ALA approves new membership dues structure

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ALA Council approved a simplified membership dues structure January 20 at its during the in Baltimore. The changes, which will take effect September 1 for fiscal year 2025, consolidate the current 11 membership categories into four. All membership categories except for first- and second-year regular members will see reduced membership dues. The new dues structure was developed by the ALA Membership Committee over two years in response to research and member feedback indicating the complexities and cost of membership were a barrier to membership growth....

ALA Membership Committee, Jan. 2; AL: The Scoop, Jan. 20

Farmers for Libraries sign in support of Columbia County Rural Library District

Ryan Ireland writes: “Overall, library measures across the US continue to pass at a high rate. However, in many communities, the discourse over what materials can be held in certain sections of their libraries has escalated to people introducing ballot measures seeking to defund, shut down, or weaken the library’s authority. Tried and true campaign messaging, like touting a library’s return on investment, has been supplanted by issues of free speech and censorship. Razor-thin margins determined the future of many libraries this past year.”...

American Libraries feature, Jan./Feb.

Librarian's Library by Reanna Esmail

Reanna Esmail writes: “Writing grant applications is both an art and a science, and learning how to outline projects clearly and concisely within an application template can be a major undertaking. These books demystify the grant writing process and provide tips for library workers seeking support for their next big idea.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

Library of Congress Federal Credit Union. Join today. Explore New Member Offers. Visit www.servingamericaslibrarycommunity.org.

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ALA has been selected to receive the prestigious from the National Book Critics Circle. The award, established in 2021, honors institutions that have made lasting and meaningful contributions to book culture. The award will be presented on March 21 at the New School in New York City, in a ceremony that will be free and open to the public. ALA will be honored alongside renowned author Judy Blume, who is set to receive the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and authors of winning books in six categories....

ALA Communications, Marketing, and Media Relations Office, Jan. 25

Screencap from the Just for You website

Ann Baillie writes: “Few things at the library are less child-friendly than the online catalog. To work a catalog, you need reading, writing, and typing skills that kids have not yet learned. To make our online catalog more kid-friendly, I built a second website called that is designed especially for kids. The website is based on clickable images, which are great because they work with patrons of different reading levels. Even if you don’t have coding experience, you can easily make a website for your own library with free platforms that contain templates you can customize.”...

ALSC Blog, Jan. 30

Chaya Raichik

Tesnim Zekeria and Rebecca Crosby write: “Ellen Ochoa Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was among the dozens of schools that received bomb threats last year after being targeted by the far-right Libs of TikTok account. The account, run by Chaya Raichik, traffics in anti-LGBTQ bigotry and has previously been suspended by social media platforms for ‘hateful conduct.’ On January 23, Oklahoma State Superintendent Ryan Walters tapped Raichik to join the state’s Library Media Advisory Committee. The Oklahoma State Department of Education says that the committee will be tasked with ‘removing pornographic or sexualized content from public schools in the State of Oklahoma.’”...

Popular Information, Jan. 25

Latest Library Links

Shelf of books with spines hidden

Neda Ulaby writes: “In the far, far suburbs of Houston, Texas, three teenagers are talking at a coffee shop about a clandestine bookshelf in their public school classroom. It's filled with books that have been challenged or banned. The secret bookshelf began in late 2021, when then-state Rep. Matt Krause he wanted banned from schools. They might, he said, ‘make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.’”...

NPR, Jan. 29; Oct. 28, 2021

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Mara Klecker writes: “One of the posted rules for middle schoolers using the library at Franklin STEAM Middle School in Minneapolis this year is an encouraging directive: ‘There is a book for you—find it.’ And the students have. More than 1,500 titles have been checked out so far this school year, representing a four-fold jump over the number of books that left the shelf by this time last school year. Minneapolis Public Schools has doubled its number of librarians since last year and met its goal of staffing at least a half-time librarian at each of its more than 60 schools. Circulation is way up in many schools.”...

Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Jan. 27

Mychal Threets

Daniel Fahey writes: “By day, Mychal Threets is a supervising librarian at the Fairfield (Calif.) Civic Center [branch of Solano County Library]. But under the gaze of the smartphone lens, Threets becomes a superhero. Not your usual tight pants or billowing-cape type. To his and , @mychal3ts is an ordinary man with extraordinary powers. From his first-rate reading recommendations to his sheer passion for advocating libraries as a tonic for a whole host of challenges....

Positive News, Jan. 23

ALA news and press releases

Title card for The ABCs of Book Banning

Matthew Carey writes: “At the age of 84, documentary legend Sheila Nevins earned the first Oscar nomination of her career. Nevins was nominated in the Documentary Short category January 23 for her directorial debut, The ABCs of Book Banning, from MTV Documentary Films. She has won more than 30 Emmy Awards during her illustrious career, but this is her first Oscar recognition.” The ABCs of Book Banning debuted on the Paramount+ streaming platform on November 21....

Deadline, Jan. 23

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Shan Abdul writes: “If you're having trouble locating an email in your Gmail inbox that you planned to revisit later, you're not alone—losing track of emails is a common problem. Fortunately, finding the missing emails in Gmail is super easy. This guide will walk you through the steps to do just that.”...

How-To Geek, Jan. 24

A Common Kingfisher in India

Living Bird editors write: “There are more than 50 million photos in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library archive [in Ithaca, New York]. Here are some of the best from the past year. For our 2024 photo essay we’re celebrating wonderful photos in five themes: the high-speed action of , a look at our avian neighbors with , a sampler platter of food types with , spectacular poses in , and a peek at some of the world’s rarest birds with ....

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Jan. 4

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