Author Archive: Marcus Banks

Dallas high school students participate in a Storytellers without Borders session in collaboration with The Dallas Morning News at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library branch of Dallas Public Library. Photo: Tom Huang/The Dallas Morning News

Our Vocation Is Information

June 1, 2018

Although the daily work of librarians and journalists differs, the vocations share many professional values. Brandy Zadrozny, who worked as a librarian for a decade before becoming a reporter and researcher for the Daily Beast and a reporter for NBC News, and Alice Crites, an MLIS-trained research editor whose work has helped earn six Pulitzers … Continue reading Our Vocation Is Information


Meet the 2018 ALA Policy Corps

January 29, 2018

The Policy Corps team will meet at the Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Denver in February, attend a workshop about political activism and the legislative process in March, and attend ALA’s National Library Legislative Day in May. Meet the first members of Policy Corps, a dozen people with diverse backgrounds and experiences who are united … Continue reading Meet the 2018 ALA Policy Corps


Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

December 19, 2017

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here … Continue reading Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet


Mobile-friendly websites

Get Responsive

November 1, 2017

The profusion of mobile devices means that half of public library users who visit library websites do so from their mobile device. This proportion is likely to keep increasing. But just because patrons can access a library website on a mobile device does not guarantee that the site is easy to use. Sites that were … Continue reading Get Responsive


Screen reader software synthesizes web content into speech for people with visual impairments.

Library Websites for All

June 1, 2017

Providing this support in user-centered and responsive ways fulfills the librarian’s obligation to offer service to all users. However, paying attention to accessibility for visually impaired patrons is not just the right thing to do. It may also protect your library from legal trouble. Legal precedents for access In 2012 the National Federation of the … Continue reading Library Websites for All


These wine labels are part of the Shields Library's special collection at University of California, Davis. Some labels list the names of people who shared bottles with viticulture and enology professor Maynard Amerine. Photos: © UC Davis Library/Special Collections

Preserving the Vintage

March 1, 2017

One could expect that wine libraries are concentrated in California, the top-producing state, but wine collections and digital archives are also popping up in places like Indiana, New York, and Oregon. Institutions are providing for the information needs of wine enthusiasts of all stripes, and in doing so are reinventing and reinvigorating the meaning of … Continue reading Preserving the Vintage


Fake news (illustration by Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)

Fighting Fake News

December 27, 2016

Given the care that librarians bring to this task, the recent explosion in unverified, unsourced, and sometimes completely untrue news has been discouraging, to say the least. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of US adults are getting their news in real time from their social media feeds. These are often uncurated spaces … Continue reading Fighting Fake News



Open Access graphic

Open Access Publishing

September 8, 2015

“I really believe open access is not a passing fad,” Mary Ellen Davis, executive director of ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) division, told an open-access panel at the American Historical Association’s 2014 annual meeting. “I believe open access is a durable feature of the landscape of scholarly communication.” ACRL made its scholarly … Continue reading Open Access Publishing