With the American Library Association Annual Conference just weeks away, ALA president Emily Drabinski will kick off the last month of her presidency with a “Road to Annual” tour, starting in early June with a visit to the Cranston Public Library in Rhode Island. Drabinski's tour will highlight the importance of federal support for libraries and the federal Right to Read Act, concluding in San Diego, the site of the ALA conference, which is set to run from June 27-July 2 at the San Diego Convention Center.

The tour will include stops at libraries in West Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, New Mexico, and Arizona on the way to San Diego. Updates on the tour will be available on ALA’s social media channels and website.

Meanwhile, the ALA announced last week that author, comedian, and former Daily Show host Trevor Noah will deliver the conference's opening keynote. There's still time to register, here.

In Tennessee, Chalkbeat reports that two years after Tennessee lawmakers gave the state’s volunteer textbook commission broad new powers to decide which textbooks students can access, it is prepared to review its first case. The Commission has "the authority to rule on appeals of local decisions about individual books and gives the panel authority to ban them statewide," the report notes.

"Supporters of the laws say they are protecting children and older students from age-inappropriate, sexually explicit material and exploitation. But critics say the goal is censorship—and that the changes will violate First Amendment freedoms," the report adds. "Either way, the broadened definition puts a young adult novel at risk of being banned for even a single paragraph referencing sexual excitement. A children’s picture book such as the Caldecott Awardwinning classic No, David!, could be pulled because one page shows the naked backside of a mischievous boy running down a street."

The Florida Phoenix reports that updated training approved by the state board of education for public school librarians is provoking a backlash from parents, teachers, and free expression advocates, who call the new standards confusing and dangerous. "Despite backlash about the number of book challenges in the state, Florida’s top education officials still want public school librarians to 'err on the side of caution' when it comes to vetting books for sexual conduct that’s harmful to minors," the report found.

Courthouse News reports that the California assembly has passed Assembly Bill 1825, which would prohibit libraries in the state from discriminating against materials based on criteria like race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and religion. "Libraries would have to create a policy that, among other items, acknowledges the public’s right to access materials that include a range of social, political and moral experiences," the report notes. "The bill passed 49 to 3. It now advances to the Senate."

A children’s picture book such as the Caldecott Award-winning classic No, David!, could be pulled because one page shows the naked backside of a mischievous boy running down a street."

The Alabama Political Reporter has an editorial from editor-in-chief Bill Britt that contrasts Minnesota (which recently signed a law aimed at stopping book bans in libraries) with what's going on in Alabama. "Alabama is charting a drastically different course. Attempts at book censorship in Alabama broke records in 2023, primarily targeting books with LGBTQ+ content," Britt writes. "Alabama lawmakers have gone so far as to try to enact laws that could jail librarians over their book collections."

NOLA.com has a good piece on the book banning climate in Louisiana. "The fact that so many books are being challenged, while librarians’ reputations are at stake, has discouraged some library workers from seeking out more diverse materials to suit their readers’ needs, especially in more conservative areas," write Sarah Ravits.

Also in Louisiana, the Louisiana Illuminator reports that the state Senate has passed a bill that would allow "parish library systems to hire directors who are not certified librarians" and "allow library board members to be dismissed without cause." The bill is "a response to some parish governing authorities who have sought to remove library board members who have been wary join conservative culture wars," the report adds, notably at St. Tammany Tammany Parish, where ousted board members "have sued the parish and the councilman who initiated their removal and worked with Hollis last year on the rejected bill."

We were off for Memorial Day, but Kelly Jensen's May 24 censorship mews roundup at Book Riot offers a look at where the ALA and library associations are under attack, and why. "This is fueled by misinformation peddled by the far right, who see the ALA as some kind of machine that encourages librarians to fill their shelves with 'pornography,' 'obscenity,' and 'inappropriate material,' as well as one that trains library workers how to undermine parents through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives," writes Jensen.

In Ohio, Youngstown's WKBN 27 reports that HB 556, which would expose librarians and educators to criminal liability for making allegedly obscene materials available to minors, is advancing, despite criticism. Governor Mike DeWine appears lukewarm, telling reporters he "is unsure whether there is a need for HB 556," per the article. "The governor noted these issues are typically disputed at a local level."

In New York, TBR Newsmedia has an editorial celebrating the state's Suffolk Cooperative Library System as "a shining example of sustainability." After enrolling in the ALA's Sustainable Library Certification Program, Suffolk County libraries "reduced the cost of its electricity consumption by a whopping 76.8%" between 2016 and 2023, per the editorial, and has "calculated the reduction of its use of energy by 85.4% by changing to LED lighting, turning lights off automatically, regularly maintaining of the HVAC system, and improved insulation and auto-sleep settings on computers and copiers and the conversion to laptops, as well as the purchase of solar panels."

In eSchool News, Follett Content Solutions CEO Britten Follett writes about the need for school librarians to do fundraising. "Whether the funding comes from municipal tax dollars, state or federal allocations, grants, physical book fairs, eFairs, bake sales, DonorsChoose, corporate partnerships, or combination of them all, access to books changes lives—and that’s an investment each of us can’t afford not to make," Follett concludes.

Finally this week, the Seattle Public Library says that its online services are being restored after a ransomware attack. A post on the library's website said that the attack occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, May 25, "just one day before we were prepared to take our systems offline to conduct planned maintenance on a server over Memorial Day weekend," and impacted "staff and public computers, our online catalog and loaning system, e-books and e-audiobooks, in-building Wi-Fi."

In addition, the Internet Archive was also targeted last week with a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) cyber-attack. A post on the IA blog reports that the IA's "collections are safe," though service access to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine was impacted. “With the support from others and the hard work of staff we are hardening our defenses to provide more reliable access to our library,” wrote IA founder Brewster Kahle.

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.