Library Research Notes #25
New year, new focus
Happy New Year!
I hope that your year is getting off to a great start and continues to move in positive directions.
As you can see, I’ve made a slight change to the newsletter title. Library Research Notes feels a lot more in line with the diverse topics I cover here but also denotes that there will always be a focus on librarianship. I’m looking forward to writing on a wealth of new topics this year and I’m glad to have you along for the ride!
If you are new here - welcome! I hope you are looking forward to reading along as we move forward in 2022. I love feedback and lively discourse, so please feel free to comment!
Thank you, again, and if you know of a reader that would enjoy Library Research Notes, please share this post!
In 2021 we witnessed a wealth of attacks on the forward motion of the United States. From the 1/6 insurrection, where American citizens attempted to overthrow the Democratic Republic, to parents of school-aged children arguing for the removal of reading materials that are essential in educating future civil citizens. As humans, we have done an abysmal job of halting the spread of a deadly virus. Although many of us did get vaccinated (and boosted!) there are still so many Americans who are living with misinformation as their guide for safety and security.
As we see, there are still so many things to dig deeper into, and even more that I did not list above, but for this month I am going to focus my research on reading and public schools. The attacks on libraries came so often at the end of 2021, that I could barely keep up with all the news. Book challenges have been the current focus in a way that librarians haven’t seen in years. Although there is a standard for book challenges, these days of conservative parental demand have moved legislators to override processes that librarians have in place and instead require the removal of books from school libraries without consideration.
In the next piece, I will dig deeper into the book challenge process and give you a bit of history on censorship in the United States. Librarians have always been at the forefront when it comes to protecting freedom of speech and the latest history of censorship in schools is no exception.
January Source Materials
For this piece, I will be looking at the history of book censorship, reviewing the American Library Association (ALA) standards, viewing media stories on current book challenges across the country, and digging deeper into the concept of intellectual freedom.
My sources will include academic journals, newspaper articles, local news broadcasts, youtube videos, and the ALA website. At the end of the piece, I will provide citations for reference and further research. As I have done in the past, I will also link to specific items of interest throughout the piece, but all materials used will be formally cited for clarity of work.
If you have any sources, stories, videos, etc. that you think would be interesting for this month’s topic, please be sure to share in the comments!
Good News from the Stacks
Each January, at the ALA midwinter meeting, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) announces the winners for the ALA Youth Media Awards. Last year, I was excited to view announcements via zoom, as part of the conference, and witnessed one of my former professors (Eric Gansworth) take home an honourable mention for the Michael L. Printz Award.
Reading is one of the best ways for children and young adults to shape their frame of reference for life from many different perspectives. Engaging with books that reflect the stories of others as well as their own voices is magical. The awards honour this diversity in a meaningful way and this year is certainly no different.
Although I’m not sure if she is nominated, I would love to see Angie Thomas win the Margaret A. Edwards award this year. This award honours “an author, as well as a specific body of [their] work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature” (ala.org) and Thomas most definitely fits the bill for her series of work.
I am very excited to see all the winners and although I won’t be attending the conference in full this year, I will be tuning in on 24 January 2022 at 8am Central Time to view the announcements live! If you can’t make it to the link, you can also follow along with the live results on Twitter via #ALAyma. I know it is totally geeky to be so into this type of literary thing, but if loving books is wrong, I don’t want to be right.