Anne MaiYee Jansen writes: “It’s hard to find fault with librarians, those lovably nerdy folk who make a career of recommending books to readers in the community, even when they’re fictional. After all, what’s not to love about someone who passes their days in some of the only remaining quiet spaces in big cities and small towns alike? Since I am talking about fictional librarians in literature, there are some less-than-amazing ones out there. Despite the presence of one or two duds in the pages of all manner of novels, they’re worth taking a look at.
Book Riot, Sept. 18
Leo S. Lo writes: “As libraries navigate the complex landscape of artificial intelligence (AI), it is crucial that they not only adapt to the existing policies, but also actively engage with them and develop best practices for AI use. Here are some practical recommendations for libraries: Establish an AI ethics committee, advocate for inclusive policies, develop best practices for AI use, and provide AI literacy education and training. The proposed AI policies from the US, UK, European Union, Canada, and China serve as a pivotal road map for libraries navigating the intricate terrain of AI.”
IFLA Journal, Aug. 27
Neely Tucker writes: “Some of the most important works by Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston and Cesar Chavez will be the focus of a new television series being produced by C-SPAN and the Library of Congress. The 10-part series—Books That Shaped America—starts on Sept. 18 and will examine 10 books by American authors published over a span of nearly 250 years and that are still influential today. It will be hosted by Peter Slen, the longtime executive producer of C-SPAN’s BookTV.”
Library of Congress: Timeless, Sept. 18
Chase Ollis writes: “It’s finally September, which means summer is waning and fall is approaching. It also means only a few weeks remain to submit your nomination for the 2024 I Love My Librarian Award. More than 1,000 nominations are received for the award every year, so submitting a strong nomination is key to making your librarian stand out among the crowd. Here are a few tips for making your nomination the best it can be and giving your librarian their best shot at receiving the award.
I Love Libraries, Sept. 5
Beloved reading advocate, writer, and television and film star LeVar Burton will lead this year’s Banned Books Week, which takes place October 1–7. Burton is the first actor to serve as honorary chair of Banned Books Week. He will headline a live virtual conversation with Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels about censorship and advocacy at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, October 4. The event will stream live on Instagram; see bannedbooksweek.org for more details. Burton also led a coalition of entertainers in signing a September 19 open letter against book bans.
ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 20; The Hill, Sept. 19; MoveOn, Sept. 19
On September 19, the ALA announced findings that challenges to books and other library materials and services are on pace to set a record for the third straight year in 2023. The release reads, in part: “Between January 1 and August 31, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services. Those challenges included 1,915 unique titles—a 20% increase compared with the same reporting period in 2022. The vast majority of challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
AL: The Scoop, Sept. 20
Andrew Albanese writes: “Federal judge Alan D. Albright [of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas] delivered a major victory for freedom to read advocates, issuing a substantive 59-page written opinion and order officially blocking Texas’s controversial book rating law, H.B. 900, from taking effect. The decision comes after Albright orally enjoined the law at an August 31 hearing. Signed by Texas governor Greg Abbott on June 12, H.B. 900 would have required book vendors to review and rate books for sexual content as a condition of doing business with Texas public schools.”
Publishers Weekly, Sept. 19, Aug. 31; Office of the Texas Governor, June 12