American soldiers in Paris just after the armistice of World War I. The American Library in Paris was a continuation of the work of the Library War Service, which ALA created in 1917 to supply reading materials to US servicemembers stationed in Europe during the war.

We’ll Always Have the American Library in Paris

May 1, 2020

Founded in 1920, the American Library in Paris is the largest English-language lending library in continental Europe. Burton Stevenson, the library’s founder and first director, was well known for assisting the American Library Association (ALA) as it established army libraries abroad during the First World War. He wanted to continue the work of the Library … Continue reading We’ll Always Have the American Library in Paris


Photo illustration: © Dariusz Jarzabek/Adobe Stock (library); © nongkran_ch/Adobe Stock (circles)

2020 Library Systems Report

May 1, 2020

Technology for public library automation has been mired in stagnation. It takes a substantial level of development to both maintain existing products and build next-generation technologies for the emerging realities of a given library sector. Will Ex Libris opt to invent a new platform for public libraries, as it did for academics? How it responds may … Continue reading 2020 Library Systems Report


Emerging Leaders Class of 2020

Emerging Leaders 2020

May 1, 2020

Launched in 1997 as a one-year program under former ALA President Mary R. Somerville and revived in 2006 under former ALA President Leslie Burger, Emerging Leaders recognizes the best and brightest new leaders in our profession. It’s open to librarians of any age who are new to the profession and who have fewer than five … Continue reading Emerging Leaders 2020


Julia Alvarez Photo: Bill Eichner

Newsmaker: Julia Alvarez

May 1, 2020

What drove you to write this novel? Why now? Afterlife comes out of a feeling that it’s an elegiac time for our planet, as we watch so many species become extinct, ecosystems in danger, forests burning. It feels like a time of many endings. In our national life—our uncivil society, the divisions, the draconian immigration … Continue reading Newsmaker: Julia Alvarez



Race and Place

April 23, 2020

Tracie D. Hall is current ALA executive director. This article appeared in the February 2007 issue of American Libraries magazine, when Hall was assistant dean at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. By the time my grandparents purchased what my grandmother referred to as an “old … Continue reading Race and Place


Stacey Abrams Photo: Gerri Hernández

Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams

March 31, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 has ramped up significantly in recent weeks, and social distancing and self-quarantine have become facts of American life. Meanwhile, the US is conducting primary elections and the 2020 Census. How do you see these events being affected by the public health crisis? What can be done to encourage civic participation during … Continue reading Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams


Tom Green County Library System in San Angelo, Texas, is closed to walk-ins but offering curbside checkout services, as explained by this image from their website.

Staying Open during COVID-19

March 23, 2020

But as of Monday, March 23, a handful of public and academic libraries were still serving patrons in person. “[Southeastern Idaho] Public Health said that we should maintain services, and they’re the experts, right?” says Robert Wright, director of Idaho Falls (Idaho) Public Library (IFPL), which has canceled all programming but remains open for the … Continue reading Staying Open during COVID-19



Special Report: 2020 Census Illustration: Kristen Solecki

Special Report: 2020 Census

March 2, 2020

What’s more, there may be confusion about this year’s count, which formally kicks off April 1. For the first time, the form can now be filled out online (as well as via mail and phone), and a hotly contested addition to the form—a citizenship question—was struck down by the US Supreme Court last summer (though … Continue reading Special Report: 2020 Census


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


Graphic: 50th anniversary of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA)

Living the Dream

March 2, 2020

How has the situation of African Americans in the profession changed since BCALA’s founding? Well, “it hasn’t gotten any worse,” says Trevor Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian at University of Delaware, as well as past BCALA executive board member and BCALA liaison to ALA until last year. “We … Continue reading Living the Dream