May 24, 2022 LIBRARIES ARE ESSENTIAL
With the second annual Libraries Are Essential program, the U.S. Book Show once again acknowledged a simple fact: America’s libraries are more than just a key marketplace for publishers and authors, they are bedrock institutions, anchors in our communities, vital to the health of our democracy and society, and crucial to our reading and literary cultures.
The 2022 Libraries Are Essential program was presented in two blocks, separated by a lunchtime program, featuring an array of voices and perspectives from the library community.
The morning session explored the rise of book banning, misinformation, educational gag orders, and other legislation targeting the work of public and school libraries across the nation. The afternoon session focused on the post-pandemic future of libraries, including issues of worker and public safety, digital equity issues, and library leadership. The program concluded with a keynote U.S. Congressman from Maryland Jamie Raskin, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy.
And for a special bonus session, a very special library-themed live session of the wildly popular Friends & Fiction author group was hosted.
Andrew Richard AlbanesePW senior writer Andrew Richard Albanese leads the magazine’s library coverage. Albanese has covered the publishing and information technology fields for more than 22 years and is a former associate editor of American history at Oxford University Press, a former editor at Library Journal, and author of The Battle of $9.99: How Apple, Amazon and the Big Six Publishers Changed the E-book Business Overnight.
Sari FeldmanPW columnist Sari Feldman is the former executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland and a past president of both the Public Library Association (2009–2010) and the American Library Association (2015–2016). She is currently an ALA policy fellow focusing on digital library policy.
Patricia (Patty) Wong is a city librarian of Santa Clara, California. Wong is president of the American Library Association (ALA), with her term set to conclude in June at the 2022 Annual Conference in Washington D.C. Wong has worked as a school librarian, children’s librarian, cataloger, and special librarian and has held numerous leadership roles in public libraries.
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada
Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada is an adult services assistant manager at the Palos Verdes Library District in Southern California, and president-elect of the American Library Association. Lessa will begin her term at the 2022 Annual Conference in Washington D.C. in June. She has worked as a clerk, children’s librarian, teen librarian, and adult services librarian and is currently executive director of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association.
Deborah Caldwell StoneDeborah Caldwell Stone is the director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, where she leads projects addressing censorship and privacy issues in the library.
Jonathan FriedmanJonathan Friedman is the director of free expression and education at PEN America, where he oversees advocacy, analysis, and outreach concerning educational communities and academic institutions.
Discussion: Once More for Those in the Back—Libraries Are NOT Neutral!
Nicole A. Cooke
Nicole A. Cooke is the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and an associate professor at the University of South Carolina. Cooke was awarded the ALA’s Equality award in 2016 and was the 2019 ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award recipient. She has edited and authored several books, including Fake News and Alternative Facts: Information Literacy in a Post-truth Era (ALA Editions, 2018).
Renate ChancellorRenate Chancellor is the chair and associate professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at The Catholic University of America. Her work focuses on equity, human information behavior–particularly in legal environments–and diversity and social justice in Library and Information Science. Her book E. J. Josey: Transformational Leader of the Modern Library Profession, was released in 2020.
Yasmeen ShorishYasmeen Shorish is an associate professor at the James Madison University Libraries. Much of her research focuses on the “curatorial and educational activities that make that data available for further study” and the relationship between information access and power and privilege, as well as the democratizing potential of information access.
Moderated by: Andrew Richard Albanese
Discussion: The Politicization of Libraries
John Chrastka is the executive director and founder of EveryLibrary, the only national political action committee for libraries. Chrastka and EveryLibrary work each election season to support dozens of local ballot initiatives in communities across the nation.
Donald Cohen is the founder and executive director of In the Public Interest, a national nonprofit research and policy organization that studies public goods and services. Cohen is the author, with Allen Mikaelian, of The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back (New Press).
Caroline Richmond is the award-winning author of numerous books and executive director of We Need Diverse Books, a nonprofit that advocates for diversity in children’s literature.
Moderated by: Andrew Richard Albanese
Interview: R. David Lankes
R. David Lankes
R. David Lankes is an award-winning author and passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today’s society. Lankes is the Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information.
Lunch (By the Numbers)
Take a short break, grab yourself a sandwich, and come back to dig in with two lunchtime presentations that will offer a data-driven look at how digital media consumption habits are evolving.
