ALA Executive Board response to Council Forum incident.

American Library Association • February 1, 2019
ALA Essentials

For daily ALA and library news, check the American Libraries website or subscribe to our RSS feed.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Pinterest icon YouTube icon RSS icon

ALA releases statement on Midwinter incident

ALA logo

The ALA Executive Board has released a statement regarding a recent incident during Council Forum at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. It reads, in part: “We should not—and do not—accept harassment, bullying, or discrimination of any kind in our profession or the work of our Association. These behaviors go against our values. Violations to our code of conduct will not be tolerated…. We send our sincere apologies to Councilor April Hathcock for what she went through at Council Forum, which is unacceptable and doesn’t align with our core values…. We will review the current code of conduct complaint process to make it stronger and more effective.” ACRL and Reforma have also issued statements....

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Jan. 31; ACRL Insider, Jan. 31; Reforma, Jan. 29

Net neutrality arguments scheduled today

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Oral arguments in the case against Ajit Pai’s (right) net neutrality repeal are scheduled for February 1, and net neutrality advocates are confident that they will be victorious. The groups that sued the FCC to reverse the repeal argue that Pai offered insufficient legal justification for deregulating the broadband industry. The oral arguments are taking place at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit....

Ars Technica, Jan. 31
The Crowley Company

Armed man disrupts Houston drag queen storytime

James “Doc” Greene Sr. Screenshot from YouTube video

A drag queen storytime protester allegedly trespassed in the Freed-Montrose branch of the Houston (Tex.) Public Library with a concealed weapon on January 26 after previously being banned from the premises for filming children. James “Doc” Greene Sr. (right), who was issued a trespassing warning in December stating he could no longer visit the branch, was detained, disarmed, and escorted out by police for entering the building about 15 minutes before its monthly drag queen storytime and refusing to leave. Greene, a conservative radio show host, recorded the incident and posted a video of his exchange with library staff and police on YouTube....

Out-Smart, Houston, Tex., Jan. 29

Arizona inmate takes prison librarian hostage

Screenshot from KPHO-TV broadcast

The Arizona Department of Corrections has just released the video of a violent and intense hostage drama inside the library of Lewis Prison in Buckeye, Arizona. The encounter between an inmate and prison librarian Allen Hartzell took place December 26. Officials say the inmate, later identified as Timothy Monk, took the library worker hostage “in an apparent demand to leave the complex.” In the struggle, Hartzell did exactly as he was trained, and pepper-sprayed his attacker. The move would prove crucial to his rescue....

KPHO-TV, Phoenix, Jan. 31; CNN, Jan. 31
ALA news

Staten Island school library pulls manga series

Cover of Assassination Classroom vol. 10, by Yusei Matsui

After a parent discovered books that her daughter had borrowed from the library at Markham Intermediate School in Staten Island, New York, contained references to classroom violence, the school has removed the Assassination Classroom series from the shelves. The books are part of a collection of Japanese science fiction manga that follows an octopus-like creature—who is a junior high homeroom teacher—and his students, who are tasked with assassinating him to prevent Earth from being destroyed. The library had several volumes in the series....

Staten Island (N.Y.) Advance, Jan. 31

Spirit Car replaces Mockingbird in Duluth schools

Cover of Spirit Car, by Diane Wilson

Nearly a year after announcing it would remove To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn from its English curriculum, the Duluth, Minnesota, school district’s efforts to select replacement texts for the books has prompted recent faculty backlash. No replacement has yet been named for Huckleberry Finn, previously taught to juniors, but Spirit Car by Diane Wilson will replace To Kill a Mockingbird as required reading in freshman English. The memoir, published in 2006, recounts the Minnesota author’s quest to trace her Native American ancestry....

