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Librarians Leading the Way During Times of Rapid Social Change

Posted on 02/20/2018

2017 was a lively year for libraries.

National issues and trends impacted our nation’s libraries, and librarians rose to the challenge, promoting media literacy, protecting the freedom to read, advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion and responding to the needs of their patrons.

At the beginning of the year, librarians were quite literally on the front lines, many of them participating in the Women’s March on Washington in Atlanta in January.

Throughout the year, they continued to advocate, with more than 500 librarians participating in National Legislative Day on May 1-2 in Washington, D.C. It was a time when the proposed federal budget threatened to wipe out the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an important source of funding for library programs.

Not only were libraries on the front lines addressing social concerns, but they were also on the cutting edge of exciting technological trends that will help our country’s youth gain the skills to help them survive in the 21st Century.

In October, the ALA announced more than $500,000 in grants for 28 libraries in 21 states plus the District of Columbia to design and implement coding programs for young people. The grants are part of ALA’s ongoing Libraries Ready to Code initiative sponsored by Google to promote computer science (CS) and computational thinking among youth.

“The Libraries Ready to Code grants are a landmark investment in America’s young people and in our future,” said ALA President Jim Neal. “As centers of innovation in every corner of the country, libraries are the place for youth – especially those underrepresented in tech jobs – to get the CS skills they need to succeed in the information age.

These new resources will help cultivate problem-solving skills, in addition to coding, that are at the heart of libraries’ mission to foster critical thinking.”

Source: ilovelibraries External link opens in new window or tab

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