Mariko Tamaki, book bans, media literacy

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Mariko Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki’s skill at portraying the queer teenage experience has earned her many awards, including the Michael L. Printz Award and a Caldecott Honor for This One Summer (illustrated by Jillian Tamaki) and Eisner Awards for Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell). Her unflinching approach to telling these stories has also landed her books on challenge lists. Tamaki talked with American Libraries about her latest book, Cold (Roaring Brook Press, February), her new comics imprint Surely Books, and what it’s like having her works contested....

American Libraries trend, May

Unite Against Book Bans logo

A coalition of more than 25 organizations—including the American Federation of Teachers and the Authors Guild—has joined ALA’s campaign to raise awareness about the recent rise in book challenges in public libraries and schools. “ALA is taking the steps necessary to protect individuals’ access to information, but we can’t do this alone,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, in a statement. “Our partners and supporters are critical in moving the needle to ultimately bring an end to book bans.” Caldwell-Stone said the growing collective is designed to “influence local boards and state and national legislation to protect the rights of readers and students and the librarians and educators who provide the books they read.”...

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, May 9

ALA Annual speakers

ALA President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong will moderate a panel of esteemed authors, publishers, and literacy advocates at the ALA President’s Program at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The panel will include authors Malinda Lo, Linda Sue Park, and Christina Soontornvat; Philip Lee, publisher of Readers to Eaters publishing; and Jane Park, senior content strategist at Google Kids & Families. They will discuss new ways to tell Asian American stories, how to get books into readers’ hands, and ways to build community. The program will take place Sunday, June 26, 3:30–5:30 p.m....

ALA Conference Services, May 6

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Media Literacy illustration

Leanne Ellis writes: “If the last few years have taught us anything, it is this: media literacy needs to be a core subject of student learning. The pandemic shifted millions of students online for learning, entertainment, and social interactions for more extended portions of the day. And the creation and sharing of misinformation multiplied in tandem to meet those viewers. We can use this moment to tap into our learners’ curiosity and inquiry. But we can also use current events to teach critical thinking about information, specifically the differences between informing, persuading, endorsement, and indoctrination.”...

Knowledge Quest, May 6


Katherine Knox writes: “In May 2020, Black birder Christian Cooper had the police called on him in Central Park in New York City. I had only been birding for a few years but Cooper’s experience was not the first time I’d heard about the struggles of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women birders. How can public libraries help make birding more equitable? As community spaces, public libraries have the potential to reach birders (and all people) that do not feel welcome in other spaces.”...

Public Libraries, May 6

Burned book pages

Anne Helen Petersen writes: “This week, I gave a talk at the Conference. I’m sharing it here because I’ve received several requests for a written copy, but also because I think you could substitute pretty much any passion job for 'academic librarian' here and the descriptions (and advice) will hold. The librarians are not okay. And we can’t start the long-term work of recovering from the burnout and demoralization of the last year until we acknowledge as much....

Culture Study, May 1

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Book stacks

Lauren Bauer writes: “I started my library career as a page at a branch of a midsize public library system, and I still maintain that it’s my favorite job I ever had. And even now that reshelving is no longer officially part of my job description, I still find some benefits to doing it once in a while. So, here are some links and tools I’ve used in the past to teach both Dewey and Library of Congress classification systems.”...

Hack Library School, May 2

LeVar Burton

Annika Barranti Klein writes: “If I say (or sing) 'Butterfly in the sky' to you, will you answer with the next line of the Reading Rainbow theme song? If you are an American of a certain age, I bet you will. [LeVar Burton] made his film debut at 19 in Almos’ a Man, based on the story 'The Man Who Was Almost a Man' from Eight Men by Richard Wright. The same year, he was cast in another adaptation, one that would change his life… and the world.”...

BookRiot, May 5


Sophia Whitham writes: “Let’s face it, a lot of traditional office environments aren’t geared towards introverts—they’re busy, noisy, and full-on, not to mention there’s a certain degree of socialization that comes with working in a team. Surviving the workplace as an introvert without trying to change who you are or making yourself burn out is a whole different ball game, but it is possible, and here’s how.”...

MakeUseOf, May 4

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Removing the background from an image

Richard Byrne writes: “Removing the background from an image is a good way to protect your privacy and that of people who might unintentionally be in the background of your pictures. Removing image backgrounds is also a good way to get a stand-alone image of yourself to then place in front of a different background. In I provide demonstrations of four quick and easy ways to remove the background from your images.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, May 2

Wi-Fi router

Jared Newman writes: “Whenever someone sends me a question about how to fix their Wi-Fi, I wince. It’s not that I dislike helping people with their router problems. But it’s an art that’s hard to conjure without being physically present. Potential points of failure are everywhere. The best I can do is walk your through how I diagnose Wi-Fi problems myself. That way, you can make better decisions on whether (and how) to upgrade your own gear.”...

PCWorld, May 3

Mystery book covers

Ursula Villarreal-Moura writes: “Having been raised by my grandparents and great-aunt, my early years were predominantly filled with oral storytelling. Many tales my family shared bordered on the fantastical and incorporated magical elements or hinged on the unexpected. Imaginative narratives still enrapture me. The following books excel at creating mysterious spaces for the reader to explore.”...

Electric Literature, May 5

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