Author Archive: Terra Dankowski

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’


Burton Reist, assistant director for communications at the US Census Bureau

Closing In on the Census

February 29, 2020

“It’s a critical civic effort, it affects everything political and economic in communities,” said Larra Clark, deputy director of the Public Library Association (PLA), at “2020 Census Countdown: What You Need to Know,” a February 28 program at the PLA 2020 Conference in Nashville. “The census doesn’t happen in the quarters of Washington—it happens here,” … Continue reading Closing In on the Census


From left: Jeffery Davis, Margaret Sullivan, Salvador Avila, Melanie Huggins, and Danielle Milam.

Human-Centered Spaces

February 29, 2020

“Architecture isn’t about buildings, it’s about people,” said Jeffery Davis, library planner and designer at Architectural Nexus in Salt Lake City. Davis, Milam, and fellow panelists at “Inclusionary Tactics that Flip the Script for Library Facility Planning,” a February 28 program of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville, emphasized that library design’s new … Continue reading Human-Centered Spaces



From left: Melanie Toledo (at podium), Carolyn Petersen, and Janessa Esquivel.

Supporting Tribal Libraries

February 28, 2020

At “Perspectives on Outreach to Tribal Libraries,” a February 28 program at the Public Library Association’s 2020 Conference in Nashville, librarians from tribal libraries and the state libraries that support them offered tips for successful collaboration. Have a purpose. Are you from a state or public library that wants to reach out and network with … Continue reading Supporting Tribal Libraries


Author and education professor Bettina Love brings big ideas to the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville February 27. (Photo: Laura Kinser/Kinser Studios)

Calling on Co-Conspirators

February 28, 2020

Bettina Love, education professor and author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press, 2019), posed this question to attendees of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference’s Big Ideas session in Nashville on February 27. In her dynamic talk, she confronted the ways in which … Continue reading Calling on Co-Conspirators


Opening Session speaker Stacey Abrams on stage at the 2020 Public Library Association Conference in Nashville on February 26. (Photo: Laura Kinser/Kinser Studios)

Everyone Counts

February 27, 2020

“In 2018, I did not become governor of Georgia,” the nonprofit CEO, 11-year Georgia House representative, recent Democratic gubernatorial candidate, and author of the forthcoming Our Time is Now (Henry Holt and Co., June) told a packed auditorium at the Opening Session of the Public Library Association (PLA) 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 26. … Continue reading Everyone Counts


From left: Jillian Rael, Sharon Kay Edwards, and Patricia Rua-Bashir at the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 25.

Advocacy Assets

February 26, 2020

“[People] think advocacy is marble steps and these throne rooms. [For me,] it’s handshakes and sweet tea and conversations,” said Sharon Kay Edwards, legislative monitor for the Tennessee Library Association (TLA), librarian at Motlow State Community College, and an American Library Association (ALA) Policy Corps member. Edwards and her Tennessee colleagues presented the preconference “Developing … Continue reading Advocacy Assets


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