Barack Obama to close Annual Conference

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The American Library Association announced on June 2 that former President Barack Obama will be the Closing Session speaker at ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition Virtual. He will appear noon–1 p.m. Central on Tuesday, June 29, in conversation with Lonnie G. Bunch III, the 14th secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and first African American appointed to the role. They will be introduced by ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr....

AL: The Scoop, June 2

This year’s —the third ALA conference to go virtual during the coronavirus pandemic—brings together an exciting lineup of speakers and educational sessions designed to engage members in a week of collaboration and connection. Tune in to hear from leading authors, thinkers, and activists, and explore programs and panel discussions devoted to the library workplace, issues relating to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and more....

American Libraries feature, June

Terra Dankowski writes: “In 1986, Friends of Libraries USA President Frederick G. Ruffner Jr. had the ambitious idea to start the , an organization that would encourage the development of historic literary sites across the US. For those hitting the open road this summer, American Libraries has curated glimpses of some of these inspiring attractions—many of them outdoors and conducive to social distancing. Read on, mask up, and follow our route to literary greatness.”...

American Libraries feature, June

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ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. writes: “With my final column as ALA president, I’d like to look back over the past year and offer thanks. Thanks to all who joined me last summer on , a conversation series with libraries. I will forever remember you as faithful partners and travel companions as we faced seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Thanks in part to our advocacy, libraries secured federal relief funding of historic proportions.”...

American Libraries column, June; AL: The Scoop, Aug. 12, 2020

ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall writes: “Whether on a personal, institutional, or policy level, the pandemic has repeatedly shown us that a return to normal is neither possible nor a worthy goal. The normal that some may long for was not just, equitable, or inclusive. Yet it is clear that any real national recovery is dependent on these tenets. If survival necessitates transformation, transformation requires accountability. There must be a means of identifying not just that we’ve changed, but what we have changed into and what that change will mean or do for others.”...

American Libraries column, June

Andrew Albanese writes: “A Maryland state bill that would ensure public libraries the right to license and lend ebooks that are available to consumers in the state is now law. , Maryland Governor Larry Hogan informed legislators that the library ebook bill ( in the House of Delegates and  in the Senate) was among the many bills that would become law without the governor’s signature—normal procedure in the state, where the legislature typically passes hundreds of bills each session.”...

Publishers Weekly, June 1

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Dan Goodin writes: “If you use Alexa, Echo, or any other Amazon device, you have only a few days to opt out of an experiment that leaves your personal privacy and security hanging in the balance. On June 8, the merchant, web host, and entertainment behemoth will automatically enroll the devices in . The new wireless mesh service will share a small slice of your Internet bandwidth with nearby neighbors who don’t have connectivity and help you to their bandwidth when you don’t have a connection.”...

Ars Technica, May 29

Candida Moss writes: “Last September, New York City’s Swann Galleries were advertising the sale of an invaluable piece of Spanish and Mexican history: a 500-year-old letter involving Hernán Cortés, the Spanish military leader and colonizer. The letter was expected to sell for somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 until a group of academics intervened. that the letter was one of a cluster of Cortés documents that had been stolen out of the National Archive of Mexico and put up for sale. What’s even more shocking is that this is not the first time that important and valuable pieces of history have been stolen from a national archive, prominent library, or museum and ended up on the block at a prominent auction house.”...

The Daily Beast, May 30

Laurin Mayeno writes: “Last month, I was stunned to see that the children’s book I wrote in Columbus County, North Carolina. Reading on, I learned that the local school district had banned my book , calling it ‘age-inappropriate.’ When you ban my book, you’re telling me that a child like mine doesn’t belong in your schools or your communities.”...

Huffington Post, May 14; The News Reporter (Whiteville, N.C.), April 1

ALA news and press releases

Christina Simon writes: “Everyone in L.A. seemed to be in a book club, except me. I’ve never been invited to join one and every time I asked friends about their clubs, I was met with responses like ‘We’re full,’ or ‘It’s only moms from our school.’ Once a friend told me her book club was ‘the absolute best,’ but when I asked if they had openings, she told me, ‘I’ll give you the name of our moderator so you can start your own.’ This reinforced my suspicion that book clubs were mysterious get-togethers for social types—and I didn’t fit the part.”...

Electric Lit, May 27

Sarah Poko writes: “It was a cold March evening. I was tired, but my master’s thesis was almost done. I just needed something more to boost my research, so I headed to the library. I remember strolling through the empty library, scanning the shelves carefully, section by section, almost like a hunter looking for prey. That’s when I saw it: a green book with white text that stood out boldly on the dark binder. Canadian Savage Folk, it said.”...

SaltWire, May 21

Jennifer Garry writes: “Summertime often means visits to the beach. Like everything with kids, going to the beach can lead to lots of questions. Is seaweed a weed? Do jellyfish have brains? Why would someone throw their garbage in the ocean? If you don’t have all of the answers (and, honestly, even if you do), this collection of books will inspire and delight ocean enthusiasts while creating conservationists in the process.”...

Brightly, June 2

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