by The HLA Board
In recent months, library professionals across the nation – including the Hawaiʻi Library Association (HLA) Executive Board – have observed efforts to weaken the American Library Association (ALA) and the principles on which it stands by lobbying library organizations to withdraw their membership. In July 2023, the Montana State Library Commission withdrew its membership from ALA. Similar efforts exist in Illinois, Idaho, and other states. Much of the ire that is currently aimed at ALA is in reaction to the organization’s steadfast support for intellectual freedom, diversity and inclusion, and LGBTQ+ rights, which stand in direct opposition to coordinated censorship and book banning attempts.
Locally, Hawaiʻi’s librarians are seeing a concerning increase in book challenges in both school and public libraries. In anticipation of escalation, the theme of HLA’s Spring Meeting was ʻAʻali‘i, inspired by the ʻaʻali‘i tree, which resists the most adverse environmental conditions to remain standing. In ideal conditions, the ʻAʻaliʻi tree can grow tall and shelter other plants and life forms, fostering the rebirth and diverse ecology of Hawaiʻi’s land. At this meeting, Jon Martin and Joyce McIntosh of ALA, as well as Hawaiʻi House Representative Jenna Takenouchi and US Congresswoman Jill Tokuda, discussed organized efforts to challenge the freedom to read. These efforts include actions to control school boards and ban books – all rooted from a place of fear.
Headlines about the harassment of library workers and book banning efforts across the nation continue to increase. Just as ALA is supporting library workers, authors, and publishers as book challenges grow in number and contentiousness, it is important for us to stand in solidarity with ALA and the Library Bill of Rights in which we believe. HLA has been affiliated with ALA for over 100 years and, as we move forward, the HLA Executive Board shares with all of you our resolve to stand with ALA – and its leaders – in support of intellectual freedom. This effort manifests in our individual actions and in our organizational activities. Please review the attachment from ALA to understand the full scope of the support that ALA provides to those in our field and to our state’s libraries.
We deeply feel that our association – and, more widely, librarianship in Hawaiʻi – would be much less effective without the support of the American Library Association. Hence, let us gather and be as one, neʻepapa, as we stand for the freedom to read. It is our kūleana to mālama pono this right for our beloved community. It is our kūleana to stand with our sister ALA chapters and the national ALA to mālama this right for all. Together, we are as strong as the ʻaʻali‘i tree, prepared to weather any storm to fight for and shelter the diverse rights and interests of our communities.
With respect and aloha,
The Board of the Hawaiʻi Library Association
by Krystal Kakimoto, HLA Advocacy Committee Co-Chair
Libraries have always been a sanctuary of knowledge, imagination, and community. On August 5, 2023, book lovers, families, and library enthusiasts gathered at Ala Moana Beach Park to celebrate Love My Library Day. This event not only highlighted the importance of libraries but also marked a significant moment in the state's dedication to library advocacy. Governor Josh Green proclaimed August 2023 as Library Advocacy Month in Hawaiʻi, shedding light on the critical role libraries play in our lives and communities.
Why Governor Green's Proclamation Matters
Governor Josh Green's proclamation of Library Advocacy Month is a testament to the enduring significance of libraries. It recognizes that libraries are more than just buildings filled with books; they are essential hubs of learning, community engagement, and cultural enrichment.
Here are a few reasons why this proclamation matters:
If you are passionate about libraries and want to contribute to their growth and development, there is a way to get involved. Join the grassroots committee dedicated to projects like Love My Library Day and Library Advocacy Month. This committee is actively looking for volunteers and individuals who share their love for libraries and their dedication to making them even more vibrant and accessible.
To join the grassroots committee, please email Krystal Kakimoto at email@example.com.
Aloha HLA friends and colleagues,
The HLA Board expresses its deep concern for the recent devastation and loss of life inflicted by the wildfires on Maui and Hawaiʻi Island. Our thoughts are with all who have been affected by this tragedy. We would like to offer support to our library ʻohana in its efforts to rebuild and recover, and we stand by to assist once those efforts commence.
If there are ways for the HLA community to contribute to those efforts, we will provide that information at a later date once the full scope of damage has been assessed.
In the coming days and weeks, please keep those in our library ʻohana who have been impacted by these wildfires in your thoughts. The HLA Board sends our aloha.
For information about how you can support those on Maui, please click on the button below.
The Hawaii Library Association grieves with the families and friends of all those victimized by gun violence. The number of mass shootings, including the rise of such incidents at schools at the primary, secondary, and higher educational levels,* directly impact our library communities and lifelong learners that we support.
The American Library Association has recognized the need to pass a number of resolutions related to gun violence through the years. HLA takes a moment to recognize this and also to stand against such violence, especially in the wake of the recent racist shooting in Buffalo, NY and the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
Words cannot express how important it is, more than ever, to come together and support one another in the face of these tragic events. We encourage our colleagues and friends to learn more about safety and gun policies, as well as to continue to foster conversations around this issue in our communities and workplaces.**
*More research on gun violence incidents in schools, here.
**Further Pew Research here.
Please see below for an opportunity, that we were asked to share with our membership:
The Children’s Literature Lecture Award Committee is seeking suggestions for our 2023 honoree. The lecturer may be an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature. The lecture will be given in April or May of 2023 at a site to be chosen next year.
ALSC members are welcome to send suggestions to the committee for consideration. Please send your proposed lecturer(s), with supporting rationale for each recommendation.
The nomination form is available online and the deadline for submissions is July 31.
Recent past lecturers include Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Neil Gaiman, Dr. Debbie Reese, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Jacqueline Woodson. The complete list of past lecturers is on the ALSC website.
The 2023 lecturer will be announced at the 2022 ALA LibLearnX next January in San Antonio. For more details about the lecture, please visit the Children’s Literature Lecture Award site.