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March 31, 2015

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What Professional Lobbying Looks Like

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Librarians armed with stats and professionalism urged lawmakers to raise public library funding and support for school librarians on the New York Library Association’s Library Advocacy Day.

Ferguson Library Director Wins Lemony Snicket Prize

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Scott Bonner, director of the Ferguson (MO) Municipal Public Library, has been awarded ALA’s second annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity. Daniel Handler and Jacqueline Woodson will co-present Bonner with the prize in June during the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco.

Teen Library Advocates Get Booted Out of Missouri Governor’s Office

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Last week, a group of teens and supervising adults that belong to Save MO Libraries visited the Missouri governor’s office to ask him to restore the $6 million in budget cuts to library spending—only to be escorted out by a state trooper moments later for being “disruptive.”

Update: ESEA: ALA and Advocacy Community Urging School Library Supporters to Act Now

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With the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act coming up, the American Library Association has been leading the campaign to get dedicated funding for school libraries into the bill.

Rage to Page: Young Scholars Self-Publish a Tribute to John Hope Franklin

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When the John Hope Franklin Young Scholars studied the 1898 Massacre in Wilmington, NC, they became enraged that such an important event was not covered in their eighth grade history textbooks. The Young Scholars then decided to write and self-publish a novel as a tribute to the late Duke historian, Dr. John Hope Franklin.

Updated: Utah Legislature to Vote on $1,050,00K Increase for School Libraries

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Following school library lobbyist Sharyl Smith’s year-plus effort in Utah, with the help of Parents Advocating Libraries in Schools, the Utah legislature has allocated an additional $500,000 to school libraries, pending a final vote on the state’s overall budget this week.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom Wants to Know About Your State’s Challenged Books

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The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom wants to know about your state’s 2014 book challenges. The deadline for reporting is Friday, February 27—so find out how to do so here.

Kansas May Criminalize Educators for Distributing “Harmful Material”

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A proposed bill in Kansas removes the protection of educators against prosecution for sharing so-called “harmful material” in schools. Senate Bill 56 has sparked strong partisanship, and the American Library Association is closely monitoring its progress.

Technology Pilots in Colorado Juvenile Facility Libraries Support Learning and Digital Literacy Skills

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The Division of Youth Corrections, in partnership with the Colorado State Library, has had a great run in its recent launches of multiple technology pilot projects in select juvenile correctional facilities statewide. These innovative initiatives are designed to support positive youth development and resilience for at-risk youth.

Two Books Challenged Again in Highland Park Schools in Texas

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Renewed book challenges to The Working Poor: Invisible in America and The Art of Racing in the Rain stir up sides as the Highland Park (TX) Independent School District’s board gears up to vote on revisions to the district’s book policy.

Appoquinimink School District Board Battles Over Permission Slips for YA Reading

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The Appoquinimink (DE) School District has been at the center of a controversy over whether to implement parental permission slips for required and recreational reading.

CO Library Pilots a Robotics Program that Helps Kids with Autism

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In 2014, the Longmont (CO) Public Library teamed up with a robotics start-up, Robauto, to pilot a program where kids with autism build a library robot.

ALA Announces Winners of the 2014 American Dream Libraries Grant

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Thanks to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, 22 libraries across the United States will now have $15,000 each to fund their print and digital English as a Second Language (ESL) collections.

Books to Increase Awareness of the Cycles of Poverty, Race, and Incarceration

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By listening to the voices of those who have experienced racism, time in prison, and life on the streets, readers of these titles can begin to learn how to break the cycle, and be inspired by those have.

‘Highland Park Kids Read’ Takes on Censorship Battle in TX School District

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Nonprofit group Highland Park Kids Read is set to protest the pulling of “objectionable” books from the district’s curricula at a December 9 board meeting of the Highland Park Independent School District.

ABDO Changes Series Title After Seven-Year-Old Champions Gender Neutrality

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“There’s no such thing as a ‘boy book,'” wrote seven-year-old Parker Dains from California in a letter to Abdo Publishing after she saw the Abdo series she enjoys about insects was part of a series called “Biggest, Baddest Books for Boys.” Abdo responded with changes.

School Library Renaissance in MA School District

front left:  Lainie Wood: son 10y/o (4th grade) and daughter 8 y/o (2nd grade)
middle left: Christina Murphy: son 6 y/o (1st) and son 8 y/o (3rd ) 
Back left: Heather Roman: daughter 8y/o (3rd) and son 11 y/o (5th)
Front right: Melissa Upton: daughter 8 y/o (3rd) and daughter 5 y/o (K) 
Back right: New principal as of 10/31/14, Stacy Phelan

Due to the perseverance of concerned parents and school administration, the Swampscott School District in Massachusetts is hiring school librarians.

#GiveaBook: Penguin Random House to Launch Book Donation Campaign with Save the Children

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Penguin Random House (PRH) is slated to launch the #GiveaBook campaign on November 29. For every use of the hashtag #GiveaBook on Facebook and Twitter before December 25, PRH will donate a book to Save the Children.

Feeding Minds and Bodies: Libraries, Nonprofits, and Authors Offer Food Education

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Libraries, authors, and world-famous chefs, including Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters, are stepping in to ensure that children and teens are food literate, from providing food itself to incorporating lessons on nutrition, food sourcing, and gardening into curriculum and literature.

How to ‘Speak Administrator’ | Pivot Points

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District administrators want new collaborations between school districts, businesses, and higher education. Librarians can help by gaining a better understanding of local and global educational priorities and facilitating external relationships.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.