five teachers have pushed back, pointing out that the existing challenge policy has not been observed. Alexie’s book was just named one of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2014....

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Apr. 10; Waterloo Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier, Apr. 8

Statement on the 2015 Banned Books Week poster

One section of the 2015 banned Books Week poster

The Office for Intellectual Freedom writes: “We are aware of the comments about this year’s poster for Banned Books Week. We take to heart any distress we may have inadvertently caused anyone. The poster was never intended to offend or shock, nor was there any intent to include any ethnic or cultural stereotypes. The aim of the campaign was to employ the universal signage for Do Not Enter—a red circle with a bar across it—as a visual proxy for book censorship. It is not a head covering.” Andromeda Yelton and Andy Woodworth offer additional abckground and insights....

OIF Blog, Apr. 13; Andromeda Yelton, Apr. 13; Agnostic, Maybe, Apr. 12

Library of Congress: The unexpected diplomat

Maps in the Library of Congress Madison Building

Bridget Bowman writes: “One doesn’t typically expect terrorism to become a topic of discussion at a hearing on library funding. But that’s exactly what happened March 17, as the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee assessed the budget requests of the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol. ‘You’re the world’s resource and we’ve been reading the news reports of ISIS members destroying artifacts of ancient civilizations,’ the panel’s chairwoman, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, said to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, teeing up a question about a little-known aspect of the Library of Congress.”...

Roll Call: Hill Blotter, Apr. 14

18 literary maps of the United States

Map of writers in Washington State

Caitlin Schneider writes: “The first United States transcontinental road trip was completed in 1903, and Americans have been enamored with the open road ever since. The only thing more American than a road trip? A literary route celebrating American authors. The Language of the Land exhibit at the Library of Congress collects bookish state maps that chart the regions and the writers who loved them, either through birth or discovery.”...

Mental Floss, Apr. 14

Offering board games at your library

Board games on shelves

Carli Spina writes: “Offering board and tabletop games at your library can be a great way to attract patrons who do not typically visit the library or to make your existing patron populations think about the library in new ways. This is true whether you work at a public library or at an academic institution. First up, we will consider collection development for board and tabletop game collections.”...

Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries, Apr. 13

Check it out at Topeka

Screenshot from Check It Out

Check It Out” (3:57) is the Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library’s parody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” produced in homage to Taylor Swift and her outspoken support of public libraries and literacy, and in celebration of National Library Week. The entire staff of the library makes an appearance. Lyrics and direction were by Kyle Moreland....

YouTube, Apr. 9

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