2023 ALA award winners

American Libraries logo
Follett 2023 Sets and Series Catalog. Explore Now. Ad from Follett.

2023 ALA Award Winners: Honoring excellence and leadership in the profession

Every year, the ALA recognizes the achievements of more than 200 individuals and institutions with an array of awards honoring their service to librarians and librarianship. Winners are chosen by juries of their colleagues and peers and embody the best of the profession’s leadership, vision, and service as well as a continued commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion (EDI), and outreach. Award recipients were honored at a June 25 ceremony and reception during ALA’s 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

From the president by Emily Drabinski

Emily Drabinski writes: “ALA, just like our libraries and communities, is always changing. Last spring, members affirmed a revised set of bylaws in a process shepherded by ALA Past President Lessa Kanani‘opua Pelayo-Lozada. They are intended to make our governance structures more accessible and the Association more nimble, so that we can better respond to challenges as they emerge. As library workers face pressing challenges related to climate change, funding, intellectual freedom, and, yes, the perennial need for more and better buildings and interiors, a stronger ALA is as important as ever.”...

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

Call Number podcast: Protecting the Right to Read

The recent wave of book bans and other censorship attempts have threatened democracy, restricting access and the rights of many readers. In Episode 87, Call Number looks at how libraries and library workers are on the front lines defending intellectual freedom. Host Diana Panuncial speaks with Freedom to Read Foundation Immediate Past President Peter Coyl and current President Sukrit Goswami, American Libraries Associate Editor Megan Bennett talks with Martha Hickson about her efforts to fight book bans (with the help of author David Levithan) at North Hunterdon High School in Annandale, New Jersey, and licensed counselor Kim Crutcher offers a special guided meditation....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 11

Latest Library Links

Pile of books with text: On June 25th, 1953, we said that we trust the people of this nation to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. 70 years later, we still trust them to make their own decisions.

ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee is conducting a review of the Freedom to Read Statement, the best known of ALA's documents supporting the principles of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights. ALA members are strongly encouraged to attend one or all of the upcoming listening sessions, each focused on a specific theme. At these virtual sessions, attendees should plan to share their thoughts on how well the current statement addresses these themes and what changes may need to be made....

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 7

Libraries Transforming Communities Accessible Small and Rural Communities logo

ALA invites applications from small and rural libraries for the second round of the Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities grant. Library workers may through December 11. Up to 300 libraries will receive $10,000 or $20,000 to support costs related to their community engagement project; virtual training to assist project directors in developing their community engagement, facilitation, and disability service skills; a suite of online resources developed to support local programs; and technical and project support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term. The first round ....

ALA Public Programs Office, Sept. 11

Cartoon depicting a crowd outside BookExpo with text The first event I went to with GENDER QUEER was in NYC in 2019 at the Javits Center

Maia Kobabe wrote and drew a comic describing the experience of creating and promoting Gender Queer, which has been the most banned book in the US for the past two years. In it, Kobabe writes: “We are at a crossroads of freedom of speech and censorship. The future of libraries, both publicly funded and in schools, are at stake. This is massively impacting the daily lives of librarians, teachers, students, book sellers, and authors around the country. We need to make the voices supporting diverse books and opposing book bans even louder.”...

The Nib, Sept. 1

Call Number ad

Emily Drabinski

ALA President Emily Drabinski is the guest on the newest episode of the New York Times podcast The Ezra Klein Show. Guest host Tressie McMillan Cottom interviews Drabinski about the rise of book bans, the “small infrastructure” of public libraries and how they stand against increasing class divides in American life, similarities between political attacks against libraries and other institutions, how censorship efforts fit into the broader landscape of antiqueer and antitrans legislation, and more....

The Ezra Klein Show, Sept. 12

Scales of justice with books on each side

Iantha Haight writes: “It’s understandable why some would question the need for a physical library. Building space is expensive. Most of our research resources are digital. The embedded librarian movement that emphasized the very real benefits of integrating librarians into classrooms and clinics had the unintentional side effect of deemphasizing the importance of the independent library space. Yet isn’t a library much more than that? The library as a physical entity serves as a powerful tangible symbol of the intangible and has a function beyond study space.”...

RIPS Law Librarian Blog, Sept. 8

Illustration depicting Research Support Services at Montana State University as an interconnected loop of services

Rebecca Bryant writes: “To develop robust research support services across the entire research life cycle, individuals and units from across Montana State University (MSU) must work across internal silos. Libraries are increasingly partnering with other campus stakeholders in research support, such as the office of research, campus IT, and academic affairs units. Cross-campus partnerships are made possible by strong social interoperability. Recognizing the siloed and confusing array of services available to MSU researchers, this fall the library has begun physically hosting a new Research Alliance, comprised of a coalition of units across campus that support students and researchers.”...

Hanging Together, Sept. 6

ALA news and press releases

Threads logo

Rimma Boshernitsan writes: “Threads appears to be, well, fraying at the edges already, with a recently reported 80% drop in daily active users since launch. For too long, social media platforms have been operating as if connectivity provides the same fulfillment as human connection. The result is, two decades later, social media’s driven our culture and communal well-being to an unprecedented loneliness epidemic that no platform seems capable of fixing, let alone addressing. It’s time for a hard reset.”...

TechCrunch, Aug. 30

Closeup of a Black woman with an ominous shadow behind her, from the cover to There's No Way I'd Die First

Lisa Springer writes: “For the longest time, it didn’t matter what movie I watched, if there were Black people in the film, they were usually the first to die, quickly and mercilessly dispatched and with dramatic effect. It became a well-known horror trope and running joke. Modern Black horror turns the mirror inward, putting the lens on societal dread and the monsters hidden in plain sight. It asks the reader to think critically and to reexamine the world from a different perspective. It is inclusive, and it considers the humanity of its characters and who gets to survive and triumph.”...

Crime Reads, Sept. 5

OpenAI logo

Benj Edwards writes: “Last week, OpenAI published in a promotional blog post that shows how some teachers are using ChatGPT as an educational aid, along with suggested prompts to get started. In a , they also officially admit what we already know: AI writing detectors don't work, despite frequently being used to punish students with false positives. OpenAI's new FAQ also addresses another big misconception, which is that ChatGPT itself can know whether text is AI-written or not.”...

Ars Technica, Sept. 8

ALA Publishing Logo

American Libraries Direct is a free electronic newsletter emailed every Wednesday to personal members of the .


Editor, AL Direct:

Direct ad inquiries to:

Send news and feedback:


All links outside the ALA website are provided for informational purposes only. Questions about the content of any external site should be addressed to the administrator of that site. .


American Libraries will not sell your email to outside parties, but your email may be shared with advertisers in this newsletter should you express interest in their products by clicking on their ads or content. If advertisers choose to communicate with you by email, they are obligated to provide you with an opportunity to opt-out from future emails in compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation of 2018. Read the .


To manage your American Libraries email preferences, please click .

To unsubscribe from all American Library Association communications, click .


American Library Association, 225 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60601

Higher Logic