If They're Burning Qur'ans, ALA Says 'We'll Read Qur'ans'

From American Libraries: Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book. Gen. David Petraeus had personally pleaded with the reverend to restrain himself because of the potential for retaliatory violence.

Meanwhile, the American Library Association and librarians across the country will move the Qur’an to the top of the Banned Books Week agenda. (Leading the way by modeling tolerance, an Oklahoma public library has been hosting an exhibit of artwork inspired by Muslim tradition.)

“Free people read freely,” says Barbara Jones, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “That is a fundamental principle of the American Constitution and a basic mission of public libraries. We don’t burn books, we read them.”

Thanks to Jenny Levine for the lead.

September 8 is International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Celebrate International Literacy Day by joining IRA on either September 7 or September 8 for webinars on Building Support for Effective Reading Instruction featuring IRA President Patricia Edwards, Richard Carson (Rotary Representative to the OAS) and Instructor Judy Backlund (IRA member and Rotary Club President). The webinar will be held twice, so choose the time that works best for you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Tuesday webinar...or

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. EST
This is a virtual event. Go to this URL to join the Wednesday webinar.

Other live events, fact sheets, celebration ideas and award certificates can be found at the IRA Website.

Raphael New ALA President-Elect

LJ reports: The latest American Library Association (ALA) election, a low-turnout affair, turned out Molly Raphael to be not so close at all, with public librarian Molly Raphael besting school library media specialist Sara Kelly Johns by 5,857 to 4,399 votes, according to ALA.

Of 55,330 eligible voters, 11,069 (20.01%) voted, compared to 23.41% last year.

Raphael, former director of the Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR, and the District of Columbia Public Library, will become president-elect in June 2010, and will serve a year as president in June 2011, following the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans. Johns, a stalwart among school libraries, serves grades 6-12 at Lake Placid Middle/High School, NY.

Question for ALA members: Why does such a significant majority of members abstain from voting??

ALA's Citywide Meeting Q&A Tool Enlightens Attendees

A Report From on the ALA. The association's use of new technology is part of a closer integration between its membership services and meetings teams, designed to bring the most value of an event to both members and non-member attendees.

Oregon Library Association versus Pacific Northwest Library Association

Recently the dispute between the Oregon Library Association and the Pacific Northwest Library Association had some new life breathed into it through at least one posting I caught over on LISWire.
Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

ALA Secrets lives

Transcript of ALA Attack on Few Groups that Oppose the ALA

A transcript of an ALA attack on some of the few groups that criticize it is available at "<a href="" target="_blank">ALA Chills Free Exercise of Democracy by Publicly Attacking Mom and Pop Groups Who Dare to Oppose ALA Influence That Endangers Children</a>." Favorite part: Deborah Caldwell-Stone says, "There are several other Internet-based library censorship advocates across the country.

This is the story of a struggling librarian from Uganda

The incoming chair of the Petroleum & Energy Resources Division [DPER] of SLA dropped us a link to an interesting librarian. <blockquote>This is the story of a struggling librarian from Uganda, Africa and how the Petroleum & Energy Division [DPER] of SLA has sponsored his membership in SLA and now DPER is fundraising to help bring Stephen Kizza to the 2010 SLA meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. The division board members feel that this very positive story demonstrates the power of SLA networking and how SLA members help one another.

Web Advisory Committee: Recommendation about the Use of ALA Connect

The Web Advisory Committee (WAC) is a standing committee of the American Library Association (ALA). One key duty of the WAC is to advise the association on priorities and strategies that promote utilization and continued development of the ALA website.

In Spring 2009, ALA introduced ALA Connect, a new section of the ALA website. Fulfilling our mission of advising the ALA on website issues, the Web Advisory Committee strongly urges all ALA organized groups and ALA members to take advantage of the ALA Connect service.

ALA Connect replaces the Online Communities service that ALA previously offered as a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. ALA Connect is a centralized space where official ALA “groups” can work together online. In addition, any member can create new “communities” (unofficial ALA groups) without any staff assistance, so the site will combine association work with communities of interest in one place.

Whether you participate in a “group” for an official committee, roundtable, section or divisional activity, or whether you engage with one of the other unofficial “communities” that become available, you have a number of tools with which to work together. By default, each one has blog posts, online documents (like wiki pages), a calendar, polls, a chat room, a discussion board, and images (logos, pictures, etc.). The group can use any or all of the tools it finds valuable.

ALA Connect should be your primary workspace for committee work, for information and for networking within the ALA organization.

All official ALA organizations and committees have a page in ALA connect. To visit yours go to and log in with your ALA website username and password. The Web Advisory Committee is committed to using the new Connect space to carry on the work of our committee and our task-oriented subgroups. Collaboration on this document has been done using ALA Connect.

You can learn more about:

* about ALA Connect at
* video tutorials are available at
* have questions? get help at
* the role of the Web Advisory Committee at

We look forward to seeing you soon on ALA Connect!

ALA Web Advisory Committee

Michael Stephens, Chair

An Oddball Notion

Left-wing pressure group Color of Change has had a boycott campaign running against right-wing talk personality Glenn Beck. So far it is claimed that multiple advertisers have yanked their ads from Beck's television on Fox News Channel although reportedly no ads have been pulled from the syndicated radio show, the magazine Fusion, or the website. While Beck's ratings remain high, the prices for ads are likely becoming depressed. Already seen on LISNews today was a link to a blog post concerning an ad by legal materials publisher West. In that ad, West stated that if you know your librarian on a first name basis you are spending too much time at your library. Between that ad campaign and the situation at Fox News Channel, a golden opportunity exists. What would it take for the American Library Association to break from past ad campaigns to do something new? What would it take to get the President of the ALA in a 30 second television ad to make a quick statement? Such an ad script could simply state: “Hello Glenn Beck viewers. Color of Change is running an advertising boycott against Glenn over his release of what they term racist disinformation. In today's stormy seas of competing viewpoints, libraries remain your safe harbor for finding truth. I'm Jim Rettig, president of the American Library Association, reminding you that libraries still serve you since time immemorial.” A bad thing is that the name of the ALA President did not come to mind immediately for me. The latest incarnation of the ALA website makes it quite the safari to actually determine who the President is. Getting actual face time in a commercial break of a national cable show with high ratings would presumably have some benefit. Having President Rettig say that in a library setting at the University of Richmond where he is University Librarian would personalize the point nicely. This would not have to be a complicated affair to produce and should not be any flashier than your average used car lot ad on local television. As a way to reach the great unwashed, this might actually have more effect than yanking all advertisers. Recently the boycott effort has started to backfire on Color of Change as some of the companies in the boycott have decided to not only pull their ads on Beck's program but to pull their ads off any political program regardless of whether it leans left or right. This may be the time for independent ALA action that could lead to positive results for libraries especially when publishers undercut the status of law libraries through ads by those same publishers. If anybody in the ALA sees this and wants to run with it, you have my blessing.
Taxonomy upgrade extras: 


Subscribe to Associations