Reflecting on Our Mission



January 2, 2020

Like other nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations, ALA exists because we seek to accomplish a mission, initially defined in ALA’s Constitution, “to promote library service and librarianship.” That critical social purpose was later more expansively stated in ALA Policy Manual, ­section A.1.2: “The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and … Continue reading Reflecting on Our Mission



Dispatches, by Michael Meth

Understanding Blockchain



January 2, 2020

Blockchain bears a resemblance to a concept that many librarians are familiar with: LOCKSS. LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) is a digital preservation initiative started by Stanford University Libraries in 1999. Both LOCKSS and blockchain are decentralized, distributed computing protocols that are designed to provide access to digital content and ensure its integrity. … Continue reading Understanding Blockchain


Youth Matters by Tricia Bohanon

Making Room for Inclusion



January 2, 2020

Despite interest from the communities I have served, numbers have been consistently low—usually one to two families attend the monthly program. Recently, Akron–Summit County (Ohio) Public Library, where I work, made the decision to discontinue these storytimes. When sensory programming may not be feasible—whether because of low attendance, inadequate staffing, or lack of administrative support—we … Continue reading Making Room for Inclusion



On My Mind by Terrilyn Chun

Get with the Programming


January 2, 2020

My first job at Multnomah County (Oreg.) Library (MCL) was in public relations, which involved writing and editing news releases, brochures, and fliers and, increasingly, planning programs and events. An operating levy, passed when I was a few years into the job, brought a wave of construction, renovations, and expanded public program offerings. New programming … Continue reading Get with the Programming


Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Digital Strategies for Librarians



January 2, 2020

Your Technology Outreach Adventure: Tools for Human-Centered Problem Solving By Erin Berman This title will guide professionals in exploring computer-focused library programming. While it provides good examples of tech programs that benefit from outreach, the bulk of the book deals with group planning and design. These are often applicable to any program series or project … Continue reading Digital Strategies for Librarians



On My Mind with Lori A. Goetsch

When Disaster Strikes


December 9, 2019

This wasn’t the first time we’d had fire alarms: leaky pipes, burned bagels, and other incidents had set off our alarms in the past, and the staff was experienced in and accustomed to vacating themselves and others from the building. However, this time was different—smoke was observed and, as first responders came on the scene, … Continue reading When Disaster Strikes


Photo: On My Mind by Anthony Aycock

Unauthorized Practice of Law in the Library


November 6, 2019

In 2016, more than half of federal appeals were filed by citizens acting as their own attorney, a process called pro se representation. According to the Legal Services Corporation, almost 90% of civil matters involving low-income Americans receive little or no legal help. With nowhere else to turn, such patrons often seek out legal information … Continue reading Unauthorized Practice of Law in the Library


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

A Job Well Done



November 1, 2019

Professional awards embody a vocation’s values. But what message is sent when the majority of awards recognize a single large innovative project or publication? When most recognition is for individual achievements, what does that say about how our profession views teamwork? As much as we might wish to believe librarianship is unique, it is still … Continue reading A Job Well Done