2023 Holiday Gift Guide for Librarians and Book Lovers

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2023 Holiday Gift Guide with a montage of gift options

Alison Marcotte writes: “Looking for creative, literary gift ideas for the bookworms on your holiday list? American Libraries has curated a list of potential presents for those special librarians and literature lovers in your life. Each costs less than $50 and many are less than $20, making them affordable gifts in a time of high inflation and economic uncertainty.”...

American Libraries feature, Nov. 29

Figuring out fair use

Carrie Russell writes: “Why do librarians and teachers—the very professionals who specialize in information literacy, equitable access to information, and the advancement of learning—have so many anxieties and misconceptions about copyright? Many of us harbor an unfounded fear of copyright litigation. ‘Better safe than sorry’ is a frequent assertion. But that attitude can keep users and creators of copyright-protected content from engaging in personal and educational activities that are unlikely to infringe copyright law. That excess caution is, consequently, contrary to the values of librarianship, teaching, and the goals of copyright.”...

American Libraries feature, Nov./Dec.

Teen artist-in-residence Celia Hamilton uses the studio at Carmel Clay (Ind.) Public Library (top left) to plan and execute a photoshoot of herself wearing her fashion designs (right).

Stephi Smith writes: “Celia Hamilton wanted to identify further with her Chinese heritage. Her adoptive parents are not Chinese, and she says this left her feeling like she missed out on some aspects of her cultural background. To connect with that part of her identity, Hamilton crafted a traditional garment—inspired by the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e—as one of three teens selected for Carmel Clay (Ind.) Public Library (CCPL)’s teen artists-in-residence program. CCPL is one of a handful of libraries across the US that have created teen artist-in-residence programs with a goal of bolstering youth interest in the arts.”...

American Libraries Trend, Nov./Dec.

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ALA Emerging Leaders logo

ALA has selected 50 participants for its (EL). The EL program allows library staff and information workers to participate in project planning work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity early in their careers. ELs will take part in a virtual day-long session during the 2024 LibLearnX conference in Baltimore this January and work for six months, culminating in a poster session at ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in San Diego where they will highlight results of their project planning work....

ALA Office for Human Resource Development and Recruitment, Nov. 27

Association for Library Service to Children logo

Lisa Bintrim writes: “The number of program challenges reported to ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom has grown over the past 10 years from one or none each year to a peak of 69 challenges in 2019. Recognizing the need to prepare library staff for opposition to programs, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) tasked the School-Age Programs and Services (SAPS) committee with creating a toolbox focused on program challenges. On behalf of the SAPS committee, I’m excited to share the result of our work from the 2022–2023 term: The .”...

ALSC Blog, Nov. 25

Dramatically curved library shelves

Nimisha Bhat writes: “I’m always telling prospective library school students that the best part of my job is learning something new every day. Every time I have a research consultation with a student, they teach me something new while I determine the best way to connect them with the information they need. This is something I have been trying to remind myself of since I started a new tenure-track library position earlier this year. Like many librarians, what I lack in theoretical learning I’ve made up for in experiential learning as a practitioner.”...

ACRLog, Nov. 27

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Illustration of a robot reading books

Nabiha Syed writes: “Often, our data is extracted invisibly, harvested in the background while we go about our day. Artificial Intelligence (AI) raises the stakes because now that data is not only used to make decisions about you, but rather to make deeply powerful inferences about people and communities. [Computer scientist] Joy Buolamwini is someone who has been thinking about collective harm and AI for years. Keep reading to learn more about ‘the excoded,’ facial recognition at the airport, and whether we are ‘living in the age of the last masters.’”...

The Markup, Nov. 18

Title card for The ABCs of Book Banning

Matthew Carey writes: “MTV Documentary Films’ slate of short films that debuted on the Paramount+ streaming platform on November 21 includes The ABCs of Book Banning, the directorial debut of documentary legend Sheila Nevins. The documentary follows the human toll the future will pay for depriving children of their right to read and learn about a complex world. Interviews with children and authors shed light on this ongoing, dangerous precedent.”...

Deadline, Nov. 16

Part of the cover of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Megan Maloy writes: “In anticipation of the big-screen rendition of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we have curated a collection of YA books where the thrill of dystopian adventures meets the pulse-pounding intensity of The Hunger Games. These novels explore narratives that echo the spirit of survival, rebellion, complex characters, and the gripping tension between power and resilience.”...

San José Public Library, Nov. 17

ALA news and press releases

Group of people around a conference table

Stephen Shedletzky writes: “When people are afraid that something bad will happen to them because of their decision to speak up, in most cases, they won’t do it. And can we really blame them? This is, seemingly, leadership’s failure to foster the type of culture that encourages and rewards people for speaking up. So, how do you foster a speak-up culture? It starts with resisting the urge to manipulate employees—and ends with making it safe and worthwhile for them to share their truth.”...

Greater Good, Nov. 13

Young students using computers

Tess Vrbin writes: “More than 11,000 Pulaski County, Arkansas, students are unable to access online educational materials through their local public library as a legal precaution. The Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) had been participating in the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) ‘’ program since 2018. However, the district’s attorney advised PCSSD to withdraw from the tech card program because CALS’ online student portal does not have ‘a way to filter search results and access to particular material [which may be required under the ],’ says PCSSD executive director of communications Jessica Duff.”...

Arkansas Advocate, Nov. 17

Section of a page of a draft of On the Origin of Species including Charles Darwin's signature

All known surviving pages of the rough draft of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species have been by the National University of Singapore (NUS). On the 164th anniversary of its publication, NUS published three recently rediscovered pages from Darwin’s draft. The draft pages make it possible to see in detail how Darwin originally composed and revised many of his arguments and expressions. The drafts also contain many sentences that didn't make the final cut, offering fascinating insights into Darwin's thinking as he composed the book that quite literally changed the world....

National University of Singapore, Nov. 24

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