Tracking library referenda across the US

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Hands and ballot box (Illustration: ©artflare/Adobe Stock)

Each year, American Libraries monitors dozens of library referenda across the country, using the ballot box as a means of tracking support for public and school libraries. Because next week’s presidential election is expected to generate high voter turnout, some communities may be pushing harder than usual to get local referenda in front of taxpayers, even as the ongoing pandemic lends uncertainty to, well, everything. To get the ball rolling, here we present library referenda that have appeared since ....

American Libraries Oct. 27; Nov. 12, 2019

Call Number with American Libraries logo

American Libraries  from Dewey Decibel to Call Number with American Libraries. After consulting with the American Libraries Advisory Committee, staff decided to change the podcast name to distance the magazine from the  of Melvil Dewey. On , we speak with Matt Ruff, author of Lovecraft Country, and Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger, curator of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and his Circle at New York Public Library, about the collection’s materials on Frankenstein author Mary Shelley....

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 26; American Libraries, June 2018

ALA presidential candidates for the 2022–2023 term, from left: Stacey A. Aldrich, Ed Garcia, and Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada

In an October 26 statement, ALA announced three candidates running for president. Stacey A. Aldrich, state librarian, Hawaii State Public Library System, Honolulu; Ed Garcia, director, Cranston (R.I.) Public Library; and Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, adult services assistant manager, Palos Verdes Library District in Rolling Hills Estates, California, are candidates for the 2022–2023 presidency of ALA. Ballot mailing for the ALA election will begin March 8, 2021, and end April 7, 2021. Individuals must be members in good standing to vote....

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 26



New LGBTQ digital collections are becoming available seemingly every day. And they’re increasingly focused—from regional histories to events like gay rodeos. But how can academic instructors best search for this essential history and evaluate materials in a way that increases engagement and understanding?


With the Oct. 27 launch of and its first module, which focuses on intersectional LGBTQ issues, Gale offers a guide that goes beyond typical digital humanities research and helps students from disciplines outside the humanities develop transferrable critical-thinking skills.


Read more about the growing landscape of LGBTQ archives .



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2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

On October 26, Booklist and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) announced that 46 books (26 fiction, 20 nonfiction) have been selected for the longlist for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The six-title shortlist—three each for the fiction and nonfiction medals—will be chosen from longlist titles and announced on November 17. The two medal winners will be announced at RUSA’s Book and Media Awards event, which will take place online 3–4 p.m. Central time on February 4, 2021....

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 26

ABOS Treasurer Brooke Bahnsen (left) and ABOS Secretary Lori Berezovsky prep swag bags to mail to the first 250 registered attendees of the virtual conference.

With its first virtual conference October 13–16, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) celebrated its 15th anniversary—and its largest conference turnout. More than 1,000 attendees gathered online from across the US, along with a few from England and Canada, for sessions, virtual bookmobile tours, a cocktail reception, networking, and an award ceremony....

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 22

The Sharjah International Book Fair and ALA announce the first Sharjah Virtual International Forum, November 10–12. for librarians, library workers, and exhibitors who register for the Forum, which will be available in English and Arabic. The Forum and the recording will be available through December 2020. As many other conferences have been canceled or moved to an online platform due to the global rise of COVID-19 cases and travel restrictions, the 7th Sharjah International Library Conference is being postponed until May 2021 and will be held in conjunction with the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival....

ALA International Relations Office, Oct. 27

Latest Library Links

Cover of The Poet X

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo has been a part of the curriculum at Lake Norman Charter School in Huntersville, North Carolina, since the 2018–2019 school year. But some parents are pushing to have the book banned this year due to its profanity, sexual references, and anti-Christian verses. Current seniors who have already read the novel say it encourages productive classroom discussions and an elevated level of learning....

WCNC-Charlotte (N.C.), Oct. 22

Family Tree (Image by Flickr user HerryLawford)

Claudia C. Breland writes: “In my 10 years as a professional genealogist, working with hundreds of clients and thousands of records, I have learned a lot about judging the quality of a source. Genealogists know that the closer a record is to the event in question, the more likely it is to be accurate. Original documents with primary information are best; sources with secondary information need to be explored further. Sometimes you will have several sources that record the same information—but on digging deeper, you might find that the information is in fact, incorrect.”...

Genealogy and Online Research, Oct. 17

Wikipedia logo

Matt Binder writes: “As the 2020 US presidential election inches closer, much of the discourse around misinformation has centered on Facebook and Twitter. However, there’s one popular platform that’s been missing from the conversation: Wikipedia. The popular online encyclopedia has become more trusted over the years, yet anyone can edit it. A platform like that should be ripe for misinformation. Yet, the site’s army of volunteer editors have kept the site mostly free from ‘fake news.’ And Wikipedia has already taken some action to maintain the integrity of the site before the election.”...

Mashable, Oct. 27

ALA news and press releases


Amrita Khalid writes: “Before college students returned to campuses during a pandemic this fall, privacy advocates  that a new wave of school surveillance tech could be installed in the name of keeping them safe. To a degree that varies greatly from campus to campus, schools are experimenting with technology to control crowds, contact-trace, and otherwise monitor the presence of the virus on campus.”...

OneZero, Oct. 21; The Atlantic, Sept. 4

Screenshot: Editing YouTube captions

Richard Byrne writes: “Recently, YouTube made some changes to the way that the caption editing process works. Those changes are for the better as they’ve made it easier to adjust the correlation between timestamps and your edited captions. In the following video I demonstrate how to edit the captions and adjust the timing of the captions on your YouTube videos.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, Oct. 27

Covers of The Exorcist and The Ring

Caroline Leavitt and Christina Ianzito write: “Lights on! Doors locked! It can be fun to fray your nerves when the source is fictional (or is it?!). We asked some booksellers and other bibliophiles to recommend their all-time favorite scary stories. Here are 20 of them.”...

AARP, Oct. 20

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