New tactics to resist book bans

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A cartoon depiction of a librarian holding a stack of books with a group of protestors behind her.

Christina Sterbenz writes: “As calls for censorship in libraries and school districts continue to escalate—and personal attacks on those who oppose these attempts persist—library workers are finding new ways to protect themselves, the books they care so much about, and intellectual freedom in their communities. Some are adjusting their policies on book challenges or trying to improve the dialogue with patrons. Others are fighting back through the judicial system. Even state lawmakers are supporting the right to read with bills to curtail book bans.”...

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

Let Freedom Read Banned Books Week logo

Betsy Gomez writes: “Libraries, schools, bookstores, and groups around the world will be calling attention to censorship and ways to fight it October 1–7. ALA and Unite Against Book Bans will mark this year’s Banned Books Week with a slate of programs, a call to action on Let Freedom Read Day, videos from the Banned Books From the Big Chair read out, and more.” Virtual programs will include actor and reading advocate LeVar Burton, author John Green, writer and illustrator Mike Curato, Texas FReadom Fighters co-founder Becky Calzada, and Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels....

Intellectual Freedom Blog, Sept. 27

Net Neutrality stamp superimposed on a green light.

Brian Fung writes: “The US government aims to restore sweeping regulations for high-speed internet providers, reviving ‘net neutrality’ rules for the broadband industry. The proposed rules from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will designate internet service as ‘essential telecommunications’ akin to traditional telephone services, and would ban internet service providers from blocking or slowing down access to websites and online content. The FCC plans to vote October 19 on whether to advance the draft rules by soliciting public feedback on them, a step that would precede the creation of any final rules.” ALA issued a in support of the proposal....

CNN, Sept. 26; ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Sept. 26



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Erie Community Library

Matt Bloom writes: “A former librarian will receive $250,000 from the High Plains Library District [in Weld County, Colorado] as part of a settlement in a lengthy civil rights dispute over her firing. Brooky Parks lost her job at Erie Community branch in 2021 after promoting anti-racism and LGBTQ history workshops for teens. The programming drew backlash from the district’s board of trustees, which oversees more than a dozen public libraries across Northern Colorado. As part of the settlement, the district adopted new rules to encourage programming that is more ‘inclusive and diverse.’”...

Colorado Public Radio, Sept. 22

US Capitol building

Tate Ryan-Mosley writes: “The AI Insight Forums were announced a few months ago by US Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as part of his ‘SAFE Innovation’ initiative, which is really a set of principles for AI legislation in the US. The invite list was heavily skewed toward Big Tech execs. But to dig below the surface, I caught up with one of the other attendees, Mozilla Fellow Inioluwa Deborah Raji, who gave me an inside look at how the first meeting went, the pernicious myths she needed to debunk, and where disagreements could be felt in the room.”...

MIT Technology Review, Sept. 25

Stack of dollar bills

The ALA Publishing Committee’s provides up to $5,000 for the preparation of print or electronic reading lists, indexes, or other guides to library resources that promote reading or the use of library resources at any type of library. include “Creating Accessible and User-friendly Black Genealogical Tools,” “Protest in the Virgin Islands,” and “Cultivating a Culture of Care: Trauma-Informed Librarianship,” among others. Applications must be received by November 3....

ALA Publishing, Sept. 14

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Illustration of people sitting around a table with a light bulb in the middle.

ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office has released the updated , which is available for free download online. The workbook is an adaptable guide to engaging individuals and groups in library advocacy on any issue. It guides users through actionable steps in creating an advocacy plan, including community analysis, building a library ecosystem, goal setting, and message development and delivery. Workbook activities keep users focused on needs assessment, implementation steps, and effective outreach for best results....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Sept. 18

Illustration of figures manipulating content blocks

Crissandra George writes: “Historically, digital library research has had a large focus on enhancing access to digital collections, but only recently has the long-term sustainability of digital preservation been making headlines. These subfields have largely coexisted for a long time, which has created confusion around what these subfields do and how they differ. Digital collections and digital preservation, while similar, also have many differences in everyday practice. Both fields strive for long-term, sustainable, and reliable access to digital objects, making it difficult to discern between the two at times.”...

Choice 360 LibTech Insights, Sept. 25

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Matus Formanek writes: “DSpace open-source software supports numerous digital libraries and repositories around the world. With the release of DSpace version 7, a natural question that arises is whether the new version offers enough new functionalities to motivate system administrators to upgrade. Older versions of DSpace have reached the end of their developer support period or are reaching it in mid-2023. Based on our own upgrade experience, we propose suggestions and recommendations on migrating from the previous DSpace 6.3-based environment to the new one.”...

Information Technology and Libraries, Sept. 18

ALA news and press releases

Line drawing of a human figure sitting with his head in his hands, drawn with geometric shapes.

Juliana Kaplan and Eliza Relman write: “If libraries can convince people they're for more than just quiet reading, they might just be able to reshape the new social landscape. Three years into the hybrid and work-from-home world, social time has plummeted. Americans aren't socializing on weekdays, and are spending even less time with friends. Loneliness is on the rise. And it's becoming clearer just how important ‘third places’—spaces for socializing outside of work and home—are.”...

Business Insider, Sept. 24

ALA logo

All ALA members are invited to volunteer for ALA standing committees during the 2024–26 term. Committee service provides members with opportunities to gain valuable professional development and leadership experience, make an impact on key issues and policies within ALA and librarianship, engage with colleagues from various types of libraries across the nation, and build their resumes. Volunteer via the by September 30. (Be sure to select "ALA" in the drop-down menu on the main form). ALA President-Elect Cindy Hohl will make committee appointments, with notifications sent to appointed individuals throughout Spring 2024....

ALA Governance Office, July 18

Part of the cover to the children's book Your Name is a Song

Nomi Hague writes: “Although often exciting and enjoyable, for some children the new school year can also be stressful and anxiety provoking if their names are challenging for their teachers and classmates to pronounce. Some questions that children in these situations might be grappling with are: Will my new teacher be able to say and spell my name? Will the other kids be able to remember my name? Can or should I change my name to make it easier for everyone else?” The books in this list remind children to celebrate their own and other people’s names....

ALSC Blog, Sept. 22

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