Record challenges to library materials in 2022

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Line chart showing increase in censorship attempts

On March 22, ALA released new data documenting 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022. This is the highest number of attempted book bans since the Association began compiling this data more than 20 years ago, and it is nearly double the 729 challenges reported in 2021. A record 2,571 unique titles were targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted in 2021. Of these titles, the majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color. Of the reported book challenges, 58% targeted books and materials in schools, and 41% took place in public libraries....

ALA, Mar. 22

Heather McGhee

Payal Patel writes: “At the closing session of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2023 Conference on March 18 in Pittsburgh, author and policy advocate Heather McGhee encouraged the audience to practice radical empathy and question the stories they have been told. ‘Everything we believe comes from a story we’ve been told,’ McGhee said. ‘So, ask: Who is selling us these stories?’ The New York Times–bestselling author and board chair of racial justice advocacy organization Color for Change shared key insights from her 2021 book, which focuses on the concepts that perpetuate racist policies and discriminatory practices, preventing true economic prosperity.” ...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 28

Bob Hope magazine covers

April is National Humor Month. Here are some statistics that may leave you in stitches: the number of oral history interviews (70) with well-known comedians available online through the American Comedy Archives at Iwasaki Library at Emerson College in Boston; the number of jokes (265) found in Philogelos, the world’s oldest-surviving joke book, believed to date back to 4th or 5th century Greece; and the number of “light fiction” books (8,000) that exist within Greene County (Ohio) Public Library’s fictitious Biblioblimp....

American Libraries Trend, Mar./Apr.

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Araceli Méndez Hintermeister

Araceli Méndez Hintermeister writes: “In any profession, making informed decisions often means analyzing available facts and figures.” With many libraries managing with limited resources, Hintermeister recommends six titles that outline best practices for library workers to collect and understand organizational data, including books to help inform data-driven decisions and make sense of statistics....

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

TV news screenshot that says "Another Bomb Threat"

On March 22, Hilton (N.Y.) Central School District received the first of two emailed bomb threats, shutting down all five schools in the district. The threats claimed that bombs were placed in multiple buildings and that Molotov cocktails would be thrown into the district’s office. The sheriff’s office reports that it does not have any suspects and is continuing its investigation. The first email said the motive for the threat was a book titled This Book is Gay, which some parents want to ban from the Hilton school libraries. In a March 27 release, “ALA condemns—in the strongest terms possible—the violence, threats of violence, and other acts of intimidation that are increasingly taking place in America’s libraries, including last week’s bomb threats to Hilton (N.Y.) Central School District, which put the lives of hundreds of innocent children and staff members in jeopardy.”...

WHEC-TV (Rochester, N.Y.), Mar. 24; ALA, Mar. 27

Internet Archive logo

Joe Hernandez writes: “A federal judge has ruled in favor of a group of book publishers who sued the nonprofit Internet Archive in the early days of the pandemic for scanning and lending digital copies of copyrighted books. Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House accused the Internet Archive of ‘mass copyright infringement’ for loaning out digital copies of books without the publishers’ permission. The Internet Archive, which strives to provide ‘universal access to all knowledge,’ said its online library is legal under the doctrine of fair use. On Friday, US District Court Judge John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York sided with the publishers. The Internet Archive said it will appeal the ruling.”...

NPR, Mar. 26

Latest Library Links

Kids seated listening to storytime

ALSC’s Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee writes: “We’ve all had that moment where we know we’ve planned the perfect storytime. Hordes of littles and their grown-ups queuing to land a spot. The roar of tiny voices chanting your name. Singing your welcome song. We’ve all had that fantasy and the sudden crash that lands us solidly back in reality when no one shows up. Fear not, because a little bit of planning will save library workers time, money, frustration, and our pride. The perfect storytime is within your reach. Before you dust off your superhero librarian cape, ask yourself or your staff these five questions.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 22

Parents Bill of Rights Act

Rebecca Shabad writes: “The House passed GOP-sponsored legislation Friday aimed at providing parents with more information about their children’s education, marking the congressional Republicans’ foray into culture war battles taking place across the country over what is being taught in public schools. The would require public school districts to publicly post information about curricula for students, including providing parents with a list of books and reading materials available in school libraries. Congressional Democrats have voiced opposition to the bill, and the White House has also rejected it in a statement of administration policy. The Senate, controlled by Democrats, is not expected to take up the legislation.”...

NBC News, Mar. 24

Michelangelo’s David statue

Timothy Bella and Hannah Natanson write: “A Florida charter school principal said she was forced to resign this week after some parents complained about their 6th-grade students being shown images of Michelangelo’s David statue in class, with one parent believing the art lesson on the Renaissance masterpiece amounted to pornographic material. The chair of the school board confirmed to The Post that he gave Principal Hope Carrasquilla an ultimatum following complaints from three parents who believed the material on David was ‘controversial’ and not age-appropriate for their children.”...

The Washington Post, Mar. 24

ALA news and press releases

Illustration of a olorful light bulb

Jeremy Utley and Perry Klebahn write: “Most leaders who are frustrated with a lack of employee creativity have day-to-day systems and processes in place that don’t reflect their innovation goals. They’ve stifled nascent creativity with busy work and bureaucracy—think boring, in-office whiteboarding sessions, remote workdays packed with meetings, or advanced software that monitors worker ‘productivity.’ What are some of the foundational changes we’d recommend leaders champion amongst their teams? Here are five to try.”...

Harvard Business Review, Mar. 28

Logo for El Pais reading club

Hanaa’ Tameez writes: “With the intention of building community for its subscribers, last November El País launched its first reading club. In five months, the club has grown to more than 1,100 members scattered mostly throughout Spain and Latin America. Any paying subscriber can join the reading club. They get added to the subscribers-only Facebook group where they can talk to El País journalists, the authors they’re reading, and each other. With the hunch that the reading club might take off, the team’s first pick to kick it off was a risk: poetry.”...

NiemanLab, Mar. 23

Person reading ebook on beach

Sophie Friedman writes: “Reading material is essential for any trip, whether you’re lounging by the ocean or enjoying a scenic train ride. Books, magazines, and newspapers are all wonderful—no argument from us—but they’re heavy and eat up precious luggage space. Save yourself room and weight with an e-reader. Here, some top e-reader picks for your next vacation.”...

Tripadvisor, Mar. 22

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