Check Your Shelf

More Laser-Eyed Loons

Welcome to Check Your Shelf. By the time you read this newsletter, I will be in (partially) sunny Florida for a short Disney & Universal Studios vacation! We’re expecting some rain while we’re out there, but thankfully, it should still be fairly warm, and honestly, anything above 45 degrees feels like a nice reprieve.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

Libraries & Librarians

News Updates

ALA updates their core values.

Keeping libraries “right side up:” Budgets and funding 2024.

OCLC has filed a lawsuit against the shadow library search engine Anna’s Archive for allegedly stealing 2.2 TB of data from WorldCat. OCLC provided a follow-up statement.

Here’s a profile of Diana Haneski, the librarian at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who received the I Love My Librarian Award for her work making her school library a safe space for students after the Parkland shooting.

The 2024 Rainbow Book List has been published.

Cool Library Updates

The St. Paul Public Library launches a laser-eyed loon library card. (Best. Headline. Ever.)

Worth Reading

(Paywalled): Colorado librarians are now front-line workers in crisis intervention.

“Reading is so sexy:” Gen Z turns to physical books and libraries.

Book Adaptations in the News

Black British authors speak out about the truth behind the satire in American Fiction.

Tia Williams’ Seven Days in June is being developed as a series for Prime Video.

Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything will be adapted as an animated TV series.

Hulu has (maybe?) scrapped the adaptation of A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Ryan Reynolds and Paramount are working on an adaptation of John Scalzi’s Starter Villain.

Turtles All the Way Down is set to release on Max this year.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is in development with Orion Pictures, with America Ferrera making her directorial debut.

Season 3 of AMC’s The Terror will be based on Victor LaValle’s The Devil in Silver.

Percy Jackson has been renewed for a second season, as has Interview With the Vampire.

The Color Purple gets a streaming release date on Max.

Uglies is coming to Netflix later this year.

Here’s the trailer for the film adaptation of Wicked.

Casting update for The Man in My Basement.

Here’s a first look at Paramount’s A Gentleman in Moscow, starring Ewan McGregor.

Apple TV+ released a trailer for their 2024 lineup, and it features a lot of book adaptations.

Teaser trailer for Dark Matter.

Censorship News

Why do we even read?

LeVar Burton responds to book bans with a Reading Rainbow video on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

San Francisco and Kansas City libraries united during the Super Bowl to raise public awareness about censorship and book bans.

Khaled Hosseini talks about book bans in the US: “It betrays students.”

Books are quietly disappearing from the shelves in Conroe ISD (TX).

The Community Standards Review Committee in League City, Texas, is ready to start reviewing potentially age-inappropriate books.

La Grange ISD school board members (TX) are trying to prohibit the purchase of a handful of new books because they contain specific keywords or because the author has already been banned in other school districts in the country. Please note that the board members have not actually read the books.

Brevard County Schools (FL) removed A Court of Thorns and Roses from shelves.

(Paywalled): Pasco Schools (FL) received their first formal book challenge for The Letter Q, a collection of essays for teens about being queer.

The Hernando County School Board (FL) voted against committee recommendations and permanently banned The Kite Runner and The Black Friend.

St. Johns County School District (FL) has a very long list of books that have been challenged, banned, restricted, or “quarantined.”

The MSAD 44 Board of Directors (ME) held a special meeting this week to hear from community members about whether or not to remove Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which was challenged by a former school board member.

Andover Public Schools (MA) have denied two separate challenges to four individual titles since 2018.

“After a principal had at least 117 manga removed from a classroom and effectively disbanded Magnolia Middle School’s anime and manga club in September, a new club has been formed and some of the books are being returned to the school library.” And at least one parent says that the school never followed their own book removal policy in the first place. This is in Delaware.

Carroll County Schools (MD) have retained several challenged books, but not all of them.

57 books are to be “temporarily removed” from Rockingham County Schools (VA). But at least it’s not a ban, amirite?? /s

“Explicit library content targeting minors roils Botetourt [VA].” THERE IS NO EXPLICIT LIBRARY CONTENT TARGETING MINORS, and the newspapers that publish these types of headlines are only fanning the flames.

