Reading between the bots

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Illustration of a librarian, drawn with anomalies characteristic of AI-generated images.

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? What do library workers think of it? How are they using it? And what ethical concerns or issues of privacy have developed as AI becomes increasingly commonplace? Some librarians report experimenting with AI in their libraries. Others are proceeding with caution. American Libraries explores how the current AI boom has so far made an impact on different aspects of the profession....

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

From the President by Emily Drabinski

Emily Drabinski writes: “I am proud to lead a democratic organization, one where many diverse voices can take the mike and the gavel. As this issue hits the presses, members will be asked to cast votes for our next set of ALA leaders—not just the consequential position of president but also a wide array of other offices, including representatives to Council, the governing body of the Association, and leadership positions across the divisions and round tables that give ALA its rich texture.”...

American Libraries column, Mar./Apr.

2025-26 ALA presidential candidates Sam Helmick and Raymond Pun

The ALA Nominating Committee has selected two nominees to run for ALA president in the upcoming election. The candidates running for the 2025–26 term are Sam Helmick, community and access services coordinator at Iowa City Public Library, and Raymond Pun, academic and research librarian at the Alder Graduate School of Education in Redwood City, California. Both provided candidate statements published in the March/April issue of American Libraries. Read and candidate statements. ALA members may vote in the 2024 election from March 11–April 3....

ALA; American Libraries, Mar./Apr.

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Field Guides by Lorcan Dempsey

ALA announced a new recurring column in American Libraries, “Field Guides.” Featuring policy experts in areas ranging from artificial intelligence and copyright to digital access and equity, the new column will provide ALA members, library advocates, and library professionals in all settings with insights into the policy issues facing the field today and tomorrow. Developed and stewarded by ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office, the column premieres with , professor of practice and Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the University of Washington’s Information School in Seattle, that explores the implications of artificial intelligence technologies in the library arena....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, Mar. 4; AL: The Scoop, Mar. 4

Libraries Transforming Communities logo

ALA announced the of its March 4. LTC is an initiative that aims to help small and rural libraries increase the accessibility of facilities, services, and programs to better serve people with disabilities. Fifty libraries will receive grants of $20,000, and 260 libraries will receive grants of $10,000. The 310 funded proposals represent libraries in 45 states. Of the selected libraries, 62 percent serve communities of less than 5,000 people....

ALA Public Programs Office, Mar. 4

Heavy rusty weights hanging from a chain

Georgette Spratling writes: “Imposter syndrome, that nagging feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt despite evident accomplishments, can be particularly challenging when working with underserved children and their caregivers. In such roles, the weight of responsibility to make a meaningful impact can often intensify feelings of unworthiness or incompetence. However, recognizing and addressing imposter syndrome is essential for us to serve the communities we work in effectively. I would like to break down what I have learned regarding understanding imposter syndrome in this context and offer strategies to overcome it.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 2

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WordPress logo

Amanda Blum writes: “The news [that Automattic, which owns WordPress.com and Tumblr, is ] brought up a common confusion that emerges whenever discussion turns to WordPress matters, and one that’s important if you are concerned whether this data brokerage will affect you: What is the difference between WordPress, the content management system, and WordPress.com, the web hosting site—and is your personal WordPress site included in the data being sold?”...

Lifehacker, Feb. 28, Feb. 29

An official-looking document being highlighted

Tovia Smith writes: “Those who’ve been trying to remove certain books from childrens’ sections at public libraries are now taking aim at what they see as a source of the problem: the American Library Association. A growing number of states and local libraries are cutting ties with the nation’s predominant library professional association, saying the ALA has become too radical. On Thursday, passed the Georgia Senate in a 33-to-20 vote and now heads to the House. [The] sweeping bill, the first of its kind in the nation, would force all school and public libraries in Georgia to cut ties with the library association.”...

NPR, Mar. 3

Teen girl reading on a couch in a library.

Gay Ivey writes: “Should we worry, as massive book-banning efforts imply, that young people will be harmed by certain kinds of books? For over a decade and through hundreds of interviews, my colleague, literacy professor Peter Johnston, and I have studied how adolescents experience reading when they have unfettered access to young adult literature. Our findings suggest that many are helped rather than harmed by such reading. Here are six ways students told us they had been changed by reading and talking about edgy young adult books.”...

The Conversation, Feb. 29

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Compact shelving

Lauren Coffey writes: “More than 2 million scholarly articles are not being properly archived, according to a new analysis. A study published in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication in January reviewed more than 7 million documents with digital object identifiers (DOIs). The DOIs are unique identifiers given to most—but not all—scholarly articles, acting as a digital fingerprint. Of the 7,438,037 articles, roughly 28 percent, or more than 2 million works, did not appear in the reviewed archives despite having a DOI.”...

Inside Higher Ed, Mar. 5

Coloring sheets on a bulletin board

Ginny Barnes writes: “While existing literature provides many insights into the benefits of passive programming for library patrons and institutional goals, there is less discussion on its distinct benefits to workers. As the essence of passive programming is slow and self-paced, it demonstrates how we as library workers can meaningfully engage patrons while respecting our own capacity. Here I explore the connections between the culture of outreach and capitalism and share examples of my academic library’s experimentation with passive programming from the lens of work reform.”...

WOC+lib, Mar. 3

Cat inside a model bus

Christine Hauser writes: “Finally, there is something cats can do for humans. Worcester (Mass.) Public Library announced that through the end of March, people who have lost or damaged a book or other borrowed items can bring a photograph, drawing, or magazine clipping of a cat, and get their library cards reactivated. The library calls the program March Meowness, a way for the system of seven branches to fur-give members of the community who misplaced a book or damaged a borrowed item, and then never went back to avoid paying for it.”...

New York Times, Mar. 4

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