Library spice clubs

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Image shows a row of paper bags filled with Maynard (Mass.) Public Library's February spice of the month, fenugreek.

Diana Panuncial writes: “Once a month, the aromas of unique herbs and spices waft through Maynard (Mass.) Public Library (MPL). These spices accent dishes like sweet and spicy tahini noodles, mussakhan (Palestinian roast chicken), and rosemary shortbread, to name a few. Since January 2022, Sally Thurston, MPL’s adult programming coordinator and circulation assistant, has run the library’s spice club, which offers patrons kits filled with a featured spice, recipes, and other information based on the selection. It’s a budget-friendly way to bring the community together, encourage creativity, and educate patrons about world cuisine.”...

American Libraries Trend, May

Drew Evans seated on a pickleball court with books about pickleball propped up on the net

Greg Landgraf writes: “Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, with participation more than doubling to 9 million players between 2020 and 2022. Drew Evans, a retired law librarian who has previously worked at Kansas State University in Manhattan and Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, took up the sport about seven years ago. When Evans observed a lack of reliable information about the sport, he saw an opportunity to become the Pickleball Librarian.”...

American Libraries column, May

Illustration of an incarcerated individual reading, with a colorful vision of home emerging from the book.

On May 29, ALA announced it had awarded $10,000 Building Library Capacity Grants to or assisting those reentering society. The ALA Building Library Capacity Grants are supported through a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each year focuses on supporting different segments of the library community. The grants are intended to bolster library operations and services, including literacy and other skill development, developing collections, staffing, expanding outreach, as well as maintaining and amplifying existing service strategies or adding new ones to make an impact....

ALA Chapter Relations Office, May 29

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Library Calming Corner with fidgets, art supplies, and coloring sheets

Courtney Pentland writes: “With all that young people are dealing with on a daily basis, finding a safe space where they feel seen, respected, and supported is crucial. For many of our students today, the school library is that place. It is a place of connection, comfort, and refuge. We are the place students go to be and find themselves. Here are just a few ways I have heard of school librarians thoughtfully addressing supporting mental wellbeing in their libraries.”...

Knowledge Quest, May 22

Heather-Marie Montilla, Donna Seaman, and Annie Bostrom in a screencap from the PBS Books episode

PBS Books and ALA’s Booklist Reader teams dive into all the must-read adult fiction books this summer. Whether you’re on the hunt for a quick weekend read, looking for a new series, or thinking about rediscovering a favorite author, there will be no shortage of great picks in this episode. Booklist’s Editor of Adult Books Donna Seaman, Senior Adult Books Editor Annie Bostrom, and Audio Editor Heather Booth joined PBS Books host Heather-Marie Montilla to share their recommendations....

PBS Books, May 22

Hennepin County Library logo

Paige Williams writes: “Andrea Hansen-Miller, a licensed clinical social worker, keeps drop-in hours at her office in Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Minneapolis Central Library. To signal that she’s ready to begin, she sets two chairs outside her door, to create a makeshift waiting room, and turns on the lights. A wicker basket holds free hats, shoes, scarves, and gloves, and cabinets and a wardrobe rack are stocked with donated coats. Clients find Hansen-Miller by word of mouth. Her services are not advertised.”...

The New Yorker, May 23

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Kelly Jensen writes: “What begins at the local level moves to the regional level, then onto the state level when it comes to book bans. This perspective is crucial for context as to why, in 2024, several states proposed legislation that would ban affiliation with the largest professional organization for library workers, the ALA. This week, I’m highlighting the 2024 state legislative bills that aim to ban library worker affiliation with the ALA and the associated punishment.”...

Book Riot, May 24

Seattle Central Library

Matt Novak writes: “The Seattle Public Library has been hit by a ‘ransomware event’ that’s impacted several systems, including ebook lending and the library’s website, according to maintained by the library. It’s not immediately clear what data has potentially been compromised or who might be behind the intrusion.” The “quickly engaged third-party forensic specialists, contacted law enforcement, and took our systems fully offline to interrupt and better assess the nature and impacts of the event.” Library spaces remain open and physical materials can be checked out using paper forms....

Gizmodo, May 28; Seattle Public Library Shelf Talk Blog, May 28

St. Tammany Parish Library

Mike McDaniel writes: “A federal lawsuit is becoming one of the most checked-out pieces of reading associated with the St. Tammany Parish (La.) Library System. The suit was filed on behalf of William McHugh, Anthony Parr, and Rebecca Taylor. All three are members of the St. Tammany Parish Library Board of Control, which oversees the library system. Earlier this month, the parish’s new council voted to replace them and two other board members, all of whom had been appointed by the previous council. Their attorney says because his clients decided not to restrict access to materials, they became targets.”...

WWL-TV (New Orleans), May 21

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Mat that reads Welcome on Board

Duane Strojny writes: “We had a new full-time employee begin last week. It has been seven years since we hired someone completely new to our library staff who hadn’t previously been either part-time with us or had some type of library experience. The task of creating an excellent orientation doesn’t require a lot of hype or production. By keeping things simple and being as organized as possible, you will end up with a happier new employee. Keeping communication open allows for a more seamless transition for having a new person take on tasks that may be essential to the library to have completed in a timely manner.”...

RIPS Law Librarian Blog, May 24

Part of the cover of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community

Meghan Krausch writes: “The rampant banning of texts about queer and transgender people has been in the news a lot recently, but nowhere is book banning more of an issue than in prison. People in prison have extremely limited information in general, with little to no access to the internet, very broad-based censorship, and rules in most states mandating that people in prison can only receive books from certain approved vendors. These restrictions impact trans people more specifically because they often face additional censorship and more frequent transfers, and spend disproportionate time in solitary confinement.”...

Truthout, May 21

Sky, an Australian Labradoodle who chewed a Middleton Public Library book

Caitlin Jill Anders writes: “Several times a month, Middleton (Wis.) Public Library receives returned library books that have been damaged by overeager family pups. They used to charge a fee for lost or damaged books, but decided to start a special program specifically in honor of these book chompers. The library decided they would no longer charge for books damaged by dogs, as long as they received a photo of the offender in question. They decided to post photos of each offender on their social media—and almost immediately, the new forgiveness program was a huge success.”...

The Dodo, May 24

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