Poetry, PLA 2022, opposition to book banning

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Kal Penn

The Public Library Association 2022 Conference (March 23–25) attracted 6,005 registrants for both the in-person conference in Portland, Oregon, and the virtual conference components. Highlights included programs addressing across the US, speeches by actor and former associate director for the White House Office of Public Engagement Kal Penn and author Luvvie Ajayi Jones, and presentations on appropriate boundaries in outreach work and improving collection diversity. Read Terra Dankowski’s recaps from , , and ....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 24–26

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A new national poll commissioned by the American Library Association (ALA) released on March 24 shows that seven in 10 voters oppose removing books from public libraries, including majorities of voters across party lines. In addition, 74% of parents of public school children expressed confidence in school libraries and librarians to choose which books are available to children and said books that have been contested should be available on an age-appropriate basis....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 24

Legislative Update

Kathi Kromer writes: “On March 15, President Biden signed the $1.5 trillion , bringing the annual appropriations cycle—which had been on pause since October 1—to a disappointing close. Why was this disappointing for libraries? The final budget agreement between the administration and US House and Senate leadership unfortunately resulted in funding significantly below levels originally proposed by Congress. (See ALA’s .) This was the case not only for many library programs but for most other domestic programs as well.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 24

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Page from Change Sings

In honor of National Poetry Month in April, American Libraries offers statistics about poetry, including the approximate acceptance rate to Poetry magazine (1%), the number of rare and first-edition volumes of modern and contemporary poetry in the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta (75,000), the number of books released by the first National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman last year (3), and the number of years since the establishment of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (100)....

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

WiFi hotspot van

A new ALA report shows the impact of broadband access through the nation’s nearly 17,000 public libraries during the pandemic, as well as the need for continued long-term investments in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programming. , part of the ALA Policy Perspectives series, is coauthored by Amelia Bryne and Marijke Visser. Unique strategies employed by US public libraries during the pandemic have included using TV white space, loaning Wi-Fi hotspots, and outfitting mobile service vans as wireless hotspots....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Mar. 22

IFLA WLIC 2022 Dublin

ALA members can register for this year’s (July 26–29) in Dublin, Ireland, at the IFLA Member Rate of 560 Euros, which is more than 25% off the nonmember rate. Register as a member of IFLA using the ALA IFLA member code US-0002 by April 5 to receive the early discounted rate....

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Kingsland Library

Nabil Remadna writes: “On March 9, Suzette Baker was fired as head librarian at the Kingsland branch library in Llano County, Texas. Baker said she was given the warning to remove books by her boss, but she did not comply. ‘The books in my library in Kingsland were not taken off the shelves, we did not move them. I told my boss that was censorship,’ Baker said. According to Baker, a group of people had reached out to the library system about books that they said were ‘inappropriate’ or ‘pornographic,’ and they wanted them removed, but she disagreed.”...

KXAN-TV (Austin, Tex.), Mar. 18

Gender Queer

In an interview with Dan Kois, Gender Queer author Maia Kobabe says: “One of the things that I’m learning is that a book being challenged or banned does not hurt the book and does not hurt the author. The people who are hurt in a challenge are the marginalized readers in the community where the challenge takes place. That is readers who are younger, readers who do not have the financial means to buy books, and queer teens who might not feel comfortable bringing a book with such an obvious title into their home.”...

Slate, Mar. 22

The Blind Hobo

Will Hansen writes: “Kittie Smith smiles on the cover of My Life Story above her neat signature. Inside the pamphlet are photographs of drawings and a quilt she made using her feet following the amputation of her arms. On the cover of his pamphlet, The Blind Hobo, A. G. Haughton demonstrates his method of leaping onto a moving freight train. These are two of the people whose stories are documented in the Newberry’s newly acquired . The collection includes nearly 200 pamphlets, postcards, handbills, photographs, and other printed items sold by disabled and impoverished individuals to support themselves.”...

The Newberry: Source Material, Mar. 22

Latest Library Links

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Bill Oliver writes: “Texas A&M’s faculty senate passed a at their March meeting, with 96 percent support, in opposition to the university president’s decision telling 82 librarians who are faculty members to either become a staff employee or take a teaching assignment in another department. Before the resolution was discussed, Faculty Senate Speaker Dale Rice said he visited with Texas A&M President Katherine Banks last week, ‘and I told her that I thought what was happening to the libraries was generating more widespread concern on campus than any other single proposal out of [.]’”...

WTAW (College Station, Tex.), Mar. 22

Sign language

Ross Showalter writes: “As I adopted a ‘big-D’ Deaf identity (the uppercase D signifies a cultural identity, rather than a medical condition) and grew into a Deaf adult, I turned to literature written by Deaf writers to validate my existence. Most stories that included American Sign Language (ASL) seemed to only acknowledge ASL on the page as its English equivalent. The more I read this, the more it dissatisfied me. When I think about sign language, it is entirely on its own, as a language separate from English.”...

Literary Hub, Mar. 18

The first GIF

Jason Fitzpatrick writes: “The humble GIF file has been with us for a long time. Sadly, the creator of the GIF, computer scientist Steve Wilhite, passed away [this month]. In honor of him and his contribution, we hope you enjoy these facts and think about him the next time you fire off an animated GIF in a group chat.” The first GIF was likely an image of an airplane, and undoubtedly a still image. (The format didn’t support animation until a 1989 update.) And despite standing for Graphics Interchange Format, it’s pronounced “jif”—at least according to Wilhite....

How-To Geek, Mar. 24

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