BCALA Receives IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Award | News Bites

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association will use the money to fund a one-day forum to strengthen support for Black/African American MLIS students; students fight censorship in Texas and Alaska, and more.

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association will use the money to fund a one-day pre-national forum to strengthen support for Black/African American MLIS students; the Theodore Roosevelt Association announces its first children’s book prize; students fight censorship in Texas and Alaska, and more.

BCALA Receives IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Award

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) is the recipient of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Award. The $100,000 grant will support the “Breaking Barriers: The Future of Black Librarianship” national forum, a one-day event to strengthen support for Black/African American MLIS students. The funding will allow up to 50 LIS students, professionals, and educators to come together to find ways to increase BCALA’s outreach to emerging librarians.

The forum will precede the 11th National Conference for African American Librarians (NCAAL), which is scheduled from August 5-9, 2021 in Tulsa, OK. In keeping with the conference theme, “Inspired by our Past, Igniting our Future,” the forum will culminate in the design of resources to recruit Black/African American librarians and the launch of an online, LIS program-independent student group called iBlackCaucus.

NCAC, Governor Join Cartoon Censorship Debate

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), joined by 10 organizations, is protesting a Texas school district’s decision to remove a student's editorial cartoon from the school website. The image, which was created as part of a class assignment, is a commentary on the use of violence against Black people throughout American history. The assignment was canceled after the National Fraternal Order of Police complained that the cartoon is “abhorrent and disturbing.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has demanded that the teacher who posted the cartoon be fired.

In a letter sent to officials of the Wylie Independent School District in August, NCAC and the other organizations argue that the district’s actions "create a dangerous precedent, putting teachers on notice that they cannot present any material that might be offensive to someone in the community."

Community Backlash to School Board Book Banning

When the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board in Alaska voted to remove Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried from the high school reading list because of "controversial content," the community was outraged and took up the cause to fight the censorship. Even after the school board, responding to the pressure, reversed its decision, the controversy didn't go away and two initiatives continued efforts to get copies of the challenged titles in the hands of students, parents, and other community members.

The books were bought with donations received from around the country after the book banning became national news. The largest donation came from the PTM Foundation, which was established by the band Portugal. The Man. The band members grew up in the community and several went to the high school. The foundation gave the NCAC grant money to purchase 2,000 copies of the books to be distributed by Fireside Books, a bookstore in Palmer, AK, that is distributing them to the community.

READ: AASL Opens Applications for 2021 Awards and More | News Bites: Opportunities

Theodore Roosevelt Association Announces First Children’s Book Prize

The Theodore Roosevelt Association awarded its first Children's Book Prize to The Camping Trip That Changed America: Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, and Our National Parks by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. Based on true events, the book recounts a1903 Yosemite camping trip undertaken by President Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir. 

Quarto Offers Free Library of Instructional Videos

Quarto is now offering Quarto Classroom, a few video library of Quarto's creators, using their books as teaching tools. Each video focuses on a singular subject matter such as engineering, social studies, and arts and crafts. For example, students can experiment with chemistry at home with Kitchen Pantry Scientist Liz Lee Heinecke or learn to draw with illustrator Ginnie HsuThe Quarto. Creators take students through self-led discussions and projects, and each video also has additional, complementary printable materials.

Gale Launches Career Prep Platform

Gale is launching Gale Presents: Peterson’s Career Prep, a new online career assessment platform for libraries that gives patrons access to career development tools. 

According to a recent ALA  study, 60 percent  of libraries anticipate that their patrons' most urgent needs in the next six months will include job search support. Gale Presents: Peterson’s Career Prep aims to help users learn about job paths, receive personalized career and college recommendations, create resumes and cover letters, search for positions, explore schools and training programs, and obtain advice on both finding a job or advancing an existing career.

Caribou Offers Web-Based Version of App

Caribou debuted a new web-based version of its  video-calling app that integrates children's books and activities in the calling app. The platform is specifically designed for children to read, draw, and play games with their friends and relatives.  Caribu now features books, games, and activities in 10 languages across all platforms in more than 200 countries and territories.  Through Caribu’s platform, users can access thousands of books, activities, and coloring sheets. The in-app library features content and titles for kids up to age 13 from Highlights, Mattel, Baby Einstein, America’s Test Kitchen Kids, DC Comics, and more. 

Users can choose a free plan or Caribu Unlimited, which is $9.99/month or $99.99/year.


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