K. O. Lee Aberdeen (S.Dak.) Public Library, from framing to final product. Photos: K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (top three); Spencer Sommer/MSR (bottom)

How to Build a Library

September 3, 2019

These libraries, each completed within the past three years, are now centerpieces of their communities. They have inspired awe and appreciation, increased user engagement, received architecture and design awards—and won over some of their critics. So how did these endeavors come together? How does a beautiful building become a reality? We asked three administrators—who have … Continue reading How to Build a Library


2019 ALA Award Winners

September 3, 2019

Mirah J. Dow Beta Phi Mu Award One nominator wrote of Dow that “her commitment to Beta Phi Mu’s motto, Aliis inserviendo consumor—meaning ‘Consumed in the service of others’—is ever present.” Dow, professor and director of the PhD program at Emporia (Kans.) State University School of Library and Information Management, has spent her career educating … Continue reading 2019 ALA Award Winners


"key" with Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library logo

Automatic for the People

September 3, 2019

But he says any move to automate would be about expanding services, not cutting staff. “I told that journalist, the conversation would regard whether we repurpose one of our staff, who is doing transactional work, to do more transformational work enhancing library resources and programs in senior living facilities or nursing homes or low-income housing … Continue reading Automatic for the People


Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on a bookshelf in a target

Up to the Challenge

September 3, 2019

Build your foundation The first step is to be an excellent educator. Your lessons should foster “opportunities for learners to demonstrate personal curiosity and creation of knowledge” and “support the diverse developmental, cultural, social, and linguistic needs” represented in your community, according to the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National School Library Standards for … Continue reading Up to the Challenge


Raina Telgemeier (Photo: Joseph Fanvu Photography)

Newsmaker: Raina Telgemeier

September 3, 2019

Telgemeier has also written two fictional graphic novels (Drama and Ghosts), four illustrated adaptions of The Baby-Sitters Club series, and the new interactive journal Share Your Smile. American Libraries spoke with Telgemeier about her creative process, how graphic novelists became champions for unrepresented voices in publishing, and her advice for aspiring artists. You wrote two … Continue reading Newsmaker: Raina Telgemeier


School librarian and volunteer firefighter Dinah Wade

Bookend: Sparking a Love for Learning

September 3, 2019

Wade is library media specialist at Freedom Intermediate School, serving 5th- and 6th-graders in the city of Franklin, Tennessee—and a volunteer firefighter with the nearby Williamson County Rescue Squad. She started her fire training in 2007, the year she married a career police officer who also volunteers with the station. Since then, she’s partnered with … Continue reading Bookend: Sparking a Love for Learning


From left: Phil Morehart, Ekua Holmes, Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, Christopher Myers, and Jason Reynolds at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

A Conversation about the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

August 20, 2019

What’s changed in the 50 years since librarians Glyndon Flynt and Mabel McKissick first thought of the CSK Book Awards at the 1969 ALA Annual Conference? How have the awards impacted children’s publishing in the years since? Jacqueline Woodson: One thing, just now walking through the convention center, we saw all of these books written … Continue reading A Conversation about the Coretta Scott King Book Awards


Author Linda Holmes, photo by Tim Coburn

Newsmaker: Linda Holmes

August 1, 2019

Holmes recently spoke with American Libraries about her fiction favorites, the breadth of the romance genre, and why librarians are the original influencers. Tell me about your relationship with books and reading. Where does fiction fit in your personal pop-culture landscape? When I was a teenager I read a ton of big, heavy commercial fiction, … Continue reading Newsmaker: Linda Holmes


Mariana Atencio

Newsmaker: Mariana Atencio

July 26, 2019

What were you reading growing up in Venezuela? Who were your literary heroes? Isabel Allende, La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits). Growing up, her novels were like the universe. She’s from Chile originally—she escaped the dictatorship and found a home in Venezuela. There’s a character in the book called Clara because … Continue reading Newsmaker: Mariana Atencio


Mo Rocca

Newsmaker: Mo Rocca

July 24, 2019

In your podcast Mobituaries, you exhume little-known facts about both relatively unknown and iconic people and events. How do you go about picking a story that you’d like to pursue? I pursue stories about people and things that interest me. There are people who had obituaries the first time around when they actually died, but … Continue reading Newsmaker: Mo Rocca


Libraries = Strong Communities rally in the exhibit hall. Photo: Cognotes

2019 Annual Wrap-Up

July 17, 2019

One News You Can Use session, “Confronting White Nationalism in Libraries,” was inspired by a toolkit published by the Western States Center, an advocacy organization focused on strengthening inclusive democracy, to help schools address the rise in racist extremism. Panel organizer Jarrett Dapier, young adult librarian at Skokie (Ill.) Public Library, applied its recommendations to … Continue reading 2019 Annual Wrap-Up