Screen reader software synthesizes web content into speech for people with visual impairments.

Library Websites for All

June 1, 2017

Providing this support in user-centered and responsive ways fulfills the librarian’s obligation to offer service to all users. However, paying attention to accessibility for visually impaired patrons is not just the right thing to do. It may also protect your library from legal trouble. Legal precedents for access In 2012 the National Federation of the … Continue reading Library Websites for All


A “book” who identifies as Palestinian converses with two “readers” at a Human Library event hosted by Williams College Libraries in Williams­town, Massachusetts.

If These Books Could Talk

June 1, 2017

“That’s cool,” Ménard thought, though she couldn’t imagine the initiative taking hold at her academic library. But that summer, another Williams professor also learned about Human Libraries while in Europe, and he later approached Ménard about collaborating on a campus event. That’s how, in 2012, Williams College became one of the first institutions in the … Continue reading If These Books Could Talk


Justin Schell (standing, top right), director of Shapiro Design Lab at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library, was an organizer of a data rescue event at the library in January.

Archiving Against the Clock

June 1, 2017

The effort began at University of Toronto and Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania prior to Trump’s inauguration and has since spread to as many as two dozen universities and libraries across the US and Canada. The fear that government research and information—particularly that produced by the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the … Continue reading Archiving Against the Clock


Last Chance for 2017 Design Showcase Submissions

May 1, 2017

We are looking for libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Previous submissions have ranged from beautiful restorations of historic buildings to vacant structures that have been repurposed into libraries to colorful kids’ sections and high-tech facilities with audio and video production studios. … Continue reading Last Chance for 2017 Design Showcase Submissions


Choose Privacy Week is May 1–7, 2017.Illustration: Valery Brozhinsky/Adobe Stock

By the Numbers: Privacy

May 1, 2017

1–7 Dates in May that Choose Privacy Week is annually observed. 1939 Year that the American Library Association adopted its Bill of Rights, which affirms a commitment to privacy in its first iteration. 48 Number of US states (plus the District of Columbia) that protect the confidentiality of library users’ records by law. The remaining … Continue reading By the Numbers: Privacy


The library circulation desk at Oliver McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois, offers “No Room for Hate” pins assembled by the Social Justice Club that demonstrate a wearer’s pledge to stand up against injustice.

Messages of Inclusion

May 1, 2017

“Libraries were suddenly in the middle of everything,” Gray says. Libraries have long offered their patrons inclusive, safe places to go, she says, but increasingly “they were doing it in crisis.” Nationally, librarians looked to ALA for leadership. When Gray received calls from people seeking advice on how to deal with trauma and discrimination, she … Continue reading Messages of Inclusion


Hemlines perform in the basement of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Punk at the Library

May 1, 2017

What started as an archive to document Washington, D.C.’s fabled punk music history evolved into wider support of the city’s current music scene, including hosting basement shows—a punk staple—in the library itself. Librarians Michele Casto, Bobbie Dougherty, and Margaret Gilmore of D.C. Public Library (DCPL) explain how this unconventional venture increased visibility not only for … Continue reading Punk at the Library


Chicago’s Northtown library branch, shown here in a rendering, will have a ground-floor library with senior housing above.

Bringing the Library Home

May 1, 2017

A rocky start In August 2013, the first satellite library in a public housing development opened at Estrada Courts in Los Angeles, a joint project between Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), and Kids Progress Inc., a nonprofit established in 2009 by HACLA. The program was … Continue reading Bringing the Library Home


SAPL’s digital wallpaper brings the library's ­collection into the community.

Digital Wallpapers Open Doors

March 1, 2017

Libraries are employing unique methods to make their digital collections available to patrons outside of the library. As a part of its Digital Library Community Project, San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) created digital wallpapers—virtual bookshelves that give patrons access to ebooks by simply scanning a QR code with a smartphone—that can be placed throughout the … Continue reading Digital Wallpapers Open Doors