Open letter from former President Obama supports librarians

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Americans and the Holocaust. Apply now to bring the exhibition to your library. ala.org/USHolocaustMuseum

Simon & Schuster Senior Vice President and Publisher Justin Chanda (left) interviews author Judy Blume at the 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition.

This summer marked a homecoming for the ALA, as 15,851 library workers and advocates gathered in Chicago for the 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition. In American Libraries’ July/August issue, contributor Sallyann Price highlights . Also in the issue, library technology consultant Marshall Breeding presents a , and AL Art Director Rebecca Lomax captures from the conference for our Bookend section....

American Libraries features, July/Aug.

President Barack Obama at Washington, D.C.'s Anacostia Neighborhood Library, being interviewed by a sixth-grade student while other students look on.

Former President Barack Obama published an July 17 in support of America’s librarians in an era of increasingly frequent book challenges and sometimes politically motivated, highly personal attacks against those who resist them. “In a very real sense, you’re on the front lines—fighting every day to make the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas available to everyone,” he wrote. “Your dedication and professional expertise allow us to freely read and consider information and ideas, and decide for ourselves which ones we agree with.”...

AL: The Scoop, July 17; Medium, July 17

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On July 13, the ALA Executive Board issued a in response to the Montana State Library Commission’s decision to discontinue the Montana State Library’s ALA membership. The statement notes that the Montana State Library’s annual funding from the federal government through Institute of Museum and Library Services grants has increased 24% since 2019 thanks in part to ALA advocacy efforts, and that ALA has awarded more than $218,000 to 23 Montana libraries through program grants in the past two years. The Montana Library Association has also issued to the decision....

AL: The Scoop, July 13; Montana Library Association, July 11

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I Love My Librarian Award 2024 logo

ALA invites library users nationwide to nominate their favorite librarians for the prestigious I Love My Librarian Award. The award recognizes the outstanding public service contributions of librarians working in public, school, college, community college or university libraries. Nominations are accepted online now through September 30. Ten librarians will each receive $5,000 in recognition of their outstanding achievements. Awardees will be honored at the 2024 LibLearnX Conference in Baltimore; honorees will also receive free full conference registration as part of their award packages....

ALA, July 11

Call Number podcast: The Colorful World of Comics

Episode 85 of Call Number dives into the colorful world of comics, graphic novels, and manga. American Libraries editors speak with Jenny Robb, head curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University in Columbus, which houses the world’s largest collection of print cartoon art, and Jillian Rudes, school librarian at the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in New York City, who discusses the benefits of reading manga and her tips for manga collection development. Also included are rapid-fire interviews with graphic novelists Harmony Becker, Kazu Kibuishi, Pedro Martín, and Dave Scheidt from ALA’s 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition....

AL: The Scoop, July 17

Part of the Book of HOV exhibit installed at Brooklyn Public Library, featuring photos of Jay-Z and his albums on the ground floor and upper levels, and a quote stretching from ground to ceiling that reads 'I'm the modern day Pablo Picasso, baby'  from 'Picasso Baby', off the album Magna Carta...Holy Grail

Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL) is hosting , an exhibition celebrating the life and work of rapper and producer Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, who was . The exhibit includes from the rapper’s career spread over two floors of its Central Library. by Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment agency, the exhibition opened July 14 with Jay-Z, , and in attendance. Since the exhibit opened, the library has seen its . The library has created 13 limited-edition library cards featuring artwork from Jay-Z albums....

BPL, July 14; Variety, July 14; Untapped New York, July 18; Rolling Stone, July 14; Bossip, July 14; The Hollywood Reporter, July 14; The Source, July 18

Latest Library Links

Red-and-white Nintendo Family Computer from the mid-80s, with a cartridge for the game Xevious in its cartridge slot

Ash Parrish writes: “With advancing console generations and the slow demise of both backward compatibility and digital game storefronts, the ability to play older games has always been tough. Through a new from the Video Game History Foundation and the Software Preservation Network, we now have a better understanding of just how difficult accessing older games really is.” Despite their value to cultural history, nearly 90% of games published before 2010 are nearly impossible to play today, impeded by both technological and copyright restrictions....

The Verge, July 14; Video Game History Foundation/Software Preservation Network, July 10

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Ella Creamer writes: “Two authors have filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, the company behind the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, claiming that the organization breached copyright law by ‘training’ its model on novels without the permission of authors. Mona Awad, whose books include Bunny and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, and Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World, filed the class action complaint to a San Francisco federal court.”...

The Guardian, July 5

Promotional art for the 2023 Asian American Literature Festival featuring the theme Ghost World? on an abstract background

Sophia Nguyen writes: “This year’s Asian American Literature Festival—the first since 2019—seemed destined to feel special. But just weeks before writers from across the world were due to land, the Smithsonian [Asian Pacific American Center] abruptly canceled the event, citing ‘unforeseen circumstances.’” An from festival partners and participants the decision for its negative impacts on authors and the Asian American community, and suggested “that a driving factor behind the festival’s cancellation might have been the Smithsonian’s desire to censor trans and nonbinary programming.”...

Washington Post, July 14; WTOP-FM (Washington, D.C.), July 18

ALA news and press releases


A woman using her hands to block her children from seeing the screen of a tablet computer

Kelly Jensen writes: “Before BookLooks, there was Common Sense Media. Nine major organizations banded together in May 2010 to issue a statement and letter against CSM and its content ratings, including the National Coalition Against Censorship, PEN America, the Authors Guild, and more. [But] Common Sense Media is now seen as an authority in the media: they’re cited when the news talks about book bans. Common Sense Media even helped a librarian of Melissa. Huh?”...

Stacked Books, July 17; We Need Diverse Books, May 11, 2022

A series of filing folders in a box

Christine Park writes: “Several months ago, I left my previous position, and my goal before leaving was to leave as much good documentation as possible. I wish I had dedicated more time to this type of task prior to leaving it all for the end. It had always been on my never-ending to-do list of things I would really like to finish eventually. Here are some lessons that I’ve learned or that I wish I learned before I began.”...

RIPS Law Librarian Blog, July 12

Multi-colored hot air balloons against a blue sky

Pamela Espinosa de los Monteros writes: “It is now rare to find a library that does not list diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as a core value or a part of their strategic plan. However, LIS DEI initiatives continue to struggle to make meaningful advancement in building inclusive organizations. The challenge DEI poses is that many of its core elements like trust are more relational—closer to emotional intelligence and cultural humility, which require us to refine our human-to-human engagement skills. An intellectual approach to DEI will not instantaneously recalibrate other’s behaviors and existing systems, let alone our own.”...

The Librarian Parlor, July 14

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