Utah Library Association Wins 2019 ALA Gerald Hodges Award for Intellectual Freedom

The Utah Library Association is honored to receive the 2019 American Library Association Gerald Hodges Intellectual Freedom Award! This award is given to the most innovative and effective intellectual freedom project covering a state or region. ULA is awarded the 2019 Hodges Award for taking the lead in building a coalition of partners that lead to the reinstatement of access to EBSCO databases for more than 650,000 students after a state Board blocked access based on complaints that EBSCO databases were pornographic. The month-long campaign to overturn the censorship decision was multi-faceted, strategic, and generated thousands of emails from ordinary Utah citizens direct to UEN Board Members, resulting in a reversal of their initial decision to ban access to the databases.

ULA Advocacy Chair Peter Bromberg, who coordinated the effort to reinstate EBSCO, will be at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington DC to receive a plaque and $1000 prize on behalf of the Utah Library Association. Congratulations, Peter and ULA!

Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) votes unanimously to reinstate Ebsco for K-12 Utah Schools

In late September, the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) shut off access to the Ebsco databases for K-12 Utah students after receiving and investigating complaints about inappropriate content in the Ebsco database. On October 1, the UETN Board voted 6-1 to retain the ban on Ebsco pending further investigation.

Over the past three weeks, ULA has partnered with UELMA, EveryLibrary, UEA, and ALA to advocate that UEN restore access to Ebsco. ULA and EveryLibrary created an online petition that generated nearly 7,000 emails to members of the UETN Board, and an additional push through ALA Engage this week generated 550 more emails. Peter Bromberg, ULA Advocacy Chair and Elaine Shelburne, a UELMA representative and librarian at Bonneville High School, were interviewed on KRCL 90.9 Radioactive Wednesday night encouraging Utah residents to attend the UETN Board meeting today where the Board would vote on whether to restore access to Ebsco.

This morning, the UETN Board voted unanimously to immediately restore access to Ebsco for K-12 students. Several library representatives from ULA and UELMA made public comment and State Librarian Colleen Eggett spoke in support of restoring access to Ebsco. The motion to restore Ebsco was passed with the caveat that should UEN receive future complaints, UEN staff will immediately verify the legitimacy of the complaint and work with Ebsco to block the offending item. If the verified offending content can’t be blocked, UEN will again shut down access to the whole database. To mitigate the risk of Utah students again losing access to Ebsco, ULA will follow up with UEN to make sure they are aware of the granular administrative control that can be exercised over Ebsco content.

The Utah Library Association wishes to thank our membership for their support of Utah students and intellectual freedom. Your actions through signing petitions, commenting on UEN’s website, and making public comment at the UETN board meeting helped raise awareness and garner support for a critical information resource that keeps Utah students informed and academically competitive. We also want to thank EveryLibrary, UELMA, UEA, and ALA for partnering with us to restore Ebsco. Lastly, thank you to the UETN Board for making sure Utah students have continued access to high-quality, safe, and scholarly resources.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Cummings, Utah Library Association, President

Peter Bromberg, Utah Library Association, Advocacy Chair

 

Utah Library Association Statement on Orlando Shooting

we are orlandoEsteemed Colleagues,

Since the catastrophic event at Pulse in Orlando, we have witnessed beautiful tributes to victims and survivors through news and social media. We have also seen unfortunate support for hatred, judgement, and exclusiveness. It is difficult to navigate such emotions. And it is even more difficult to express the profound sadness I’ve felt during this tumultuous time.

I’m writing to you to unite our voices and ignite our efforts as Utah Librarians. Day by day, we experience opportunities to do better for the people we have the privilege to serve. It truly is a privilege. We are fortunate to work in a field that not only experiences diversity, but also values it. However, it is not enough that our library buildings exist as institutions open to all. Our buildings are merely structures. You create the humanity in your library.  It is a Librarian who radiates inclusiveness. It is a Librarian who sets an example for someone who lacks courage to accept another. It is the Librarian who values each individual and their story. It is a Librarian who uses only one label for every person – important.

My friends, I believe libraries are the center of our communities only because you have your community members at the center of your heart. Now, it is our opportunity to act. Please join with me. Renew your dedication to inclusion. Start and continue conversations about inclusiveness with your team members. Enhance your daily interactions with every individual knowing they have a unique and important story. Use every opportunity to demonstrate humanity and kindness along with great information.

Our community members deserve our voices and our courage. Let us do this for them, for each other, and for ourselves.

Jami Munk Carter
President, 2016-2017
Utah Library Association

Read moreUtah Library Association Statement on Orlando Shooting

2016 Conference: Keep on Learning

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By: Dustin Fife

ULA Past-President

Annual conference has come and gone. I had an incredible experience because of all of you. I want to express gratitude to everyone who helped plan and execute the conference, and to everyone who presented. The annual conference is one of the best ways to share information and make all our libraries better. Conferences also always help me rejuvenate and prepare for the future. Once again, thank you to all who participated.

We now have several ways to help the learning continue, for those who attended and those who could not. First of all, using the conference hashtag (#ula2016) we have pulled all of the conference tweets and Instagram posts together into one feed using Storify. See what everyone was saying throughout the conference here:

ULA Conference Storify

We are also posting presentations through the online scheduling tool Sched.org. You can find the program here:

Conference Program

If you click on individual presentations such as this one, you can then find links to the individual presentations, just like this.

One of the most important things that you can do to continue the learning though, is to help us collect feedback so that we can make future conferences better. Please fill out the conference survey here:

Conference Survey

Once more, thank you to all who participated. I am excited to see the incredible things that will come from our new ULA President Jami Carter and President-Elect Dan Compton.

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ULA Newsletter–April 2016

ULANews-APR 2016 – April Newsletter

ULA’s latest newsletter is now available. Thanks to Paul Daybell and his editorial staff for writing about Utah’s libraries and library professionals. There are great things happening in Utah libraries, and this is a great place to read about some of them. We are also excited for ULA Annual in two weeks. Read up and we will see you soon!

Visit the newsletter archive here.

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