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


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Personalization vs. Privacy



November 1, 2019

Commercial websites aim to capture as much personal data as possible. This data powers a global advertising ecosystem designed to strengthen retail sales through finely targeted ad placement. To manage websites and internet technologies in ways that reflect their values, libraries invariably must make difficult choices and compromises. While they may not be able to … Continue reading Personalization vs. Privacy


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Contract Concerns



November 1, 2019

The American Library Association–Allied Professional Association’s Library Worklife site states: “Union contracts often provide for fair and flexible working hours, better pay for overtime and work on evenings and weekends, more paid holidays, paid family and medical leave, and employer help with child care and elder care.” These conditions are undoubtedly important. But when talking … Continue reading Contract Concerns


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Welcoming New Americans



November 1, 2019

Libraries have a role to play too. From hosting programs with local legislators and teaching patrons media literacy to offering support for online census questions and assistance with government e-forms, today’s libraries are hot spots of civic engagement. Newcomers to this country, especially, see libraries as trustworthy guides on their path to integrating into their … Continue reading Welcoming New Americans


Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

Listening to Your Community



November 1, 2019

At the event, R. David Lankes, now director of University of South Carolina’s iSchool, facilitated discussions on the topic. Participants from all types of libraries were asked to take an imaginary walk around their community: observing, listening, seeking to understand the aspirations of the community for itself. During the discussion that followed, participants talked about how … Continue reading Listening to Your Community




In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Process Matters in Design



September 3, 2019

Participatory design is more than a needs assessment, a focus group, or even an ethnographic study—stakeholders actively contribute to defining problems and designing solutions. They are considered equal members of a research and design team rather than treated as research subjects. Given the diversity of library design projects and our user-centered focus, it seems a … Continue reading Process Matters in Design


Lisa Rand

Keeping History Alive


September 3, 2019

Even in the 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement officially ended the conflict, sectarian tension and renewed violence have punctuated the hard-won peace. Journalist Lyra McKee was killed in April while observing riots in Derry. Conversations with my grandfather gave an immediacy to the stories unfolding across the ocean. In order to get a … Continue reading Keeping History Alive



Dispatches, by Erin Baucom

Preservation as Risk Management



September 3, 2019

The best type of program is an interlocking system of policies, workflows, technical solutions, and efforts meant to keep digital objects usable in the long term. Digital objects are made up of bitstreams—sequences of 1s and 0s that require specific software and hardware environments to remain accessible. Some are born digital (those materials with no … Continue reading Preservation as Risk Management