Lots and lots of good news lately. First, we (and by we I mean me, my awesome graduate assistant, and a host of dedicated Asian Pacific American librarians) have been working super hard on the ALA Family Literacy Focus APALA children’s literature bibliography! It’s coming along pretty well, and I’m excited to see our final product.

Second, APALA has announced the winners of the 2010 APALA Literature Awards! The official announcement is posted at the ALA website. Congratulations to the winners! Tofu Quilt is my personal favorite 🙂 Yay for literacy!

And third, today I gave a presentation at my university’s first Scholars’ Circle, an event where faculty are invited to share their research projects. I was totally nervous because it was the first time I’ve shared my dissertation research with the larger faculty, but I got great feedback and made some good connections.

All in all, it’s been a great week. I love my job.

“Parents: All Haitian ‘Orphans’ Had Relatives”

GOOD GRIEF. From the Associated Press:

Although a U.S. Baptist group said it was trying to rescue 33 “orphans” by taking them out of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, all the children have close family still alive, The Associated Press has found.

A reporter’s visit Saturday to the rubble-strewn Citron slum, where 13 of the children lived, led to their parents, all of whom said they turned their youngsters over to the missionary group voluntarily in hopes of getting them to safety.

This completely breaks my heart. It takes something like this tragedy to expose the ongoing corruption that is much of transnational adoption. Most people think TRA is safe, regulated, and ethical, but the truth is, it leaves a LOT of room for child trafficking and corruption, and until we can fix the system, perhaps better to shut down certain systems.

Read the article: “Parents: All Haitian ‘Orphans’ Had Relatives”

I love my President, but I (and tons of other people) are really upset at the absence of libraries in his education budget. The press release from ALA is titled,

“President’s budget freezes library spending, omits school libraries from education increase.”

This is the press release from ALA:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama today released his FY2011 Budget Proposal to Congress, calling for a freeze to federal library funding under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the primary source of federal funding for libraries.

Under the President’s plan, LSTA would be level-funded at $214 million.

As Americans deal with the weakened economy, they are using their libraries more than ever before, visiting them over 119 million times each month. American Library Association (ALA) President Camila Alire said freezing federal funding for libraries at this time of increased demand will hinder libraries from serving job-seekers, who are flocking to the library for help with online job searching and applications, resume writing, computer classes and much more.

“During this time of hoped-for economic recovery, public libraries are one of the greatest tools our nation has, and a lack of federal support jeopardizes this critical institution,” Alire said.

“President Obama often speaks about helping America get back to work, and libraries are critical access points to information and resources that are helping job-seekers every day. Unfortunately, countless libraries in our country are suffering from state budget cuts that have resulted in staff loss, reduced hours, or even closures. Many libraries have managed to efficiently use what little resources they have, but they are hanging on by a thread.

Federal funding may be a small percentage of the funding America’s libraries receive, but it is critical. The ALA calls on Congress to support America’s libraries by not only restoring the funding lost to libraries in the President’s budget proposal but by increasing the funding, which is desperately needed.”

The President’s budget also included a $400 billion investment into education but did not include specific funds for school libraries. Alire said the federal government should invest in school libraries to ensure every student graduates from high school with 21st century skills.

“It is alarming that the President did not recognize the value of school libraries in today’s schools and include them in this effort to improve education,” Alire said.

“Research repeatedly shows that a well-funded and fully staffed school library program with a state-licensed school librarian is an integral component of a student’s education.”

Read the press release here, and then write to your Congresspeople that this is NOT OKAY WITH YOU.

“10 Americans in Haiti are Charged with Abduction”

NYTimes reports that the 10 Americans who attempted to take children from Haiti into the Dominican Republic have been charged with abduction.

According to the NYT,

The Americans were arrested on Friday as they tried to take 33 Haitian children to what they had said was an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. A Web site for the orphanage said that children there would stay in a “loving Christian home-like environment” and be eligible for adoption.


But several of the 33 children had at least one living parent, and some of those parents said that the Baptists had promised simply to educate the youngsters in the Dominican Republic and said the children would be able to return to Haiti to visit their families.

Click here to read the whole article.

Spirit of Paper Tigers Initiative

Paper Tigers just announced a new initiative called Spirit of Paper Tigers; the purpose is to “donate a selection of books which reflect the aims of PaperTigers, putting them into the hands of children in areas of need in different parts of the world.” The website states,

Many organizations are doing excellent work in getting books to children through schools and libraries in areas of need, and our efforts are not intended to replicate their work. The specific focus of this SPT project is to select a set of books published each year because their content, focus, and outreach express the goals of reading and literacy, as well as encouraging curiosity among young people about the world around them.

The central criterion in the mind of the selection panel was to give special recognition to books that, in addition to meeting conventional standards for excellence, will also contribute to PaperTigers’ broader aims of bridging cultures and opening minds, and of promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. Another criterion was that books selected had to be in English, or bilingual publications where one of the two languages is English.

This initiative sounds much better than the People of Color reading challenge that Dr. Debbie Reese blogged about recently (first and second post). The folks over at POC are trying to encourage readers to read more works by or about people of color. Although well intentioned, this doesn’t sit well with me because it seems like a hasty, easy way to get people to read more stories “about” people of color, but with less of a critical eye regarding accuracy or appropriation. Interestingly, the POC folks responded to Dr. Reese in their own post. I guess we’ll see what happens.

Click here for more information of the Spirit of Paper Tigers.