Mayra Castrejón-Hernandez performs at Milwaukee Public Library’s first Deaf StorySlam event in September 2019. Photo: Pat A. Robinson Photos/Milwaukee Public Library

Signing Stories

November 2, 2020

In September 2019, Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) hosted its first Deaf StorySlam, a storytelling event intended to highlight Deaf voices of color and their lived experiences and bring together the city’s Deaf and hearing communities. Out of 112 applications, the project was selected to receive the inaugural Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant, a $2,000 prize … Continue reading Signing Stories


University of Kentucky in Lexington is attempting to remove a 1934 mural by artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon (detail shown here). Photo: Mark Cornelison

Drawing the Line

November 2, 2020

Roughly eight decades later, some of the images depicted in those murals are now recognized as racist. Deciding whether to remove, alter, or retain these murals can be challenging; not all stakeholders agree on a course of action. At University of Oregon’s (UO) Knight Library in Eugene, four stairwell murals commissioned under the WPA have … Continue reading Drawing the Line


Montgomery County Public Schools in Christiansburg, Virginia, uses drone delivery service Wing to transport library books to the town’s students. Photo: Courtesy of Wing.

The Great Outdoors

November 2, 2020

Thanks to an idea from MCPS middle school librarian Kelly Passek and a partnership with Wing, the first commercial drone delivery service in the US, any of the 600 or so households that have a student in the district and that fall within Wing’s delivery zone can request a book through the school system’s library … Continue reading The Great Outdoors


Teens at San Francisco Public Library created Life in SF: Luck, Loss, Gain, a board game that explores inequity in their city. Photo: Dorcas Wong/San Francisco Public Library

The Missing Piece

November 2, 2020

In turn, each player’s social class determined their stakes in Life in SF: Luck, Loss, Gain, a Monopoly-esque game that simulates poverty and inequity in San Francisco, complete with properties and transit lines familiar to the group. Around the time the teens were developing the board game last year, San Francisco reported a nearly 7% … Continue reading The Missing Piece


Graves County (Ky.) Public Library's bookmobile. Photo: Graves County (Ky.) Public Library

By the Numbers: Rural and Small Libraries

September 1, 2020

1982 Year the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) was founded by Bernard Vavrek, director of the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship at Clarion (Pa.) University. 5 Number of days the ARSL Conference will take place, September 28–October 2. Previously scheduled for Wichita, Kansas, the conference has switched to a virtual format. … Continue reading By the Numbers: Rural and Small Libraries


Teen participants in Boston Public Library’s “Drag vs. AI” program test their makeup and props against facial recognition software. (Photo: Kathy Pham/American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts)

Dragging AI

September 1, 2020

In November 2019, Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Teen Central hosted a digital privacy instruction workshop for teens that centered on facial recognition technology. Titled “Drag vs. AI,” the workshop partnered BPL with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU-MA) and Joy “Poet of Code” Buolamwini, artificial intelligence (AI) scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology … Continue reading Dragging AI


Conscientious Cataloging

September 1, 2020

Tired of the delays, some librarians have taken matters into their own hands by making the change in their own catalogs, without waiting for LC to take the lead. Communicating inclusion Two early adopters of the change: Sol López, technical services manager at the Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center (HSLIC) at University of New … Continue reading Conscientious Cataloging


Illustration: Kwun Yee/Adobe Stock

Can You Hear Me Now?

September 1, 2020

Castro is one of many library leaders who found themselves managing their teams remotely because of the pandemic, developing new approaches to meet unprecedented challenges and continue providing vital services to the community. The insights these managers developed are valuable for those still perfecting their remote management style—or planning for a work-from-home future. Supportive management … Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now?


Cruise: The Guide to Gay Entertainment in the Southeast. Photo: Queer Music Heritage

By the Numbers: Pride Month

June 1, 2020

1970 Year the Rainbow Round Table (RRT) of the American Library Association (ALA)—the nation’s first LGBT professional organization—was founded as the Task Force on Gay Liberation. (For more on the RRT and its 50th anniversary, see our story “The Rainbow’s Arc.”) 49 Number of years ALA’s Stonewall Book Awards have been recognizing literature related to the … Continue reading By the Numbers: Pride Month


Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan, donated 100 3D-printed protective face shields to Beaumont Hospital in nearby Troy. Photo: Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan.

Using 3D to Make PPE

June 1, 2020

Jillian Rutledge, public services manager at Waterloo (Iowa) Public Library, learned about a PPE production initiative through a local branch of the national community revitalization project Main Street America. When her library closed its doors to patrons March 17, she obtained instructions online for printing PPE and tried various iterations before finding one that worked … Continue reading Using 3D to Make PPE