Asking US reps to #FundLibraries

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Erin MacFarlane, customer experience administrator for the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Library District (right) speaks with US Rep. Raúl Grijalva during ALA's 2023 fly-in at Capitol Hill.

Lessa Kanani‘opua Pelayo-Lozada writes: “This week, the American Library Association kicked off its annual #FundLibraries campaign, calling on library advocates to contact their US representatives and ask them to sign onto bipartisan ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters in support of federal funding for libraries. This year, the deadline for signatures is March 20. Our advocacy this week will have a domino effect for the rest of the FY2024 budget process. The more representatives we get to cosign the letters, the better chance we have for congressional support for libraries throughout the budget process.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 14

Children and an adult around a table working on a porject

Maura Madigan writes: “The world needs learners who can think for themselves and solve problems in creative ways. A good school librarian can use learning centers to help young people develop these attributes. Learning centers provide focused, self-directed activities where learners work independently or collaboratively, and can be used to complement rather than replace other types of school library experiences. Regardless of space, time, and budget constraints, learning centers can be adapted to fit any school library’s needs.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

A high blood pressure medical kit with cuff, book, and DVD

Emily Udell writes: “In early 2022, a small group of North Scituate (R.I.) Public Library (NSPL) staff—with input from community health experts—assembled 15 kits focused on a range of health issues, including dementia, joint health, and mobility, and healthy practices like yoga and meditation. Libraries like NSPL, often with guidance from local medical providers or agencies, have begun circulating similar health kits for patrons. The goal of these kits, which often include medical devices and other items addressing various aspects of physical and mental health, is to equip patrons with needed tools and information.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

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Person holding a smartphone

Kelvin Watson writes: “When our library buildings were closed during the pandemic, we saw an increase in residents visiting our parking lots to use our Wi-Fi to access public services. It dawned on district management that smartphones could be an easy, cost-effective bridge for the information gulf. In April 2022, Las Vegas–Clark County (Nev.) Library District launched a Cellphone Lending Program, providing 400 smartphones to people who are currently unhoused, offering them a lifeline to family, support systems, and critical social services. Our program is an example of how public libraries empower and uplift members of underserved communities by finding innovative ways to expand access.”...

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

Ani DiFranco

Megan Bennett writes: “When the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on live music, Grammy Award–winning musician and activist Ani DiFranco found another outlet for her artistry: children’s literature. This month DiFranco published her debut children’s book, The Knowing (Penguin Random House), which she describes as a chance for readers to look inward and not get lost in external identities and the ‘cultural signifiers’ around them. American Libraries spoke with DiFranco about writing in a new way for a new audience and her thoughts about recent book bans and challenges.”...

AL Online, Mar. 10

Nikki Grimes and Brian Pinkney

ALA has announced four featured speakers who will appear at the 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition, to be held June 22–27 in Chicago. They include authors Nikki Grimes, Mark Oshiro, and Rick Riordan, as well as illustrator Brian Pinkney. Grimes and Pinkney will discuss their book A Walk in the Woods, scheduled for release in September. Oshiro and Riordan will discuss their coauthored title The Sun and the Star: A Nico Di Angelo Adventure, available in May. ...

ALA Conference Services, Mar. 9

Latest Library Links

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Nina Raemont writes: “The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to make sure eligible Americans can get internet service through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), an initiative the agency calls the nation’s ‘newest and largest’ broadband affordability program. On Friday, the FCC said it plans to award roughly $66 million in grants to help drive awareness of, and enrollment in, the ACP. The grants are going to nearly 200 organizations to fund outreach programs that will target historically underserved and unserved communities. Groups will be able to use grant funds to ‘conduct digital campaigns, door-to-door canvassing, operate phone banks, distribute direct mail, and host ACP application enrollment and outreach events,’ said the FCC.”...

CNET, Mar. 10

Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias

Mike Sorensen writes: “Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias has expressed his support for legislation making its way through Springfield that would protect against public libraries banning books for political or personal reasons. House Bill 2789 would make funds eligible to Illinois libraries only if they demonstrate they either: adhere to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, indicating reading materials should not be removed or restricted because of partisan or personal disapproval; or issue a statement complying with the policies of the state library or one prohibiting the practice of banning books or resources.”...

Herald-Whig (Quincy, Ill.), Mar. 10

Illustration of a hand holding money

Karen Lindell writes: “Numerous sources of funding for library programs are available, including federal, state, and local government organizations, as well as nonprofits and for-profit companies. Here are nine places to start.” Lindell provides information and links for the National Endowment for the Arts, US Department of Education, state libraries, and other resources....

Programming Librarian, Mar. 8

ALA news and press releases

Jody Picoult's novel The Storyteller

Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman write: “This week, Florida’s Martin County released a list of dozens of books targeted for removal from school libraries, as officials struggle to interpret a bill Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in the name of ‘transparency’ in school materials. The episode suggests his decrees are increasingly encouraging local officials to adopt censoring decisions with disturbingly vague rationales and absurdly sweeping scope. The removal list includes Picoult’s novel The Storyteller about the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor who meets an elderly former SS officer. ‘Banning The Storyteller is shocking,’ Picoult told us in an email, slamming such bans as ‘a breach of freedom of speech and freedom of information.’”...

The Washington Post, Mar. 10

UFO descending on a city

Tim Brinkhof writes: “Predicting the future with any degree of accuracy is difficult, but certainly not impossible. Some of the future can always be read in the palms of the present. Classic literature anticipated a variety of modern inventions. Writers and thinkers from Plato to Thomas Moore drew on the latest in political, philosophical, and scientific thinking to build blueprints for an ideal civilization. In the 19th century, authors like H. G. Wells and Jack London started to flip the age-old formula on its head, exploring how human development could lead to a distinctly undesirable future.”...

Big Think, Mar. 8

Handwritten letter that reads, Dear Judy, I love you

Emily Temple writes: “The latest development in the Year of Judy Blume: the trailer for the first ever Judy Blume documentary, Judy Blume Forever, slated to premiere April 21. It features a host of Blume-ites, including Molly Ringwald, Tayari Jones, Lena Dunham, Samantha Bee, Mary H. K. Choi, Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, and Cecily Von Ziegesar. Here’s the trailer, which is guaranteed to give you the warm and fuzzies.”...

Literary Hub, Mar. 8

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