Check Your Shelf

The Inequity of Literary Awards

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. I’m taking a couple days off next week, so what am I doing? Going to the Shedd Aquarium on free admission day! This is how you play hooky properly!

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

Library Journal has named the Brooklyn Library’s Books Unbanned team the Librarians of the Year. These were the librarians who offered free digital access to banned books to any teenager in the country.

The National Conference of African American Librarians will not hold its annual event in Indianapolis this year in response to the Indianapolis Public Library Board refusing to appoint Nichelle Hayes as the library director.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signs a law to make New Jersey the first state to require media literacy for K-12 students.

The Edmonton Public Library saw a significant increase in security concerns in 2022.

Worth Reading

America’s public libraries reflect the systematic failures and social inequality of our country.

Book Adaptations in the News

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting, stars of the 1968 adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, have sued Paramount Pictures for more than $500 million over the underaged nude scene in the film.

The story of the husband-murdering author of “How to Murder Your Husband” is coming to Lifetime.

Season 3 of Truth Be Told (based on Kathleen Barber’s novel While You Were Sleeping) has a trailer.

Season 4 of You gets a trailer.

First look at the Bridgerton prequel, Queen Charlotte.

Here’s the trailer for Renfield.

Banned & Challenged Books

What anti-censorship groups are actively fighting book bans?

The Education Department logs a record number of discrimination complaints.

5 book ban trends to watch for in 2023.

How misinformation about Lawn Boy, a novel never meant for children, made it the second-most contested book in schools last year.

What book bans are doing to school library purchases.

Victoria City Council (TX) has tabled the library’s Advisory Board’s policy recommendations over wording disagreements. The policy in general says that the library will not purchase materials that “promotes gender dysphoria” and “encourages a child younger than 18 to consider elective procedures for gender transitioning.” Resident Cindy Herman said, “Supporting children who say they are transgender and going so far as to allow a child to consider gender reassignment surgery is to “help Satan reclaim this earth for his purposes.” YIKES ON BIKES.

Book ratings could be coming to Texas school libraries.

“Don’t Say Gay:” Florida schools remove library books with LGBTQ characters.

Douglas Anderson School For the Arts (FL) cancels its production of Indecent, which students say is because of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Lake County Schools (FL) have banned And Tango Makes Three, A Day With Marlon Bundo, and In Our Mothers’ House.

Students allege that the Florida teacher who is pushing for book bans is openly racist and homophobic. Well, color me shocked!

The synopsis for this article says it all: “Starting Jan. 1, school media specialists across Florida faced a new requirement of needing to complete training on how to select books for their libraries before purchasing any new items. The state did not meet its deadline to provide the training. It did, however, publish a proposed rule and backing documents for public review and comment, leading to a future Board of Education vote. As you might imagine, the proposal has encountered some resistance.” AKA, everything is a hot mess.

The Polk County (FL) School Board gives an unnamed conservative group more time to review all of the books being added to two new school libraries. Because that’s what’s really important here.

The fight over library books in St. Tammany Parish (LA) escalates to include law enforcement.

The battle to keep LGBTQ+ books in Louisiana libraries.

Livingston Parish School Board (LA) unanimously passes new policy against critical race theory.

A group of parents in Hermon, Maine, are concerned about over 80 “sexually explicit” books in the school library, although they say it’s not about banning books.

Hempfield Area (PA) Schools are stuck on a proposed book procurement policy, as board members are divided on how to establish a standard of appropriateness.

Another Pennsylvania school district clamps down on reading rights.

Progressives are organizing to monitor Pennsylvania school boards in a pushback against book bans and “harmful” actions.

The book collections at Ohio County Schools (WV) draw questions from the public.

Macon County Library (NC) are considering changes to their complaint policy after an LGBTQ display sparked controversy last year. Namely, they’re looking at limiting complaints to members of the community who have an active library card in the system.

Gender Queer is under fire at the Clark County Public Library in Kentucky.

A proposed rule creates a wedge between libraries and Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.

St. Cloud (MN) schools haven’t experienced a wave of book banning yet, but they also have a preemptive form that a teacher must complete any time they want to bring a new book into the curriculum, and THEN the book is reviewed by other teachers, administrators, and families.

This Patmos (MI) librarian has gone viral after ripping into trustees about the stress that she and her colleagues have been through over the last couple years. It’s heartbreaking, and very, very familiar: “Please understand, we broke. We are human. It was one threat too many. One accusation too many, and all we do is come in here to serve you day after day.”

Riverside Public Library (IL) pushes back on the attempt to ban Gender Queer.

The Keene Memorial Library (NE) has received an official complaint about the book Sex is a Funny Word.

Treasure Valley (ID) residents cite swearing, sex, and fictional characters being mad at their parents as some of the reasons why they want to remove titles from the teen section at the Meridian Library.

The State Library of Oregon reports an increasing number of organized book ban efforts across the state.

A perfectly inoffensive school library.

Maia Kobabe talks about how Gender Queer has helped struggling kids talk to their parents.

Books & Authors in the News

Indie romance author Susan Meachen appears to announce that she’s alive, two years after her daughter allegedly announced that Meachen had died by suicide.

Award-winning author Russell Banks has died at 82.

Toni Morrison’s rarely seen papers will be on display at Princeton.

Numbers & Trends

OverDrive digital circulation grew 10% in 2022, and they report that 129 libraries surpassed one million checkouts.

The bestselling books of the week, according to all the lists.

Award News

A look at the inequity of literary awards.

Here are the 2023 Golden Globe winners.

Here are the winners of the 2023 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Awards.

Pop Cultured

Paramount+ snags a Dungeons and Dragons series.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Barnes & Noble is hosting the inaugural BookTok Festival.

Oprah Daily gives six tips for starting and maintaining a thriving book club.

On the Riot

New Year’s resolutions of a high school librarian.

Linguists name “-ussy” the word of the year.

6 readathons and reading challenges to start prepping for in 2023.

Try these resources to help you read more in 2023.

Why you should start book journaling.

black cat and black and white cat laying on an unmade bed

Two snuggly boys, enjoying being brothers! Or probably more like Dini was sleeping on the bed, and Gilbert decided he was going to go bother him.

Welp, that’s it for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday. Peace out!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.