Articles

With Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) issues in the spotlight and often stormy debate swirls about such topics as transgender bathrooms and the civil rights of government contractors, libraries are not only providing books that provide a GLBT perspective, but are also protecting books from censorship.The American Library Association (ALA), and hundreds of libraries will celebrate June 2016 as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and books that reflect the GLBT experience.The celebration is consistent with ALA’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual respect for all human beings, as well as recognizing the significant contributions of GLBT authors, with the Stonewall Book Awards, the first and longest-enduring award for GLBT literature, as well as its Office for Intellectual Freedom’s response to the threat of censorship. READ MORE
Fourteen years ago, the small room behind several heavy metal security doors at the Benton Franklin Juvenile Justice Center in Kennewick (WA) was an vacant meeting room with empty shelves lining the walls.Today, thanks to a continued effort from Tri-City Kiwanis Club members like Bette and George Evans, the room has been transformed into a functioning library filled with more than 2,000 books and magazines.The Richland couple have been involved since the inception of the service project in 2002.  Originally, the library was a joint project between the Juvenile Justice Center and the Richland Public Library with an initial donation from the Kiwanis Club of Richland. READ MORE
Putting the finishing touches on a brightly colored landscape in a coloring book she received as a Christmas gift, Karen Leese proudly displayed her finished product to compliments from her friends at Bacon Free Library’s (MA) adult coloring group.  “It’s beautiful,” Amy Steinmetz remarked before picking up a green colored pencil, continuing to fill blank space on her page.Before attending the weekly adult coloring group at Natick's Bacon Free Library, Steinmetz, a local artist, did not know Leese, a trustee of the library, or any other members of the club. Over the past several months, Steinmetz, Leese, Library Director Meena Jain and others have relaxed, chatted, bonded and created friendships over colored pencils and coloring books.“You get to know people in the community and befriend them,” said Leese. “It’s really sweet.” READ MORE
More than 50 residents signed challenge forms, aiming to get “My Princess Boy” and “This Day in June” off the shelves of the Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas.But the library director, Courtney Kincaid, held her ground, refusing to cave under pressure.“My Princess Boy,” written by Cheryl Kilodavis and illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone, is, according to goodreads.com, “a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. With words and illustrations even the youngest of children can understand, My Princess Boy tells the tale of 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by happily dressing up in dresses, and enjoying traditional girl things such as jewelry and anything pink or sparkly.” READ MORE
By Steve ZaluskySummer break doesn’t have to mean taking a vacation from learning, as youths taking part in summer programs at their libraries are finding out.  With school out for summer, libraries are filling the need to slow the summer slide and ensure that children are continuing to reinforce the education they received during the school year. READ MORE
The future of libraries in Douglas County (OR) could be in the hands of voters this fall.Representatives from a political action committee called Save Our Libraries have been traveling city to city, offering a new way of funding the library: take the Douglas County Library System off of the county payrolls and instead get the money from property owners themselves.They propose forming a special district to tax 44 cents per $1,000 of property values within the district. If the idea garners enough support from local governments in Douglas County — and enough signatures on a petition — voters across the county would decide in November 2016.With county funds evaporating every year and services being tightened, the organization said a special district might be the only thing that can keep the public libraries open.“We are in a situation right now where, unless something is done, there may be no libraries in Douglas County,” said Jeff Pugh, a representative with the organization during a recent Roseburg City Council meeting.Save Our Libraries is made up mostly of members or former members of the Douglas County Library Foundation. Its proposal would create not just the special district but a five-person board that would oversee the system. They say that keeping the libraries open means as much about keeping the county healthy economically as it does for giving kids skills to learn or people access to the Internet.“I think everybody would like to have the library system continue and the financial consideration is important, but so is (considering) the future of a town without a library,” said Bob Bell, one of the chief petitioners with the organization. “Would you, as a doctor, like to move to a town that has no library?” READ MORE
Building websites, robots and computer games are just a few things a class at the library can help with.  The Virginia Beach library system began offering coding classes about a year and a half ago, said Katie Cerqua, youth and family services manager.Virginia Beach libraries try to develop programming that complements the school system’s goals, Cerqua said.  “We realize there’s a national trend toward coding,” Cerqua said.Children, teens and adults can participate in the classes. Children’s coding classes typically use toys and computer games to teach the fundamentals of coding, Cerqua said. Teens use games, like Minecraft, to begin coding, and adults learn with self-guided websites and by using programs, like Javascript. READ MORE
It wasn’t something she’d thought about for a while, but after a friend saw that photo in the Faces and Places database on the Kenton County (KY) Public Library’s website about a year ago, she forwarded it to Meyer and the memories flooded back.It was a treat to go to the fair every year. Usually coinciding with the start of school, the Crawfords of Morning View would hit J.C. Penney for a couple of new outfits and Meyer would beg to wear one to the fair. That year, obviously, mom’s choice of duds won out.Meyer and her husband, Greg, have continued the county fair tradition with their four children.  Admittedly, Meyer did put her oldest in the pageant years ago. But after Trenton, then 18 months, cried excessively, no Meyer children were entered again.But the picture of Meyer as a little girl is one of nearly 100,000 in the collection that tells our collective story.  Aptly named by a library staffer a decade ago, Faces and Places chronicles the lives, the deaths, the triumphs, the failures, the happiness, the tragedies, the commonplace, the exotic and mysterious people and events in our region. READ MORE
Librarians striving to make a difference will descend upon Capitol Hill May 2 and 3 for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).  They will receive training from an advocacy consultant at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Washington office on May 1, before the action begins in earnest on May 2 with Briefing Day. Briefing Day offers a whirlwind of sessions touching on the hot Congressional issues affecting libraries. Congressional staff, legal experts, lobbyists, ALA staff and others will participate.  The events culminate on May 3 with visits to Capitol Hill for meetings with legislators. READ MORE
This is illustrated by a program known simply as Dia. Also known as El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), Día is a commitment by libraries to link children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures all year long, culminating annually on April 30.This year, Dia is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is being commemorated across the nation through multicultural events for children and families, including bilingual story hours, book giveaways and other literacy programming. READ MORE

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