Racial and social justice added to ALA Code of Ethics

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During the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in June, ALA Council unanimously adopted a new ninth principle on racial and social justice to the Association’s . This new professional guideline illustrates ALA’s continued commitment to providing library professionals with resources that promote equity within library service and librarianship. The ninth principle reads: “We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of every person. We work to recognize and dismantle systemic and individual biases; to confront inequity and oppression; to enhance diversity and inclusion; and to advance racial and social justice in our libraries, communities, profession, and associations through awareness, advocacy, education, collaboration, services, and allocation of resources and spaces.”...

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, July 28

Debra E. Kachel and Keith Curry Lance write: “Most of us know there have been large losses of school librarians over the past two decades. What is less well known—and begs for attention—is that these losses pose a major educational equity issue. , we found that everyone isn’t losing their librarians; losses tend to occur in districts where there are more students living in poverty, more minority students, and more English-language learners. Districts with fewer such students are far more likely to have and maintain librarians. The other news is that, since 2015–2016, several states have begun to see net increases in their numbers of school librarians.”...

Knowledge Quest, Aug. 2

Maryland’s goes into effect on January 1, helping to maintain equal access for readers in the state and setting a precedent nationwide. The legislation requires publishers who offer electronic literary products to the public to also offer a license to public libraries at “reasonable” terms that would allow access for library users....

TheBayNet, Aug. 1


Libraries across the US are eliminating late fees for overdue books. was one of several systems that went fine-free on July 1, stating on its website, “Research has shown that fines are not effective in getting materials returned on time, and libraries that have eliminated fines have found that long overdue items come back and patrons who avoided the library for years start visiting again.”...

Forbes, July 30

John S. Cusick and Clarence Okoh write: “With the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions and the end of summer quickly approaching, schools are preparing to welcome students back into their classrooms for in-person learning. With that transition comes the return of a troubling trend in education—the monitoring of students through facial recognition systems, as well as the consideration of using the technology to enforce existing school discipline policies.”...

Fast Company, July 23

Esther Lo writes: “An older transgender woman incarcerated in a West Coast prison wanted to learn how to put on makeup. A simple Google search could have given her 6,440,000 results. But behind bars, she had no access to any of that. With extremely limited and expensive access to the internet, she wrote to librarians through the ‘Reference by Mail’ program. The library receives roughly 300 to 400 handwritten letters a month from people who are incarcerated of various backgrounds requesting all kinds of information.”...

KTVU-TV (Oakland, Calif.), July 27

Latest Library Links

Drag Queen Story Hour Nebraska rented the Lincoln (Neb.) Children’s Museum for two hours on July 24, set up an Eventbrite, and gathered a list of about 50 people planning to attend. Then, the nasty messages started to roll in, followed by threatening ones—even death threats—which prompted the Lincoln Children’s Museum and Drag Queen Story Hour Nebraska to cancel the event after discussing safety concerns with the Lincoln Police Department....

Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star, July 27

Some parents in the Upper Saint Clair (Pa.) School District want the book Just Mercy to be changed to optional reading, not required reading, for students in the district. They spoke at a school board meeting, thanking the district for tabling its vote on the curriculum for further review. One parent said the book teaches critical race theory, which is that racism is embedded in the US legal system and policies. The book follows the wrongfully convicted and their fight for freedom....

WTAE-TV (Pittsburgh), July 27

Some older Kindle e-readers will soon no longer be able to connect to the internet to download new books, . First- and second-generation Kindles did not come with Wi-Fi functions included, using mobile internet only. But the slower technology used at the time—2G and 3G internet—is being discontinued in some places, particularly the United States....

BBC News, July 29

ALA news and press releases

Neil J. Rubenking writes: “It’s easy to notice that you’re too loud on the phone in public, less easy to realize that your settings let any schmo read your social media posts. And yet, protecting your privacy on social media is important, in more ways than you may realize. Perhaps you already know this. Perhaps you keep your privacy settings tuned and never overshare on social media. How about your friends? If they’re careless about their own privacy, their heedlessness can slop over and affect you.”...

PC Mag, Aug. 3

Jennifer Harlan writes: “When the days get longer and the mercury begins to rise, the books appear. Sunscreen-dappled paperbacks are tucked into beach bags and backpacks, sprinkled across picnic tables and dropped into the crooks of hammocks. Like their siblings the summer blockbuster and the song of the summer, they come: The season of summer reading has arrived.”...

New York Times, July 31

Eric Schoon writes: “Documentaries are a great way to learn more about the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay a premium to watch them. Many YouTubers out there are producing high-quality documentaries that only cost your time and maybe watching an ad or two. Like every other genre of YouTube content, there’s a lot of variety in the documentary space. Regardless of whether you’re into geopolitics or video games, chances are someone has made a video on it. We focused on channels that regularly produce high-quality and distinct documentaries and found some terrific ones to share.”...

ReviewGeek, July 31

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