Author Archive: Lara Ewen

A floor plan for furniture removal at Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Eden Prairie branch. Illustration: MSR Design

Virus-Responsive Design

September 1, 2020

Traci Engel Lesneski, CEO and principal at Minneapolis-based national architecture firm MSR Design, which has worked with hundreds of libraries across the country, says libraries are ideal spaces for innovative design solutions. “It’s not a stretch to think about the ways that libraries have modeled what’s next in the world,” she says. “Libraries can talk … Continue reading Virus-Responsive Design


Illustration: Tom Deja

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic

June 1, 2020

It’s an unprecedented situation. Conservators, who are experienced in diagnosing and repairing collection damage, say that historical information on sanitizing library materials is lacking. Besides a bit of anecdotal evidence in a 2019 Smithsonian Magazine article, there’s very little historical data available, says Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners: “There’s … Continue reading How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic



COVID-19 materials cleaning

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic

March 27, 2020

It’s an unprecedented situation. Conservators, who are experienced in diagnosing and repairing collection damage, say that historical information on sanitizing library materials is lacking. Besides a bit of anecdotal evidence from a 2019 Smithsonian Magazine article, there’s very little historical data available, says Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners: “There’s … Continue reading How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic



Howard County (Md.) Library System’s Longest Table 2019, held at Howard Community College on September 21, drew 231 guests. (Photo: Geoffrey S. Baker/Howard County Library System)

Tables of Content

January 2, 2020

The origins of these events can be traced back to communal meals such as the World’s Longest Lunch, held annually across Australia. In 2015 the first Longest Table meal served 400 people along a two-block stretch of downtown Tallahassee, Florida. That inaugural evening was organized by city and county leaders, local nonprofit The Village Square, … Continue reading Tables of Content



Deborah Doyle talks with California State Sen. Mark McGuire about funding, programming, and new technology at Healdsburg Regional Library. (Photo: Ray Holley/Sonoma County Library)

Connecting with Congress

November 1, 2019

“Building these relationships is one of the most important strategies for a successful advocacy program,” says Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that helps members of Congress and constituents communicate effectively with each other. “There’s a general wall of cynicism that’s been built up around government. But … Continue reading Connecting with Congress


Illustration: David Michael Moore

Target: Librarians

June 3, 2019

“All hell broke loose when just the title of the grant [‘Minority Student Experiences with Racial Microaggressions in the Academic Library’] was discovered,” Cooke said at “Defeating Bullies and Trolls in the Library: Developing Strategies to Protect our Rights and Personhood,” a workshop held at Skokie (Ill.) Public Library on March 8. A harassment campaign … Continue reading Target: Librarians


2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Librarians and Book Lovers

November 29, 2018

Gifts Under $10 Writersblok Black Bookmark Pen ($3) This dual-purpose pen takes notes and keeps your place. The matte black exterior lies flat inside books and holds a brass ink cartridge—perfect for the moment inspiration strikes.   Bloom Bookmark Set ($5) Bring some bright blooms to your bookshelf with this set of six floral bookmarks. … Continue reading 2018 Holiday Gift Guide for Librarians and Book Lovers


More than 250 patrons attended a recent “Paint-Along with Bob Ross” event at Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library. Photo: Tracy Grosshans

Painting with Purpose

November 1, 2018

Patron paint-alongs During the events, patrons watch an episode of The Joy of Painting and paint along, while library staffers facilitate and provide canvases, paints, and other supplies. Some libraries hire Certified Ross Instructors, trained by Bob Ross Inc., to lead the workshops; others obtain video permissions from the official Bob Ross YouTube channel or … Continue reading Painting with Purpose


Mobile food programs, like this one at Camden County (N.J.) Library System, are teaching food literacy and delivering nutritious meals in food deserts. Photo: Camden County (N.J.) Library System

A Movable Feast

September 4, 2018

“The city of Camden has only one grocery store, and most city residents rely on small stores and bodegas for food,” says Devlin. “These stores have a more limited supply of healthy food, which limits meal planning.” Inspired by a visit to the nearby Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Devlin decided … Continue reading A Movable Feast