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2023 Book Challenge infographic

New Data Shows Record Surge of Book Challenges in Public Libraries

On September 20, the American Library Association (ALA) released new preliminary data that documents the continued rise in attempts to censor books and materials in public, school, and academic libraries during the first eight months in 2023. The data shows that, between January 1 and August 31, 2023, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and services and documented challenges to 1,915 unique titles. The number of unique titles challenged has increased by 20% from the same reporting period in 2022, the year in which the highest number of book challenges occurred since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago.

Amanda Gorman recites her inaugural poem, "The Hill We Climb," during the 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. (DOD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II)

Banned Book Club to Discuss Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb

Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb has been selected as the next selection in Chicago Today’s Banned Book Club. And Chicago Today hosts Cortney Hall and Matthew Rodrigues and American Library Association (ALA) Executive Director Tracie D. Hall—who selects the club’s featured books—invite everyone to read and discuss the book with them during a live Facebook chat.

Jason Reynolds

“Libraries are places for everybody.” A Conversation with Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is one of the most acclaimed writers of young adult literature in the world. The recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and multiple Coretta Scott King honors, Reynolds is the bestselling author of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, All American Boys (with Brendan Kiely), Long Way Down, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You (with Ibram X. Kendi), Stuntboy, in the Meantime, Stuntboy, In-Between Time, and Ain’t Burned All the Bright, as well as books in the Mile Morales Spider-Man franchise for Marvel Entertainment. And he has great taste in music.

Reynolds spoke with I Love Libraries recently about writing for young readers, the fun and challenges of working in the superhero world, book bans, library memories, music, and more.

Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library

ALA Condemns Violence at U.S. Libraries

On September 12, libraries in Chicago and neighboring Aurora, Addison, and Evanston, Illinois, received bomb threats. After investigations, no explosive devices were found at the libraries, but some of the facilities were evacuated and remained closed for the day.

The threats are part of an increase in violence targeted at libraries and librarians across the U.S.  The American Library Association has released a statement condeming the actions.

Cornell University Library

Cornell University Library To Go Inside Algorithms

Algorithms dictate how many of us live our lives these days, setting parameters for automated tasks as diverse as recommending movies on Netflix and books to buy on Amazon to helping drivers navigate with GPS. But what are algorithms exactly and how do they work?

Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York, is going to be making huge strides in helping the public learn about algorithms thanks to a grant it received from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS). The grant will support an 18-month project aimed at creating open educational resources on algorithmic literacy—building the public’s knowledge about what algorithms are, how they function, and how they shape modern life.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library by Larry D. Moore, via Wikimedia Commons.

Presidential Libraries Issue Statement on Fragile State of U.S. Democracy

Thirteen presidential libraries released a statement on September 7 over concerns for U.S. democracy amid deep national polarization. The libraries, ranging from those celebrating the presidencies of Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama, have called for a recommitment to our bedrock principles, including the rule of law and respecting a diversity of beliefs. It’s the first time these libraries have joined to make such a public declaration.

banned books map

U.S. Book Challenges Update: September 2 Edition

Libraries and schools across the country are experiencing unprecedented levels of attempts to ban or remove books from their shelves. I Love Libraries will continue to raise awareness by highlighting attempts to censor library materials, as well as efforts by librarians, parents, students, and concerned citizens to push back against them. This report includes news from Georgia, North Carolina, New York, and Florida.

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