Author Archive: Emily Udell

A customer picks up her reserves at the drive-through window at Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library’s New Albany branch.

Reclosing … after Reopening

August 4, 2020

Since it first reopened some locations for curbside service on May 18, Shreve Memorial Library (SML) in Shreveport, Louisiana, has had to close branches on 20 occasions because staffers were exhibiting symptoms or had tested positive for COVID-19. The first closure occurred on May 26 when SML was only offering curbside, but SML continued to … Continue reading Reclosing … after Reopening


The Silent Book Club at Newport (R.I.) Public Library offers teens a space for quiet reading after school. Photo: Newport (R.I.) Public Library

The Sound of Silence

May 1, 2020

“Our Silent Book Club has been a surprising success—surprising because if someone had told me a year ago that relaxing on comfortable beanbags and reading whatever books we want to read qualifies as an actual program, I would have yeeted that person straight out of the library,” says Wolfskehl, using the popular slang term for … Continue reading The Sound of Silence


Illustration: Kristen Solecki

After the Census

March 2, 2020

“Census data is the mother of all open data sets,” says Jeffrey Lambert, assistant director of digital inclusion and workforce readiness at Queens (N.Y.) Public Library (QPL). “It’s a huge resource about people who live in the United States, and it’s accessible to anyone.” Libraries have an important part to play in accessing that data, … Continue reading After the Census


llustration: Drew Bardana

Countdown to the Vote

November 1, 2019

National Voter Registration Day In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, hundreds of libraries participated in National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Since 2012, the nonpartisan, unofficial holiday has been held on the fourth Tuesday of September with the aim of extending the franchise to eligible voters. Last year, libraries made up 14% of NVRD’s … Continue reading Countdown to the Vote


Food for Thought

May 1, 2019

A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in December 2018 reviewed 22 studies estimating that more than 30% of college students face food insecurity amid the rising costs of higher education. The report estimates that there are nearly 2 million at-risk students—most often they are first-generation college students, low income, or single parents. A … Continue reading Food for Thought


Roberta McCulloch-Dews, director of administrative services in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, listens during a speed-repping event at Berkshire Athenaeum.

Lawmaker Matchmaker

January 2, 2019

“I thought that maybe something similar could advance the city’s goals of getting information out to the public,” Griffin says. He adapted the format to allow residents one-on-one time with several local leaders at a single event. He wanted to appeal to people who might not feel comfortable speaking up at a city meeting or … Continue reading Lawmaker Matchmaker