Here are some statistics to celebrate the most frequently banned and challenged books during Banned Books Week, September 23–29. 100,000 was the number of copies of Angie Thomas’s young adult novel, The Hate U Give, that were printed in its first month. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoree, about a teenager who witnesses a police shooting, was challenged in July by a South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police chapter for “indoctrination of distrust of police.”
American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct
Up to $1,000 and the opportunity to be published in Short Story Dispensers nationwide will be at stake for writers of all levels, thanks to a new writing contest launching September 25. PLA, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Short Édition are teaming up for the first time to encourage writers of all ages and backgrounds to submit an entry. The theme of this year’s contest is courage. The submission deadline is October 30. Full contest details are available online.
ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Sept. 25
Honorary Book Club Central Chair Sarah Jessica Parker has selected Wayétu Moore’s She Would Be King (Graywolf Press) as her latest pick for ALA’s Book Club Central. The novel reimagines the story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters, intermingling history and magical realism. Moore is the founder of One Moore Book and teaches at the City University of New York’s John Jay College.
ALA Communications and Marketing Office, Sept. 25
Cara Giaimo writes: “On January 29, 1908, the crew of the Nimrod landed at Antarctica’s McMurdo Sound. Led by Ernest Shackleton, the explorers would spend the next two years ranging over the continent. Although they never achieved their chief objective of reaching the geographic South Pole, they did bring the first motorcar to Antarctica and climb Mount Erebus for the first time. They also wrote, illustrated, and printed a book, Aurora Australis, the first one ever made on that continent.”
Atlas Obscura, Sept. 24
Eni Mustafaraj writes: “Recently, Mike Caulfield wrote a Twitter thread and blog post praising Facebook’s new information panel for news publishers. In the meantime, Emma Lurie and I are exploring what knowledge panels can tell us about the credibility of online sources, especially of the ones recognized as partisan or inaccurate. Two findings: Not all snippets are equally informative or address factual accuracy; and snippets are sometimes edited to send certain signals to different audiences.”
Medium, Sept. 23
Betty Lupinacci writes: “The Library of Congress’s ‘Baseball Americana’ exhibit gives me something new to think about each time I visit. Most intriguing to me are the numerous times women are depicted in the exhibit. For example, the song ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ tells the story of a woman who wants her date to take her to the game instead of a movie or Coney Island (depending on the version). The song is reportedly based on a woman by the name of Trixie Friganza, a vaudeville performer and suffragette.”
In Custodia Legis, Sept. 25
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing September 26 called “Examining Safeguards for Consumer Privacy.” But the committee invited only executives from AT&T, Amazon, Apple, Charter, Google, and Twitter to “review the current state of consumer data privacy” and “discuss possible approaches to safeguarding privacy more effectively.” The failure to invite even one public-interest group to counter industry talking points at this kick-off hearing on consumer-privacy proposals is disturbing.
Free Press, Sept. 24
Donna Mignardi and Jennifer Sturge write: “Confirmation bias is defined as the ‘tendency to process and analyze information in such a way that it supports one’s preexisting ideas and convictions.’ How do we teach information literacy to students while taking into account that our students are also affected by confirmation bias? What programming do we put in place to assist students in understanding that confirmation bias exists and how to counteract it? Here are some resources.”
Programming Librarian, Sept. 24
ALA, in partnership with Citizen Film and the National Writing Project, invites public libraries to apply for programming grants to host community conversations centered around American Creed, a PBS documentary that invites audiences to consider what America’s ideals and identity ought to be. Up to 50 public libraries will be selected to receive a grant. Grantees must implement three public programs before August 2019 that explore the themes featured in American Creed. Apply by November 19.
Public Programs Office, Sept. 24
Richard Davies writes: “Probably the best book about a bookstore is 84, Charing Cross Road, but what about fiction? There is actually a mini-genre of novels set in bookstores dating back 100 years to the books of Christopher Morley. Romance, mysteries, and tales about life-changing events seem to be the main themes. John Dunning, who still owns an antiquarian bookselling business in Denver (Old Algonquin Books), created an entire series of crime novels about a detective who loves books. Here are 10 novels set in bookstores.”
AbeBooks' Reading Copy, Aug. 30
YALSA has chosen Amanda Waugh, instructional librarian at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, to present a paper at the division’s Trends Impacting YA Services session at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle on January 26. Waugh’s paper, “Feels Like Home: The Digital Information Practices of Teen Fans,” addresses teen behavior in online fan communities and how they seek information across platforms.
YALSA, Sept. 24
The Freedom to Read Foundation extends its congratulations to the 2018 Banned Books Week grant recipients. Each year FTRF distributes grants to nonprofit organizations to support activities that raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues during the annual Banned Books Week celebration, held this year on September 23–29. Funding is provided through the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund. There are seven grant recipients this year.
Freedom to Read Foundation, June 13