Newsmakers: ABCs of Book Banning directors

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Trish Adlesic, Nazenet Habtezghi, and Sheila Nevins

Megan Bennett writes: “Book challenges and bans ‘fuel the flames of hate,’ says award-winning filmmaker Trish Adlesic. Adlesic is codirector and producer of The ABCs of Book Banning, a 2023 film that has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short category. She codirected with famed documentarian and current head of MTV Documentary Films Sheila Nevins, and journalist-turned-filmmaker Nazenet Habtezghi. American Libraries spoke with Adlesic and Habtezghi about their love of libraries, the importance of giving children’s voices a platform, and their hopes for the ongoing fight for intellectual freedom.”...

American Libraries trend, Feb. 20

On My Mind by Nia Lam and MichelleMcKinney

Nia Lam and Michelle McKinney write: “Achieving promotion or tenure is an accomplishment worth celebrating, usually followed with a sigh of relief. However, in the days, months, and years afterward, tenured academic librarians may start to feel a lack of motivation, support, and career guidance. Mentoring programs customarily focus on early-career librarians, and many people begin to wonder, ‘What next?’ To answer that question, we’ve highlighted strategies for dealing with posttenure burnout.”...

American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.

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ALA announced that it has received $10 million in support of its Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative to continue providing libraries with tools and resources to serve people with disabilities. A substantial portion of the funding, $7 million, will be distributed in grants of $10,000 and $20,000 to small and rural libraries. In collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, LTC offers grants to qualifying libraries across the country with a population under 25,000 and located at least five miles from an urbanized area. Currently, are using LTC funding....

ALA Communications, Marketing, and Media Relations Office, Feb. 27

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ALA will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2026. ALA’s Executive Board has created two member-led committees to lead anniversary planning. The 150th Commemoration Committee will develop and guide events, programs, products, and a public awareness campaign. Co-chairs are Amherst (Mass.) College Library Director Martin Garnar and Courtney L. Young, university librarian at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The 150th Fundraising Campaign Committee is co-chaired by Jim Neal, university librarian emeritus at Columbia University in New York, and OCLC Senior Program Manager Christina Rodriques....

ALA Communications, Marketing, and Media Relations Office, Feb. 23

Warrior Girl Unearthed

The Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Team selects and annotates an annual list of notable audio recordings significant to young adults from those released in the past two years. You can see previous lists on the and on the . The team selected its Top Ten selections and more than 40 additional nominees....

The Hub, Feb. 21

Preservation Week honorary chair Traci Sorell

Best-selling author Traci Sorell will serve as the 2024 honorary chair of , to be held April 28–May 4. The theme of this year's Preservation Week, organized by ALA's Core division, is Preserving Identities. This reflects the role of libraries in preserving materials and knowledge key to understanding one’s identity and sharing them in ways that are responsive to their communities. Sorell’s experiences highlight the importance of this commitment. “As a child, I enjoyed visiting my school and public libraries,” she says. “But I didn’t have my Cherokee identity in books offered in either one.”...

Core News, Feb. 21

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Children's library

Jeff Amy writes: “ that would require school libraries to notify parents of every book their child checks out was advanced by Georgia senators February 20, while to subject school librarians to criminal charges for distributing material containing obscenity waits in the wings. The measures are part of a broad and continuing push by Republicans in many states to root out what they see as inappropriate material from schools and libraries. Opponents say it’s a campaign of censorship meant to block children’s freedom to learn, while scaring teachers and librarians into silence for fear of losing their jobs or worse.” and are also considering bills allowing prosecution of librarians over the books they provide....

Associated Press, Feb. 20; USA Today, Feb. 20; Book Riot, Feb. 27

Person sitting with a frowny-face sign in front of their face.

Jack Styler writes: “In 2022, a revealed that the superintendent of Granbury (Tex.) Independent School District ordered librarians in the district to remove all books with LGBTQ themes, regardless of whether they included sexual material. Over 130 titles were pulled even though there were no formal challenges filed with the district. Similar cases of school districts violating their own policies have occurred in , , and . Inside the schools, librarians and media specialists are experiencing widespread burnout....

The American Prospect, Feb. 20; Texas Tribune, Mar. 23, 2022; National Coalition Against Censorship, Mar. 8, 2023; May 9, 2023; Oct. 30, 2023

Policy binders

Rhea Kelly writes: “Last year, the University of Kentucky (UK) in Lexington announced the formation of a new task force to study generative artificial intelligence (AI) and make recommendations for its responsible use. Dubbed , the committee brings together experts from all over campus to provide ongoing guidance on use of the technology in teaching and learning, research, and more. The group has published guidelines for and , with plans to update the recommendations as the technology evolves. We sat down with Trey Conatser, director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching and co-chair of UK ADVANCE, to find out more.”...

Campus Technology, Feb. 21

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Figures shouting with a megaphone

Lauren Feiner writes: “Social media companies have long made their own rules about the content they allow on their sites. But a pair of cases argued before the Supreme Court February 26 will test the limits of that freedom, examining whether they can be legally required to host users’ speech. The cases deal with the constitutionality of laws created in Florida and Texas. Both essentially limit the ability of large online platforms to curate or ban content on their sites, seeking to fight what lawmakers claim are rules that suppress conservative speech.”...

The Verge, Feb. 23

Stark photo of hands clasped

Olga R. Rodriguez writes: “The most stolen books from San Francisco public libraries’ shelves are not the hottest new novels or juicy memoirs, they are books about recovering from addiction. Now, city officials want to provide universal access to free drug recovery books. San Francisco City Supervisor Matt Dorsey on February 20 introduced legislation to expand a pilot program to distribute addiction recovery books for free at the city’s 28 public libraries. The library launched a pilot program last April to distribute such materials at the main library and two branches. Since then, they have distributed more than 3,200 books about beating addiction.”...

Associated Press, Feb. 20

Solitary tree in a field at night

Tanyel Mustafa writes: “Every month, it seems like more of my friends are joining book clubs—I’ve just joined one too—and they’re going for the social element of the monthly meet ups, rather than for the sake of reading alone. Making friends as an adult is hard, and we’re seeing loneliness become a recurring issue for people in their 20s and 30s. The act of reading is a solo experience, but book clubs are all about people. Cheaper to partake in than many other group-based activities, book clubs are becoming an antidote for young people feeling lonely across the world.”...

Refinery29, Feb. 21

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