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


Chicago Public Library STEAM Team First Assistant Librarian Alejandra Santana (left) reads to storytime attendees at Bubbleland laundromat.Photo: Chicago Public Library

Front-Loading Literacy

May 1, 2019

That’s why, in 1989, Chicago Public Library (CPL) Children’s Librarian Elizabeth McChesney (now CPL’s director of children’s services and family engagement) visited a local laundromat to introduce herself to families. How she responded to what she saw there would help change the landscape of children’s literacy initiatives for decades to come. “What I saw was … Continue reading Front-Loading Literacy


Food for Thought

May 1, 2019

A US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in December 2018 reviewed 22 studies estimating that more than 30% of college students face food insecurity amid the rising costs of higher education. The report estimates that there are nearly 2 million at-risk students—most often they are first-generation college students, low income, or single parents. A … Continue reading Food for Thought


Illustration of library in field receiving signals from towers (Illustration: © Auguste Lange/Adobe Stock)

Wi-Fi in the “White Space”

May 1, 2019

But the library is reaching them using an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant. The grant provides broadband Wi-Fi service to Huron’s parks through unused parts of the television broadcast spectrum. Often called “white spaces,” these parts of the spectrum were freed up when most broadcasters switched from analog to digital signals in … Continue reading Wi-Fi in the “White Space”