I Love My Librarian Award winners announced

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I Love My Librarian logo surrounded by headshots of 10 winners

The American Library Association (ALA) announced 10 winners of its I Love My Librarian Award on January 11. Recipients were nominated by patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication, and profound impact on the people in their communities. The virtual award ceremony will take place during ALA’s 2021 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual at 2:30 p.m. Central on January 23 and will stream live on . This year’s award recipients include four academic librarians, three public librarians, and three school librarians....

American Libraries feature, Jan. 11

ALA logo, white text on blue

On January 7, the American Library Association released a statement from its Executive Board, condemning the recent violence in Washington, D.C.: “ALA forcefully condemns the violent attempts to undermine the integrity of our electoral process and our democracy. The threats, destruction of government buildings, and looting witnessed on January 6 do not constitute peaceful protest, but domestic terrorism,” the statement read....

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 7

Library of Congress reading room

Anne Ford writes: “Library of Congress employees and contractors were among the federal workers evacuated by US Capitol Police on January 6 while a mob of Trump loyalists stormed, occupied, and vandalized the Capitol for several hours, falsely asserting that the presidential election had been rigged in favor of President-Elect Joe Biden.”...

AL: The Scoop, Jan. 7

San Jose State University: Information is everything, 100% online MLIS degree

A drawing of Iroquois games and dances by Jesse Cornplanter resides in Amherst (Mass.) College’s collection of Indigenous materials. (Photo: Amherst College Archives and Special Collections)

Ulia Gosart writes: “It’s not news that libraries and museums have a long and problematic history of mishandling Indigenous materials. From exhibiting culturally sensitive items to retaining materials that were unlawfully seized, the need for improvement has been clear. In response, a burgeoning number of libraries are promoting culturally responsive care of collections, demonstrating leadership and restoring a long-ignored legacy of Indigenous intellectual property.”...

American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.

A clock next to calendars listing different numbers of days representing REALM test result quarantine periods

Our collective knowledge of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to evolve as researchers across the world work to understand and combat the virus. In such an uncertain information landscape, establishing best practices isn’t easy; it requires library workers to balance community needs with the best available guidelines for limiting the virus’s spread. Since May, the REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project—an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)–funded collaboration between OCLC and the research and development organization Battelle—has been studying surface transmission risks of common library and museum materials. Results from the first five rounds of tests, , show that the virus’s survival time varies widely....

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

The Masterpiece Book Club at Chicago Public Library’s Vodak–East Side branch hosted a Miss Fisher–themed holiday party in 2015. (Photo: Table set with books, postcards, teapot, scones, and Union Jack flags)

Diana Panuncial writes: “Sheri Czulno, head library clerk at Chicago Public Library (CPL)’s Vodak–East Side branch, says she doesn’t consider herself much of a reader—but when she was asked to take over the branch’s Masterpiece Book Club in 2012, she knew she had to fulfill Great Expectations. Masterpiece, the longest-running prime-time drama series on television, marks its 50th anniversary this January. Celebrating the series’ ties to literature, libraries across the country have formed book clubs centered on watching the historical dramas and reading the source books in tandem, offering patrons a twofold opportunity to escape to a different world....

American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.

Latest Library Links

Academic Insights by Twanna Hodge and Jamia Williams

Twanna Hodge and Jamia Williams write: “Librarianship is an overwhelmingly white profession, with most of its racial and ethnic diversity existing in paraprofessional, precarious, and part-time positions. As two early-career Black women with experience in multiple academic and health sciences libraries, we have experienced many barriers to existing and thriving in librarianship: , and . We regularly navigate the manifestations and effects of  as well as structural and institutional racism in academic libraries, all of which COVID-19 has highlighted and severely worsened.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.; Diversity Forward, May 30, 2017; Medium, Dec. 7, 2018; California Faculty Magazine, Fall 2013; Social Problems, August 2015; In the Library with the Lead Pipe, Jan. 10, 2018

Person holds e-reader in front of brick background (Photo: özgür uzun/Pexels)

that libraries all over the world collectively loaned more than 289 million ebooks in 2020, a 40% increase from 2019. Audiobooks also gained last year, but not as much as ebooks because people were commuting less. The report says 138 million audiobooks were checked out in 2020, a 20% increase from 2019. Some libraries, however, say the soaring ebook checkout rates ....

Good eReader, Jan. 9; OverDrive, Jan. 7; WVXU-Cincinnati Public Radio, Dec. 30, 2020

Boston Public Library announced its initiative on January 11, pledging to use its 2021 programming and services to help bridge gaps that divide America. The library is focusing its institutional priorities on finding ways to help Americans become more resilient and able to face and recover from the challenges of today. The theme and priorities of Repairing America will drive key BPL offerings in 2021, ranging from high-profile speaker series and community services to a yearlong reading challenge and several equity-related initiatives....

Boston Public Library, Jan. 11

ALA news and press releases

Cover of The Poet X

School librarian and journalism teacher Jamie Gregory writes: “Does reading fiction that conflicts with your personal religious beliefs constitute an assault on those beliefs, actionable in a court of law? According to , a Virginia couple has filed in a federal appeals court to overturn  (Coble v. Lake Norman Charter School, 2020) not to remove a book from a high school curriculum. More specifically, they seek an emergency restraining order to immediately remove the book while the court considers their case.”...

OIF Blog, Jan. 12; AP News, Nov. 10, 2020; Courthouse News, Nov. 6, 2020

Librarian with stack of books for a head (Image: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay )

Readers’ advisor Becky Spratford writes: “One of the big problems in 2020 (among many) was rethinking book discovery in a social distant environment. When you provide curbside delivery of requested items, you need to think about more than the transaction in front of you. Think about their next visit. Think about helping them find something else to put on hold. Think about promoting more titles and services. Think about their overall library experience. Or as I like to put it more succinctly, think of your curbside patrons as a captive audience!”...

RA for All, Jan. 11

Herman Henry carrying the Johnson County, Indiana, sesquicentennial cake into the gala celebration in 1973 (Johnson County Museum Twitter)

Caity Weaver writes: “Once a month, most months, there happens a happening that rewards compulsive curiosity. For a few hours in the backcountry of social media, miscellaneous facts surge and swirl and billow in unison, like clouds of starlings disappearing and reforming in an empty winter sky. They flutter in from niche museums, government agencies, school libraries, and county historians—released on a summons from the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States. This confluence is known as an ‘.’”...

New York Times, Jan. 7

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