2024 I Love My Librarian Award honorees

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AL Direct is off next week. Look for our next issue January 3, 2024.

Montage of 2024 I Love My Librarian Award winners

Chase Ollis writes: “On December 18, ALA announced the 10 recipients of the , nominated by library users for their expertise, dedication, and impact in their communities. ALA received nearly 1,400 nominations from library users nationwide, focusing on librarians’ outstanding service, including expanding access to literacy and library services, outreach within their communities, and supporting mental health needs. Each honoree will receive a $5,000 cash prize as well as complimentary registration and a travel stipend to attend in Baltimore.”...

AL: The Scoop, Dec. 18

A catalog from the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play

Learn how many stuffed animals attended a sleepover at Goleta Valley (Calif.) Library, when the nation’s oldest continually operating toy library was founded, the luminaries who inspired the Black Barbie dolls placed around the Florida A&M University Campus in Tallahassee by Meek-Eaton Black Archives Research Center and Museum ahead of the Barbie movie’s release, and the number of dolls in the Caroline Kennedy Doll Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston....

American Libraries Trend, Nov./Dec.

Crowd of people seated in a circle, with two women in the foreground hugging for support.

Megan Bennett writes: “Though often referred to as the most wonderful time of year, the holidays can be the exact opposite for those mourning the loss of family or friends. Kim Pangracs, family counselor with Alberta Health Services (AHS) in Canada, says there is a noticeable increase in requests for grief support this time of year. AHS partnered with Calgary (Alberta) Public Library to host three “Grief and Managing the Holidays.” An increasing number of libraries, with help from community partners, are organizing programming about handling grief during the holiday season....

American Libraries Trend, Dec. 13

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ALA logo

Nominate yourself, colleagues, or your library for ALA’s 2024 recognition awards and grants. The deadline for most award nominations is February 1. Awards currently seeking nominations include the Beta Phi Mu Award, recognizing distinguished service to education in librarianship; the ALA Medal of Excellence, recognizing an individual or group for recent creative professional achievement in library management, training, cataloging and classification, or the tools and techniques of librarianship; and the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. See all available awards and grants....

ALA Governance Office, Dec. 13

Darlene Love singing in a screencap from 20 Feet from Stardom

Stacie Seifrit-Griffin writes: “Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the annual selection of 25 films to the Library of Congress . Films are selected based on their cultural, historic and/or aesthetic importance, and must be at least 10 years old. This year’s selections bring the number of films in the registry to 875.” This year’s selections cover nearly a century, from 1921’s educational silent film A Movie Trip through Filmland to 2013 Oscar-winners 12 Years a Slave and 20 Feet from Stardom....

Library of Congress, Dec. 13

bookshelves at Gaza City Municipal Public Library after airstrikes

Laila Hussein Moustafa writes: “Among the many tragedies in the Gaza Strip over the eight weeks since Israel began bombardment is the on Nov. 27. When libraries are attacked, more than the horrific destruction of books is involved. They hold collective memory, preserve cultural heritage, showcase societal development, and afford individuals the opportunity for learning and growth. Today the implications of destroying libraries and cultural heritage go further than ever before, creating not only a loss of knowledge, but also a void in data that inform models for artificial intelligence.”...

Los Angeles Times, Dec. 12

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley at a roundtable about the Books Save Lives Act at the Library of Congress

Cheyanne M. Daniels writes: “Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) has introduced a in public schools and libraries. In addition to requiring public and school libraries to maintain a diverse assortment of books, the bill would also classify discriminatory book bans as violations of federal civil rights laws. It calls for trained librarians to be at primary and secondary public school libraries, and would direct the Government Accountability Office to report the effect of book bans on underrepresented communities.” Pressley’s bill follows the , introduced in April, and the introduced earlier in December....

The Hill, Dec. 14

British Library

Carolyn Dever writes: “On Halloween 2023, the British Library (BL) in London suffered a massive cyberattack, which rendered its web presence nonexistent, its collections access disabled, and even its wifi fried. The cyberattack also swept the personal data of BL’s users and staff into the hands of an outside party. During the final week of November, images of the stolen data were presented for auction on the dark web. By making the library’s digital infrastructure into a commodity (in an open, albeit dark, market), a ‘ransomware gang’ calling itself Rhysida hopes to pressure BL to pay up first.”...

Public Books, Dec. 14

Samples of custom GPT bots available from OpenAI

David Nield writes: “There’s something new and powerful for ChatGPT users to play around with: Custom GPTs. These bespoke bots are essentially more focused, more specific versions of the main ChatGPT model, enabling you to build something for a particular purpose without using any coding or advanced knowledge of artificial intelligence. You might already be familiar with using prompts to style the responses of ChatGPT: You can tell it to answer using simple language, for example. Custom GPTs build on this idea, enabling you to create a bot with a specific personality.”...

Gizmodo, Dec. 18

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InkPad Color 3 ebook reader

“Looking back at 2023, it was one of the worst years in the past decade for new dedicated reading devices. Very few new devices were released this year, and most new models that did come out were just basically re-releases of existing models with a few minor changes. One bright spot in 2023 was the release of a few color devices that use the newer Kaleido 3 screens from E Ink. Color E Ink still doesn’t look as good as black and white E Ink when it comes to displaying regular text, but the resolution has improved and so has the color quality.”...

The Ebook Reader, Dec. 18

Hand with illustrations of emails flying out of it

Caroline Mimbs Nyce writes: “When it works, search is magical. Google Search, for all of its problems, can pull information from an infinitely growing web in just a second or two, maybe before you even finish typing in your query. But searching a comparatively tiny inbox of your own emails is functionally hit or miss. The frustration of searching your messages feels particularly silly considering that Google makes both the most popular search engine and one of the most popular email clients in the world. But our search woes do make perfect technical sense.”...

The Atlantic, Dec. 13


“Welcome, fellow haters, to another bilious edition of the Most Scathing Book Reviews of the Year. As longtime readers of this annual feature will know, each year in the run up to the holidays, we make a sacrificial offering to the literary criticism gods in the hope of a bountiful review harvest for the coming year. So here they are, in all their gory, gut-punchin’ glory: the most scathing book reviews of 2023.”...

Literary Hub Book Marks, Dec. 13

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