Monitoring federal funding for libraries.

American Library Association • February 15, 2019

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

Library Services and Technology Act Task Force

Legislative update

Alan S. Inouye writes: “On the heels of the successful Museum and Library Services Act reauthorization campaign at the end of 2018, ALA policy leaders began to discuss long-term goals for federal funding for libraries. At the 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, the ALA Committee on Legislation created a Library Services and Technology Act Task Force that will explore the short-term goal of increasing IMLS allocations by an additional $17 million and then focus on long-term funding strategies. The task force will be appointed by COL in the next few weeks.”...

AL: The Scoop, Feb. 14; Dec. 20, 2018

Hateful conduct in libraries


During the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Office for Intellectual Freedom launched a new resource, “Hateful Conduct in Libraries: Supporting Library Workers and Patrons,” in response to a spike in reported hate crimes in libraries across the US, which the two offices began tracking in 2016. The resource outlines best practices on how to create environments that discourage hate speech and hateful conduct in the library, what steps library workers should take after an incident, and how libraries can better meet community needs....

Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, Feb. 14

Sponsored Content

Little Free Library

Join the Little Free Library movement

More than 80,000 Little Free Library book exchanges are inspiring a love of reading and building community around the globe. And a growing number are being operated by library professionals to reach new and diverse patrons, publicize programs, and generate reading excitement. Visit to learn how Little Libraries can accelerate your library’s programming. (Now through April 15 save 10% on everything in our store with code Library10.) Little Free Library is an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization recognized by the Library of Congress, National Book Foundation, and others.

Revised Library Bill of Rights interpretations

Library Bill of  Rights

ALA Council adopted revisions to three Library Bill of Rights interpretations proposed by the Intellectual Freedom Committee at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. On January 29, Council approved the proposed changes to “Challenged Resources,” “Prisoners’ Right to Read,” and “Meeting Rooms.” ALA Council also adopted a provision to the Library Bill of Rights that recognizes and defends library users’ privacy....

Office for Intellectual Freedom, Feb. 7, 12

Obama library plan in Chicago threatened by lawsuit

The design for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago

Odds may still favor the eventual construction of former President Barack Obama’s $500 million museum and library in a public park along Chicago’s lakeshore, but it’s no longer a sure thing in the face of a formidable legal challenge by a parks advocacy group. US District Judge John Robert Blakey heard oral arguments February 14 on a key motion by city attorneys to toss a lawsuit by Protect Our Parks that aims to halt the Obama Presidential Center from ever being built in the selected location. Blakey said he will issue a ruling on February 19....

Associated Press, Feb. 14
The Crowley Company

Kansas library to keep transgender books in kids’ section

Cover of Lily and Dunkin, by Donna Gephart

The Andover (Kans.) Public Library will keep three children’s books with LGBT characters in the kids’ section. The board of directors voted 6–1 on February 13 to keep children’s books George, Lily and Dunkin, and I Am Jazz shelved in the juvenile section. Board members said they received feedback on both sides of the issue from Andover residents and people from elsewhere. The books contain elementary or middle school characters who happen to be transgender. An Andover resident had challenged the books....

Wichita (Kans.) Eagle, Feb. 13

Texas library receives NASA grant

Meteorite and Lunar Sample disks

The Tom Green County Library in San Angelo, Texas, reached for the stars and received a new two-year grant from NASA. More than 400 libraries applied for a NASA grant and 75 were initially chosen, but Tom Green County Stephens Library wasn’t among them. Instead, the library received a surprise: the first-of-its-kind Patron Experience grant. The two-year Patron Experience pilot program will provide $5,000 a year that will go toward some rare experiences, including the chance to see some lunar and meteorite disks, one of six in existence, Community Relations Coordinator Marcy Bosequett said....

San Angelo (Tex.) Standard-Times, Feb. 8
ALA news

LC to preserve 50 years of Sesame Street

Sesame Street players

As Sesame Street begins to mark its 50th anniversary, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation, announced that Sesame Workshop has donated a collection of digitized episodes from the past 50 years of Sesame Street that will be preserved for posterity. Over the next year, nearly 4,500 episodes from the first 49 seasons of the iconic children’s TV program will be incorporated into the AAPB’s extensive archive of public media from across the US. The Sesame Street collection will be available to view on-site at the Library of Congress and by appointment at WGBH in Boston....

Library of Congress, Feb. 14

Apply for an Ezra Jack Keats mini-grant

A 2018 Ezra Jack Keats mini-grant made it possible for Native American students from three schools in Lincoln County, Oregon, to meet together to carve personal totems

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, dedicated to supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries across the country, is encouraging qualifying educators to apply for a 2019 Ezra Jack Keats mini-grant. The deadline for submissions is March 31. Approximately 70 grants, up to $500 each, will be awarded to teachers and librarians whose proposals demonstrate creativity and a desire to make learning fun. Since 1987, the foundation has provided over $1 million in support of programs spanning the 50 states and US commonwealths....

Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Feb. 13
Latest Library Links

Nutrition and reading: A correlation

Kids who eat midday meal have better reading, math test scores

The powerful connection between nutrition and education has been supported by new research from the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin. Primary school children in India who attended a public free lunch program over an extended period were shown to have significantly better learning outcomes. According to the study, children with up to five years of midday meals had reading test scores that are 18% higher than those of students with less than a year of school lunches. They also showed an improvement of 9% for mathematics test scores....

Science Daily, Feb. 13; India Today, Feb. 14

Christian student challenges Islamic history lesson

La Plata (Md.) High School curriculum

As a high school junior, Caleigh Wood refused to complete a history lesson on “The Muslim World” in La Plata (Md.) High School that she said forced her to embrace Islam in conflict with her Christian faith. A federal appeals court this week disagreed, saying school officials in southern Maryland had not violated Wood’s First Amendment rights because the curriculum did not endorse a particular religion “and did not compel Wood to profess any belief.” Attorney Andrew Scott, who represents Charles County school officials, said the ruling sends a message to school officials affirming their discretion to teach about religion....

Washington Post, Feb. 13
Dewey Decibel podcast

Information literacy’s Third Wave

Information literacy. Photo by Ewa Rozkosz, used CC 3.0 SA-BY

Barbara Fister writes: “We’re developing a seven-week course that we proposed after a history professor urged the library to teach a course on fake news that everyone should have to take. We’re not using the phrase ‘fake news,’ but it’s a great opportunity to think about what we mean when we say ‘information literacy.’ I’m beginning to think we’re entering a Third Wave of information literacy. We’re just beginning to respond to the commercialization and portability of networked information. Perhaps the negotiation among academic librarians to reformulate information literacy standards first adopted in 2000 marked the swelling of this new wave.”...

Inside Higher Ed: Library Babel Fish, Feb. 14

WPA horseback librarians of the 1930s

WPA pack horse librarian of the 1930s

In the 1930s, many people living in isolated communities had very little access to jobs, let alone a good education for their children. In Kentucky, residents of isolated mountain communities could only get their books and reading material from one source—librarians on horseback. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was trying to figure out a way to improve conditions during the Great Depression of the 1930s. His Works Progress Administration created the Pack Horse Library Project to help Americans become more literate so that they could have a better chance of finding employment....

History Daily, Nov. 17, 2017; Atlas Obscura, Aug. 31, 2017

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