Book challenges set new record in 2023

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Graph showing the Number of Unique Titles challenged in the US by year. 2000: 378 titles. 2005: 259 titles. 2010: 262 titles. 2015: 190 titles. 2020: 223 titles. 2021: 1858 titles. 2022: 2571 titles. 2023: 4240 titles.

“ALA that the number of book titles targeted for censorship in the US increased by 65% from 2022 to 2023, surging to a new record. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) documented attempts to censor 4,240 unique book titles in schools and libraries in 2023. The previous record was set in 2022, when 2,571 unique titles were targeted. OIF reported 1,247 demands to censor library books and other materials in 2023, many of which targeted dozens or hundreds of titles at a time.”...

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 14

Hanif Abdurraqib

Donna Seaman writes: “When poet and writer Hanif Abdurraqib received a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, the foundation observed that he ‘is forging a new form of cultural criticism, one that is informed by lived experience and offers incisive social and artistic critiques.’ This aptly describes Abdurraqib’s new book, There’s Always This Year: Basketball and Ascension (Random House, March), which is, in part, a paean to his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Abdurraqib spoke with American Libraries about his forthcoming work, the experience of finding a personal history in the library, and how basketball reflects larger issues in the world.”...

American Libraries trend, Mar./Apr.

A photo of Moxie, an artificial intelligence robot used at Santa Ana Public Library.

“Around the world, organizations are learning how to assess the benefits and challenges of swiftly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) tools, while simultaneously learning how to safeguard against some of the concerns they present. As many types of AI become commonplace, library workers in particular will be at the forefront of evaluating their significance in the information realm. American Libraries touched base with professionals at five public, school, and academic libraries who are using, and innovating with, this emerging technology.”...

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

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Théâtre D’opéra Spatial by Jason M. Allen, an AI-generated art piece

American Libraries examines some of today’s most popular AI tools (including text generators, chatbots, image generators, and video generators), as well as the ways libraries could utilize them and the controversies and potential pitfalls that each have faced....

American Libraries feature, Mar./Apr.

NASA photo of the diamond-ring effect at the end of a total solar eclipse.

“It’s eclipse time again! Libraries all over are gearing up to offer activities and resources for community members during the total solar eclipse viewable in many parts of North America on April 8, and your library is probably no exception. But if you’re still looking for ideas, we’ve got you covered. From interactive workshops to hands-on activities, this article offers resources and ideas to help libraries inspire curiosity and foster learning about the solar system.”...

WebJunction, Mar. 19

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Howard Koplowitz writes: “Former Autauga-Prattville (Ala.) Library Director Andrew Foster was fired by the library’s board March 14, ostensibly because Foster complied with an open records request from the Alabama Political Reporter regarding the board’s book bans. Under the bans, more than 100 children’s and young adult books could be moved to the adult section. The request showed Foster asking the board for clarity on the definition of terms like ‘obscenity’ and ‘gender identity.’” after closing the library in support of Foster. despite protests....

AL.com, Mar. 17, Mar. 18; Alabama Political Reporter, Mar. 15

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Part of the cover of Mexikid

Allison G. Kaplan writes: “ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has stated that last year showed a . This year’s displayed perhaps one of the greatest levels of diversity in the history of the awards. If you are in a situation where you are fearful of promoting diverse titles in your collection, but you have the natural desire as a librarian to do such promoting, allow me to make some general, and I hope useful, programming ideas.”...

ALSC Blog, Mar. 16

Florida Department of Education logo

Douglas Soule writes: “Some of Florida's loudest advocates for public school book removals make up half of a state government-sponsored group to advise school districts on how to select titles and when to pull them off shelves. Moms for Liberty members made up three of six members of a Department of Education workgroup that met March 14 in Tallahassee to redevelop an for school librarians and media specialists following a .” The meeting lasted only one hour, and “It’s unclear if the group will convene again.”...

USA Today, Mar. 15; July 14, 2023; Mar 2., 2023

Old fashioned skeleton key with slots cut to resemble an 8-bit computer character

Melissa Hagemann writes: “Since the launch of the [in 2002], we have seen the development of a robust global movement that has moved open access from an untested concept into the mainstream. While we celebrate this remarkable progress, we also recognize that we have more work to do to ensure that the systems we are building to support open access are truly equitable and enable anyone, anywhere to both access and contribute to the global record of scholarship.”...

SPARC, Mar. 15

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Anonymous-style hoodie overlaid on a digital background

Daniel Pfeiffer writes: “Digital privacy is a hot topic. At the time of this writing, the US is considering over privacy concerns. But there’s a pervasive sense, perhaps a myth, that young people don’t really care about their online privacy. Melissa N. Mallon and Andrew Wesolek, librarians at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, have highlighted how their undergraduate fellows engaged with this issue and designed a series of podcasts around it as a final project. Curious to learn more about the program and its future, I reached out to Melissa and Andrew for a brief interview.”...

Choice 360 LibTech Insights, Mar. 18; New York Times, Mar. 13

Crescent City Sounds logo

Joshua Smith writes: “In early 2024, there are over 100 million songs on Spotify. That is an amazing number of choices. But how many artists are getting lost in the crowd? In 2021, we at the New Orleans Public Library set out to close that gap by supporting artists with our Crescent City Sounds streaming service. Libraries entering the streaming music field provide real benefits to the library, patrons, and music community. From paychecks to gigs and programming to at-home offerings, everyone reaps the rewards of an all-local, curated, and free music streaming service.”...

Information Technology and Libraries, Mar. 18

Robin in a tree blooming in spring

Emily Temple writes: “There may or may not be snow on the ground outside your window, but meteorologically, March 19 is the first day of spring, which is as good a reason as any to take the afternoon off to read—or at least to recommend some books. If you’re looking for something seasonal, why not pick up one of these ? Or if it’s already warm where you live, we can heartily recommend these .”...

Literary Hub, Mar. 19

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