Author Archive: Megan Cottrell

A Bedford, Indiana, student reads on pajama day at school to Bridget, a therapy dog owned by Mary Hall of Bedford Public Library. Photo: Mary Hall/Bedford (Ind.) Public Library

Library Waggin’ Train

March 1, 2017

Thankfully, Hall, assistant director of the Bedford (Ind.) Public Library, had an ally she knew could come to the rescue: Bridget, a beautiful Golden Retriever therapy dog waiting in her office. “When she told him [about the dog], he stopped crying immediately and got up from the floor where he had been lying face down,” … Continue reading Library Waggin’ Train



Champions of Children's Privacy

Champions of Children’s Privacy

May 2, 2016

But in one sense, it’s already happening. In December 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital technology rights group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Google for Education, alleging that the company is surreptitiously collecting data about students as they use their school-owned Chromebooks and education apps—data that they’re using … Continue reading Champions of Children’s Privacy



Librarian Carrie Rogers-Whitehead (pictured) created Salt Lake County (Utah) Library’s sensory storytimes with special activities to engage kids on the autism spectrum.

Storytime for the Spectrum

March 1, 2016

“She began crying and got very upset. She said, ‘I’m so sorry. They have autism. We don’t go to the library very much because I don’t feel welcome,’” says Rogers-Whitehead. And that was the beginning of the Salt Lake County (Utah) Library’s sensory storytime—a special program for children on the autism spectrum. Rather than exclude … Continue reading Storytime for the Spectrum


Portland (Oreg.) Community College includes single-stall gender-neutral restrooms in all of its libraries and new campus buildings.

Libraries Create Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

October 30, 2015

“When we have restrooms that are segregated according to gender, some customers may feel uncomfortable using them because other people may not perceive that they’re allowed to use that restroom,” says Peter Coyl, a district manager at Dallas Public Library and chair of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table. “It can make using … Continue reading Libraries Create Gender-Neutral Bathrooms


A few of the 75 Civil War–era photographs that were taken from Bangor (Maine) Public Library and later recovered. These images, along with 50 original World War I– and World War II–era posters that were stolen, had an estimated value of $31,000. The image of the officer leaning over his chair helped identify the set as belonging to the library.

Thwarting Book Thieves

September 16, 2015

What Graves didn’t know was that by the time he brought them to the dealer, the owner had already seen the items at the library a few weeks earlier. “I had been talking about them to the owner while he was visiting our special collections area,” says special collections librarian Bill Cook of Bangor (Maine) … Continue reading Thwarting Book Thieves


James Patterson

Newsmaker: James Patterson

June 4, 2015

American Libraries: You made headlines last year by giving $1 million dollars in small grants to independent bookstores, and now you’re doing the same for school libraries. The problems bookstores are facing are well known, but school libraries haven’t received as much national attention. Why did you decide to focus on school libraries? That’s exactly … Continue reading Newsmaker: James Patterson


Baltimore resident Kevin Eaton walks past the Enoch Pratt Free Library at Pennsylvania Avenue on April 29 as police were stationed against many city buildings and on the streets.

Libraries Respond to Community Needs in Times of Crisis

May 15, 2015

A pretty typical moment for most librarians, Diggs says, except that Tuesday morning, April 28, was no typical day. Just 12 hours before, rioting had erupted across the street from the Pennsylvania Avenue branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, when protests against the high-profile death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray turned violent. As a … Continue reading Libraries Respond to Community Needs in Times of Crisis



Reading on the Inside

Reading on the Inside

December 8, 2014

The question startled librarian Dan Marcou. He had been sitting quietly at a small town library outside of the system where he works, waiting for his wife to finish some grad school research. When he looked up, he didn’t recognize the face immediately, a man holding the hand of a young boy. “Do you remember … Continue reading Reading on the Inside