A parent who wants over 670 books removed from Dorchester School District Two (SC) gets a profile piece, even though the article mentions that only a quarter of the books are even in the school district. Also, another parent chimes in with their interpretation of book banning: “‘When you write a book, publish it and distribute it, that’s not banning it.’” Truly, I cannot believe how ridiculous these book ban definitions are becoming. And the ACLU of South Carolina has spoken out against the situation in DD2.

The Lexington-Richland Five School District (SC) has removed the graphic novel The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb, although no one is entirely sure why since the school won’t release details. The article also notes that this is the same district where someone filed a challenge against a single book in the Court of Thorns & Roses series; a review committee found it appropriate, and the board voted not only to remove the challenged book but to remove the entire series, even though none of the other titles had been formally challenged.

Alabama’s break with ALA signals a broader attack on library independence.

Here’s a non-paywalled link to an editorial from the Decatur Daily (AL): Libraries shouldn’t be political battlegrounds.

The Autauga-Prattville Library Board (AL) has banned LGBTQ+ books for all patrons under 17, and library staff will “affix a red warning label prominently on the binding of any book or other material in the library’s collection containing content including, but not limited to, obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender discordance and advertised for consumers 18 and older.”

Some conservative Georgia state senators want the state to withdraw from ALA.

The Lafayette Parish Library (LA) has lifted its ban on Black History Month and Pride displays.

Nashville students marched to the State Capitol prior to the annual State of the State address, demanding better gun control laws and no book bans.

How Indiana schools are tackling library book complaints.

“A Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday that would give school boards the authority to approve or deny curricular materials concerning human sexuality.” This is in Indiana.

A new Wisconsin bill would target school librarians for books that some parents consider “obscene.”

“A proposal to give city councils more authority over public libraries would bring partisan political decision-making into library operations, including book selection, dozens of public library officials and supporters warned state lawmakers Thursday at the Iowa Capitol.”

A Johnston School Board member (IA) is on Twitter, citing BookLooks as a reason why Sold by Patricia McCormick should be banned.

A Nebraska State Board of Education member proposed a rule revision that would prohibit “pornographic materials or sexually explicit content” in all Nebraska public school libraries.

“A bill requiring public schools and libraries to publicize their policies for restricting minors from accessing obscene matter or materials passed in the House Education Committee Monday morning.” This is in South Dakota.

Colorado’s recently proposed “Freedom to Read” bill would establish a baseline process for challenging books in schools and public libraries.

“Lawmakers in the [Washington] state House have passed a bill that essentially bans the banning of books that focus on people of a protected or marginalized class.”

Kern County Board of Education [CA] trustee Lori Cisneros serves a school that doesn’t even have a school library, and yet she wants to further restrict students’ access to books. She’s particularly concerned about Ellen Hopkins’ book Smoke. Also, this is somewhat beside the point, but if I had to imagine the most stereotypical outfit I would expect a book banner to wear, it would look remarkably like the outfit she’s wearing in the embedded video.

Books & Authors in the News

Writers Against the War on Gaza have written an open letter to PEN/America to release an official statement about the “225 poets, playwrights, journalists, scholars, and novelists killed in Gaza” by Israeli forces.

In celebration of The Martian’s 10th anniversary (holy crap, has it been that long??), Andy Weir has released a series of “lost” journal entries from Mark Watney.

Saul Bellow is getting his own official postage stamp.

Numbers & Trends

The best-selling books of the week.

Bookish Curiosities & Miscellaneous

Here’s an article from Slate about how students are losing the ability to read critically or effectively.

On the Riot has released a list of new and updated words for 2024.

a black and white cat laying on its side on a colorful blanket

I can’t even begin to describe how snuggly Dini has become in the last couple months and especially since we said goodbye to Gilbert. I personally think he’s making the case for us to get another kitty friend, but I’m enjoying the snuggles regardless.

All right, friends. I’ll be back on Tuesday and back in Illinois again. Have a good weekend!

—Katie McLain Horner, @kt_librarylady on Twitter.