Full coverage of AASL 2021

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On October 21, the 2021 American Association of School Librarians National Conference opened in Salt Lake City. For many, the conference has been an opportunity to see colleagues in-person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Author, motivational speaker, and American University lecturer Omékongo Dibinga served as the opening session’s keynote speaker. He emphasized self-care and positive mental health in the school library profession: “To do the work today, it’s going to take no less than your best self.” Read coverage from and of AASL 2021 at The Scoop....

AL: The Scoop, Oct. 22, Oct. 25, Oct. 27

ACRL and PLA now offer to power library data analysis and visualization. This new digital resource can help libraries plan, make informed decisions, and tell the story of their impact. Public libraries have access to PLA survey data, Public Libraries Survey data (reported to the Institute of Museum and Library Services), and census data. Academic libraries have access to ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics Survey data. Subscribers will find an intuitive interface that supports analysis and reporting efforts. Virtual data dashboards and customized comparison tools are interactive and user-friendly. Benchmark replaces the historic Public Library Data Service, which was discontinued in 2019....

ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Oct. 26

On October 26 President Biden nominated Jessica Rosenworcel as Federal Communications Commission chair, and former FCC staffer Gigi Sohn to a second vacant seat. Rosenworcel has been serving as the acting chair and has been on the panel since 2012. Sohn was counselor to former FCC chair Tom Wheeler. If confirmed by the Senate, she would become the first openly LGBTQ+ commissioner. Rosenworcel is the first woman to chair the panel. She and Sohn are expected to push for a return of Obama-era net neutrality rules, which would prohibit internet providers from slowing internet speeds or blocking content. ....

NPR, Oct. 26; ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Oct. 26

American Rescue Plan grants

ALA invites library advocates to to join the fourth cohort of members. The deadline for applications is December 1. aims to strengthen advocacy related to key national library policy areas—ranging from broadband equity and copyright/licensing to federal funding and privacy and cybersecurity. Preference will be given to applicants with prior engagement in ALA and state chapters, such as service on boards, committees, or other entities and/or participation in professional development or scholarship programs....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Oct. 26

As a Chattanooga school board debates who has the authority to approve, or remove, books in school libraries this week, Tennessee librarians are speaking out. Representatives from the Tennessee Association of School Librarians, the Tennessee Library Association, and Friends of the Tennessee Libraries  by Hamilton County school board member Rhonda Thurman. Thurman expressed concerns  over the use of curse words and references to sex and violence depicted in library books found in the county’s schools....

The Tennessean, Oct. 21; The Chattanoogan, Oct. 13

Don Tillema, a supervisor in Byron Township, Michigan, threatened to pull taxpayer funding for Kent District Libraries and turn its Caledonia branch into a shoe store at a September 27 board meeting. At issue was the graphic novel Check, Please!, which a 10-year-old pulled from a teen shelf over the summer; the child’s mother complained about the book, which concerns a young gay hockey player. KDL Executive Director Lance Werner said the book is protected by the US Constitution and would not be removed. Byron Township Clerk Peggy Sattler later clarified that Tillema’s remark about funding was “off the cuff” and that the library is safe....

WOOD-TV (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Oct. 22

Call Number podcast

Campbell County (Wyo.) commissioners in recent months have heard hours of of the county library in Gillette. Starting October 19, they suspended public comment at meetings, saying they would still accept letters, emails, and phone calls. Public comments have “devolved into a session of bullying and threatening our board of commissioners, the library board, and library staff,” Commissioner D. G. Reardon said at the meeting....

East Idaho News, Oct. 21; ABC News, Oct. 1

A Drag Queen Story Time protester who is trying to shrink the mission of the Lafayette Parish (La.) Library System was unanimously elected October 20 to lead the library board for the next year. Robert Judge, who has only been on the library board since February, proposed changing the library system’s mission statement in April to remove “recreation and cultural enrichment” to save money; the proposal was tabled....

The Acadiana Advocate, Oct. 21

Suzanne LaPierre writes: “The Thanksgiving season seems an appropriate time to express gratitude for the citizens-turned-activists who succeeded in desegregating US public libraries, many of which remained segregated even after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling finding separate-but-equal unconstitutional. Through the 1950s, and even into the 1960s, many public libraries remained whites-only until Black citizens protested and/or sued to rectify the situation.”...

Public Libraries Online, Oct. 19

ALA news and press releases

Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle writes: “Just as the Web increased people’s access to information exponentially, an opposite trend has evolved. Global media corporations—emboldened by the expansive copyright laws they helped craft and the emerging technology that reaches right into our reading devices—are exerting absolute control over digital information. These two conflicting forces—towards unfettered availability and completely walled access to information—have defined the last 25 years of the internet. How we handle this ongoing clash will define our civic discourse in the next 25 years. If we fail to forge the right path, publishers’ business models could eliminate one of the great tools for democratizing society: our independent libraries.”...

Time, Oct. 22

Renowned children’s book illustrator Jerry Pinkney died October 20 at the age of 81. The recipient of a Caldecott Medal (for 2010’s The Lion and the Mouse), five Coretta Scott King Book Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators, Pinkney was considered “a legend in the world of children’s publishing,” NPR reports....

NPR, Oct. 20

Five pet rats were discovered October 20 in the book drop-off at the Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) Public Library. The animals, four males and a female, were left behind by an obscured figure about 12:30 a.m., as recorded by the library video surveillance system. The rats survived a soft landing in the padded bin and went about their business until about 7:30 a.m., when they were discovered by the library’s circulation manager, who in turn called animal control. They’re available for adoption at the Kootenai Humane Society....

Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls (Idaho) Press, Oct. 21

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