2017 awards: Honoring excellence in the profession.

American Library Association • September 5, 2017

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2017 ALA award winners

2017 ALA award winners

ALA recognizes the achievements of more than 200 individuals and institutions each year with a variety of awards. This year’s award winners, chosen by juries of their colleagues and peers, are distinguished by their leadership and vision, as well as their continued commitment to diversity, equality, and intellectual freedom. This selection represents only a portion of those honored in 2017; see more award winners online....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

Working together for advocacy

From the President, by Jim Neal

ALA President Jim Neal writes: “There is a provocative saying attributed to the 20th-century Polish writer Stanislaw Lec: Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty. Library workers share the advocacy responsibility to strengthen libraries and to advance information policies that enable those we serve to be successful. The 120,000 libraries of all types across the US support literacy in all its elements. They are a smart investment.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.
Dewey Decibel podcast

ALA and GLBTRT continue to safeguard civil liberties


ALA and its Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table released a statement September 5 in response to current policy efforts to exclude LGBTQ individuals from military service, recognition under the Civil Rights Act, and other protections from discrimination by means of legislation addressing religious freedom. It reads, in part: “Such efforts are in direct conflict with our fundamental values, principles, and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.”...

ALA Public Awareness Office, Sept. 5

Dewey Decibel: Responding to Charlottesville

Dewey Decibel Episode 17

In Episode 17 of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries looks at the August 12 protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, from the perspective of the library world. Guests include John Halliday and Krista Farrell of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville; ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services Director Jody Gray; and Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 5
ALA news releases

Whose rights matter more?

#JewishResistance...because we've seen this before

Meredith Farkas writes: “Libraries have never really been neutral. The Library Bill of Rights has existed since 1939, yet most libraries were segregated in the Jim Crow South. It wasn’t librarians, but black activists who got libraries integrated in the South. Yes, friends, in spite of whatever ‘vocational awe’ you may have, libraries have not always been hotbeds of freedom and civil rights unless it was the civil rights of white people. Their so-called ‘neutrality’ often reflected the racism and oppression existing in the larger society.”...

Information Wants To Be Free, Sept. 1; American Libraries feature, June; WTF Is a Radical Librarian, Anyway?, May 30

DOJ to retry the “Laughing Librarian”

Desirée Fairooz in a 2013 screenshot from a video for Arlington (Va.) Public Library’s Columbia Pike branch

The Department of Justice will retry a former librarian whom prosecutors say disrupted Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing for attorney general by laughing. According to court records, Desirée Fairooz rejected a deal offered by prosecutors that would have required her to plead guilty in exchange for a recommended sentence of time served. Fairooz was previously convicted of a misdemeanor connected to disrupting the hearing, but a judge threw out the guilty verdict in July and ordered a new trial, which is now scheduled to begin on November 13....

CNN, Sept. 2; AL: The Scoop, July 19

Most Chicago schools have no librarian

Nora Wiltse, the librarian at Coonley Elementary School, says librarians are a vital resource in Chicago public schools. Photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

Students in three out of four Chicago Public Schools won’t have access to a librarian this fall—one result of years of budget cuts. The district has budgeted for fewer than a third as many librarians in 2017–2018 as it did in 2012, when nearly every school library was staffed. It’s difficult to pinpoint how many librarians work in CPS because the district and the Chicago Teachers Union count that work differently. CTU leaders say the numbers are inflated because some librarians have additional responsibilities and spend little time physically working in the school library....

Chicago Tribune, Sept. 4
Latest Library Links

Insensitive or racist?

Student microaggressions

Nick Roll writes: “A new study backs up those who speak out against microaggressions and questions the attitudes of the people that deliver them. The study defines microaggressions as ‘brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults to the target person or group.’ Researchers found a positive correlation between those who utter microaggressions and those harboring racist attitudes.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 5; Race and Social Problems, Aug. 31

10 must-read modern poets of color

Cover of No Matter the Wreckage, by Sarah Kay

Mya Nunnally writes: “Through my American school career, poetry evoked images of old white dudes writing about girls they thought were beautiful and old white women writing about loves they had lost. I don’t remember learning about any poets of color besides perhaps Langston Hughes, and he felt removed from my time and style. Then, I went to my first slam poetry event. Let’s learn about different perspectives while consuming captivating writing with these 10 must-read modern poets of color.”...

Book Riot, Sept. 5

Women in comics: Refugee experiences

Cover of Seeking Refuge, by Irene N. Watts, with art by Kathryn E. Shoemaker

Carli Spina writes: “In the case of books about refugees, graphic novels offer the opportunity to tell deeply personal stories from a variety of perspectives while also sharing compelling images that bring the reader into the story in a way that is hard to do with words alone. The six books in this list can be a powerful way of teaching young readers about the real lives of refugees around the world and throughout history.”...

YALSA The Hub, Sept. 5

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Screenshot from Ex Libris trailer

David Ehrlich writes: “The hypnotic and thoroughly essential Ex Libris: The New York Public Library stands out as an especially definitive example of director Frederick Wiseman’s style and mission statement. Never before have his goals as a documentarian so perfectly dovetailed with those of his subject. As Ex Libris makes overwhelmingly clear, the NYPL is more than just a repository of dusty hardcovers, more than just an extensive network of cold buildings and quiet rooms. It’s a tree with 92 branches, and deep roots that bind New York City together.” Watch the trailer (2:23)....

IndieWire, Sept. 3; IndieWire YouTube channel, Aug. 28

Chuck E. Cheese tokens are not legal tender

Chuck E. Cheese tokens from the Peabody Institute Library

A library in Massachusetts called out a selection of wily customers who attempted to pay fines and other fees with arcade tokens. The Peabody Institute Library in Danvers shared a Facebook post on August 30, saying several customers had tried to pass off tokens from Chuck E. Cheese or Bonkers as actual currency when attempting to pay late fines or printing fees. Bookkeeper Sue Kontos said she discovered the three Chuck E. Cheese tokens and one Bonkers token while sorting through the library’s change....

United Press International, Sept. 2

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