ALA election candidate statements

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Emily Drabinski, interim chief librarian at The Graduate Center at City University of New York, and Kelvin Watson, executive director of Las Vegas–Clark County (Nev.) Library District, are the candidates for 2023–24 ALA President. Peter Hepburn, head librarian at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, is the candidate for 2022–25 ALA treasurer. (A second treasurer candidate, , withdrew prior to the start of voting.) Read candidate statements for , , and , and cast your vote through April 6....

American Libraries, Mar./Apr.; ALA Governance Office, Dec. 21, 2021

Book covers tinted in the colors of the Ukraine flag

Donna Seaman writes: “As we watch Russia’s massive war crimes against the people of Ukraine with horror and helplessness, many questions continue to arise. Reading in a quest for understanding is one way to cope with the terror, outrage, and sorrow. These titles have been reviewed in Booklist and include several catalyzed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. We hope that these books of investigation and analysis—along with three insightful works of fiction—prove enlightening.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 15

Figure cutting chain attached to graduation cap

Bill Furbee writes: “For thousands of Americans saddled with debilitating college debt, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, established by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, has helped cut down on those repayment bills. To be eligible for forgiveness, individuals had to have made 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while also working full-time for a US federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization. Red tape and bureaucratic headaches were soon reported, however. To date, significantly more people have been turned down than accepted into the program. For perspective, we spoke with a few librarians about their paths toward acceptance.”...

AL Online, Mar. 15

Crowley ad

Figures looking at papers

Emily Udell writes: “In spring 2021, a family of eight from Elgin, Illinois, found itself in trouble. One parent’s work hours had been reduced because of the pandemic, the other parent couldn’t work because of a high-risk pregnancy, and the family had fallen behind in rent. Help arrived from what might seem like a surprising source—the local library. In March 2021, Gail Borden Public Library District received a grant contract from the Illinois Department of Public Health with a budget of up to $415,000 to create the Elgin Area Pandemic Assistance Team.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

Students playing chess

Diana Panuncial writes: “In 2020, during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit put the spotlight back on the familiar black-and-ivory checkered board with a lustrous adaptation of the 1983 book of the same name. that 3.2 million users joined the online platform chess.com after the show’s debut, as players either took up or revisited the game while stuck at home. Libraries have made the most of chess’s surging popularity by starting their own chess clubs and helping existing in-person clubs transition online.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.; CNN, Dec. 6, 2020

Dispatches, Marshall Breeding

Marshall Breeding writes: “Commercial marketing techniques make extensive use of personal information to target content. Libraries, however, must take a more tempered approach when marketing content and services to ensure patron privacy with policies that govern how personally identifiable data can be stored, accessed, used, and shared.” Libraries should consider which privacy model—strict privacy, full retention, optional retention, or optional privacy—best suits their mission and strategic initiatives as they implement new tools for improving user outreach....

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Latest Library Links

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ALA announced March 16 that it will make available more than $1.5 million in emergency relief grants to more than 75 libraries that have experienced economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund, supported by Acton Family Giving, will award grants of $20,000 to help libraries bolster operations and services in areas such as technology access, collection development, digital instruction, staffing, and outreach. Public, school, academic, tribal, and correctional libraries across the US and its territories can apply online through April 21. Libraries serving low-income, rural, and predominately BIPOC communities are especially encouraged to apply. The fund previously awarded more than $1.2 million to 34 libraries in 2021....

ALA Chapter Relations Office, Mar. 16

Vernadsky library

Bill Chappell writes: “Libraries are playing vital roles in supporting Ukraine’s war effort, from giving families shelters during Russian bombing raids to making camouflage nets for the military and countering disinformation. [Ukrainian Library Association President Oksana] Brui is among the Ukrainians who were taken by surprise when sirens rang out on February 24 announcing Russia’s invasion. While some of Ukraine’s libraries have been destroyed by the fighting, she says that all over the country, libraries are ‘buzzing like hives,’ full of librarians, readers, refugees, and volunteers.”...

NPR, Mar. 9

Library Marketing Show screenshot

In The Library Marketing Show, Angela Hirsh shares three strategies for addressing world events in library promotions. “I think libraries have a unique position to be able to amplify reputable ways to help,” she said, noting that library staff are particularly well suited to sorting out legitimate sources of aid and information from less reputable ones. Libraries can also provide book lists that put events into context and share resources in digital and media literacy to help community members recognize inaccurate information on their own....

The Library Marketing Show, Mar. 9

ALA news and press releases

I Need a New Butt!

Maria Cramer and Isabella Grullón Paz write: “The second graders in the Hinds County School District in Mississippi were waiting for an administrator to read to them. The administrator had forgotten it was her turn, said Toby Price, the assistant principal at Gary Road Elementary School in Hinds County. He quickly grabbed I Need a New Butt! by Dawn McMillan, one of his children’s favorites, and began reading it to the roughly 240 second graders over Zoom.” But the district superintendent called the book “inappropriate” and fired Price, claiming he violated the standards of conduct section of the Mississippi Educator Code of Ethics....

The New York Times, Mar. 11

King Arthur manuscript

Meilan Solly writes: “Centuries after their creation, works of medieval literature, including tales of King Arthur’s Camelot, Icelandic sagas filled with accounts of Viking victories, and more, continue to fascinate and inspire. In a pop culture world simultaneously obsessed with familiar characters and constant reinvention, the longevity of these stories speaks to their resonance. A new study published in the journal Science, however, suggests that these beloved legends represent just two-thirds of the total fiction produced during the medieval era. For individual manuscripts, or handwritten copies of literary works, that figure drops to 9%.”...

Smithsonian Magazine, Mar. 8


Jared Newman writes: “Printers are the most unfairly maligned technology in modern history. Despite all the condescension they get, printers do a lot of things right, especially compared to other tech gear. They don’t scream for your attention so they can serve you targeted advertising. They’re not trotted out at press events where slick executives hawk barely improved versions of what you already have. They aren’t rendered obsolete by the march of annual software updates. Now that I’ve gotten my printer rant out of the way, I shall fulfill my service journalism obligations with some tips to make your printing experience even better.”...

PC World, Mar. 9

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