ALA leads historic win for libraries in new relief plan

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AL Direct is off next week. Look for our next issue March 24.

Libraries are eligible for billions of dollars in recovery funding as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 passed by Congress on March 10. The Institute of Museum and Library Services received $200 million, the largest single increase in the agency’s 25-year history. The package also provides billions of dollars in academic, public, and school library–eligible programs, including the Emergency Education Connectivity Fund through the federal E-Rate program....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, March 10

ALA election polls are now open! ALA members are encouraged to cast a digital ballot to vote for association-wide leadership that will shape the future and direction of the Association. ALA’s annual election will close on Wednesday, April 7. Members can learn more about this year’s candidates by reviewing  and read statements from 2022–2023 presidential candidates , , and ....

ALA Governance Office, March 8; American Libraries columns, Mar./Apr.

ALA’s annual Emerging Leaders (EL) program recognizes the best and brightest new leaders in the library profession, allowing them to get on a fast track at the Association by participating in planning groups, networking, gaining an inside look at ALA structure, and serving in leadership capacities early in their careers. At each ALA Midwinter Meeting, new ELs divide into groups to complete projects for their host units and affiliates. However, because of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the program has been postponed for the class of 2021. Instead, American Libraries asked several past ELs to share their thoughts on the program—and its influence on their accomplishments....

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

Crowley ad

Diana Panuncial writes: “Kamishibai, or paper theater, is a form of storytelling that originated in Japan in the late 1920s. Storytellers would ride into villages on bikes, bang wooden sticks together, and gather an audience around the kamishibai box, a small stage containing a sequence of cards that illustrate traditional folktales. One by one, the storyteller pulls each card from the top of the box—either slowly to build suspense or quickly to make the audience gasp. Text on the back of the cards can help the storyteller along. The form has become popular in libraries for its flexibility and accessibility.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

Mark Lawton writes: “When Goochland County (Va.) Public Schools abruptly stopped in-person learning at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, school librarians Zoe Parrish, Sarah Smith, and Susan Vaughn worried that their students would be left without access to books. Public libraries had also closed, and the county’s inconsistent internet service meant ebooks were not a workable ­substitute, Vaughn says. ‘Would it be crazy if we packed our cars with books and drove them around?’ Parrish remembers proposing.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

Geoffrey A. Fowler writes: “You probably think of Amazon as the largest online bookstore. Amazon helped make ebooks popular with the Kindle, now the dominant e-reader. Less well known is that since 2009, Amazon has published books and audiobooks under its own brands including Lake Union, Thomas & Mercer, and Audible. Amazon is a beast with many tentacles: It’s got the store, the reading devices and, increasingly, the words that go on them. Librarians have been no match for the beast.”...

Washington Post, March 10

San Jose State University ad

The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) issued a statement March 3 recognizing and strongly condemning that have permeated our country over the past year. The statement reads in part, “Our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities have been deeply impacted by attacks that have caused physical and psychological harm.” ....

APALA, March 3; Stop AAPI Hate National Report, Aug. 5, 2020

On March 3 ALA welcomed the introduction of the Build America’s Libraries Act in the House of Representatives by Reps. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Don Young (R-Alaska), and 52 cosponsors. The legislation would provide $5 billion to support long-term improvements to library facilities, including addressing needs that have arisen due to COVID–19. The bill would enable libraries to better serve rural, low-income, and underserved areas, as well as people with disabilities and other vulnerable library users. ALA is  to urge their representatives and senators to join as cosponsors of the ....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, March 3

Indiana , which would punish schools and public libraries for sharing “harmful material” with minors, was withdrawn before its final reading in the Senate by its author, Sen. Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville). Tomes said he withdrew the bill because it didn’t get enough support in the Republican caucus before the Senate’s final meeting but said he will bring the bill back next year....

Franklin (Ind.) College Statehouse File, Feb. 24

ALA news and press releases

Howard University has named its law school library after alumnus and civil rights icon Vernon Jordan. The Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Esq. Law Library honors “the proud and devoted Howard alumnus,” university officials said in a March 8 statement. Jordan, the influential lawyer and Washington power broker who advised presidents and business executives, died March 1. He was 85 years old....

Howard University, March 8

Writer Lauren Du Graf writes: “The last time I saw the inside of a library was the afternoon of March 12. Crocuses were peeking out of the ground. The neighbors were out for a stroll, the sidewalks strangely dense with pedestrians. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think it was a holiday.”...

Lit Hub, March 8

Though they starred aliens, vampires, and time travelers, Octavia E. Butler’s celebrated science fiction novels were often grounded on Earth. Her name and enduring legacy, though, have made it as far as the Red Planet millions of miles away. For her pioneering work in the world of sci-fi, NASA named the site on Mars where the Perseverance rover touched down ...

CNN, March 8; NASA, March 5

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