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Almost Halfway There!

February 23rd, 2024

Dear Neighbor,

Freedom to Read Act, Advancing in the House


This past month, the Freedom to Read Act was officially presented before the House Ways and Means Committee!

I am honored to spearhead and represent HB 785, the first bill in Speaker Adrienne Jones’s Decency Agenda that will prevent intolerance and hate from taking root in our institutions and schools. It is imperative to safeguard our libraries from becoming the next frontier of censorship, protecting literature and the freedom for readers to choose for themselves.


Public library collections provide people of any background access to visions of themselves, both real and fiction, that are critical for healthy development. Maryland has unfortunately seen a significant increase in attempts to ban books from our libraries' shelves. Within the state, countless librarians– trained individuals who hold advanced degrees in library science– have expressed their frustration with book challenges, leading to the overburdening of our librarians and preventing them from doing their work. Tragically, some librarians have started self-censoring by not ordering books that may cause controversy due to an increase in threats to staff and readers.


Growing up in Western Maryland, the Washington Street Library, was the cornerstone of my intellectual growth. It sparked my imagination and offered endless access to knowledge. Within those stacks, I discovered the keys to my future. As a Mother, I have quite literally spent hundreds of hours in our Anne Arundel County public libraries with our child, participating in preschool story time, Summer Reading Challenges, and outdoor programming during the pandemic. While I thought the magic of the library was given to me in my childhood education – it was participating as a parent with our child that the library grew to mean so much more to me.

 

No matter what library you are in, one thing is always the same. In every library, no matter who you are, you are accepted and you are never alone. I am honored, proud & thankful to introduce The Freedom to Read Act to keep it that way.

 

To read more about the hearing, please see this recent Maryland Matters Article!

 

A Busy Week for the Woman Legislators of MD! 


  • 👗 I'm so happy to say that my 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Clothing Drive for House Of Ruth Maryland, Inc. was a resounding success! Alongside the Women Legislators of Maryland, we were able to more than double our donations from last year for victims of domestic violence!

 

  • 📜 Alongside my Executive Committee colleagues, the Women Legislators met with Governor Wes Moore to discuss our legislative priorities. Thank you so much to the Governor for the invitation and support!

 

  • ❤️ In honor of Galentine's day, the Women's Legislators held a wonderful reception to celebrate all of the amazing women working and leading in Annapolis! Thank you so much to our amazing First Lady, Dawn Flythe Moore, for attending and to Ariyana and Jasmine for planning this amazing event.


 

🎉Biden Harris 2024 Kickoff!

I am so happy to be a board member of Mobilize Anne Arundel and to have played a role in the planning of one of the first mobilization events in support of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ re-election in 2024. We kicked off a Biden Harris re-election rally, attended by over 100 inspired Democrats. Stay tuned for more details on how you can become involved as a volunteer knocking doors, phone banking, and so many other events leading up to November! 


Encouraging others to get involved in campaigns and voting is crucial because it's how we shape the future we want to see. Together, let's make our voices heard and build on the successes we have made these last four years. 

 

Shoutout to Mamma Roma pizza for the ever so delicious dinner at the Rally! 


 

AACPL Chromebook Giveaway!


As part of AACPL's commitment to help close the digital divide, through a grant provided by Anne Arundel County and the State of Maryland, the Anne Arundel Public Library is proud to participate in a free Chromebook giveaway for eligible Anne Arundel County residents. 

 

To determine if you are eligible to receive a Chromebook, please see the How to Qualify section on the website HERE

 

 If you qualify, please register for an available time slot at one of the upcoming events. New events and time slots will be posted on a rolling basis. To receive your Chromebook, you must bring all required documentation. Appointments are expected to last approximately 15 minutes. Further information about the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and other library services will also be available at these events.

 

For questions, please Contact the library. To learn more about AACPL's commitment to digital equity, please visit our Digital Equity page. 

