Emma Ockerman writes: “In recent weeks, parents have complained to school boards in Missouri, Virginia, Texas, Florida, and other states about novels they consider to be obscene or inappropriate—most often, books that illuminate stories of marginalized identities. As a result, some districts have pulled books for review, while a handful of conservative politicians have seized upon the movement as a rallying cry to their side. In a few instances, parents or school board members have also tried to elevate their concerns to law enforcement.”
Vice, Nov. 22
Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian write: “Libraries resist privatization because they are not just about the books. We could easily replace the transactional part of libraries with corporations, but we’d be left with a place where you come in, get your books, pay, and leave. You’d lose the opportunity to get help with homework or trade quilt patterns or meet people who are eager to recommend their favorite reads. And that’s just the surface of what libraries do, especially in a time when most other social services have been slashed. Author Deborah Fallows, after crisscrossing the nation, decided that libraries have become ‘second responders.’”
Lit Hub, Nov. 22
In our November/December issue, we’ve got stats celebrating the culinary cornucopia found in books, libraries, and collections, including the number of classes offered annually through Free Library of Philadelphia’s Culinary Literacy Center (350), the number of copies that the novel Like Water for Chocolate has sold (4.5 million), and the number of individually wrapped Kraft Singles bound together in the book 20 Slices of American Cheese at University of Michigan’s Art, Architecture, and Engineering Library in Ann Arbor (20).
American Libraries Trend, Nov./Dec.
Lara Ewen writes: “As a second pandemic holiday season rolls in, even the cheeriest folks are fraying a little around the edges. This year, give them effortless presents that will make their lives gentler, simpler, and sweeter. And since you could probably also use a little break, we’ve done most of the work for you by rounding up a collection of bookish gifts that, despite inflation, are still easy on the wallet (everything is under $50) and suitable for just about everyone on your list (including you).”
American Libraries feature, Nov. 23
Emily Ashcraft writes: “Sonya Sones, author of The Opposite of Innocent, said she was ‘saddened and disturbed’ when she learned this week that a book she wrote was removed from four high school libraries in Salt Lake County (Utah). Although the book has sexual content, it was written in response to Sones’ experiences, and she hoped it would have a positive effect on teenagers who are in situations of abuse. The Opposite of Innocent is one of nine books that was removed by Canyons School District officials from high school libraries after a Sandy woman sent an email expressing concerns about the books’ content.
KSL-TV (Salt Lake City), Nov. 20
The North Kansas City (Mo.) School District said November 22 that it’s returning All Boys Aren’t Blue and Fun Home to high school library shelves, according to a copy of a letter to families provided to The Associated Press by a spokeswoman, who said it was sent November 19. The books were pulled following parent concerns raised in a late October school board meeting. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri on Monday wrote a letter to school officials urging that the books be returned, arguing that banning the books would violate students’ First Amendment rights by restricting their access to ideas. Students had also petitioned to keep the books in libraries.
KSHB-TV (Kansas City, Mo.), Nov. 22
April Umminger writes: “It‘s the time of year for soups, sautées, and stories! If you’re looking for a palate-cleansing nonfiction to listen to, this roundup has memoirs that are both sweet and salty. These audiobooks serve up the true stories of celebrity chefs, restaurant critics, movie stars, and famous foodies.”
Goodreads, Nov. 22