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Greg Landgraf writes: “For many years, the leadership of ALA has been working to reimagine—and ultimately replace—the Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits event. That planning comes to fruition when LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience debuts as an online event January 21–24. LibLearnX emphasizes active and applied learning in a variety of formats, while including familiar ALA conference components: high-profile speakers, networking opportunities, and celebrations of libraries, books, and authors. This member-focused education experience is designed to motivate, inspire, and engage discussions to help shape the future of libraries and their communities.”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

2021 Year in Review

As we greet 2022, American Libraries caps off 2021 with its Year in Review. Our staffers have compiled a list of the stories that affected libraries over the past year. From federal funding wins to new COVID-19 adaptations to an increase in challenges to library materials and core values, libraries were at the forefront of some of 2021’s biggest news....

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

Patricia "Patty" M. Wong

ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong writes: “The ALA–Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA), which is committed to improving the status of librarians and library workers, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Through your ALA membership, you are already part of ALA-APA. And as president of ALA, I’m also president of ALA-APA, so this work is very close to my heart. I’m proud that the leaders who came before me had the foresight to establish ALA-APA to offer resources for librarians, library staff, and library managers to attain their personal and professional goals and effect positive change in their institutions.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

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Tracie D. Hall

ALA President Tracie D. Hall writes: “In an era when our access to education, employment, and public health—our primary quality of life indicators—is increasingly predicated on digital access, libraries are and must be deeply invested in ensuring the greatest level of connectivity for users. This is a critical area of focus for ALA and for the LIS community at large. While expanding connectivity must continue to be a foundation of our work, we must also expand connectedness to and within our institutions. In the organizational sense, connectedness is nurtured by prioritizing relationships, creating a culture of transparency, and developing a culture of trust that emphasizes collaboration, not competition.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

Person with an ereader on the couch

Andrew Albanese writes: “Just hours before it was set to become law, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on December 29 vetoed New York’s library ebook bill. The bill is now back with the legislature, where it is tabled. The veto comes despite strong grassroots support: In June, . But the Association of American Publishers’ sparked concern in the governor’s office, and the bill was opposed by a cohort of powerful New York-based industry groups. The library ebook bills come after a decade of tension in the library ebook market, with librarians long complaining of unsustainable, nonnegotiable prices and restrictions on digital licenses.” ALA released January 3....

Publishers Weekly, June 11, 2021, Dec. 9, Dec. 30; ALA, Jan. 3

Advocacy update image

Signed into law by President Joe Biden on November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) includes a historic investment in advancing digital equity and an opportunity for libraries to leverage and expand their roles in that work. The Digital Equity Act, a provision within IIJA, includes a federal investment of $2.75 billion over five years to promote digital equity, literacy, and inclusion initiatives at the local, state, and national levels. Libraries of all types will be eligible to apply. ALA has gathered tips to help maximize support and funding for your library’s digital inclusion goals....

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 28

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Public domain books

Jennifer Jenkins writes: “On January 1, 2022, copyrighted works from 1926 entered the US public domain and became free for all to copy, share, and build upon. The lineup this year is stunning. It includes books such as A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, Felix Salten’s Bambi, a Life in the Woods, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, Langston Hughes’s The Weary Blues, and Dorothy Parker’s Enough Rope. There are scores of silent films, famous Broadway songs, and well-known jazz standards. But that’s not all. In 2022 we get a bonus: an estimated 400,000 sound recordings from before 1923 enter the public domain too.”...

Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain

Gender Queer cover

Bryan Mims reports: “Dozens of Wake County, North Carolina, librarians are calling for the book Gender Queer—a graphic novel about the author’s journey to identifying as transgender—to be back on shelves. The county’s library managers pulled the book in December after some parents claimed it contained pornography. In response, 55 librarians have signed a letter from the group Wake County Free to Read. The letter states that Wake County librarians should have been included in the library system’s decision-making process to remove the book.”...

WRAL-TV (Raleigh, N.C.), Dec. 29

Laptop with "Fake News" onscreen

Oscar Gonzalez writes: “Conspiracy theories and misinformation about QAnon, COVID-19, and 2020 election fraud took a . As bad as things were last year, experts worry it’ll get worse in 2022. ‘I think we’re going to see an acceleration and expansion of the conspiracy theories,’ said Mike Caulfield, research scientist at University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Republic. One reason it could get worse is that federal governments and tech companies aren’t getting ahead of the problem. There is good news: This can be fixed, but it’ll take some effort.”...

CNET, Dec. 22, Jan. 3

ALA news and press releases

Abstract personal data

Matt Burgess writes: “Depending on when you were born, there’s a good chance you’ve spent either several decades online or have never known an offline world. Whatever the case, the internet and its advertising giants know a huge amount about your life. Amazon, Facebook, and Google all have reams of data about you—including your likes and dislikes, health information, and social connections—but they’re not the only ones. Countless murky data brokers that you’ve never heard of collect huge quantities of information about you and sell it on. On top of that, all your ancient web forum comments and ill-advised social media posts are still out there. At this stage it’s going to be very difficult to completely delete yourself from the internet, but there are some steps you can take to remove a lot of it.”...

Wired, Jan. 3

Canadian flag flying over a mountain

Jackson Weaver writes: “In 1991, Katherine Barber became the founding editor of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, the country’s first authoritative and comprehensive reference work for Canadian English. But despite her work—Barber died in April 2021—it has been nearly two decades since the most recent edition was released. The Canadian Oxford research staff was laid off in 2008, and responsibility for identifying our country’s words was placed largely in the hands of researchers in the US and UK. Without an up-to-date dictionary to rely on, writers and editors are left to flounder over how the language should be written. At the same time, the representation of Canada on the world stage suffers and our understanding of what makes the language unique becomes increasingly obscure.”...

CBC News, Jan. 2

Teen reading manga

Vernieda Vergara writes: “What a year 2021 has been. In the manga arena, explosive sales led to empty retail shelves and reprints that—due to paper shortages, printer consolidations, and supply chain disruptions—were slow to come. These challenges stand poised to follow us into 2022, so if you like your manga in print, be prepared to buy your favorite titles the instant you see them in stock. These new 2022 manga titles have something for everyone: classic science fiction, heist capers, contemporary queer stories, and the supernatural fare that’s all the rage these days.”...

Book Riot, Dec. 30

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