Kicking off National Library Week yesterday, the American Library Association released its 2012 State of America's Library Report.
And the state of America's Libraries is rough. According to the report:
The single-minded drive to reduce budget deficits continued to take its toll on essential services at all levels of society in 2011, with teachers and librarians sometimes seen as easy targets for layoffs. Even the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services suffered budget cuts, and the Library of Congress lost nearly 10 percent of its workforce.Academic librarians and their colleagues in higher education in the United States also continued to navigate a "new normal," characterized by stagnating budgets, unsustainable costs, increased student enrollments, and reduced staff, and the pressure on higher education to demonstrate value took on new urgency and importance in 2011–2012.
Second, there's ALA's annual -- and annually infuriating -- list of the most frequently challenged books of the year. Apparently these books are so dangerous to our way of life, Good Americans keep trying to yank them from the shelves. These include:
ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa,
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
and, that subversive tract To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
According to the report: "The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received 326 reports regarding attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves."
Enjoy that First Amendment, everybody.
(Photo: Andrew Dallos)