Dolly Parton to be awarded honorary ALA membership

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State of America's Libraries 2023 cover

On Monday, ALA released its annual and list of the to mark the start of National Library Week (April 23–29). In 2022, libraries and schools across the US faced 1,269 book challenges, targeting 2,571 unique titles—the highest number of censorship attempts since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago. But despite obstacles, to their communities. National Library Week invites supporters to show “There’s More to the Story”—that libraries offer more than books, including internet and technology access, literacy and skill-building tools, and job training. The week includes (April 24), (April 25), (April 26), and (April 27)....

ALA, Apr. 24

Dolly Parton READ poster

ALA announced that it will confer an honorary lifetime membership upon award-winning singer-songwriter, actor, and philanthropist Dolly Parton for her longstanding commitment to inspiring a love of books and reading. Parton’s Imagination Library—a program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until age 5—distributes more than 2 million books monthly. She was recommended by the ALA Executive Board and elected by ALA Council to receive honorary membership, the highest honor given by the Association to a living person whose outstanding contributions have made a lasting impact on librarianship, libraries, and the communities they serve. Parton has also joined ....

ALA, Apr. 20

Lessa Kanani‘opua Pelayo-Lozada

Deirdre Sugiuchi writes: “Today’s librarians don’t just lead storytimes or maintain collections, they’re also first responders. Libraries are also facing an unprecedented wave of censorship, with 2022 having the highest demands of book bans on record. I spoke recently with ALA President Lessa Kanani‘opua Pelayo-Lozada about how to take a stand against book bans, how ALA is working to support all patrons and library staff, and how the American public can support our libraries.”...

Electric Lit, Apr. 21

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Texas Capitol building

Sneha Day writes: “The Texas House passed a bill Thursday that aims to ban sexually explicit materials from school libraries. But legal experts, librarians, and some parents are concerned that the bill’s language is vague and broad enough to ensnare books that are not inappropriate. Under House Bill 900, ‘sexually explicit’ books would be taken off shelves, and some books with sexual references would require parental consent. It passed the House by a 95–52 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate. If H.B. 900 passes into law, book vendors would have to assign ratings to books based on the presence of depictions or references to sex.”...

The Texas Tribune, Apr. 19

Book cover of Salim's Soccer Ball

Nomi Hague writes: “President Biden officially declared April as National Arab American Heritage Month. In that spirit, this post will take the opportunity to highlight some picture books about Palestinian Arabs, a group that does not often make it onto our library shelves. The selected picture books celebrate and highlight Palestinian culture, self-determination, and identity, while also acknowledging the loss and trauma faced by Palestinians due to their expulsion from their homeland and subsequent life spent under military occupation, in refugee camps, or in exile.”...

ALSC Blog, Apr. 22

Person at computer with floating copyright symbol

Michelle M. Wu writes: “Late last month, a federal court ruled against the Internet Archive and its controlled digital lending (CDL) program. At issue was whether a library could legally digitize the books it already owned and lend the digital copies in place of the print. Internet Archive maintained that it could. The publishers, on the other hand, viewed CDL as piracy. While Judge John G. Koeltl’s opinion addressed many issues, all his reasoning was based on one assumption: that copyright primarily is about authors’ and publishers’ right to profit. Despite the pervasiveness of this belief, the history of copyright tells us something different.”...

The Nation, Apr. 20

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Keyboard with keys highlighted in red spelling out "pay"

Nina Derwin writes: “There are few moments on the internet that are more frustrating than when you are trying to read a news article but find yourself face-to-face with a paywall. While it’s important to support quality journalism, it’s hard to imagine that anyone can subscribe to every news outlet, as subscriptions can be costly. Luckily, there are a handful of ways to get around these paywalls so you can stay informed without having to break the bank to read an article from time to time.” Among Derwin’s suggestions: library cards and clearing cookies....

Reader’s Digest, Apr. 24

Sign reading "Llano county Library System"

Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent write: “When commissioners in Llano County—population 21,000—voted to keep its three-branch library system open, the moment was closely monitored by the biggest news organizations in the country. That’s because Llano County has become a national symbol of local right-wing censorship efforts after officials threatened to close its libraries entirely rather than allow offending materials to remain on shelves. Under intense scrutiny, the commission blinked. Its leader acknowledged feeling pressure from ‘social media’ and ‘news media.’ But one of the big surprises of these sagas has been outbreaks of resistance to book purges in the reddest places. It turns out that even in an overwhelmingly conservative place, plenty of people value free expression. Many Republicans aren’t on board with the right’s censorship agenda. And these folks can organize.”...

The Washington Post, Apr. 14

"Poetry" spelled out in blocks

Kendra Winchester writes: “It’s National Poetry Month! As a disabled person, I especially love to see disabled, chronically ill, d/Deaf, and neurodivergent writers using poetry to express their creativity and ingenuity. Disabled poets also use poetry to mourn the experience of ableism and violence inflicted on our communities and discuss the unique experiences of disabled people who live at the intersection of many different identities. I’ve collected a wide range of different poetry collections for you. There’s narrative poetry, poetry written by a Deaf poet using sign language in his poems, and several poets whose work is informed by their experiences as disabled queer people of color.”...

Book Riot, Apr. 19

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