 

Additionally, if you do not win the giveaway but would still like access to Chromebooks, AACPL lends out a limited number of Chromebook Kits.  For more information, please visit our Chromebook Kit information page.

 

Recognizing Black History in Annapolis


To continue celebrating Black History Month, we have highlighted the accomplishments of some amazing Black Marylanders and their impact on our State and Country. Today, I want to recognize Eloise K. Richardson, the first Black librarian in Anne Arundel County!


Before becoming a resident of Annapolis, Richardson graduated from Tennessee State College and traveled the Country teaching cooking classes, in addition to being a nationally recognized home economist. She also worked at several African American newspapers, honing writing skills that would come in handy when she became the first African American writer for the Evening Capital newspaper in 1948.


When she moved to Annapolis in 1937, Richardson quickly became an active community member, finding ways to uplift young Black women and foster an inclusive environment. She helped establish Girl Scout Troops for Black girls and eventually became the president of the Annapolis Council of Negro Women. She became the first librarian of color in Anne Arundel County at the Church Circle library, serving the community for thirteen years before moving on to achieve yet another first as the founder and first librarian of the Crownsville State Hospital’s library.

 

The Scoop on Maryland Library Day! 🍦 

February 13th, we celebrated Maryland Library Day, and I was so happy to have the opportunity to present a House Resolution to the Maryland Library Association in honor of the occasion and their 100th year! As a lifelong learner, and Mom who benefited from the amazing programing at our local library it's an honor to fight everyday, advocate, and defend the work they do for Marylanders! I am so grateful to work alongside all of these amazing public servants, and appreciate seeing them support the Freedom to Read Act this past week!

 



🍦 One especially sweet way we’re celebrating is with the new literary themed ice cream flavor by Always Ice Cream Company! Library staff members created a bunch of fun ice cream flavors and name ideas, then the public voted. The winning custom flavor was Dragons Love Toffee - caramel ice cream with toffee bits and chocolate chips. YUM! 

 

Dip into something sweet this February and visit one of Always Ice Cream’s four locations. A portion of the proceeds directly support our local libraries, let’s beat last year’s total and raise at least $2,750 to make our library better!

 

Thank you to Always Ice Cream Company for creating something truly scrumptious and supporting your community!

 

Black History Month with AACPL!


February is Black History Month, a month-long celebration of African American history and the rich culture and achievements of the Black community.

It is also a time to honor the generations of African Americans who fought for freedom, civil rights and racial justice in our country. 


Anne Arundel County Public Library observes Black History Month this February by sharing books to read, providing resources to learn from and hosting events that celebrate Black perspectives and pay tribute to African American heritage!





Celebrate Black History Month at your local library by attending fun, educational events!


Visit the Black History Month events calendar for a complete list of programs.




Enrich your knowledge of Black history and culture using the library’s digital resources!

  • Stream films that highlight the history and heritage of the Black community using Kanopy.

  • Learn about the experience and impact of African Americans as recorded by the news media using our Black Life in America database.

  • Delve into the lives of historical and contemporary Black figures like Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sojourner Truth using our Biography database. 

  • Explore information on Black history, identity, culture, activism and more using our Diversity Studies and Opposing Viewpoints databases. 

  • Discover the history of the African diaspora, historical African American perspectives and more using our U.S. History and World History databases. 





Choose your next read from AACPL’s lists of books on Black History!

  • Check out booklists for children, teens and adults

  • Download African American Literary Classics in eBook and eAudiobook formats to enjoy instantly using Overdrive/Libby.

  • Looking for more books written by Black authors? Use NoveList’s “Advanced Search” feature to generate a list of books by African Americans. 

 

You can follow me on Facebook, X, and Instagram to learn about volunteer opportunities, community resources, legislative updates and much more. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact my office by email at Dana.Jones@house.state.md.us or by phone at 410-841-3211.


Stay safe and healthy,


Delegate Dana Jones





District 30A, Annapolis & Anne Arundel County

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