Author Archive: Terra Dankowski

From left: Punxsutawney Phil, 134 years old and living at the Punxsutawney (Pa.) Memorial Library since the 1970s, inside his burrow; at the front of the library, visitors can see Phil's Burrow through the viewing window. Photos: Punxsutawney (Pa.) Memorial Library

Burrowed in Books

January 31, 2020

You read that correctly. When Phil isn’t swarmed by media and visitors clamoring for his shadow-dependent spring predictions on Groundhog Day every February 2—last year 25,000 people gathered before the stump at Gobbler’s Knob—the well-known woodchuck lives in a burrow at the front of Punxsutawney (Pa.) Memorial Library. American Libraries talked to Jessica Church, director … Continue reading Burrowed in Books


Chanel Miller, author of Know My Name, speaks at ALA's 2020 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in PhiladelphiaPhoto: EPNAC

Know Her Name

January 27, 2020

As “Emily Doe,” she was at the center of a widely publicized sexual assault case at Stanford University, in which members of the media and public fixated on assailant Brock Turner’s swim times and how a guilty verdict—the judge sentenced him to six months in prison when the case wrapped in 2016—would negatively impact his … Continue reading Know Her Name


Alexandra Remy (with Melissa Bennett and Luke Kirkland in the background)

Being the Change

January 27, 2020

“I knew I wanted to do something about civics, but I didn’t know where to begin. I bribed [teens] with Pizza and Politics,” Remy, branch supervisor at Springfield City Library, told attendees at “Young Changemakers in 21st Century Libraries,” a January 25 program at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Remy soon learned … Continue reading Being the Change


Jeff Henderson

Hungry with Knowledge

January 26, 2020

“I was growing up hungry in a single-parent, dysfunctional home in the 1960s,” he told the crowd at American Library Association President Wanda Kay Brown’s program at the Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Philadelphia on January 26. “I had a little homeboy dream that I’d be able to buy a house on a hill with … Continue reading Hungry with Knowledge


Ana Ndumu

Completing the Count

January 26, 2020

Who sees my data? Do you need an ID to fill out a census form? Who should I include on my form? “People are afraid to answer the census, that’s what our research has shown,” Burton Reist, assistant director for communications for the US Census Bureau, told attendees at “2020 Census: How Libraries Can Support … Continue reading Completing the Count


John Sargent

Macmillan CEO Hosts AMA

January 25, 2020

Sargent, who has been at the center of Macmillan’s controversial ebook lending policy that took effect November 1—a model that limits libraries to purchasing one copy of each new ebook and imposes an eight-week embargo on additional copies—invited attendees to “ask him anything.” Before opening the floor to comments, he explained to attendees how Macmillan … Continue reading Macmillan CEO Hosts AMA


From left, authors Shaun David Hutchinson, Marie Lu, Renee Ahdieh, and Veronica Roth at the closing session of the 2019 YALSA Symposium in Memphis, Tennessee, November 3.

Sci-Fi Can Save You

November 4, 2019

“I read a lot of genre fiction growing up,” said Roth, creator of the Divergent series. “Fewer women were in the driving seat of those books. [But Meg] had a lot of feelings.” Hutchinson, author of We Are the Ants (Simon Pulse, 2017) and At the Edge of the Universe (Simon Pulse, 2018), agreed. “It’s … Continue reading Sci-Fi Can Save You



From left, YA authors Lauren Myracle, Sandhya Menon, Kekla Magoon, and Meredith Russo speak at the Opening Session of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Young Adult Services Symposium on November 1 in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Really YA” Tackles Real Issues

November 4, 2019

At “Really YA,” a panel moderated by YALSA President Todd Krueger, bestselling authors Kekla Magoon, Sandhya Menon, Lauren Myracle, and Meredith Russo talked about the inspiration and experiences behind their latest realistic fiction works and the research they did to write their characters’ stories. “I wanted to show a trans girl who’s messier, and having … Continue reading “Really YA” Tackles Real Issues


K. O. Lee Aberdeen (S.Dak.) Public Library, from framing to final product. Photos: K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (top three); Spencer Sommer/MSR (bottom)

How to Build a Library

September 3, 2019

These libraries, each completed within the past three years, are now centerpieces of their communities. They have inspired awe and appreciation, increased user engagement, received architecture and design awards—and won over some of their critics. So how did these endeavors come together? How does a beautiful building become a reality? We asked three administrators—who have … Continue reading How to Build a Library


Mo Rocca

Newsmaker: Mo Rocca

July 24, 2019

In your podcast Mobituaries, you exhume little-known facts about both relatively unknown and iconic people and events. How do you go about picking a story that you’d like to pursue? I pursue stories about people and things that interest me. There are people who had obituaries the first time around when they actually died, but … Continue reading Newsmaker: Mo Rocca


From left to right: Marion Rorke, Sharon Streams, Lynn Connaway

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

June 25, 2019

“Questions are being raised about what is the role of libraries in this epidemic,” said Sharon Streams, director of OCLC’s WebJunction, at the outset of “Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities,” a June 24 session at the American Library Association’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. More than 130 people die … Continue reading Addressing the Opioid Epidemic