Entries Tagged as 'ALA News'

ALA releases 2014 State of America’s Libraries Report

Libraries continue to transform to meet society’s needs, but school libraries feel the pain of tight budgets

CHICAGO — Libraries continue to transform to meet society’s changing needs, and more than 90 percent of the respondents in an independent national survey said that libraries are important to the community.

But school libraries continue to feel the combined pressures of recession-driven financial tightening and federal neglect, according to the survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, and school libraries in some districts and some states still face elimination or de-professionalization of their programs.

These and other library trends of the past year are detailed in the American Library Association’s 2014 State of America’s Libraries report, released today during National Library Week, April 13– 19.

Ninety-six percent of the Americans responding to the Pew survey agreed that public libraries are important because they provide tech resources and access to materials, and the same number found libraries valuable because they promote literacy and a love of reading.

More than 90 percent of traditional public schools have a school library, but public schools continue to struggle with the impact of funding cuts. For public school libraries, that means that professional staffing has been targeted for cuts nationwide.

The ALA is on the forefront of efforts to shore up support for school libraries.

“On one hand, budget and testing pressures have led to decisions to eliminate or de-professionalize school libraries,” said Barbara K. Stripling, ALA president. “On the other hand, the increased emphasis on college and career readiness and the integration of technology have opened an unprecedented door to school librarian leadership.”

Stripling and the ALA are undertaking an advocacy campaign for school libraries that sets goals in five critical areas: literacy, inquiry, social and emotional growth, creativity and imagination, and thoughtful use of technology. The task for school librarians, Stripling said, is to fulfill the dream that every school across the country will have an effective school library program.

On another front, Banned Books Week, sponsored by the ALA and other organizations, highlights the benefits of free access to information and the perils of censorship by spotlighting the actual or attempted banning of books.

A perennial highlight of Banned Books Week is the Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books, compiled annually by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). The OIF collects reports on book challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness. In 2013, the OIF received hundreds of reports on attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.

The most challenged books of the year were: 1. “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey; 2. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison; 3. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie; 4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James; 5. “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins; 6. “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl,” by Tanya Lee Stone; 7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; 8. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky; 9.Bless Me Ultima,” by Rudolfo Anaya; and 10. “Bone” (series), by Jeff Smith.

The ALA is leading a broad effort to guide libraries and librarians through a process of transformation that deals not just with quantitative change — doing more, for instance — but with qualitative change.

“This means fundamental change in the very nature of what we do and how we do it,” said Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director, said, including fundamental changes in in community relationships.

“As communities have changed, so has the relationship of the library to the community,” Fiels said. “The traditional library was a passive provider, reacting to community needs. The library opened its doors, and people came in to use its materials and services.

“Today, the library must be proactive; it must engage its community. . . . Increasingly, libraries are serving as conveners, bringing community members together to articulate their aspirations and then innovating in order to become active partners and a driving force in community development and community change.”

Libraries witnessed a number of developments in 2013 in the area of ebooks and copyright issues. Ebooks continue to make gains among reading Americans, according to another Pew survey, but few readers have completely replaced print with digital editions — and the advent of digital reading brings with it a continuing tangle of legal issues involving
publishers and libraries.

“Print remains the foundation of Americans’ reading habits,” the Pew researchers found. Most people who read ebooks also read print books, they reported, and only 4 percent of readers described themselves as “ebook only.”

After years of conflict between publishers and libraries, 2013 ended with all the major U.S. publishers participating in the library ebook market, though important challenges, such as availability and prices, remain.

In November 2013, after eight years of litigation, a federal court upheld the fair use doctrine when it dismissed Authors Guild v. Google, et al., a case that questioned the legality of Google’s searchable database of more than 20 million books. In his decision, the judge referenced an amicus brief co-authored by the ALA that enumerated the public benefits of Google Book Search. The Authors Guild has filed an appeal.