Duluth (Minn.) News-Tribune, Jan. 30

Memes, fair use, and privacy

Not sure if fair use, or just copied

Vicky Ludas Orlofsky writes: “Internet memes proliferate online. They catch on and spread via social media because they’re funny or they hit a nerve. Often, cats are involved. In using images taken from creative works or private life, memes show how copyright law intersects with issues of internet use and privacy. There are some types of use generally allowed under fair use, including criticism and commentary, parody, journalism, education, and research. When it comes to memes, an important issue is the amount used of the original work.”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Jan. 28
Latest Library Links

Kids get free winter coats from Ocean City library

Fifty-five children received coats and two books each at the Ocean City (N.J.) Public Library

Ocean City (N.J.) Public Library and Operation Warm teamed up January 28 to give out free coats and books to community children. Library staff couldn’t believe the smiles and love for reading that ensued. Fifty-five children received new coats, and kids were also able to take home two books each. Operation Warm provided Ocean City with a grant through its library program. The library saw 49 new people sign up for library cards and hosted a larger crowd than the usual January evening....

Ocean City (N.J.) Patch, Jan. 29

The district library newsletter, an advocacy tool

Issues of Making Connections, the Rockwood Library Newsletter

Margaret Sullivan writes: “As you plan your advocacy efforts for 2019, don’t forget about your district-level administrators. The decisions they make can have a huge impact on your library. One way to reach out to them is through a regular newsletter. If you send out a newsletter to teachers and principals, you might want to send it to administrators at your central office as well. Last year, we added to our toolkit a monthly newsletter for district-level administrators (curriculum coordinators, directors, assistant superintendents, and the superintendent).”...

Knowledge Quest blog, Feb. 1
Dewey Decibel podcast

Public libraries: Centers of inclusiveness and support

San Francisco Public Library Chinatown branch

Steve Dubb writes: “Public libraries have continued to grow as their role as community hubs deepens. We have profiled libraries that have become maker spaces, supported gardening, and rented out musical instruments. In some cities, librarians have been trained to administer Narcan to interrupt opioid overdoses. In Ferguson and in Baltimore, as those cities were in a state of unrest, the libraries served as sanctuaries, remaining open to the community. They have, in some cases, even been affordable housing partners. Yet another growing role is in social service provision.”...

Nonprofit Quarterly, Jan. 24

Centuries-lost Merlin story uncovered in Bristol library

Detail from one of the fragments showing the name Merlin

A chance discovery, hidden away in a series of 16th-century books deep in the archive of Bristol Central Library in the UK, has uncovered 13th-century manuscript fragments that tell part of the story of Merlin. Academics from the universities of Bristol and Durham are now analyzing the seven parchment fragments that are thought to come from the Old French sequence of texts known as the Vulgate Cycle or Lancelot-Grail Cycle. The Bristol fragments contain evidence of subtle but significant differences from the traditional narrative of the stories. They were discovered by Michael Richardson from the University of Bristol’s Special Collections Library, who was looking for materials for students studying the history of the book....

University of Bristol, UK, Jan. 30

Sleep over at Gladstone’s Library

Bedroom in Gladstone’s Library, Wales

Have you ever dreamed of spending a night in a cozy library? Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, Northern Wales, is making those dreams come true. This 130-year-old library doubles as a bed and breakfast—as well as a retreat for writers, readers, and curious thinkers. Gladstone’s Library, named after former UK Prime Minister William Gladstone, houses his personal collection of 150,000 books. The library has 26 boutique style rooms, and each comes with its own collection of books. Guests can stay at the library for one short night, or months at a time....

BookBub, Jan. 18

AL Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Tuesday and Friday to personal members of the American Library Association.

Editor, AL Direct: George M. Eberhart,

Send news and feedback:

Direct ad inquiries to: Michael Stack,

AL Direct FAQ:

All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site.


AL Direct will not sell your email to outside parties, but your email may be shared with advertisers in this newsletter should you express interest in their products by clicking on their ads or content. If the advertisers choose to communicate with you by email, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future emails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation of 2018. Read the ALA privacy policy.

American Libraries
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433, ext. 4216

ISSN 1559-369X

ALA Publishing