Author Archive: Terra Dankowski

Libraries rise to the challenge of maintaining services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos: Nicole Johnson/Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library (drive-through); Robyn Huff (reopening); Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library (e-sports); Tina Chenoweth (Animal Crossing)

Bookend: The New Normal

July 1, 2020

Some of our favorite examples of libraries meeting this challenge in creative ways, clockwise from top left: Michelle L. Johnson, cataloging technician at Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library, passes books through a drive-through window. The library averaged 50 pickups per day following the expiration of state stay-at-home orders May 18. Delray Beach (Fla.) Public Library … Continue reading Bookend: The New Normal


Author and Sesame Street actor Sonia Manzano

Celebrate the World

June 25, 2020

“I’ve noticed an awful shift in the social behavior of American culture. Nowadays, [people] feel to cooperate with someone is a sign of weakness,” she explained to Gary Knell, chairman of National Geographic Partners and former CEO of Sesame Workshop, in a conversation aired at ALA Virtual June 25. “Nowadays, it’s not enough to win—you … Continue reading Celebrate the World


Honoring and Respecting Relationship: Rethinking Library Praxis

Decolonizing Knowledge

June 25, 2020

Camille Callison, Indigenous strategies librarian at University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, commenced the American Indian Library Association President’s Program “Honoring and Respecting Relationship: Rethinking Library Praxis” June 25 at ALA Virtual by introducing herself as member of the Tahltan Nation and recapping some of the racist and problematic actions Canada has inflicted upon Indigenous people. … Continue reading Decolonizing Knowledge


Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services Past-President Susan Parkins and President Cathy Zimmerman

Reimagining the Bookmobile

June 25, 2020

At “Outdoing Outreach in a Post–COVID-19 World,” a June 25 live session at ALA Virtual, two Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) board members discussed how their work has evolved in the face of coronavirus. “We woke up one morning and the entire world had changed,” said Cathy Zimmerman, ABOS president and bookmobile associate … Continue reading Reimagining the Bookmobile


Sophia Thakur

Books as Escape

June 24, 2020

Thakur, debut author of Somebody Give This Heart a Pen (Candlewick, September) and featured speaker at ALA Virtual on June 24, remarked on libraries’ ability to offer enrichment, empowerment, and empathy. “Anything that can meet you at the point of your desire to escape will forever hold a sacred place,” she said. “My escape enriched … Continue reading Books as Escape



Staffers at Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library, which closed its doors March 16 because of COVID-19, advertise the library's remote-reference services in a group Zoom call.. Photo: Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library

Bookend: Remote and Ready

June 1, 2020

Director Dana Wishnick’s first priority was setting up the phone system to forward calls to staffers working from home: “We have about 20% of our community that doesn’t have access to computers or internet connections, and we really wanted to be able to serve them during this time.” To let users know that staffers were … Continue reading Bookend: Remote and Ready


Stacey Abrams Photo: Gerri Hernández

Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams

June 1, 2020

COVID-19, social distancing, and self-quarantine have become facts of American life. Meanwhile, the US is conducting primary elections and the 2020 Census. How do you see these events being affected by the public health crisis? What can be done to encourage civic participation during a time of fear? We have to remember this isn’t the … Continue reading Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams


Stacey Abrams Photo: Gerri Hernández

Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams

March 31, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 has ramped up significantly in recent weeks, and social distancing and self-quarantine have become facts of American life. Meanwhile, the US is conducting primary elections and the 2020 Census. How do you see these events being affected by the public health crisis? What can be done to encourage civic participation during … Continue reading Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams


Spanish-language census marketing materials used by Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library. Photo: Waukegan (Ill.) Public Library

Reaching the Hard to Count

March 2, 2020

“I was sent one of those letters,” says Rhonda Sewell, manager of external and governmental affairs for Toledo–Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL). “What’s at stake [in Ohio] is over $1,800 per person.” Sewell and others who joined the CCC decided that, to not lose federal funds, Toledo and Lucas County needed to hire a census … Continue reading Reaching the Hard to Count


Samantha Bee speaks at the Closing Session of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville February 29. Photo: Laura Kinser/Kinser Studios

High Stakes

March 1, 2020

“Of course we’re not living in the administration we want to be living in, naturally,” she told the crowd at the Closing Session of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 29. “As I sit here, the president is doing a press conference on coronavirus. I hope it goes really well and … Continue reading High Stakes


‘We’re in the Social Justice Business’

March 1, 2020

“Stories have value. And I think that libraries have inherently gone down a path that people have value,” the award-winning anchor, entrepreneur, and television host said at the Public Library Association’s 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 29. She added: “Like assignment editors, very rarely do they get thanked.” In her Big Ideas session talk, … Continue reading ‘We’re in the Social Justice Business’