We are witnessing censorship in many parts of the country. In Llano County, Texas, elected officials removed books because they disagreed with the ideas, closed library board meetings to the public, dissolved the library board, replacing them with political appointees, and fired the librarian. I am grateful that our community values diversity of thought and opposes censorship. In Llano County an activist group that includes a board member of the library’s foundation filed a lawsuit alleging the county violated their constitutional rights by removing award winning books, including Maurice Sendak’s classic “In the Night Kitchen” and “Caste: The Origins of our Discontent” by Isabelle Wilkerson. According to the American Library Association, there were 729 challenges to library materials in 2021 and it expects an increase this year.
Libraries provide incredible services to our communities. April 3-9 was National Library Week and the theme was “Connect with Your Library,” connecting technologies, communities, resources, programs, and ideas. The Friends of the Alameda Free Library recognized the library staff with a lunch to thank them for outstanding service and programs to the Alameda community, especially in the face of many challenges from the pandemic.
I am very excited about two new ‘connection’ programs sponsored by our library. Last year, FAL wrote a letter of support to the city council to fund Wi-Fi hotspots – internet access points that connect multiple devices. The program is now operational and community members can check out a hotspot with their library card. Another fantastic new program connects the community to the outdoors. Library card holders can check out a free vehicle day-use pass to over 200 participating California State Parks.
FAL is holding our second Pop-Up Book Sale on May 7 with a special selection of books for Mother’s Day. Plan to attend and buy a gift for Mom. Shopping is also available that day at Books for Friends, just across the hall from the Stafford Room. All sale proceeds support programs for the Alameda Free Library.