First up, digital library service provider OverDrive will provide some anonymized, never before shared data on digital reading trends in libraries and schools. Next up, Portland State University researchers will share their latest 2022 survey research on Gen Z and Millennial media behavior, joined by inclusive marketing expert Sonia Thompson, who advises libraries how to better serve Gen Z and Millennials.
Steve PotashSteve Potash is a pioneer in the digital library market and the founder and CEO of OverDrive, the world’s leading library digital library service provider which includes the award-winning Libby and Sora reading apps.
Kathi Inman BerensKathi Inman Berens is an author, researcher, and associate professor of Book Publishing and Digital Humanities at Portland State University.
Rachel NoordaRachel Noorda is an author, researcher, and Director of Book Publishing at Portland State University.
Sonia Thompson is a strategist and consultant who helps brands win customers by delivering inclusive experiences that make them feel like they belong.
Discussion: The Movement for Digital Equity
In February, a federal court blocked a Maryland law that sought to guarantee public library access to digital books on “reasonable” terms. But legislative and advocacy efforts continue around the country, and this discussion will focus on what comes next in the library community’s ongoing push for equity in the digital library market.
Michael BlackwellMichael Blackwell is the director of the St. Mary’s County Library in Maryland and an organizer of the ReadersFirst coalition, a coalition of libraries that advocates for equitable access to digital content in public libraries.
Carmi ParkerCarmi Parker is an ILS administrator at Whatcom County Library System and committee member for the Washington Digital Library Consortium (WDLC).
Kelvin WatsonKelvin Watson is the executive director of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District and co-chair of the ALA’s Digital Content Working Group.
Jennie Rose HalperinJennie Rose Halperin is the executive director of Library Futures, an advocacy group founded in 2020 to pursue policies that support the mission of libraries in the digital realm.
Moderated by: Andrew Richard Albanese
Discussion: We Are Still Not Okay: Protecting Library Workers After the Pandemic
Veronda PitchfordVeronda Pitchford is the assistant director of the Califa Group, a nonprofit membership consortium of libraries across California. She is also a principal investigator for the IMLS-funded Libraries as Second Responders project.
Andrea LemoinsAndrea Lemoins is the outreach coordinator for the Free Library of Philadelphia and the founder of Concerned Black Workers of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Christian ZabriskieChristian Zabriskie is the executive director of the Onondaga County (N.Y.) Library System and the founder and the executive director of nonprofit advocacy group Urban Libraries Unite. In 2020, he was named Library Journal‘s Librarian of the Year.
Moderated by: Andrew Richard Albanese
Discussion: Library Leadership in the Post-Pandemic New Normal
Stephanie ChaseStephanie Chase is the executive director of Libraries of Eastern Oregon, where she leads the work of a 15-county, 50-library consortium that supports the libraries of eastern Oregon with resource sharing, training, and networking opportunities.
R. David LankesR. David Lankes is an award-winning author and passionate advocate for librarians and their essential role in today’s society. Lankes is the Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information.
Roosevelt WeeksRoosevelt Weeks is a veteran library leader and director of the Austin Public Library. He is passionate about improving technology, literacy, and education both inside and outside of the library.
Moderated by: Sari Feldman
Closing Keynote: Rep. Jamie Raskin
U.S. Representative (MD-08) and author, Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trial of American Democracy (HarperCollins)
special evening event:
Celebrate Libraries with the Friends & Fiction Group
In March of 2020, in the earliest days of the pandemic, a group of major bestselling authors—Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Patti Callahan Henry—found themselves in a predicament suddenly common to many authors: all four had new books set for spring, but no way to reach readers in the wake of an unprecedented shutdown. So they did what so many of us did to get through the pandemic–they got online.
Two years later, their group—Friends & Fiction—is still online, with the four authors hosting a weekly live gathering on Wednesday evenings that features interviews with major authors, writing tips and insider talk about publishing and writing, lots of book talk, a spotlight on an indie bookseller, and heavy doses of friendship, support, and positivity. With some 70,000 very engaged members and their Facebook and more than a quarter million interactions each month, the Friends & Fiction group is one of the positive things to come from the pandemic.
Join Friends & Fiction live at the U.S. Book Show for a special library-themed episode of Friends & Fiction! Scheduled guests include authors Tia Williams and TJ Newman.
Mary Kay Andrews, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Patti Callahan Henry
Authors and founders of Friends & Fiction