The 11-branch Douglas County Library System (DCLS), OR, is facing closure later this spring after a ballot measure to create an independent tax district was defeated in the November 2016 election. Money provided by the tax district would have generated about $4 million a year; enough to meet the library’s funding needs. Since its rejection, DCLS is actively searching for alternatives to closure.
Six months after librarian Valerie Pfister was told by administrators at Louisville Free Public Library that wearing a preferred pronoun button was a dress code violation, the library has honored its promise to list preferred pronouns on the library-issued name badges of any employee who requests it. The library also agreed to update the city’s Transgender 101 training with Pfister’s help, and offer it to any library employee who wished to take it.
On the afternoon of Friday, January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order placing a 90-day entry ban on immigrants and visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States. Travelers, visa holders, and refugees from those Muslim-majority countries were stopped and detained at airports in the United States and abroad, and in a number of cases sent back overseas. The ban affects U.S. students and professors among others, stranding those traveling abroad. Academic organizations across the country have condemned the order and urged Trump to reverse it, joining the voices of citizen protesters nationwide.
Nicolle Davies has not been resting on her laurels since she was recognized as Library Journal’s 2016 Librarian of the Year. At the time of the award’s announcement, in January, Davies served as executive director of Arapahoe Library District (ALD), Centennial, CO, since 2012. In July 2016, Davies left ALD to become the executive director of Charleston County Public Library (CCPL), SC.
The financial news for libraries in 2016 was for the most part positive—overall, budgets are up modestly—but many, still rebounding from the recession and working to keep pace with needed capital improvements and technology requirements, still feel that they’re just getting by. Libraries, particularly smaller systems, continue to meet the challenge of working with what funds are available. But unexpected or one-time expenses for a library of any size can still result in tightened purse strings. Also, the rising costs of benefits for employees, as well as the uncertainties of the health-care marketplace, are an increasingly common concern.
In March, Lisa Lucas will complete her first year as executive director of the National Book Foundation (NBF). Lucas took the reins of the nonprofit, which oversees the 67-year-old National Book Awards (NBA), when Harold Augenbraum stepped down. She has her sights set on further enlarging NBF’s reach; LJ caught up with Lucas to find out more about what she has planned and how libraries fit into the NBF’s vision.
Since the last of Canada’s Indian residential schools closed in 1996, the nation has been attempting to shape a response to the legacy of abuse that the residential school system—which removed native children from their homes and families—inflicted on its Indigenous Peoples. Saskatoon Public Library (SPL), Saskatchewan, has become the first public library to incorporate a space permanently dedicated to truth and reconciliation. On November 21 SPL’s Frances Morrison Central Library opened the Read for Reconciliation reading area, which includes a full set of the reports compiled by the TRC over five years, plus a variety of books about Canada’s history of residential schools, as well as an extensive reading list on the history and legacy of residential schools in Canada on its homepage.
From the run-up to the 2016 presidential election to its aftermath, incidents of hatred, anger, and intolerance have been on the rise across the country and beyond. Academic libraries have been the sites of several incidents, as have schools. Even public libraries, generally thought of as safe spaces for their communities, have not been immune.