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The Free Book Bus, A Death Positive Library, and Other Good Bookish Things That Happened This Week

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Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

Sometimes the news makes you want to crawl under your bed and stay there for a while. Even bookish news can be upsetting, especially in light of an increase in book challenges and censorship. But just because scary headlines get more clicks doesn’t mean that only bad things are happening. There are lots of people working to make the world a better place, and there are plenty of good bookish news stories every week that doesn’t get the same reach as the rage-inducing ones.

So here are some of the best bookish things that happened this week, whether it’s libraries going fine free, literacy initiatives getting funded, or new bookmobiles hitting the streets.

Research Proves Libraries Lead to Healthier, More Equitable Communities

In news that will likely not come as a surprise to anyone reading this, new research has proven that libraries (and museums) play crucial roles in communities and are “positively associated with multiple dimensions of social wellbeing — in particular, community health, school effectiveness, institutional connection, and cultural opportunity.”

The study is Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums, and it outlines that libraries deliver social services, are trusted by their communities, and promote racial equity and inclusion. You can read the whole 100+ page PDF, including how libraries adapted to the pandemic.

The services the institutions provide, the collections they maintain, and the interactions that happen (intentionally and fortuitously) through their spaces and through their community networks are crucial threads in the broader social and institutional fabric of places that promote human flourishing. They curate knowledge, collective history, and cultural heritage honoring human achievement; they facilitate access to public knowledge and learning; they provide a place for children to learn and play; and they facilitate access to resources and services to get things done — from basic support for personal health and security, to building and maintaining your bicycle or garden, to starting your own recording studio.

Positive Change Being Made

While it’s easy to get bogged down in the bad news, there’s also progress being made on justice in the book world, and here are some of the positive steps that happened this week!

A photo of another recent Drag Queen Story Hour

Literacy Funding

It makes sense that we spread the news when a library system gets gutted, but what about when literacy initiatives do get the funding they deserve? Here are some examples of money getting spent in the right places: on promoting literacy.

Cool Things Libraries Are Doing

I’m always so impressed with the creative things that libraries do to support their community. They’re so much more than just books on shelves. Here are some of the fun, interesting, and inspiring things libraries are up to this week.

Good Bookstore News

Fun and Heartwarming Bookish Miscellanea