Cast your ballot in the ALA election until April 5

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ALA Presidential Candidates

Ballot mailing for ALA’s 2023 spring election began March 13. The candidates running for 2024–2025 ALA president are , director of policy analysis and operational support at Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library, and , director of Marshall Public Library in Pocatello, Idaho. Visit the for information on other candidates and ballot measures. Votes must be cast by April 5....

ALA Governance; American Libraries, Mar./Apr.

Clint Smith

Diana Panuncial writes: “Few details go unnoticed by Clint Smith: His child’s first hiccup. The way his grandfather’s house still smells like his late grandmother’s hair. The eroding coastline in his home state of Louisiana. His poetry collection Counting Descent won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of ALA and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Now with Above Ground, Smith uses poetry to examine life’s big and small moments. American Libraries spoke with Smith about how New Orleans has influenced his identity and how fatherhood has shaped his writing.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

Writers Guild Foundation librarians

Terra Dankowski writes: “Anyone can make an appointment to visit the Writers Guild Foundation’s Shavelson-Webb Library in Los Angeles, a nonlending collection of more than 40,000 items dedicated to the craft and history of screenwriting. The library’s ephemera provides an illuminating look at Tinseltown and a record of the guild and its members: a Cold War–era FBI file on blacklisted screenwriting couple Hugo Butler and Jean Rouverol, two lifetime achievement awards given to seven-time Oscar recipient Billy Wilder, and screenwriter Linda Woolverton’s correspondence related to the development of Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast. ‘We are the only library in the world that actively collects current television scripts,’ says librarian Javier Barrios.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

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On My Mind: Adraienne Doman Calkins

Adrienne Doman Calkins writes: “A behavior policy is a tool for fostering a safe and welcoming library. It is also a litmus test for some of our most difficult circumstances. For instance, employees may be called upon to build relationships with patrons even as we are revoking their access. We enforce these policies to create security, but we must balance this role with a responsibility to preserve the constitutional right to use a public library to the maximum extent possible.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

Ukraine flag

ALA’s International Relations Office reports that ALA has raised $25,000 for the Ukrainian Library Association (ULA) through the Ukraine Library Relief Fund. ULA has so far distributed $15,000 to libraries and library workers that have suffered amid the Russian invasion. Relief fund recipients have included Izum Central City Library, which lost 40% of its book collection when the town was under occupation, and Okhtyrka Public Library, which will use funds to repair rooms and windows destroyed by airstrikes. ULA says the remaining funds will be distributed soon. ALA encourages members to continue to ....

ALA’s International Relations Office, Mar. 17

Florida Education Association logo

Nirvi Shah writes: “The Florida teachers union and other groups are suing the state education department, saying the way it interpreted a new law about school library books goes further than the law intended, leading to censorship and book bans. ‘As a result of the rules, teachers and school librarians or library media specialists have been compelled to self-censor out of fear of losing their job—or worse, being subjected to criminal allegations—simply for trying to provide a safe learning environment for all students,’ the Florida Education Association and other groups suing said in a statement.”...

USAToday, Mar. 17

Latest Library Links

Illinois Humanities logo

Phil Morehart writes: “ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall’s list of accolades grows with the announcement this week that she will receive the Beacon Award from Illinois Humanities. Illinois Humanities presents the Beacon Award annually to an individual or organization who has been a champion for—or investor in—the humanities in Illinois, elevating the work of humanists in ways that have improved the quality of the state for its residents. Illinois Humanities will present the award to Hall on May 17 at the Public Humanities Awards Ceremony in Chicago.”...

I Love Libraries, Mar. 15

Hand holding money on a pink background

Andrew Albanese writes: “It’s that time of year again: the American Library Association has officially kicked off its annual , triggered by the March 9 release of the . The good news: Gone are the days of the Trump Administration proposing to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (and with it virtually all federal support for libraries). The not so good news: It’s setting up to be a tough budget negotiation this year, and time is tighter than usual.”...

Publishers Weekly, Mar. 17; AL: The Scoop, Mar. 14; The White House, Mar. 9

US Department of Education logo

Miguel Cardona writes: “What we teach in our nation’s classrooms speaks to the essence of who we are as Americans. It shapes our young people’s understanding of where our nation has been and where we’re going. These discussions can be hard. But they become impossible when politicians try to hijack them to promote their own partisan agendas. As US secretary of education, as well as a father and lifelong educator, here’s what I know to be true: Parents don’t want politicians dictating what their children can learn, think, and believe. That’s not how public education is supposed to work in a free country.”...

Tampa Bay Times, Mar. 15

ALA news and press releases

#Booktok with colorful background

Geoff Bennett, Andrew Corkery, and Michael Boulter report: “The publishing world has a new infusion of enthusiasm and energy, thanks to an online community of book lovers on TikTok. Known as #BookTok, it’s not just a place for book recommendations and reviews—it’s also helping drive book sales. In 2021, adult fiction driven by BookTok grew by 25% over the previous year. BookTok has become the go-to platform for readers looking to find recommendations for books, and all kinds of genres, not always in the mainstream.”...

PBS News Weekend, Mar. 19

Blocks spelling out "mental health first aid"

Alejandro Marquez writes: “The academic library is open for the most staffed hours of any public building on campus. Because we see a wide swath of students, community patrons, and individuals experiencing such issues as housing insecurity and food insecurity, we should be able to recognize the signs of mental health distress. Healthier patrons equal healthier interactions, which means less trauma for employees. Mental health literacy is just another variation of our core mission. Many library professionals are woefully undertrained and unequipped to handle mental health issues. There needs to be an active investment of resources to ensure success.”...

ACRLog, Mar. 13

Hand writing equations on chalkboard

Senjuti Patra writes: “Physics, as a science that tries to understand how the universe really works, is fascinating and inspiring—not only to scientists and academics, but also to lay readers and writers of speculative fiction. It is the science that most frequently veers into the territory of philosophy. Here I have compiled a list of 10 physics books that cover various aspects of this vast field of study to get you started.”...

Book Riot, Mar. 20

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