Editor's Note: The Week in Librarians will be off next week, June 28, for the American Library Association Annual Conference, but there will be a June 28 edition of the Preview for Libraries newsletter. There will be no newsletter on July 5, in observance of the July 4th holiday.

Ahead of its annual conference, which kicks off next week in San Diego, the American Library Association has announced that Raymond Pun, who was recently elected ALA president-elect (with his presidential term set to begin at the conclusion of the 2025 ALA Annual Conference) has decided not to assume the role, citing health reasons. According to the release, the incoming 2024-25 ALA executive board will fill the vacancy within 30 days of taking office, subject to a confirmation vote by the ALA council. The process to fill the vacant position of president-elect is spelled out in the ALA bylaws.

ALA president Emily Drabinski has convened a working group, which includes incoming and outgoing board members, to select and vet candidates. “We are devastated that Ray will be unable to serve as ALA’s member-elected president in 2025-26,” Drabinski said in a statement. “The most important thing right now is that he takes care of himself and that we respect his privacy. We are grateful for his service to ALA and the entire profession.”

LGBTQ Nation reports on Drabinski’s efforts to protect LGBTQ+ librarians and how Drabinski is dealing with personal attacks. Drabinski recently created a task force to address the ongoing challenges faced by LGBTQ+ library workers, including herself. “This is a year when libraries and readers and books have been challenged in many ways because of their LGBTQ+ content, and being an openly out lesbian leader of the association has meant that I have been a target of some of those attacks as well,” Drabinski told LGBTQ Nation.

The Texas Observer talks with librarian Suzette Baker, who in 2022 was fired from her job as a Llano County librarian after resisting orders to ban books and protesting against censorship, which led to a successful lawsuit by local residents to restore books pulled from library shelves. Baker was recently honored by the Authors Guild.

The Alabama Political Reporter reports that Alabama Public Library Service director Nancy Pack sent an email out this week attempting to clarify who is responsible for implementing new statewide rules on appropriate materials in Public libraries. Still seems pretty confusing. In addition, Pack revealed that "that federal LSTA grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will be delayed until December 1 while IMLS reviews whether the agency remains eligible to receive federal funds with the new code changes."

Over at Book Riot, Kelly Jensen leads off her weekly censorship news roundup with a powerful, spot-on take about a key factor motivating this flurry of book bans: an attack on public education. "Targeting books in public schools and libraries is purposeful. Create a frenzy over lies and disinformation about the content in libraries and classrooms, then profit by claiming students are being indoctrinated, then utilize those lies to push for voucher programs because your student shouldn’t have to be around that kind of stuff," Jensen writes. "See also: demand a book be banned, claim that books like those are proof the schools are incapable of doing their job, take time and money away from schools to put the book through the review process, complain about the time and money wasted on such a review process, and repeat the cycle until the money, time, and people are all gone."

Also at Book Riot, Jensen takes aim at a new rating system from Midwest Tape/hoopla, a distributor of audiovisual materials and digital materials. "These ratings are the perfect tool for silent/quiet censorship, already a major problem in libraries nationwide," she writes. "Even in learning about the new system, at least one library worker blatantly shared that it would help them decide to simply elect not to buy material 'because budget.' That is censorship and it’s an unethical practice for any library worker."

These ratings are the perfect tool for silent/quiet censorship, already a major problem in libraries nationwide.

Marketplace has an interview with Connecticut Library Association's Sarah McCusker on the library e-book market, which remains as fraught as ever.

For Mental Floss, Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner shares 10 banned books written by LGBTQ+ authors you don’t want to miss.

WCVB, Boston’s ABC affiliate, reported on how Massachusetts libraries are helping to fight back against book bans. In 2023, Boston Public Library joined “Books Unbanned,” an initiative started by the Brooklyn Public Library, which creates free digital access to books that have been challenged or pulled in other libraries. "At this stage, we have between 1,500 and 2,000 sign-ups from every state in the nation," David Leonard, president of the Boston Public Library, told WCVB.

In Idaho, the Bonner County Daily Bee reports on the drama over the Saga series at the East Bonner County Library District. Roughly a half-dozen people, accompanied by Idaho Senator Scott Herndon, had approached the library board in May asking them to either pull the series from circulation or move it to an adults-only area. “My response to this is that this series may be offensive to some in our community, but it has been very popular and circulated 150 times in the last 10 years,” library board vice chair Jeanine Asche said at the board meeting, the Bee reported. The Hugo and Eisner Award–winning series was among the 100 most challenged books between 2010 and 2019, according to the ALA.

The New Republic reports on a Right to Read celebration in Miami. “There are so many more of us,” one of the panelists, author and freedom to read defender Jodi Picoult, said. “We just have to be a little bit louder.” Other panelists included Jacqueline Woodson, George M. Johnson, and Ellen Hopkins.

And finally this week, a fascinating piece in the New York Times explores how New York’s first Black librarians built communities of writers and readers along with their collections. "At times, they battled overt and covert censorship that would be familiar in today’s climate of rising book bans and restrictions on teaching so-called divisive concepts," the article states. "But whether they worked in world-famous research collections or modest public branch libraries, these pioneers saw their role as not just about tending old books but also about making room for new people and new ideas."

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.