On March 3 ALA welcomed the introduction of the Build America’s Libraries Act in the House of Representatives by Reps. Andy Levin (D-Mich), Don Young (R-Alaska), and 52 cosponsors. The legislation would provide $5 billion to support long-term improvements to library facilities, including addressing needs that have arisen due to COVID–19. The bill would enable libraries to better serve rural, low-income and underserved areas, as well as people with disabilities and other vulnerable library users. ALA is asking library advocates to urge their Representatives and Senators to join as cosponsors of the Build America’s Libraries Act.
ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, March 3
The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) issued a statement March 3 recognizing and strongly condemning the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes that have permeated our country over the past year. The statement reads in part, “Our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander communities have been deeply impacted by attacks that have caused physical and psychological harm.” Read the full statement with links to resources.
APALA, March 3
In the fall and winter of 2020, New America embarked on a snapshot study to gather data on how—or if—people were discovering, accessing, and using their public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on materials that libraries made available online. Their findings, which include data from a national survey of 2,620 people, highlight the need for more inclusivity, more focus on providing internet access, and more awareness-raising initiatives with local organizations and schools. Read the full report.
New America, March 1
Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced March 2 that it would no longer publish six of the author and illustrator’s early works that “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” While some pundits and politicians claimed the move was akin to book burning, OIF Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone said that Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ move is “well within their rights” and doesn’t mean that the six titles will necessarily be banned. “They haven’t asked for anyone else to remove the books from their collections, whether it’s libraries, schools, or personal collections,” she says. She confirms that, as the ALA’s lists of banned and challenged books attest, “diverse topics like LGBTQ themes and characters or books that deal with racial justice” have been more frequent targets of complaints.
Yahoo News, March 2
As of March 1, Twitter has started applying labels to tweets that may contain misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to its continued efforts to remove the most harmful COVID-19 misleading information from its service. The company is also introducing a strike system that determines when further enforcement action is necessary.
Twitter blog, March 1
Brendan Dowling writes: “For over a year, Heights Libraries (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) has held monthly programs surrounding The 1619 Project, The New York Times’s long-form journalism project that investigates how slavery molded the United States’s economy, politics, and social structure. Outreach Librarian John Piché spoke with us about best practices for holding your own program, community engagement, and partnering with local organizations.
Public Libraries Online, Feb. 24
Registration for the ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition, June 23–29, is now open. The event will include educational programming, the News You Can Use series, memorable featured speakers, special author events, The Library Marketplace, Presidents’ Programs, Discussion Groups, leading authors, live-chat presentations, and networking opportunities. The list of Featured Speakers will be announced soon.
ALA Conference Services, March 2