Nebraska City (Neb.) Mayor Bryan Bequette (left) and his wife and daughter celebrate after solving a puzzle in the Morton-James Public Library’s escape room.

Nontraditional Approaches to Reaching Local Leaders

November 1, 2019

At Manitowoc (Wis.) Public Library (MPL), which hosts a free carnival every August, local representatives such as the mayor and aldermen hop into a dunk tank or serve as targets for the water-balloon catapult. Julia Lee, youth services manager at MPL, says getting local celebrities in the dunk tank helps break down barriers between residents … Continue reading Nontraditional Approaches to Reaching Local Leaders


The University of Michigan’s Computer and Video Game Archive. Photo: Alan Pinon

Librarians, Start New Game

November 1, 2019

The University of Michigan’s (UM) Computer Video and Game Archive (CVGA) in Ann Arbor boasts more than 8,000 videogames and 60 consoles dating back to the 1970s. “Because we have such a large collection, there are many examples from which to pull and get inspiration, things [students] would never be able to afford on their … Continue reading Librarians, Start New Game


public speaking

Boost Your Public Speaking Skills

November 1, 2019

“I was just so petrified,” remembers Travis, who is advisor for information literacy and library instructional assessment at California State University, Long Beach. “I had actually prepared; I knew everything I should have said. It was just the idea of speaking in public that terrified me.” Years later, Travis has more than conquered her stage … Continue reading Boost Your Public Speaking Skills


Knowledge IQ

November 1, 2019

Fundamental tenets of knowledge management can help your library gradually move from humbug thoughts such as, “That’s just how we’ve always done it!” to more affirming ones like, “There are new, improved ways we can try with an open mind.” This transformation depends largely on creating an organizational culture that is open to sharing knowledge, … Continue reading Knowledge IQ


Lindy West (Photo: Jenny Jimenez)

Newsmaker: Lindy West

November 1, 2019

American Libraries spoke with West about the book, body politics, and social media. Where does the title of your new book come from? The Witches Are Coming grew out of this phenomenon where people try to deflect accountability by claiming that any accusation of wrongdoing is a witch hunt and not real. It’s an obvious … Continue reading Newsmaker: Lindy West


Jenn Bartlett, head of reference and adult services at Manchester (Conn.) Public Library. Photo: J. Fiereck Photography

Bookend: Gaming the (Library) System

November 1, 2019

Instead, that trip effectively kickstarted the library’s board game collection. Bartlett came home with three free games; today MPL’s cache, mostly comprising publisher and public donations, is at 275 and counting. It’s the largest library board game collection in the state, she says. Bartlett, current president of the American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Round … Continue reading Bookend: Gaming the (Library) System



Referenda Roundup (Illustration: Tom Deja)

Referenda Roundup 2019

October 24, 2019

ALABAMA In Leeds, voters rejected a proposed property tax increase of 9 mills by 1,506 to 971 in January. The funds generated would have gone toward the construction of a new library as well as a new high school athletics complex and other projects. ARIZONA In Phoenix, Proposition 106—which would have capped budgets for some … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2019


Photo: Megan Rosenbloom.

Newsmaker: Megan Rosenbloom

October 22, 2019

Rosenbloom, a medical librarian at University of Southern California (USC) and obituary editor for the Journal of the Medical Library Association, is a leader in the “death positive” movement and the Order of the Good Death, a group of “funeral industry professionals, academics, and artists exploring ways to prepare a death phobic culture for their … Continue reading Newsmaker: Megan Rosenbloom


Andrew Carnegie, 1913 (Photo: Marceau, NYC)

Remembering Andrew Carnegie’s Legacy

September 30, 2019

Libraries are the critical component in the free exchange of information, which lies at the heart of our democracy. They hold our nation’s heritage, the heritage of humanity, the record of its triumphs and failures, and of its intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements. American public libraries grant all people access to an ever-growing compendium of … Continue reading Remembering Andrew Carnegie’s Legacy


Challenges to nonbook materials in libraries

Censorship Beyond Books

September 24, 2019

“That didn’t necessarily make sense to me because most public libraries are well prepared to deal with challenges,” she says, pointing to the popularity of Banned Books Week (this year September 22–28) and the array of resources OIF provides for librarians dealing with book challenges. “When I went back and looked just at public libraries, … Continue reading Censorship Beyond Books