Plus, human rights in Iran and a win in Kansas

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This year has been a tumultuous time for libraries, but one source of hope and inspiration has been the authors who have stepped up to advocate for—and sing the praises of—books, libraries, and democracy. In Episode 78, Call Number with American Libraries presents its Featured in this installment are never-before-released clips from conversations with nine authors, including actor John Cho, historian Ibram X. Kendi, and Newbery Medal winners Jerry Craft and Lois Lowry. Hear them share what role libraries have played in their lives....

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 12

On December 9, the ALA Executive Board issued . In the statement, ALA expresses its solidarity with librarians, teachers, and others in the woman-led uprising in Iran for human rights, in which hundreds have died and thousands have been detained. It also encourages members to provide educational materials and other resources and tools to raise awareness in their communities of the current situation in Iran and to combat misinformation....

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 9

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US Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) introduced bipartisan legislation December 7 that will expand economic opportunity for millions of people by increasing funding for adult education, strengthening coordination across adult education and workforce programs, and providing support for college and career navigators at public libraries and community-based organizations. ALA and the Public Library Association stated that they will continue their work with the bill’s bipartisan cosponsors and library leaders across the country to advance this legislation....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Dec. 7

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Singed book on pile of ash

Liesl Gerntholtz writes: “Culture—past, present, and future—is on the front lines of the brutal war on Ukraine. Cultural erasure is a central tactic of Russia’s campaign of aggression and violence in Ukraine, which has gone on for over eight years. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s repeated false claims that a distinct Ukrainian history, language, and culture do not exist serve as one of his central justifications for waging war on and occupying Ukraine.” by preserving physical objects and digitizing what they can....

PEN America, Dec. 2; The Guardian, Dec. 4

Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library

Betsy Gomez writes: “After months of debate, public protest, and letters of support from the Kansas Library Association, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the ACLU of Kansas, the St. Marys City Commission voted to renew the lease for Pottawatomie Wabaunsee Regional Library for another year.” Renewal of the lease was in question because commissioners demanded clauses that would remove “” content and create an oversight group for programs and materials. Gomez writes: “The commission voted on December 6 to renew the lease without the objectionable clauses, indicating that ‘’”...

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Dec. 7; ACLU of Kansas, Dec. 1; Kansas Reflector, Dec. 6

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Nadine Kramarz writes: “During my tenure as a public librarian, I have encountered many enthusiastic and progressive colleagues who have ambitious ideas to help their communities, but often their libraries are not able to incorporate these plans due to lack of funding or staff. Partnerships can help your library to reach these goals in many ways, including additional funding, informational programs available to share, new programming ideas and lesson plans, and more.”...

Public Libraries Online, Dec. 5

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McFarland library

Tim Arango writes: “Bright and spacious, [the library in McFarland] fills with schoolchildren on weekday afternoons, providing safety until their parents return from harvesting grapes and almonds in the heart of California’s richest agricultural region. On the other side of the avenue is the police department. Two dozen employees share a bathroom; four sergeants pack into one small office. Kenny Williams, who serves as McFarland’s police chief and its city manager, looks across the street with envy. In a move that has sharply divided the mostly poor farming community, he has been , owned and operated by Kern County, and convert the building into a new police station.”...

The New York Times, Dec. 11; Los Angeles Times, May 7

UAW Local 2110

Andrew Limbong writes: “More than 500 authors have signed a letter supporting members of the HarperCollins Union, who are currently on strike. The signees include HarperCollins’ own authors and those associated with other publishers, including names such as Barbara Kingsolver, Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander, and more. The letter was sent to HarperCollins Publishing CEO Brian Collins and HarperCollins Children’s Books President Suzanne Murphy on Thursday morning. Union members at HarperCollins , and have been working without a contract since April.”...

NPR, Dec. 8, Nov. 10

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Susan D’Agostino writes: “As pandemic-weary US colleges face strained library budgets, many seek creative ways to lower costs and preserve access to scholarly content. That shared goal brought 44 colleges in Texas together to negotiate a deal with Elsevier, the behemoth publisher of over 2,500 scientific journals, including The Lancet and Cell. The consortium—known as the Texas Library Coalition for United Action—announced last month that it had reached that is expected to improve access to scholarship, afford researchers greater control over their work, and save the member institutions millions.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 9; Texas Library Coalition for United Action, Nov. 30

ALA news and press releases

Illustration of a duck reading a book outside

Ben Davies and Christina Lupton write: “During the pandemic, reading took on new meaning. People turned to books for comfort. Some read to confront difficult issues, especially following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Others used reading as a way to care for their children in locked-down houses. Sales figures and lending data showed a huge spike in people buying and borrowing books. While many commentators at the beginning of the pandemic endorsed reading as a straightforward way to relax, our readers showed that the practice morphed and took on new forms and meanings.”...

The Conversation, Dec. 6

Exterior of New York Public Library

Julia Gergely writes: “In the heart of Manhattan, you can page through the Passover story in an Italian Haggadah from half a millennium ago, check out the posters for the most popular Yiddish plays of the 1920s, and examine dried flower arrangements from the Holy Land made at the end of the 19th century. The Dorot Jewish Division of New York Public Library is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. We recently stopped by to see what would be on view during the anniversary celebrations. Here are 10 highlights.”...

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: New York Jewish Week, Dec. 12

Computer keyboard

Karisa Langlo writes: “When I recently introduced a coworker to the magic of Ctrl+Shift+T, his mind was blown. The way he uses his computer has changed. His life, if I may make a logical leap, has forever changed. I’d argue that it’s one of the most important and useful keyboard shortcuts there is, right up there with Ctrl+Z. In fact, it performs a similar function: undoing a mistake. Specifically, the mistake of accidentally closing a browser tab or window. Ctrl+Shift+T is the easiest way to restore a browser tab you didn’t mean to X out.”...

CNET, Dec. 10

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