2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Librarians and Book Lovers

December 1, 2020

  Gifts under $10   Checking You Out Card ($5.50) This letterpress-printed card from Power and Light Press presents the perfect opportunity to tell someone special how you feel. The 3.5-by-5-inch library card comes in a compostable manila-colored sleeve and a pool-blue envelope.   Librarians Saving Your Ass Since 300 B.C.E. Patch ($6) This kick-ass … Continue reading 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Librarians and Book Lovers



Illustration: Screenshot of gamers in costume playing Dungeons and Dragons (Illustration: Katie Wheeler)

Escape for the Isolated

November 2, 2020

A crew of six explorers—library patrons playing as a gnome, two half-elves, two humans, and a wood elf—learned this lesson during their weekly online game, led by Greenfield (Mass.) Public Library (GPL) Assistant Jeremiah Rood. Spoiler alert: The adventurers went on to slaughter the monster, as well as the campaign’s goblin king, before reaching the … Continue reading Escape for the Isolated




The Activist Life of E. J. Josey

November 2, 2020

Renate L. Chancellor, associate professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and author of E. J. Josey: Transformational Leader of the Modern Library Profession (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020), is a leading Josey scholar. American Libraries spoke with her about his life, activism, and impact on … Continue reading The Activist Life of E. J. Josey


Teen leader Iris Alvarenga poses in front of yard signs at Waltham (Mass.) Public Library that depict issues youth patrons care about. The installation was a partnership between the library, civic organization For Freedoms, and local art group Blueprint Projects. Photo: Erwin Cardona/Waltham (Mass.) Public Library

Let Them Lead

November 2, 2020

This isn’t the first time in recent years that teens have taken a visible role in public protests. Many of them marched in support of the DREAM Act and spoke out about immigration policy; advocated for gun control after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and followed environmental … Continue reading Let Them Lead


Watercolor image of a Black woman's face surrounded by swirls of color (Photo illustration: ©Victor Tongdee/Adobe Stock)

The Weight We Carry

November 2, 2020

Although stereotypes about cold, harsh, robotic librarians persist, those of us who work with the public must display emotional intelligence for our patrons’ sakes—and our own. Emotional labor Vicarious traumatization (VT) occurs when we work with patrons whose traumatic stories transfer onto us. We may not realize that transference has happened. Subtly and gradually, it … Continue reading The Weight We Carry



Marcus Samuelsson (left) and Osayi Endolyn [Photos: Angie Mosier (Samuelsson); Lucy Schaeffer Photography (Endolyn)]

Newsmakers: Marcus Samuelsson and Osayi Endolyn

November 2, 2020

Among the many talented Black chefs whose cuisine is highlighted: Cheryl Day of Savannah, Georgia’s Back in the Day Bakery; Gregory Gourdet of Portland, Oregon’s Departure; and former Top Chef contestant Nyesha Arrington of Los Angeles. Samuelsson and Endolyn spoke with American Libraries about their work—and about the racial dynamics of the food publishing world. … Continue reading Newsmakers: Marcus Samuelsson and Osayi Endolyn


Referenda Roundup 2020

October 27, 2020

To get the ball rolling, here we present library referenda that have appeared since last year’s roundup. Check back after Election Day (November 3), as AL brings you the latest in library-related yeas and nays—from Colorado, where Denver voters will decide whether to allow the city to spend money on broadband internet for libraries and … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2020


Sunday Roast Chicken with Chickpeas and Couscous

October 22, 2020

Reprinted with permission from The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food (Voracious, October) by Marcus Samuelsson and Osayi Endolyn. When I think about Alberta’s history—her fierceness combined with her incredible charm and grace—I am humbled by how much she accomplished, when she started with very little. She had an 8th-grade education, but … Continue reading Sunday Roast Chicken with Chickpeas and Couscous