Teens push back on book bans

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Ava Kirtley, who started a club for students focused on banned books

Emily Udell writes: “Ava Kirtley was a high school junior when she first learned about attempts to ban books at her school library in Walla Walla, Washington. ‘One of the most infuriating things was that [the book ban supporters] were claiming they were speaking for us,’ says the now 18-year-old. Feeling exhilarated from speaking out at [a] board meeting alongside her peers, Kirtley was determined to address the issue further. She began planning a club for students focusing on banned books.”...

American Libraries feature, May

A colorful, stylized uterus illustration

Barbara A. Alvarez writes: “When I have connected with public librarians about sharing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information, a common refrain has been that patrons do not come to the reference desk for this information. This isn’t surprising. How comfortable would you be going up to a stranger and asking them a question about your health, much less your sexual health? Of course, it is a mistake to attribute a lack of questions to a lack of interest. Many people may be afraid to ask, or they may assume the library doesn’t have this information.”...

American Libraries feature, May

People practicing ikebana flower arranging

Alison Marcotte writes: “Ikebana—the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging—is finding new fans among library patrons. Through online and in-person workshops and exhibitions, many participants find that it brings them a welcome sense of relief and calm, as well as new skills. More than simply decorative, ikebana is about noticing and appreciating the beauty of nature and bringing the indoors and outdoors together. Using principles of minimalism, silence, shape, and line, practitioners select living branches, flowers, leaves, and other natural elements to create expressive arrangements.”...

American Libraries Trend, May

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Gabrielle Griffis

Gabrielle Griffis writes: “Are you sure it’s time to throw out those pants with a broken zipper or that bike with the squeaky pedals? Repair events, which can be hosted at libraries, help foster a culture of social and environmental stewardship by offering a space where people can preserve resources and consider the cost of manufacturing and the impact of waste. At these events, people bring their broken items, and repair coaches provide instruction on how to—hopefully—fix them. In this hands-on, intergenerational setting, participants learn new skills and connect with community members while keeping items out of landfills.”...

American Libraries column, May

Let Freedom Read BBW logo

Each year, the Freedom to Read Foundation distributes a set of $1,000 grants to help libraries and organizations support activities that raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues during ALA’s annual Banned Books Week celebration. This year’s Banned Books Week will be held October 1–7 with the theme “Let Freedom Read.” Staffers at all types of libraries, schools, universities, and nonprofit community organizations are encouraged to apply. ....

Freedom to Read Foundation, Apr. 5

Illinois capitol building

Claire Savage writes: “ Wednesday that says libraries in the state must adopt an anti-book banning policy to receive state funding, in a vote that fissured along party lines. The measure, , represents a counter-movement to on topics such as race, gender and sexuality in schools and libraries across the United States. The legislation has passed both chambers and now heads to the desk of Gov. J. B. Pritzker, who said he looks forward to signing it.”...

Associated Press, May 3, Apr. 9, Mar. 20

Latest Library Links

An open book with lavender flowers growing from the pages

Elizabeth Libberton writes: “Verse poetry novels cover a wide variety of topics, are a unique reading format, and can be engaging for more reluctant readers. Over the past few years there has been a rise in the amount of verse poetry for teens. I compiled a list of some of the best titles I’ve read lately to help with recommendations for students, teachers, and book study projects. This list can be a jumping off point for teen readers as they explore verse poetry.”...

Knowledge Quest blog, May 5

UC Berkeley anthropology library

Tim Arango writes: “For days now, the [University of California, Berkeley, anthropology] library has become a scene of occupation. Students have filled it with tents, sleeping bags, and air mattresses in a last-ditch effort to save the 67-year-old institution dedicated to anthropology, which encompasses the study of humanity, societies, and cultures. The university is preparing to move the collections of archaeological field notes and books—about 80,000 volumes in total, on subjects as varied as folktales, Black culture, and Mexican American social movements—to a nearby warehouse and the main library, saving $400,000 annually.”...

The New York Times, May 2

An electric car plugged in at a charging station

YLE News writes: “Library users in Turku will soon be able to borrow an electric car alongside books and other materials. The city is partnering with Toyota Auto Finland to deliver the service on a trial basis for three weeks starting May 8. Library cardholders can borrow the fully electric Toyota bZ4X car from the library for six hours at a time during weekdays and four and a half hours during weekends.” Turku City Library Services Director Rebekka Pilppula said she believes the trial is the first of its kind in the world....

YLE News, May 4

ALA news and press releases

Several rows of chairs

Mary Kamela writes: “In March, I attended my first national library conference: ACRL 2023 in Pittsburgh. Although I was initially worried about the size of the conference and the number of programs, I found the experience to be very manageable, as well as fun and informative. Here are some of my biggest tips for others embarking on their first large library conferences.”...

NMRT Notes, May 1

An angry person in a suit slamming their fist on a table

Tim Riesterer writes: “The service recovery paradox is a phenomenon in which a customer who experiences a problem with a product or service, but has that problem effectively resolved, is more likely to have a positive impression of the company than a customer who never experienced any problems. Essentially, when a company is able to effectively recover from a service failure, the customer’s satisfaction can actually increase beyond what it would have been if the failure had never happened.”...

Harvard Business Review, May 5

A collage of book covers

Keir Clarke writes: “ is an interactive map of 51,847 books organized by similarity. Using the map you can discover new books to read by searching for your favorite books and exploring other similar nearby books. If you click on a book’s cover on the map, an information window will open containing a short introduction to the novel’s plot. All the nearby books on the map are then likely to be fairly similar.”...

Google Maps Mania, May 2; Nathan Rooy, Apr. 12

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