Midwinter Preview with Closing Session speaker Jill Biden

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Mockup of ALA Midwinter badge on yellow background

ALA’s , originally scheduled for January 22–26 in Indianapolis, was always planned as a transitional event that would lead to an innovative new conference concept in 2022. The pandemic, however, necessitated bigger changes than anticipated, as ALA announced in August that this year’s meeting would be held entirely online. Many of this year’s elements will be familiar, including a slate of speakers from the worlds of literature and activism, the announcement of prestigious literary awards including the Newbery and Caldecott medals, and the Symposium on the Future of Libraries. The next First Lady, will join a conversation with ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr., which will serve as the event’s closing session....

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.; AL: The Scoop, Dec. 30

Photo composite of President Benjamin Harrison looming over several members of the Lakota Nation outside their tipis, 1891

Lara Ewen writes: “For 67 years, Princeton (N.J.) University’s School of Public and International Affairs bore the name of former US President Woodrow Wilson, who spoke favorably of the Ku Klux Klan, kept Black students from being admitted to Princeton during his tenure as university president, and supported the racial segregation of federal agencies. In response to student protests and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, in June 2020 the school dropped his name—an act that has led to a wider awareness of Wilson’s racist legacy. It also has led to repercussions at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia.”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

From the President by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

ALA President Julius C. Jefferson writes: “Alongside the cumulative losses of 2020, we saw a year of opportunity. A year when library professionals answered the call to serve amid multiple crises. A year when library workers again proved to be essential ‘first restorers’ or ‘second responders.’ Libraries connected America in ways that have brought our communities closer.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

San Jose State University 100% Online MLIS Degree

From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall writes: “I have reflected in past columns on the pervasiveness of information poverty and called on libraries and information professionals to intervene. , for example, I wrote about how the pandemic continues to expose the degree to which societal inequities are linked. I focus here on that final link: the relationship between the justice system, incarceration inequities, and information disparity.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb., Nov./Dec.

Librarians in stereotypical clothing pose solemnly and hold adorable cats

Corina Chang writes: “As the marketing manager for Morgantown (W.Va.) Public Library System, I’m always brainstorming novel ways to reach our audiences. This time, I wanted to lend a library twist to those popular fundraising calendars that depict smoldering firefighters. Thus was born our 2021 Wild and Weird calendar. Each month features library workers from MPLS—all fully clothed, of course!—alongside an adoptable cat, including Cadillac Frank (a gray and white kitten rescued from a high-kill shelter) and Olaf (a black and white senior that was surrendered to the shelter by his family after 13 years).”...

American Libraries Trend, Dec. 30

Fund Libraries: Tell Congress to Invest in Libraries graphic, with red and white text on black background

ALA welcomed the eighth consecutive increase in federal fiscal year appropriations to the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The regular FY2021 budget bill, passed on December 21 alongside the $900 billion Emergency COVID Relief spending package, includes an additional $5 million for IMLS, including $2 million for the Library Services and Technology Act....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Dec. 22

Latest Library Links

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On January 5, IFLA on the role of library and information services in improving the way societies are governed, both through optimal decision making within government and effective scrutiny and engagement by parliaments and wider populations. Effective, transparent, and inclusive governance is a precondition for success in any policy designed to improve lives and communities, as recognized in ....

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Jan. 5

Kyle Cassidy's photo of Peter Sagal in Chicago. (via Wikimedia Commons)

Valentina di Liscia writes: “In 2013, photographer Kyle Cassidy uploaded  to Wikimedia Commons. Anyone can use it free of charge, even modify it, under the —so long as they credit him properly. Nearly seven years later, the photo was at the center of a bizarre scam involving affiliate links, a fake copyright enforcement company, and a Wikipedia user improbably named ‘Aldwin Sturdivant.’”...

Hyperallergic, Jan. 1

Cell phone reading Hello (Photo: Tyler Lastovich/Pexels)

Staffers at Toronto (Ont.) Public Library have set their sights on calling more than 20,000 senior library users as part of a wellness check to see how they’re doing during the pandemic. Since mid-July, about 20 library staff members have called more than 10,000 patrons, most of them between 80–100 years old, who may be isolated. Now staffers are starting to make calls to an additional 13,000 library cardholders between 70–79 years of age....

Toronto (Ont.) Star, Dec. 30

ALA news and press releases

Screenshot of Julie Kent, Erie City (Kans.) Public Library

Erie City (Kans.) Public Library was recently awarded a SPARK Grant to expand its “We Share” program. Under the program, library officials will plant vegetables and distribute the harvest and seeds to members of the community. Families that don’t have room for a garden at their homes can plant and pick their produce in the community greenhouse....

KOAM-TV (Pittsburg, Kansas), Dec. 25

Mid-City branch of New Orleans Public Library

Jason Christian writes: “Like most idealistic librarians, kynita stringer-stanback entered the profession in part to spread knowledge to help make a better world. But the lack of racial and gender diversity in the field and an unwillingness of white and cisgender people to share power within library institutions has meant enduring repeated unfair treatment from colleagues and management, things large and small, from microaggressions to more overt discrimination.”...

Scalawag, Dec. 29

Cover of A Thousand White Butterflies

Cindy L. Rodriguez writes: “The coming year brings new books from many of our favorite creators along with exciting debuts. Keep in mind that a book may have a Latinx creator (like an illustrator) but the content may not be Latinx-centered, so if you are looking for books with Latinx content, please read the descriptions carefully.”...

Latinxs in Kid Lit, Jan. 4

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