In the midst of an unprecedented political attack on libraries, it's hard to be surprised by the headlines any more. But the news out of Montana this week is jolting: "The Montana State Library Commission voted 5-1-1 in favor of withdrawing from the American Library Association, citing comments made by the incoming president of the organization Emily Drabinski where she self-identified as a “Marxist lesbian” in a since-deleted Tweet," reports the Daily Montanan. “'Our oath of office and resulting duty to the Constitution forbids association with an organization led by a Marxist,' read the language the commission voted to send to the ALA."

In a release, the American Library Association offered a matter-of-fact response to the Montana state library commission's decision to withdraw. "ALA presidents are elected by its membership to serve a term of one year and make decisions facing the membership in concert with a 15-member elected executive board and a 131-member elected council," the statement notes, going on to explain what the decision to terminate its membership will cost the state. All important stuff, though the response lacks any defense of Drabinksi, an accomplished, outstanding, highly respected librarian who was elected by her peers and who is now being targeted (like so many librarians have been over the last two years) by right-wing political fodder.

In its response, the Montana Library Association said it "deeply regrets" the decision by the Montana State Library Commission to withdraw from ALA. "By isolating State Library professionals from their peers and fellow leaders, the Commission has effectively eliminated critical training and tools for not only State Library staff, but for local library boards and trustees," the statement reads. "It is our earnest hope that the Montana State Library Commission will reconsider its decision and choose not to sever ties with the American Library Association. We urge them to look beyond short-term partisanship and view this situation through the lens of what serves the public good and long-term interests of all Montanans."

In North Carolina, the Charlotte News & Observer reports on a new bill introduced this week. "Republican state lawmakers released an extensive bill to give parents more authority over their children’s education, making it easier for them to access instructional materials, prosecute librarians and remove superintendents," the article states. "Democrats denounced the new proposal early on Wednesday, with Rep. Julie von Haefen saying 'it claims to give rights to parents, but it’s just a license for book banning committees to run rampant and groups like Moms for Liberty to get superintendents fired.'"

[the bill] claims to give rights to parents, but it’s just a license for book banning committees to run rampant and groups like Moms for Liberty to get superintendents fired.

In an editorial, the paper's editorial board call the bill "frightening" and warned against it. "It would empower extremist parents, which would inevitably create dysfunction in our public schools," the editorial board wrote. "Working in a classroom would be like navigating a minefield, and even the smallest misstep could cost educators their jobs." The billed was pulled from the schedule on Thursday, the editorial notes, but could still reappear.

Two more states have followed Illinois's lead in introducing bills that aim to discourage book bans. Local affiliate ABC27 reports that a new bill based on the groudbreaking Illinois law is expected to be introduced soon in Pennsylvania. "State Senator Amanda Cappelletti said in a memo to lawmakers on Monday that banning books 'is a direct contradiction to First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press, integral elements of democracy.'"

And in Massachusetts, Spectrum News reports that a bill based on the Illinois law has also been proposed.

The Washington Post has a long feature on the rise in efforts to ban picture books. "The discontent with children’s picture books overwhelmingly centers on titles with LGBTQ characters and storylines, which were targeted in 75% of such challenges, The Post found."

Two posts to call out from Book Riot's Kelly Jensen this week, including her usual, exhaustive (and exhausting) censorship news roundup, and in a separate post, the results of her recent survey on how authors are being impacted by book bans.

NYU Law's Engelberg Center released “The Anti-Ownership E-book Economy: How Publishers and Platforms Have Reshaped the Way We Read in the Digital Age,” a 57-page research report on the e-book marketplace. Among the findings: that the rise of a licensed access e-book market has empowered platform providers and "introduced new stressors" for publishers and libraries. “Publishers and libraries feel they are facing existential crises/collapse, and their fears are pushing them into diametrically opposed viewpoints,” the report notes in its introduction. “Some of the reasons for this shift are economic, some legal, some technological, and others psychological—a belief that limiting or eliminating digital ownership of books will raise publisher revenues, forestall free copies leaking onto unauthorized websites, and allow publishers and platforms unprecedented control and tracking of the behaviors of readers, as well as universities and libraries that provide e-books. Whether these beliefs map to reality, however, is hotly contested.”

Meanwhile, an international coalition of library advocacy groups this week unveiled the “eBook Pledge: Making eBook Markets Sustainable for the Long Term,” a 12-point pledge for publishers that outlines principles designed to “maintain the rights and permissions that libraries have exercised in the physical realm” while allowing for “new experimentation and the expansion of innovative lending practices” in the digital realm. The online document was drafted and released by advocacy group Library Futures (part of the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at the New York University School of Law); European advocacy initiative Knowledge Rights 21, the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), and the Authors Alliance. The full pledge can be read here.

The EveryLibrary Institute this week hosted a webinar aimed at helping libraries secure adequate funding for their state Digital Equity Act plans. Led by Liz Gabbitas and John Chrastka, the webinar focused on strategies for stakeholder engagement and offered practical guidance on pre-planning for the DEA and Broadband, Equity, and Deployment (BEAD) programs. "The stage of the planning process is that state Draft Plans are being released and are open for public comment," EveryLibrary officials told PW, stressing that substantive public comments from the library community-"positive or corrective"- are essential.

And finally this week, the New York Times reports on how a sprawling exhibit covering the life and work of Jay-Z came to to the Brooklyn Public Library.

"Featuring artwork, music, memorabilia, ephemera and large-scale recreations of touchstones from a sprawling career, “The Book of Hov,” which will run through the summer, might seem more at home at the Brooklyn Museum down the block," the report notes. "But by installing the showcase across eight zones of a functioning library, its architects are aiming to bring aspirational celebrity extravagance to a free public haven just a few miles from the Marcy Houses where Jay-Z grew up."

Oh, and if you're a BPL user you can get a Jay-Z library card.

The Week in Libraries is a weekly opinion and news column. News, tips, submissions, questions or comments are welcome, and can be submitted via email. Previous columns can be viewed here.