2023 Library Design Showcase

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Follett 2023 Sets and Series Catalog featuring a variety of children's books. Ad from Follett

Cover art for the 2023 Library Design Showcase

Sallyann Price writes: “Welcome to the 2023 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries that address patron needs in exciting and effective ways. This year’s selections represent a return to prepandemic normalcy and demonstrate a firm step into the future, with physical spaces designed to draw in communities, celebrate local history, and acknowledge diverse natural environments. For these overhauls and expansions, form and functionality reign.”...

American Libraries, Sept./Oct.

From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Tracie D. Hall writes: “Early in the pandemic, US health care workers found themselves restricted in speaking out about COVID-19 treatment and mitigation. Library workers and ALA itself are caught in a similar situation. Our very work and mission—‘to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all,’ built on the constitutional bedrocks of individual agency and intellectual freedom—have become embattled. We must understand this divisive and volatile era of book censorship as a long-tail effect of the same sentiments that denounced science as threatening to the status quo and sought to suppress public health information.”...

American Libraries, Sept./Oct.

World War I–era peace pins housed at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford (Calif.) University. The pins belonged to pacifist and feminist activist Alice Park.

Megan Bennett writes: “The Swarthmore Peace Collection has grown to nearly 4,000 collections of various sizes, including books, audiovisual materials, and other ephemera from peace activists and movements, mostly from the 20th century. Swarthmore is one of several institutions in the US that house peace-related collections—either historical archives or special libraries focused on cultivating a nonviolent world. As all those who work with these collections can attest, the need for greater understanding of these materials and their history is especially valuable in the face of modern-day civil unrest and geopolitical conflict.”...

American Libraries, Sept./Oct.

Call Number ad

Free People Read Freely: Freedom to Read Foundation logo

Alejandro Serrano writes: “District Judge Alan D. Albright indicated during a hearing that he will grant a temporary injunction sought by a group of book groups and sellers who sued the state over Texas House Bill 900 in July, the group’s lawyers said in a statement. H.B. 900 requires school library vendors to rate all their books and materials for appropriateness before selling them to schools based on the presence of sex depictions or references.” The Freedom to Read Foundation and American Association of School Librarians had supporting the request for the injunction.”...

Texas Tribune, Aug. 31; FTRF and AASL, Aug. 18

Abstract, multi-colored pattern

Sarah R. Kostelecky, Lori Townsend, and David A. Hurley write: “According to Google Scholar, there have been about 100 publications in the past 12 months about cultural humility and librarianship. Clearly, it is resonating with our profession as a way to make positive change towards equity, inclusion, and justice in libraries and librarianship. But we occasionally hear people praising cultural humility while almost simultaneously reinforcing and reproducing the very sort of structural inequities that a practice of cultural humility should aim to redress. This gives us pause.”...

College & Research Libraries, Sept.

Abstract illustration of two figures investigating a web page

Lisa Campbell and Brittany Kester write: “Like many library practitioners, we understand the importance of reducing barriers and ensuring the accessibility of our resources, services, and online content. While we know that we can design using an inclusive universal design framework, and evaluate the conformance to accessibility standards, there may still be barriers that are unknown to us during the design process. These considerations led us to discover and conduct accessible user experience research.”...

Choice 360 LibTech Insights, Aug. 30

Latest Library Links

Abstract figures collaborating to fit an oversized jigsaw piece into its spot

Georgette Spratling writes: “Librarians in public libraries and media specialists in schools play significant roles in fostering a love for learning, promoting literacy, and empowering communities. When these professionals collaborate, their partnerships can become a force for positive change, extending informative and educational opportunities to those who need it most. In this blog post, we will explore what synergy between librarians and media specialists in supporting underserved communities may look like.”...

ALSC Blog, Sept. 2

Ellen Weaver

Nate Stanley writes: “A 50-year partnership is officially over in the state following Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver's decision to cut ties with the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL). On August 25th, Weaver sent to the organization's current president stating the department would ‘formally discontinue any partnerships with SCASL as an organization, effective immediately.’” The letter claims recent SCASL communications about censorship “undermine [the] vital objective” of transparency in library selection and purchasing policies....

WLTX-TV (Columbia, S.C.), Sept. 2

Michael Farris testifying before in the 1980s in a CSPAN screencap

Emma Brown and Peter Jamison write: “In the early 1980s, [homeschooling pioneer Michael] Farris argued that a high school English class was promoting a religion of ‘secular humanism’ by teaching The Learning Tree, a novel by Black filmmaker Gordon Parks. But his most famous confrontation with public school officials came during a 1986 trial in Tennessee. His clients were born-again Christians who argued their children should not be required to read Rumpelstiltskin, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other material that they said undermined their religious beliefs. In recent years, he has reached the pinnacle of the conservative legal establishment alleging that public schools are violating parental and religious rights.”...

Washington Post, Aug. 29

ALA news and press releases

A figure walks a path with three arrows coming out of it.

A research team writes: “Many organizations struggle with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). People are busy. They have lots of competing priorities and lots to occupy their brains. Even if they care about DEI, they might not have it top of mind as they go about their work. As a result, they might not see how their decisions are relevant for DEI and so might inadvertently make inequitable decisions. To fix this, managers and organizations should make DEI more immediately obvious when it matters most—when consequential decisions about such matters as hiring, promotions, and performance evaluation are being made.”...

Harvard Business Review, Sept. 1

Close-up of a book's binding being hand-glued

“Hand binding a book using primarily 15th-century methods and materials sounds like a major undertaking, rife with pitfalls and frustration. A far more relaxing activity is watching Four Keys Book Arts’ wordless, of self-taught bookbinder Dennis tackling that same assignment, above. (Bonus—it’s a guaranteed treat for those prone to autonomous sensory meridian response tingles.)” The process is also detailed that depict time-consuming tasks like trimming and tidying edges, sewing endbands, and decorating the leather cover....

Open Culture, Sept. 4; Four Keys Book Arts, Oct. 6, 2022; Dec. 18, 2021

Illustration of a man in a deep green forest

Dennis James Sweeney writes: “In an era of environmental catastrophe, it’s easy to forget that we are the environment too. The world affected by climate change is not some distant place far away in the forest. It’s us. We are as much a part of the world as the trees, the birds, the ocean. The books on this reading list reflect our essential connectedness, bringing together the human and the natural in ways that remind us they have always been the same thing.”...

Electric Lit, Sept. 1

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