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Academic Insights by Lalitha Nataraj

Lalitha Nataraj writes: “As of late, bureaucratic practices in higher education have been steeped in a neoliberal ideology that manifests as managerialism, or applying a corporate model to run a nonprofit or academic institution. With managerialism, academic libraries are asked to adopt a more business-like approach when it comes to assessment and justifying the value of our work within the larger institutional system. For library workers who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), these confusing exercises can damage our well-being and ability to properly serve the students with whom we work.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

Photo of Rosie Grant with one of the gravestone recipes she created for her @ghostlyarchive account

Megan Bennett writes: “Whether it’s snickerdoodles, peach cobbler, or cheese dip, many home cooks want to be remembered for their signature dish. Some have even gone as far as incorporating those foods into their final resting place. Rosie Grant, digital librarian for American Jewish University in Los Angeles and outreach and communications manager at UCLA, went viral last year for trying recipes etched on gravestones and documenting her culinary process on TikTok, ...

American Libraries Bookend, Sept./Oct.

Emily Drabinski

ALA President Emily Drabinski has been named to Out magazine’s , joining a distinguished group of LGBTQIA+ individuals recognized for their outstanding contributions, impact and influence over the past year. This year’s list, with the theme “Open Doors,” spotlights individuals who have made significant strides within the community and blazed trails by opening doors and shattering barriers for others. : “One of the most sacred institutions in America is under attack: our libraries. But thanks to Emily Drabinski and other brave librarians they have a real fighting chance.”...

ALA Communications, Marketing, and Media Relations Office, Oct. 18; Out, Oct. 17

Teaching with Primary Sources: Programming with Library of Congress Digital Collections. A new LibGuide designed to help libraries explore the thousands of primary sources available from the Library of Congress online collection. Ad from the American Library Association Public Programs Office

AASL National Conference logo: AASL Tampa Bay October 19-21 2023 national.aasl.org

Knowledge Quest is currently featuring coverage of the American Association of School Librarians National Conference, held in Tampa, Florida, from October 19–21. The featured Nikkolas Smith, illustrator of I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges and The 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones. The conference also included sessions on , , , and more....

Knowledge Quest, Oct. 19–24

Two girls making a craft

Carrie S. Banks writes: “By applying Universal Design for Learning principles, many aspects of in-person programs will be accessible, welcoming, and non-stigmatizing to patrons with or without disabilities. What counts for accessibility, however, will vary from program to program. Here are some guidelines for making different program types accessible.” For performances, the sensory environment and letting the audience know what to expect are critical. Book clubs require materials in appropriate formats, complexity, and reading level for participants. Maker programs require the correct tools, materials, techniques, and understandable instructions. See also ....

Programming Librarian, Oct. 10, 17

Young girl examining a book at a book fair

Rachel Treisman writes: “Scholastic is reversing course, saying it will [] for school book fairs of putting most of the titles dealing with race, gender, and sexuality into their own collection and allowing schools to decide whether to order it, as they would with any display. Scholastic had said the policy was aimed at helping districts navigate the book bans that have proliferated across the country, but many educators and authors accused the company of caving to censorship.” Scholastic Trade Publishing president Ellie Berger apologized and announced the reversal in a ....

NPR, Oct. 25

Latest Library Links

Group of people at a Moms for Libros protest, holding a FReadom banner

Sommer Brugel writes: “When Miami-Dade County (Fla.) Schools restricted Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem and other titles only to middle school students in a K-8 school, Lissette Fernandez, a parent, was ‘completely taken aback.’ In June, she co-founded Moms for Libros, one of several local parent groups that have popped up in the past year or two to push back on book bans. The coalitions have homed in on Moms for Liberty, a Gov. Ron DeSantis-linked group founded in Florida that has made book bans a big part of their agenda.”...

Miami Herald, Oct. 12

Hub of a large wheel with spokes traveling in all directions

David Pierce writes: “For the last two decades, our social networking and social media platforms have been universes unto themselves. Now we may be at the beginning of a new era. Instead of a half-dozen platforms competing to own your entire life, apps like Mastodon, Bluesky, Pixelfed, Lemmy, and others are building a more interconnected social ecosystem. In a vastly more open and decentralized world, how do the posters post? The answer, I think, lies in a decade-old idea about how to organize the internet. It’s called POSSE: Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere.”...

The Verge, Oct. 23

Judge's gavel in front of a screen that reads The United States Copyright Office 1870

Scott Nover writes: “In July, a group of writers including comedian Sarah Silverman and novelist Michael Chabon filed suits against OpenAI and Meta, alleging that the companies improperly trained their models on the authors’ books. But one smaller squabble is already headed to trial, and may portend whether authors have a legitimate claim of wrongdoing. In 2020, the media company Thomson Reuters sued a little-known firm called Ross Intelligence. Reuters alleged that Ross tried to license its legal summaries to train an artificial intelligence–powered legal search engine. A trial is tentatively scheduled for May 2024.”...

Slate, Oct. 17

ALA news and press releases

One woman at a computer giving a demonstration to another woman

Dianndra Roberts writes: “Leading in a space of social justice is not easy. It can be exhausting having to share your story, your trauma, or your history time and time again. When leading, I make a point of asking: How are we reflecting on the systems we benefit from? What are we doing to dismantle them? Are you actively aware of the systems you benefit from? These are questions for continual reflection.”...

BMJ Leader, Oct. 17

Chrome logo with a faded background of extensions logos

Corbin Davenport writes: “Web browser extensions can turn from useful to dangerous in just one update, potentially opening up your browsing habits and some personal data to an unknown third-party developer or company. It has happened over and over and over again, despite the best efforts from Google, Microsoft, and other browser developers. Free browser extensions usually rely on donations, open-source contributions, or affiliate revenue to subsidize the cost and time involved with development. However, sometimes the developers look for ways to generate additional revenue without charging the user, which is where we start running into trouble.”...

How-To Geek, Oct. 24

Part of the cover of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

Carrie McBride writes: “There's more than one way to celebrate Halloween and spooky season. If you're not a fan of horror, the macabre, and ghastly ghouls but you're down for magic, curses, and other witchy vibes (not to mention vampires and ghosts), give one of these paranormal rom-coms a try. You'll find standalone books as well as the latest titles in a series, if you're the commitment type.”...

New York Public Library, Oct. 12

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