Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA) has introduced the Don’t Block LGBTQ Act, which would ensure LGBTQ resources aren’t blocked at public schools and libraries in California, his office announced Thursday (September 29).Currently, public schools and libraries that get internet service subsidies through the e-Rate program have to filter content so that obscene content, child pornography, and “content harmful to minors” is blocked, according to Honda’s office. However, individual schools and libraries “can block useful LGBT resources that are not sexually explicit in any way,” the announcement says.Honda’s bill would ensure the Federal Communications Commission protects useful LGBTQ resources without modifying other filters.“As we approach LGBTQ History Month,” which is in October, “the contributions of LGBTQ people should be accessible to everyone at public schools and public libraries,” Honda, who has a transgender granddaughter, stated. “We have seen how filters can block students and adults from useful resources. Whether a gay man is learning how to come out or a transgender woman is finding trans-specific health care, the publicly funded Internet access should remain open to everyone in the LGBTQ community.” READ MORE
June Brittingham goes to work like any other librarian, in a building with posters on the wall, a carpeted floor and books arranged according to the Dewey Decimal system.  The only difference is she passes through a metal detector, series of automated sliding doors and pristinely gardened prison yard on her way to work.The library at Eastern Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison in Westover, Maryland, serves a population of around 3,400 inmates, though only those who seek its services go there.  For that small percentage, the building is an oasis amidst incarcerated life.“It’s the one place they can come to for 45 minutes that is not prison,” said Brittingham, who also serves as Maryland’s supervisor of correctional libraries. “We don’t have bars on our windows— we have carpeted floors, we have colorful bookshelves.”“Even though they’re locked up here, they can experience anything through books,” she said. READ MORE
courtesy of KTHVLibrary officials say the Great Falls Public Library (MT) is getting a facelift.Work started on a new mural Saturday on the building’s south-facing outside wall. The project is funded by the Great Falls Public Library Foundation, which has provided the library with resources through fundraising since 1968. READ MORE
Libraries not only transform communities – they are, in turn, transformed by them.  This is certainly true as it applies to Friends of the Library groups.By Steve ZaluskyLibraries may be the hub of their communities, but Friends of the Library groups supply the spokes that turn the wheel.  Through fundraisers like book sales, they help support the library. But they also play a critical role when the library goes to the voters for needed funds. READ MORE
Collective impact channels the knowledge and resources of multiple partners towards a specific social problem. With their commitment to meeting patrons needs, libraries seek ways to serve and strengthen their communities. Sometimes, however, the needs rise beyond the conventional realm of library services—and this has been particularly true since the recession. Through the strength of non-traditional partnerships, libraries offer innovative solutions to a variety of challenges faced by their communities. READ MORE
Cynthia Shutts has an omnivorous passion for Young Adult literature.She said she logs between 300 and 400 books per year. Her favorites include “Gabi, a Girl in Pieces,” by Isabel Quintero.  “I felt like it was just so realistic, because you could feel that you were actually in California and you could feel what the characters were feeling,” she said.Shutts is not a teen. But as a librarian, she passes on her love of YA literature to the teens who patronize the White Oak Library District.  Her library will be among those celebrating Teen Read Week, an annual celebration that promotes the many ways librarians encourage all teens to be regular readers and library users.This year, Oct. 9-15, Teen Read Week, a national initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), features a multi-lingual "Read for the fun of it!" theme. The theme highlights the resources and services available to the 22 percent of the nation’s youth who speak a language other than English at home.Ten libraries will be promoting the theme with grant dollars they received through the Teen Read Week Activity Grant, bestowed by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to help fund each library’s literacy-focused Teen Read Week activities. READ MORE
One of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) major projects is preparing for the next presidential administration, and one of the issues on which we’re focusing—veterans and military families—is a stated priority for both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. OITP is developing a three-page document to brief the campaigns and transition staffs as well as national policy advocates about how and why libraries can help reach and provide assistance to veterans.While collecting information for this document last week, I had the pleasure of visiting a Veterans Resource Center—one of 10 in the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) system—at the LAPL’s Exposition Park branch. Many thanks to LAPL Adult Service Librarian Edwin Rodarte and veteran volunteers Paola Martinez and Veronica Hansel for briefing me and answering my many questions.What does the Veterans Resource Center do? The official statement:“Veterans and their families can meet with trained volunteers, who are veterans themselves, and get connected to information and resources regarding health, education, employment, housing, and other benefits that they may be entitled to.” READ MORE
Sean Ott, the first garden programmer for the Faulkner County Library in Conway (AR), was wrangling some raspberries “that were getting kind of gnarly” onto a trellis, he said.  He’s come a long way for someone who said he grew up “a total city kid.”“I grew up a military brat,” the 26-year-old said. He said most of his family is in Pittsburgh, but he moved with his parents to Gravel Ridge in about 1996.  “I can’t say I’m an Arkansan, but I would definitely say Arkansas is home,” Ott said.Ott started the new part-time job in August. He will help the Arkansas GardenCorps service member with programming for the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project, a community garden north of the library. He’ll oversee the Garden Club for kids; a book club, which he wants to gear for adults; and the seed library.This is the last year the library will have an Arkansas GardenCorps service member, said Nancy Allen, adult services and reference librarian. The Arkansas GardenCorps program is a three-year program, and this is the third year.“It’s going to be on the library from here on out to maintain the program,” she said. Allen said the new position that Ott filled “is kind of cutting edge, I think.”  Ott, who lives in Jacksonville, said he started in 2008 as an art-history major at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. READ MORE
By Steve ZaluskyLibraries not only transform communities – they are, in turn, transformed by them.  This is certainly true as it applies to Friends of the Library groups.Friends groups have been instrumental in helping sustain libraries – and historically have played an important role in their creation as well. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, among the requirements for securing a Carnegie grant was a commitment by community members to raise funds and support a new library. READ MORE
The Red Hook (N.Y) Public Library proved it’s more than just a book-lender when it listened to residents’ frustrations and rallied the small town to protest a faulty traffic light, inspiring community members to address other problems together.  READ MORE