Letters of the Law with Tomas A. Lipinski

Materials Challenges in the Library: What Does the Law Say?



August 5, 2022

Our online column Letters of the Law explores a wide range of legal issues that arise in libraries, with the help of a pair of leading authorities: Mary Minow, a librarian who became a lawyer, and Tomas A. Lipinski, a lawyer who became a librarian. Together they have authored four books on the subject, including … Continue reading Materials Challenges in the Library: What Does the Law Say?



Photo of ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall. Text says "From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall"

Calling a Thing a Thing



July 20, 2022

The nonprofit ProLiteracy, one of ALA’s longtime partners, makes the connection between reading and health care agency. It points out that women with low literacy skills are at higher risk of “financial, health, and partner vulnerabilities throughout their lives,” potentially limiting their independence. That cyclical relationship—limited education and reading ability leading to limited economic opportunity … Continue reading Calling a Thing a Thing




Photo of Latia Ward, Academic Insights column. Text says "Academic Insights by Latia Ward"

Accessing Justice



June 1, 2022

This scenario is an example of both a reference transaction and an access-to-justice issue. Many people do not have easy access to an attorney and will come to the library seeking legal information. Librarians are not authorized to give legal advice, but they can direct patrons to useful organizations and resources. According to Jessica Steinberg, … Continue reading Accessing Justice


June Dispatches by Frank Donnelly

Crunching the Numbers



June 1, 2022

Total population counts for the states and the nation were released in March 2021 and launched the apportionment process to redistribute seats in Congress. Public redistricting files followed, released in August 2021. This dataset consists of six tables that include population by race, ethnicity, age above 18, group quarters (the population living in college dorms, … Continue reading Crunching the Numbers


A photo of Jennifer Johnson, the author of June's Youth Matters column

In Training



June 1, 2022

That short exchange planted a seed in my mind: Could public libraries find ways to give kids hands-on library experience in a real-life work environment? If we are to foster learning in innovative ways, shouldn’t we offer opportunities for children who have an interest in libraries? Is this feasible on a library-wide scale? It turned … Continue reading In Training


Photo of Librarian's Library columnist Andy Gooding-Call

Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom



June 1, 2022

The Library’s Legal Answers for Meeting Rooms and Displays By Mary Minow, Tomas A. Lipinski, and Gretchen McCord Intellectual freedom in public libraries encompasses more than books. This handy guide, written by a trio of lawyer-librarians, covers these concerns in a direct, plainspoken manner. Using a Q&A format, the authors present succinct legal information for … Continue reading Standing Up for Intellectual Freedom


Graphic: Letters of the Law with Mary Minow

What Does My Library Need to Know about Ebook Laws?



May 17, 2022

Our online column Letters of the Law explores a wide range of legal issues that arise in libraries, with the help of a pair of leading authorities: Mary Minow, a librarian who became a lawyer; and Tomas A. Lipinski, a lawyer who became a librarian. Together they have authored four books on the subject, including … Continue reading What Does My Library Need to Know about Ebook Laws?