National Friends of Libraries Week (October 20–26)

By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week

September 3, 2019

This year’s National Friends of Libraries Week is October 20–26. 14 Number of years that National Friends of Libraries Week has been celebrated. The week is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and advocacy efforts of Friends groups and trustees, and to promote United for Libraries membership with such events as fundraisers, author signings, and … Continue reading By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week


Tiny but Mighty

September 3, 2019

Meridian Library District’s (MLD) Tiny Library—a brick-red, 320-square-foot repurposed shipping container—stands out. As families cross the parking lot to the YMCA and spot the new building, we’ve heard kids ask “Can we go today?” and adults remark “This is so neat!” The Tiny Library was born out of the desire partner with other community organizations … Continue reading Tiny but Mighty


The BeeChicas tend to one of two rooftop beehives at Boulder (Colo.) Public Library. (Photo: The Bee Chicas)

File under Bee

September 3, 2019

When Theresa Beck, a member of the Boulder, Colorado–based beekeeping team and advocacy group the BeeChicas, shared her idea with Kathy Lane at the Bee Boulder Festival in 2014, she didn’t think of it as more than a playful suggestion. But Lane, who is programs, events, and outreach coordinator for the Boulder Public Library (BPL), … Continue reading File under Bee


A participant in a cursive workshop at L. P. Fisher Public Library in Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada, practices the alphabet. (Photo: Jenn Carson)

Lending a Hand

September 3, 2019

At one time, cursive was routinely taught in US schools as a way of writing more quickly and elegantly than printing was perceived to permit. In 2010, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers removed cursive from the Common Core State Standards on the grounds that teaching students cursive was … Continue reading Lending a Hand



A Louisville (Ohio) Public Library patron uses an LED softie, a large beanbag cushion with an integrated light source and fiber optics, that produces a calming effect. (Photo: Michael Damron)

A Sensory Wonderland

June 3, 2019

Louisville (Ohio) Public Library opened an innovative Sensory Space in August 2018 with the help of a $50,000 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. It offers teen sensory relaxation sessions, adult sensory exploration, sensory storytimes, and other activities for patrons on the autism spectrum. Louisville is one of the first public libraries to offer … Continue reading A Sensory Wonderland


Students Olivia Ricketts (left), Simone Moonsammy (center), and Lydia Hall from the University of Georgia School of Social Work provide trauma-informed services and training at Athens-Clarke County (Ga.) Library. (Photo: Caleb Guice)

Toward a Trauma-Informed Model

June 3, 2019

“She said she felt like she was being struck,” explains Caroline Sharkey. A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) on the faculty of the University of Georgia’s School of Social Work in Athens, Sharkey heard the story from a librarian acquaintance who witnessed the incident. As it happened, the woman had experienced domestic violence that led … Continue reading Toward a Trauma-Informed Model


Spokane Community Court, held in the Spokane (Wash.) Public Library, connects about 1,000 participants per year with onsite social services.

Courting Libraries

June 3, 2019

That’s the reasoning behind the community-court model, which has been around since the early 1990s. Designed with restorative justice in mind, community courts typically focus on nonviolent cases. The legally binding sentences they issue usually include community service as well as a commitment on the part of the defendant to get help, such as drug … Continue reading Courting Libraries


Members of Books for Dessert, Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library’s book club for adults over 21 with intellectual disabilities, meet to discuss The Case of the Bicycle Bandit. (Photo: Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library)

Everyone on the Same Page

June 3, 2019

“When people with developmental disabilities become 21, that’s the end of education for them, as if they don’t need to keep learning like other people keep learning as they get older,” says Comer, a trustee of the Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library (PWPL). She enrolled her son in a local day program but found that … Continue reading Everyone on the Same Page



Columbia University, circa 1906. Photo: ALA Archives

By the Numbers: Library School

May 1, 2019

1887 Year that the first library school in the world was established. It was founded at Columbia College—now Columbia University—in New York City by Melvil Dewey. 61 Number of American Library Association (ALA)–accredited MLIS programs in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 64% Percentage of ALA-accredited MLIS programs that offer completely online degree programs. … Continue reading By the Numbers: Library School


North Liberty (Iowa) Community Library Public Services Librarian Heidi Hartke (left) and Assistant Director Jennifer Jordebrek (center) record a podcast episode with Crystal Hall, director of programs at YPN (Young Parents Network).Photo: Melanie Harrison/North Liberty (Iowa) Community Library

A Podcast That Delivers

May 1, 2019

Many studies show that when parents get involved with early literacy, a child is better prepared for school—and life. That’s why North Liberty (Iowa) Community Library developed a monthly podcast aimed at busy, expecting families. Caregivers can learn about the literacy skills kids need to succeed—such as phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and print motivation—whenever and … Continue reading A Podcast That Delivers