Vitaly Friedman writes: “Too often, accessibility is seen as a checklist, but it’s much more complex than that. We might be using a good contrast for our colors, but if these colors are perceived very differently by people, it can make interfaces extremely difficult to use. Depending on our color combinations, people with color weakness or who are colorblind won’t be able to tell them apart. Here are key points for designing with accessibility for colorblind users in mind.”
Smashing Magazine, Feb. 20
Jim Williams writes: “[The Vivian Harsh Research Collection] is one of the most extensive collections of Black history and literature in the country, and for a long time, it could only be seen in Chicago. But the collection is about to become more accessible than ever thanks to a big grant and the work of some dedicated librarians. Thanks to $2 million from the Mellon Foundation to the Chicago Public Library, nearly 300,000 pieces from the Harsh collection and beyond will be digitized. Library workers will digitize what amounts to 1,600 linear feet. They’re expecting to finish the project in three years.”
WBBM-TV (Chicago), Feb. 15
Nick Pavlovski writes: “It has been just over a year since OpenAI’s ChatGPT was made available to the public. Since that time, there has been a vast amount of news reporting and debate in academia about how to use it. ChatGPT and similar products currently have plenty of value when used as tools for writing original content, but nothing really seemed to be written about them as tools for library or database searching. I see ChatGPT and its alternatives as having partial value as tools for library searching, particularly for gathering keywords to use in searches; suggesting synonyms for keywords; summarizing text; and truncating keywords.”
Choice 360 LibTech Insights, Feb. 19
Naomi Popa writes: “The South Carolina Board of Education voted February 13 on a regulation that would give the board control over what books are in school libraries. Pending approval by the state legislature, the decision to ban books in public schools would rest on the state board. If this new regulation proposed by the South Carolina Department of Education is enacted as it’s currently written, complainants [about books in school libraries] would be able to appeal the [school district’s] decision to the State Board of Education.” The Board’s ruling would apply statewide.
WIS-TV (Columbia, South Carolina), Feb. 13
Zac Anderson writes: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to limit the ability of the public to challenge books in schools—an apparent acknowledgment that efforts to remove titles from schools have gone too far in some instances. The state has been engulfed in a long-running controversy about books being pulled from schools. DeSantis backed laws targeting what type of content is appropriate in school books, sparking confusion and controversies around the state regarding book removals. DeSantis continued to push back against what he and his supporters have described as ‘false narratives’ about book bans in Florida, saying some school districts have overreacted and are incorrectly interpreting state laws.”
Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune, Feb. 15
Jessica Flores writes: “[Contra Costa County (Calif.) Library’s Antioch branch] was scheduled to reopen February 20 after it was closed over the weekend due to several ‘dangerous incidents’ in the last few months, officials said, including theft, drug use and public sexual activity.” The library announced the closure in a February 16 Facebook post. Antioch’s mayor expressed concern at the closure in a February 16 letter to the county administrator. In preparation for reopening, the library negotiated an emergency contract to “provide private armed security and a patrol car to monitor the parking lot and library property,” in addition to the private security officer already inside the branch during library open hours.
San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 19; Contra Costa County (Calif.) Library, Feb. 16, Feb. 19; Antioch (Calif.) Herald, Feb. 16
ALA and I Love Libraries have created the new podcast, How I Library. The monthly series, hosted by ALA Communications Manager Phil Morehart, will feature authors, filmmakers, musicians, scholars, thought leaders, and librarians discussing the importance of libraries, their favorite library memories, and issues facing the library world. In the premiere episode, Morehart speaks with 2023–2024 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Meg Medina. The podcast is an extension of the #HowILibrary campaign that ALA launched last fall.
ALA Communications, Marketing, and Media Relations Office, Feb. 15
Unite Against Book Bans, in collaboration with publishers and other stakeholders, has unveiled a free collection of book résumés to support librarians, educators, parents, students, and other community advocates in their efforts to keep frequently challenged books on shelves. Each résumé summarizes the book’s significance and educational value, including a synopsis, reviews from professional journals, awards, accolades, and more. Where possible, the book résumés also include information about how a title has been successfully retained in school districts and libraries after a demand to censor the book.
Unite Against Book Bans, Feb. 20
On February 20, ALA opened registration for its 2024 Annual Conference & Exhibition, to be held June 27–July 2 in San Diego. ALA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition invites library professionals from around the world to engage in a variety of professional development opportunities, leadership programs, Governance sessions, and more. Early registration, which offers the lowest rates, runs through March 31.
ALA Conference Services, Feb. 20
Diana Panuncial writes: “Last summer, comedian Jesús Trejo published his first children’s book, Papá’s Magical Water-Jug Clock (Minerva), which chronicles his childhood days going to work with his father. The title just received a Pura Belpré Honor for its illustrations by Eliza Kinkz. Its companion book, Mamá’s Magnificent Dancing Plantitas (Minerva), will be released this September. American Libraries spoke with Trejo after his appearance at ALA’s 2024 LibLearnX conference in Baltimore about his family, what fans can expect from his future work, and book bans.”
American Libraries Trend, Feb. 19
Linda W. Braun writes: “When advertising events in multiple languages or hosting programs that highlight different cultures, library workers may think they are doing all that’s necessary to engage with marginalized communities. But committing to equity requires more than checking off these types of boxes. To achieve equity in youth services, we must build an authentic foundation that centers historically marginalized youth and families. This process is worth a closer look so that we can think more critically about the programs and services we offer.”
American Libraries column, Jan./Feb.
American Libraries is now accepting submissions for the 2024 Library Design Showcase, our annual feature celebrating new and newly renovated libraries of all types. The showcase will appear in the September/October issue. We are looking for examples of innovative library architecture that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. We are also interested in submissions from libraries that are approaching design with sustainability, accessibility, and smaller budgets in mind. Projects of all sizes, from new construction to small-scale renovations, are eligible. Submissions are due May 1.
American Libraries Trend, Jan./Feb.