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


Carrie C. Robinson

Separate—and Unequal

October 6, 2020

Born in Mississippi in 1906, Robinson began her career as a librarian serving Black schools in South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana before settling in Alabama, where she initially worked for Alabama State College as an assistant professor of library education. In 1947, she helped organize a librarian section of the Alabama State Teachers Association, a … Continue reading Separate—and Unequal


Library Learning Center at Texas Southern University in Houston. Photo: Kayla Hartzog

2020 Library Design Showcase

September 1, 2020 Welcome to the 2020 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These shining examples of architectural innovation—completed before the COVID-19 pandemic—address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. As with past showcases, renovations and expansions dominate submissions, as communities find novel ways to conserve and honor existing spaces while … Continue reading 2020 Library Design Showcase

A floor plan for furniture removal at Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Eden Prairie branch. Illustration: MSR Design

Virus-Responsive Design

September 1, 2020

Traci Engel Lesneski, CEO and principal at Minneapolis-based national architecture firm MSR Design, which has worked with hundreds of libraries across the country, says libraries are ideal spaces for innovative design solutions. “It’s not a stretch to think about the ways that libraries have modeled what’s next in the world,” she says. “Libraries can talk … Continue reading Virus-Responsive Design