Toolkit for services to new Americans

American Libraries logo

ALSC word cloud heart

A new toolkit from the Association for Library Service to Children’s Library Service to Underserved Children and their Caregivers Committee offers resources for working with the 44 million people in the United States who were born in another country. The toolkit includes information on programs and services; communications and marketing; library collections; stakeholders and partnerships; and equipping staff. Additional sections, available later this year, will discuss recommended read-alouds and provide examples of programming and outreach. The toolkit is part of the committee’s larger providing resources for working with traditionally marginalized populations....

ALSC Blog, Feb. 5

Ashley Bryan

Elizabeth Blair writes: “Ashley Bryan, the celebrated children’s book author and illustrator who created stories centered on African and African American folk tales, has died. He was 98. In a career spanning more than six decades, Bryan’s vibrantly colored collage and paper-cut illustrations adorned the pages of some 50 books, folktales, and poetry collections by such acclaimed writers as Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Walter Dean Myers.” Bryan’s awards include the 2012 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and a 2017 Newbery Honor for Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives, and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan....

NPR, Feb. 5

Ridgeland library

In Ridgeland, Mississippi, Mayor Gene McGee demanded LGBTQ+ books be removed from Madison County Library System’s Elsie E. Jurgens Library. Citing community complaints and his own religious beliefs, McGee said he would withhold $110,000 in public library funds as long as the books remained. But the Friends of the Ridgeland Library launched a fundraising campaign that received almost $88,000 in donations in 10 days. Ridgeland Alderman Ken Heard said the mayor does not have the power to withhold the funds, which were approved in the city budget in the fall....

The Hill: Changing America, Feb. 4

Call Number ad

Geneaology records

Randy Seaver writes: “Because I have added so many living people, born in the 20th century, to my RootsMagic family tree as I find descendants of my fourth great-grandparents, or as I find census records, or marriage records, or obituaries of persons with children and grandchildren, I don’t always have the birth dates or birth places for those living people. One genealogy record collection that has birth dates is the US Public Records Index on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.com, and FamilyTreeNow.com—there are over 800 million records in these collections. The databases can be searched by name, location, and approximate birth year.”...

Genea-Musings, Feb. 2

BLM protest

Sarah Raughley writes: “In the summer of 2020, the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests forced the North American publishing industry, along with its global consumers, to confront its racial prejudices. They led to calls for systemic change and diversity. They led to the promotion of Black authors and to the increased placements of our books on reading lists. They led to the increase of my own book sales. But at what cost? What does it mean to be an author emotionally navigating the fact that it took a Black person’s death for some to finally decide my books were worth reading?”...

The Walrus, Feb. 1

Computer screen with video

Joanna Thielen writes, after providing instruction sessions for capstone engineering courses: “I came away from these one-shot sessions feeling like I had just blasted the students with a fire hose of library resources. During these sessions, students fell on either end of the attention spectrum: they fell asleep or were wide-eyed while furiously scribbling notes. I decided to create a series of five videos that covered the same concepts as my in-person one-shot session.” While students reported wanting more information about library services, 26 out of 29 preferred videos to in-person instruction....

University of Michigan Library Blogs: Tiny Studies, Feb. 1

Latest Library Links

Figure in green

Eric Ravenscraft writes: “The greenscreen is kind of a perfect filmmaking tool. It’s a powerful enough technique that it’s been in use for around 100 years, and yet it’s simple enough that you could build your own with fabric from a crafting store. For as much as it can get a bad reputation, it’s also one of the best tools you can add to your kit. And it’s never been cheaper to do at home.”...

Wired, Feb. 6

Crocheted hearts

Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 13–19) and Valentine’s Day (February 14) kick off this weekend. In case you missed it: Our January/February issue offers stats celebrating the platonic, romantic, and civic love found in books and libraries, including the percentage by which romance book sales increased after the pandemic struck (24%); the number of valentines that Shaler North Hills Library in Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, received after putting out a call for its “Valentines for Seniors” program (902); and the number of years Valentine (Neb.) Public Library has served its community (101)....

American Libraries, Jan./Feb. Trend

CSPAN internet archive

Dan Price writes: “There’s little doubt that YouTube is one of the best video sites in the world. And it’s by far the most popular. But there are some fantastic YouTube alternatives available online. Here are the best other platforms like YouTube on the web.”...

MakeUseOf, Feb. 5

ALA news and press releases

Pop-up dinosaur book

Scott Jared writes: “Open some of the pop-up books from UNC’s library and inches from your face a tornado twists, sea creatures swim, or a T. rex’s sharp-toothed mouth gapes. The University Libraries’ collection of pop-up books at the UNC School of Information and Library Science is one of the country’s larger such collections, with more than 1,800 titles on everything from obscure subjects to today’s popular culture. Each has unique ways to fill readers with wonder.”...

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: The Well, Jan. 25

Color our collections

The New York Academy of Medicine writes: “From February 7–11, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world are sharing free coloring sheets and books based on materials in their collections. Coloring books created for the campaign will remain available throughout the year.” The 100 institutions who have contributed images to the Color Our Collections program include the , the , the , and the ....

New York Academy of Medicine, Jan. 2; Smithsonian Unbound, Feb. 7

It's a Wonderful Life librarian

John Howard Matthews writes for humor site McSweeney’s: “12:00 p.m. Miss Skiffy, the new hire, asks whether we can forgive a book fine that’s under one dollar. Vehemently refuse, and ask her exactly how we are supposed to fund a library if we don’t collect fines? 1:00 p.m. Work to clear cobwebs from book stacks. Become weakened and feverish and call cleaning services for estimates (all too high). 1:30 p.m. Find list of the most offensive books in print and order them all with your tax dollars.”...

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Feb. 3

ALA Publishing Logo

American Libraries Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Wednesday to personal members of the .


Editor, AL Direct:

Direct ad inquiries to:

Send news and feedback:


All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site. .


American Libraries will not sell your email to outside parties, but your email may be shared with advertisers in this newsletter should you express interest in their products by clicking on their ads or content. If advertisers choose to communicate with you by email, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future emails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation of 2018. Read the .


To manage your American Libraries email preferences, please click .

To unsubscribe from all American Library Association communications, click .


American Library Association, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601

Higher Logic