Author Archive: Bill Furbee

Referenda Roundup 2022

Referenda Roundup 2022: Final Report

November 22, 2022

While libraries notched notable victories in 2022, some failed measures reflect broader cultural and economic shifts. One alarming trend: Organized groups of politically driven voters who oppose libraries carrying materials written by, about, and for LBGTQ people are banding together to reject levies that fund libraries—and fighting to get referenda on the ballot that defunds … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2022: Final Report


Referenda Roundup 2022

Referenda Roundup 2022: Initial Report

November 9, 2022

While libraries notched many victories in 2022, some failed measures reflect broader cultural and economic shifts. For instance, in Jamestown Township, Michigan, a levy that would provide Patmos Library with 84% of its annual budget, failed on August 2 in large part because residents opposed to LGBTQ materials in the library’s collection campaigned against the … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2022: Initial Report


Baa-maste!

November 1, 2022

The novel form of exercise, which was founded by Lainey Morse in 2016 with her Original Goat Yoga company and has since found loyal fans all over the country, gives new meaning to community engagement. Just ask Mary Woodward, circulation services supervisor at Bedford (Tex.) Public Library(BPL). After considering ways to rethink her library’s approach … Continue reading Baa-maste!


The Army National Guard distribute water at the Hinds Community College's Academic Technical campus during Jackson, Mississippi's ongoing water crisis.

Boiling Point

September 13, 2022

Unfortunately, Jackson has also faced more than its fair share of water crises. In late August, heavy rain caused the Pearl River, which runs through the city, to flood. Water from its largest water treatment plant, already running on backup pumps before this flood, couldn’t keep up. Many of Jackson’s libraries, businesses, and homes were … Continue reading Boiling Point


A cartoon image of a woman snips off a chain attaching her to a graduation cap, meant to symbolize student debt.

Recognition and Relief

June 1, 2022

Created to facilitate the forgiveness of remaining balances on federal Direct Loans (student loans made directly by the US Department of Education), PSLF made headlines as a way to free up financial futures for many people. To be eligible for forgiveness, individuals had to have made 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while … Continue reading Recognition and Relief


In 2020, Bloomington (Ill.) Public Library began holding plant swap programs, designed to be held outdoors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Branching Out

June 1, 2022

“Oh look, there’s Fred!” Davis recounts the plant’s original owner calling out, revealing the donated spider plant’s name. “And his babies are getting new homes.” These special reunions between plant owners and their beloved sprouts are the culmination of plant swap programs, where gardeners exchange their plant cuttings and share knowledge on how to grow … Continue reading Branching Out


Loan forgiveness

Recognition and Relief

March 15, 2022

Created to facilitate the forgiveness of remaining balances on federal Direct Loans (student loans made directly by the US Department of Education), PSLF made headlines as a way to free up financial futures for many people. To be eligible for forgiveness, individuals had to have made 120 monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while … Continue reading Recognition and Relief


Jeff Whalen, special collections librarian at Long Beach (Calif.) Public Library, records an episode of Don’t Know Beach about History: Short Histories of Long Beach in August.

Broadcasting the Past

November 1, 2021

That all changed in the 1950s, when parts of the neighborhood were partially destroyed to make way for Interstate 75. “[The area] will never be what it was,” she says. In an effort to share this history with her city, Parks started The West End Stories Project, a monthly podcast that preserves the fading narratives … Continue reading Broadcasting the Past


An ad used by Multnomah County (Ore.) Library to promote its Library Music Project.

Stream On

September 1, 2021

“Portland and Multnomah County really treasure their music and libraries, so it was a natural fit,” says Shawn Cunningham, director of communications and strategic initiatives at MCL, about the Library Music Project, which offers more than 250 locally produced albums to stream or download. The service also provided MCL with a gateway into the local … Continue reading Stream On


Old-School Outreach

June 1, 2021

“The pandemic has highlighted the barriers to access that many people have regarding technology and reliable internet,” says Kathleen Montgomery, outreach manager at Charleston County (S.C.) Public Library (CCPL). “It’s our mission to address these inequities.” To do so, libraries across the US have implemented creative concepts and partnerships that embrace analog technologies and platforms. … Continue reading Old-School Outreach