ALA statement, resources on fighting censorship

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AL Direct is taking a break for the holidays. Look for our next issue January 5.

On November 29, the Executive Board of ALA and the boards of directors for ALA’s eight divisions regarding the increase in book challenges and removals from libraries and schools around the US. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom is actively involved in providing confidential legal guidance and strategic support to libraries and library professionals in communities across the country impacted by the recent surge in book challenges. Since June 1, and provided direct support and consultation in 120 of those cases. A clearinghouse of resources is available on  page....

AL: The Scoop, Nov. 29; ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Nov. 29; CNN, Nov. 30

Cass Balzer writes: “Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, libraries have served both informally and officially as public health partners, from 3D-printing personal protective equipment to serving as vaccination sites. Now, as the country continues to ease masking and social-distancing restrictions, libraries are again stepping into the role as a point of care—this time by helping to distribute rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits.”...

American Libraries feature, Dec. 1

Library consultant Valerie Horton writes: “Most people think of collaboration as a soft skill and dismiss it with a shrug. Here’s the thing: You don’t collaborate to make people feel okay, because it’s expected of you, or to earn brownie points. You collaborate because on large-scale projects, you have no choice.”...

American Libraries feature, Nov./Dec.


Librarian Allison Escoto writes: “Intellectual freedom is now—and will likely always be—a necessary topic for librarians to examine. If every book has its reader, most books will also have a challenger. In addition to considering banned books in schools and libraries, intellectual freedom issues are so closely tied to social justice that librarians often need both a foundational understanding of the topic as well as practical guides, and perhaps a standout example of a banned book, to navigate the often-muddy waters of intellectual freedom in libraries.”...

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.

Library tech consultant Carson Block writes: “How can library workers in small, rural, and tribal libraries understand their technology well enough to troubleshoot common problems, make decisions about future technology needs, and advocate for improvements to their broadband connectivity? The is a free, open source learning, diagnostic, and advocacy resource funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.”...

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.

MLIS student Paige Szmodis writes: “Though the field of the digital humanities has been steadily growing in popularity in the past decade or so, it still has a bit of an —the intersection between the humanities and technology. One of the best ways to learn about the field is to explore examples of digital humanities projects, as well as the programs and technologies that can be used for digital curation, digital publishing, textual analysis, data visualization, mapping, and more.”...

Hack Library School, Nov. 29; Jan. 20, 2014

Latest Library Links

Carrie Smith writes: “Want to preserve, share, and contextualize local history in your community? If so, technology can help move these activities beyond the special collections section. Online platforms created specifically for local history are allowing libraries to share information in more interactive ways, in turn reaching new audiences, educating patrons, and adding to the historical record. We talk with three library workers who are creating walking tours, collecting and archiving oral histories, and connecting with their communities.”...

American Libraries column, Nov./Dec.

Andrew Egan writes: “Newspapers and print journalism in general have been dying a slow death for more than 20 years now. While causes and the current state of the industry are very much in debate, there is little argument that print journalism is currently in a dire state. The Hussman School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill counted some . What happens to these archives once the business is no longer profitable?”...

Tedium, Nov. 24

After an LGBTQ support group started meeting at Fulton County (Pa.) Public Library, county commissioners refused to approve the library’s request for an additional $3,000 in annual funding, up from its usual $12,000. Two commissioners on the three-person board said in a November 2 meeting that they considered the LGBTQ community a “hate group.” Two local residents started separate online fundraisers to help the library. The joint efforts have so far raised approximately $40,000. Library Director Jamie Brambley said, “I think in the end, it’s brought the community together behind tolerance and kindness.”...

Washington Post, Nov. 29

ALA news and press releases

With an expanded definition to reflect the times, Merriam-Webster has declared an omnipresent truth as its 2021 word of the year: vaccine. “It really represents two different stories,” Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor-at-large, told The Associated Press. “One is the science story, which is this remarkable speed with which the vaccines were developed. But there’s also the debates regarding policy, politics, and political affiliation. It’s one word that carries these two huge stories.”...

AP News, Nov. 28

Rachel Kramer Bussel writes: “Taylor Swift’s newly released album Red: Taylor’s Version is making waves with librarians as well as listeners. Wilmington (Mass.) Memorial Library featuring 11 books with red covers with the caption ‘We’re burning Red at the Wilmington Memorial Library’ along with a cheeky sign promoting the album set to the song ‘All Too Well.’ The sign accompanying the display says ‘Return the scarf, Jake,’ and includes a photo of Swift’s ex-boyfriend, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, along with details about the album being available on streaming service Hoopla.”...

Forbes, Nov. 30

With the holidays happening and the looming supply chain issues, Literary Hub’s Book Marks blog pulled together a backlist bookish gift guide with suggestions from some of its favorite writers. From poetry collections and illustrated novels to guides for young writers and classic works in translation, there’s something for everyone....

Lit Hub, Nov. 30

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