Other key trends detailed in the 2014 State of America’s Libraries Report:

  • More and more public libraries are turning to the use of web technologies, including websites, online account access, blogs, rich site summary (RSS) feeds, catalog search boxes, sharing interfaces, Facebook and Twitter.
  • The economic downturn is continuing at most institutions of higher learning, and academic librarians are working to transform programs and services by re-purposing space and redeploying staff in the digital resources environment.
  • President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill in January that will fund the federal government through September and partially restore funding to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) — the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget — that were dramatically cut in the 2013 fiscal year under sequestration.

The full text of the 2014 State of America’s Libraries report is available at http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2014.

ALA unveils shortlist for 2014 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction

shortlist

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the six books shortlisted for the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction. The medals are awarded for the best fiction and nonfiction books written for adults in the previous year and published in the U.S. As part of an announcement and medal presentation event at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas in June, each winning author will receive $5,000 and the four finalists will each receive $1,500.

2014 shortlisted titles are:

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction Shortlist

On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History, by Nicholas A. Basbanes. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Combining crisp technical explanations with vivid historical and contemporary profiles, Basbanes unfolds the two-thousand-year story of paper, revealing in the process that paper is nothing less than an embodiment of humanity.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink. Published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
As the floodwaters rose after Hurricane Katrina, patients, staff, and families who sheltered in New Orleans’ Memorial Hospital faced a crisis far worse than the storm itself. Fink’s breathtaking account of the storm and what happened at Memorial offers a fascinating look at how people behave in times of crisis.

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Published by Simon & Schuster
This masterful study examines the complex relationship between two presidents, Roosevelt and Taft, who played major roles in the Progressive movement of the early twentieth century. Acclaimed historian Goodwin offers a superb re-creation of a period when many politicians, journalists, and citizens of differing political affiliations viewed government as a force for public good.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction Shortlist

Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
To the women in the hair-braiding salon, Ifemelu seems to have everything a Nigerian immigrant in America could desire, but the culture shock, hardships, and racism she’s endured have left her feeling like she has “cement in her soul.” Americanah is a courageous novel of independence, integrity, community, and love.

Claire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
In interlocking stories moving back and forth in time, Danticat weaves a beautifully rendered portrait of longing in the small fishing town of Ville Rose in Haiti. The stories flow seamlessly one into another and are distinguished by Danticat’s luminous prose.

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. Published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
In the wake of his nefarious father’s abandonment, Theo, a smart, 13-year-old Manhattanite, is extremely close to his vivacious mother—until an act of terrorism catapults him into a dizzying world bereft of gravity, certainty, or love. Tartt writes from Theo’s point of view with fierce exactitude and magnetic emotion.

The awards, established in 2012, recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. in the previous year and serve as a guide to help adults select quality reading material. They are the first single-book awards for adult books given by the American Library Association and reflect the expert judgment and insight of library professionals who work closely with adult readers. Nancy Pearl, librarian, literature expert, NPR commentator, and best-selling author of Book Lust, serves as chair of the awards’ selection committee.

The awards are made possible by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York in recognition of Andrew Carnegie’s deep belief in the power of books and learning to change the world, and are co-sponsored by ALA’s Booklist publications and the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA).

Annotations and more information on the finalists and the awards can be found at http://www.ala.org/carnegieadult.

School Library Month PSAs with spokesperson Jeff Kinney

Two new video PSAs featuring Jeff Kinney, New York Times bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, are now available from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Kinney is the national spokesperson for the 2014 observance of School Library Month, and in the PSAs he encourages viewers to “celebrate how our nation’s school libraries change lives.” The videos can be viewed at and downloaded from www.ala.org/aasl/slm/2014/psa.

School Library Month honors the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student’s educational career, and the 2014 theme is “Lives Change @ your library.” In one of the 30 second videos PSAs, Kinney speaks to the role of the school librarian in technology instruction. In the second, he relates how students who have access to a school library program staffed by a certified school librarian achieve higher test scores.

