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Happy new year y’all! There is a lot happening in January so this update is a bit longer than others. This month is National Braille Literacy Month and I just wanted to highlight a few things you may not know about Braille:
  • Braille itself is not a language. Most languages have their own Braille system. Louis Braille created this system of reading around age 12. Braille became official in 1824.
  • Braille exists for feet, too! Businesses have to meet standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of those standards is to have Braille on the ground to alert the visually impaired that they are approaching a dangerous area. You know those big, bright, yellow strips you see at the ends of sidewalks and sometimes as you walk out of a store or restaurant? That’s Braille for your feet.
  • Most legally blind children in the U.S. don’t use Braille resources. Believe it or not, 34% of the more than 59 thousand legally blind American children are considered non-readers.
In other news, I came across a great inclusive craft for the winter today from the Glen Ellyn Public Library in IL: a Snowperson take and make kit! Language, as small as it may seem, makes a big difference.
Take care of yourself and try to stay warm,


Continuing Education:

This webinar is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Rise: A Feminist Book Project for Ages 0-18, formerly the Amelia Bloomer Project. Each year, the Rise committee puts together a booklist of the best feminist books for young readers, ages birth through 18.

Join Linda Hincks, homeschool veteran and teacher, for a one hour webinar to learn more about educational differentiation and what opportunities there are for libraries to contribute to homeschoolers successes.

  • Social Media for All: Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Matter, Wednesday, January 19, 8:00 – 9:15 a.m., Online via Facebook Live

Presented by Social Media Breakfast Madison, this free virtual event will feature panelists — including Council Executive Director Denise Jess — discussing ways to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) using social media. The event is open to the public. Find out more and register online.

Join us for a discussion on ‘We’re Preparing for a Long Battle.’ Librarians Grapple With Conservatives’ Latest Efforts to Ban Books by Olivia B. Waxman, published in Time on November 15, 2021.

Psychological safety is the ability to reveal one’s true self and opinions without fear that doing so will lead to negative repercussions in terms of reputation, career or status. In this interactive session, we will address current forces working against psychological safety in the workplace to include tone policing, vocabulary shaming, political differences, and remote work.

Though it is rewarding to help the most vulnerable people in the community, empathetic people are also at risk for taking on the emotional burdens and stressors of others. Playing a caring role can come with a price. If you ever feel worn out at work, overwhelmed, or preoccupied with someone you’re trying to help, this webinar will help you assess your own personal level of compassion fatigue and learn self-care methods to help you cope.

Drive through food pickups, growing a vertical garden, programming around food, and partnering with their local food bank for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for seniors are just a few of the ways that this library is helping to combat food insecurity in their community. Julie will share tips about creating partnerships with community organizations and finding the grants to help make these food programs a success.


  • An Update from Curating Indigenous Digital Collections : Sarah Lundquist, Curating Indigenous Digital Collections Fellow, began working with WiLS in May in partnership with the Ho-Chunk Nation to preserve and protect traditional knowledge in the digital space. She has written a fascinating blog post describing her work so far and the work she looks forward to in the next many months.

  • Youth Media Awards: Monday, January 24, 8 a.m. Be sure to tune in and learn of the books chosen as the best of the best. Pay special attention to the American Indian Youth, Asian/Pacific American, Sydney Taylor, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, Schneider Family, and Stonewall Literature Awards.

Diverse Holidays in January:

January is National Braille Literacy Month. The observance raises awareness of the importance of Braille to the blind and visually impaired community. As audio technology progresses, the use of Braille dwindles. January is also National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month bringing together law enforcement and organizations across the nation in an strive to eliminate human trafficking. Join the effort to raise awareness and prevent human trafficking in your community.

January 4:  World Braille Day. World Braille Day commemorates Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4, 1809. This day highlights the importance of braille as a link to literacy for many people who are blind or visually impaired. Join in celebrating and learn more by reading the World Braille Day message for this year.

January 5:  Twelfth Night, a festival celebrated by some branches of Christianity that marks the coming of the Epiphany

January 6:  Epiphany or Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day), a holiday observed by Eastern and Western Christians that recognizes the visit of the three wise men to the baby Jesus twelve days after his birth

January 6:  Christmas, recognized on this day by Armenian Orthodox Christians, who celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany

January 7:  Christmas, recognized on this day by Eastern Orthodox Christians, who celebrate Christmas thirteen days later than other Christian churches because they follow the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar

January 9:  Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs who initiated the Sikhs as the Khalsa (the pure ones) and who is known as the Father of the Khalsa

January 10:  Bodhi Day, a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment; also known as Bodhi in Sanskrit and Pali

January 11: National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness was designated by the United States Senate in 2007. President Barack Obama increased awareness by declaring January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month in 2010.

January 13:  Lori-Maghi, an annual festival celebrated by Sikhs commemorating the memory of forty Sikh martyrs

January 14:  Makar Sankranti, a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India

January 16–17 (sundown to sundown): Tu B’shevat or Rosh Hashanah La’Ilanot, a Jewish holiday recognizing “The New Year of the Trees.” It is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. In Israel, the flowering of the almond tree usually coincides with this holiday, which is celebrated by planting trees and eating dried fruits and nuts.

January 17:  Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates the birth of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and an activist for nonviolent social change until his assassination in 1968.

January 17:  World Religion Day, observed by those of the Bahá’í faith to promote interfaith harmony and understanding

January 18:  Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch on the first full-moon day in January

January 19:  Timkat, a holiday observed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians who celebrate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River on Epiphany

January 27:  The International Day of Commemoration to remember the victims of the Holocaust; the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945 and UN Holocaust Memorial Day  and (sundown to sundown):  Holocaust Remembrance Day, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” — Former President Barack Obama