State of America’s Libraries Report 2013
The most challenged books of 2012 are: “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher; “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James; “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; “Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz; “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls: and “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison.
School libraries are bracing for further budget cuts as federal funding to the states shrinks and the states begin to reduce aid to education. Deborah Rigsby, director of federal legislation for the National School Boards Association, warned that this could lead to the closing of school libraries, among other things.
And Carl Harvey II, past-president of the American Association of School Librarians (2011 – 2012), said eliminating school librarian positions betrays “an ignorance of the key role school librarians play in a child’s education… . The value of school librarians has been measured in countless studies demonstrating that strong school library programs help students learn more and score higher on standardized achievement tests.”
As the ongoing economic slump leads many Americans to re-examine their financial circumstances, libraries are responding in many ways. Public and community college libraries, for example, provide patrons with reliable financial information and investor education resources and programs, many of which target teens and young adults.
Digital content and libraries, and most urgently the issue of ebooks, also continues to be a focus of the library community. Libraries and publishers of ebooks have spent much of the past year seeking some middle ground that will allow greater library access to ebooks and still compensate publishers appropriately.
Just recently Penguin Group USA removed a six-month embargo on new releases licensed to libraries and instead will offer new ebook titles immediately after they are released in the consumer market. Although other terms are expected to continue, including a one-year expiration date on ebooks licensed to libraries, this new development comes at a time when the ALA continues to reach out to the nation’s top publishers to explore ebook lending models in U.S. libraries.