Author Archive: Terra Dankowski


The Library of Things pull-out poster, illustrated by Brian Mead.

The Library of Things

June 1, 2017

As the sharing economy continues to swell, nontraditional collections become more pervasive, community-specific, and imaginative. Here are some of our favorite unusual items circulating at libraries in North America (click to expand).


Choose Privacy Week is May 1–7, 2017.Illustration: Valery Brozhinsky/Adobe Stock

By the Numbers: Privacy

May 1, 2017

1–7 Dates in May that Choose Privacy Week is annually observed. 1939 Year that the American Library Association adopted its Bill of Rights, which affirms a commitment to privacy in its first iteration. 48 Number of US states (plus the District of Columbia) that protect the confidentiality of library users’ records by law. The remaining … Continue reading By the Numbers: Privacy


Angelina Zaytsev (left), collection services librarian at HathiTrust, and Kristina Eden, copyright review project manager at HathiTrust, lead the session "Harnessing Volunteer Power for Operational and Programmatic Success" at DPLAfest 2017 in Chicago. Photo: Terra Dankowski/American Libraries

The Devil Is in the Digital Details

April 25, 2017

Data and design boost engagement “A digital collection is not just scanned photographs,” said Greta Bahnemann, metadata librarian for the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL), at the outset of “Metadata: Preventing a Digital Junk Drawer.” Metadata should essentially make up half of your collection, she said. Why is metadata so important? Bahnemann and copresenters from the … Continue reading The Devil Is in the Digital Details



Touger Vang (left), public services coordinator at Yolo County (Calif.) Public Library, speaks to attendees at the Project Welcome summit on February 6. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries

Resources for Resettlement

February 14, 2017

The refugee crisis isn’t new. According to the US State Department, more than 3.3 million refugees—persons fleeing their home country to escape persecution, war, or violence—have resettled in the US since 1975. But the summit seemed timely, as the legality as to who should be welcomed within US borders is tested, and debate among the … Continue reading Resources for Resettlement


(From left) Stephen Harmon, AASL president Audrey Church, Jeffrey Martín, ACRL president Ann Campion Riley

The Future of Learning

January 25, 2017

Martín, founder and CEO of honorCode, a program that aims to integrate coding into the K–12 curriculum, spoke about his experiences in developing a coding initiative at Atlanta’s Drew Charter School. “We envision Atlanta as the Silicon Valley for the South,” says Martín, noting that Georgia ranks third, behind New York and California, in the … Continue reading The Future of Learning


A Not-Unfortunate Ending

January 24, 2017

Neil Patrick Harris, before a packed auditorium at the Closing Session of the American Library Association’s 2017 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits on Monday, joked that his name was the next to be added to a list of illustrious and prolific children’s book series authors. The award-winning actor, host, and magician talked about the inspiration behind … Continue reading A Not-Unfortunate Ending


We Need Diverse Books logo

Less Normative Collections

January 24, 2017

Though normative collections are a systematic problem and no one person is to blame, Manfredi said, the session sought to convey how librarians, educators, publishers, and reviewers are complicit in this problem. Manfredi began by identifying examples of microaggressions—comments or actions that may be hostile or demeaning to a minority or marginalized group—and popular misconceptions … Continue reading Less Normative Collections


The panel, from left: Fred Stielow, Susan J. Schmidt, Peter Pearson, Sally Gardner Reed

Directors, Trustees, and Friends Build the Future

January 24, 2017

Schmidt kicked off her 2017 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits session, “Building the Future: Public Libraries and Their Trustees Making Future Policy Decisions Together,” in Atlanta on Sunday by painting a picture of the challenges directors, trustees, and Friends groups are up against. Panelists then presented tactics for ways these groups can leverage their relationships, to … Continue reading Directors, Trustees, and Friends Build the Future



Ryan Gravel

“Unfettered by Reality”

January 23, 2017

Gravel—who sparked the idea for the Atlanta BeltLine, a 22-mile multiuse trail or repurposed rail lines that will eventually connect 46 neighborhoods—should know. His “ulterior motive,” he says, was simply creating a city that he wanted to live in. Gravel’s talk was testament to how one person with a bold idea can make a difference … Continue reading “Unfettered by Reality”