When asked how a school library changed his life, Kinney said, “When I was a kid, I was blessed to have a great, well-stocked library at my elementary school in Fort Washington, Maryland. That’s where I discovered hundreds of great authors, including Judy Blume. I tore through her catalog, but the book I re-read was ‘Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.’ Without Peter Hatcher, I’m not sure there would be a Greg Heffley. I’m very grateful to my school for placing such a value on books!”

Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is the story of middle-school underdog Greg Heffley, who shares his life in a journal filled with cartoons and text. The first book in the series was released in April 2007 and was an instant bestseller, capturing the attention of reluctant readers, their parents and librarians everywhere. There are now eight books in the series, the most recent, “Hard Luck”, released on Nov. 5, 2013. It was the No. 1 bestselling book of 2013, adult or children’s.

Kinney’s participation as the 2014 School Library Month spokesperson is generously supported by Abrams. More information on the April celebration can be found on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/slm.

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.

Celebrate National Library Week with new promotions and tools

Lives  Change at your library speech bubble

Looking for ways to promote National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014)? The American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries has a variety of tools and promotional ideas to help you promote the theme of Lives change @ your library. Tools are available at ala.org/NLW.

Leading up to and throughout National Library Week, the Campaign is hosting several social media promotions.

Librarians can encourage local celebrities, library staff and library supporters to snap a selfie with the Lives change @ your library word balloon and share their story of how the library has changed their life. Photos can then be uploaded to Flickr to the Lives change @ your library group, or tweeted or posted to Facebook using the hashtags #LivesChange and #NLW14. Librarians can download the Lives change @ your library word balloon from the National Library Week website.

Camera shy supporters can are also encouraged to tweet their change using the hashtags #LivesChange and #NLW14. Library supporters that need more than 140 characters can submit their stories the You belong @ your library story collection database.

Book lover with National Library Week speech bubble

All participants will be entered into a grand-prize drawing for a Kindle Fire, so encourage your library lovers to start tweeting, snapping photos and sharing their stories today. Details and official rules for National Library Week promotion are available on the @ your library website.

In addition to this year’s promotions, the Campaign also makes free downloadable tools available on the National Library Week website.

As the Honorary Chair of National Library Week 2014, Judy Blume,  author and intellectual freedom advocate, has lent her image for  print and digital public service announcements (PSAs).  Print PSAs are also available for free customization. Visit ala.org/NLW to learn more.

Additional promotional materials include a sample op-ed, proclamation, press release and scripts for use in radio ads. All incorporate the 2014 National Library Week theme, Lives change @ your library.

ALA Graphics products supporting National Library Week are also available, including a poster, bookmark and mini poster, as well as downloadable Web files and high resolution art files. All Graphics products can be purchased through the ALA Store.

National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use.

The American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries (ala.org/@yourlibrary) is a public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe – participate. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions.

CNN features the Youth Media Awards

CNN extensively covered the Youth Media Awards, recently held in Philadelphia as part of the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits.

On Jan. 28, Ashley Strickland wrote about the award winners. The story was accompanied by photos of the covers of the award-winning books.

newbc

In the article, she wrote, “The awards announced Monday recognize children’s and young adult authors, illustrators and media producers. The winning list guides parents, teachers and libraries, and the books typically remain in print and on store and library shelves for years to come.”

The YMA in general received extensive coverage, including profiles of individual winners, such as Theodore Taylor III, who was awarded the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award by the American Library Association for his artwork in “When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop.” Taylor was profiled on NPR in New Orleans.

ttaylor

And Brian Floca, winner of the Caldecott Medal for “Locomotive,” was featured in an article in Publishers Weekly.

locomo

YMA Diary: Behind the scenes at the ALA Youth Media Awards

Last week, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting  & Exhibits in Philadelphia.

An enthusiastic and vociferous crowd greeted the announcements on the morning of Jan. 27 at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

What they didn’t see was the months of preparation by the various committees, which culminated in the ceremony that morning.

Here we take you behind the scenes, just a few hours before the Youth Media Awards presentation, as the Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King committees divulge the good news to the winners and those who received honors.