ALA this week shared news that its "Dear Appropriator" letters are now finalized. In all, 104 lawmakers in the House signed on to support LSTA funding and 61 signed on to IAL funding, while 41 signed on to support LSTA and 33 signed on to support IAL in the senate. In all, some 10,793 advocates sent 19,247 messages to Capitol Hill, a solid showing.

For next steps, ALA officials are urging library supporters to write thank you messages for members who signed the letters (which isn't just, you know, polite, but is also a very effective form of advocacy and engagement). You can see a full list of members who signed on and find additional information about the federal budget process at the ALA's' #FundLibraries homepage.

The Alabama Reflector reports that the Alabama Public Library Service Board has passed new rules that would strip state funding from libraries that do not restrict access to materials deemed to be sexually inappropriate. "The changes, recommended by Gov. Kay Ivey but pushed considerably further by a board member who also chairs the Alabama Republican Party, come amid divisive battles over content and leadership in libraries around the state, often over books with LGBTQ+ themes or characters," the article notes. "Opponents say the new rules amount to censorship and that the language is too vague to determine what materials fall under the ban."

In the Alabama Political Reporter, the plaintiffs suing the Autauga-Prattville Public Library’s Board of Trustees write about why they've turned to the courts. "Parents, not politicians, should be the ones deciding what books their children read. And the Alabamians we’ve talked to agree: these unlawful censorship policies have no home in our state," the editorial states. "The Board is attempting to rid our libraries of books discussing diverse characters or themes, with a particular ire for LGBTQ+ storylines."

The Alabama Political Reporter also reports that Atauga-Prattville board has settled another lawsuit, this one filed by director Andrew Foster over his termination. "The settlement seems to be confidential, as Foster and his counsel said they could not speak on the lawsuit’s resolution." Meanwhile, there's this eye-catcher at the end of the report: the library has turned off Facebook comments after "death threats."

In the Arkansas Advocate, Tess Vrbin reports that the plaintiffs who won a preliminary injunction last July blocking portions of Act 372, the state's harmful to minors bill, are seeking a permanent injunction. "The blocked Section 1 of Act 372 would have put librarians at risk of being charged with a Class D felony for 'knowingly' distributing 'obscene' material or informing others of how to obtain it," the report notes. "The other blocked provision, Section 5, would have given city and county elected officials the final say over whether a book challenged on the basis of appropriateness can remain on library shelves or should be relocated to a place minors cannot access." The case is scheduled for trial in October.

Over at Book Riot, Kelly Jensen leads off her weekly censorship news roundup with a look at what a book ban form looks like, and how little effort most would-be book banners put into them. "Certainly, it’s one thing to hear these concerned citizens offer up their moral panic as performances before school and library boards. But there is something especially egregious about seeing the lack of work or effort put into the forms they’re often required to fill out in order to trigger a formal review process."

The Star Tribune reports that Minnesota has become the latest state to advance a law seeking to guard against book bans. "The law, which would become effective July 1, establishes a so-called 'Library Bill of Rights' and states that libraries cannot restrict access to material 'because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.' Democrats who backed the provision say it's a necessary step in curbing politicized campaigns against books that focus on multiracial—and especially LGBTQ—experience. Those efforts have become more pronounced as school board politics have become increasingly polarized in the last few years." The bill now heads to the governor's desk.

In a world of talking heads and screaming pundits, the librarians used their silence—essentially a librarian’s greatest weapon—to speak volumes about how they feel

On the digital content front, OverDrive announced this week that the full e-book catalog from Chronicle Books in the OverDrive Max access model. OverDrive Max provides libraries and schools the ability to bundle 100 checkouts with no time limits for when they are checked out, allowing multiple users to borrow each title at the same time within the standard lending period.

The New York Times has a piece about Open AI's library. "The library also represents the paradox at the heart of OpenAI’s technology. Authors and publishers, including The New York Times, are suing OpenAI, claiming the company illegally used their copyrighted content to build its A.I. systems. Many authors worry that the technology will ultimately take away their livelihood."

And finally this week, a good piece from Darrell Ehrlick, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan who wrote about an ice-cold move in which librarians in the state snubbed the state library commission by not showing up to their scheduled annual meeting after a long period of politically-motivated actions, such as cutting ties with ALA.

"The offensive snubbing began at an annual meeting when librarians usually get together with the state government commission charged with overseeing the state library system. When it came time for the annual conversations between the commissioners and the librarians, no one showed up," the report notes. "Well, that’s not exactly accurate: A couple of librarians told the commissioners why no one else was there, and those librarians delivered an anonymous letter which had been circulating that seemed to encourage a boycott because of the commission’s recent actions," Ehrlick writes.

"And this, dear friends, is why you shouldn’t mess with librarians," he concludes. "In a world of talking heads and screaming pundits, the librarians used their silence—essentially a librarian’s greatest weapon—to speak volumes about how they feel."

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.