Wow Us with Your New Library

January 4, 2017

American Libraries is now accepting submissions for the 2017 Library Design Showcase, our annual feature celebrating new and newly renovated or expanded libraries of all types. The showcase will appear in the September/October 2017 issue. We are looking for libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, … Continue reading Wow Us with Your New Library



Ken Redd uses a screen magnification program on an adaptive computer workstation at the Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled.

Bringing Assistive Technology to Patrons

January 3, 2017

NJSL and other libraries nationwide have been joining forces with state agencies to improve their patrons’ access to assistive technology. Through a partnership with New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI), TBBC has partnered with seven public libraries to provide accessibility programs for patrons with visual impairments. “Public libraries are learning centers … Continue reading Bringing Assistive Technology to Patrons


Library Cards

The Future of Library Cards

January 3, 2017

At many libraries, digital “cards”—which usually consist simply of numbers that patrons use to access digital items—have become standard. The Harris County (Tex.) Public Library (HCPL) introduced its version, the iKnow Digital Access Card, as a way to “reduce as many barriers as possible,” says Library Director Edward Melton. IKnow card holders can access the … Continue reading The Future of Library Cards


Holocaust survivor Severin Fayerman, who died in 2015, shows his ­Auschwitz tattoo to students at Southern Middle School in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania.

‘How Would I Respond?’

January 3, 2017

Ann Yawornitsky first heard of the Holocaust in 9th-grade world cultures class. She found the news so shocking that at first, she had a hard time believing it. “I remember going home to my mom and saying, ‘Is my teacher making this up, or did this really happen?,’” Yawornitsky says. “Then I read the diary … Continue reading ‘How Would I Respond?’


Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth home

By the Numbers: Atlanta

January 3, 2017

4 Number of names the city went through—Terminus, Thrasherville, Marthasville, Atlantica-Pacifica—before being incorporated as Atlanta in 1847. 1905 Year that the Southern Library School, later renamed the Carnegie Library School of Atlanta, opened. Considered the first library school in the South, it was located at Emory University from 1930 until its closing in 1988. 1959 … Continue reading By the Numbers: Atlanta


Fake news (illustration by Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)

Fighting Fake News

December 27, 2016

Given the care that librarians bring to this task, the recent explosion in unverified, unsourced, and sometimes completely untrue news has been discouraging, to say the least. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of US adults are getting their news in real time from their social media feeds. These are often uncurated spaces … Continue reading Fighting Fake News


A Self-Service Experiment

November 1, 2016

As libraries face cloudy funding forecasts and stagnant budgets, innovation and creativity become driving forces to increase a community’s access to library materials, programs, and services. With uncertainty comes an opportunity to reinvent and find new ways to serve a growing population of patrons. Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library (GCPL) used that opportunity to partner … Continue reading A Self-Service Experiment


The Salt Lake City Public Library's shared space includes a library store, art gallery, hair salon, florist, public radio station, and coffee shop.

A Balancing Act

November 1, 2016

Probably not, but at the Salt Lake City Public Library, that’s exactly what you’ll encounter. “Having any of these within a flagship library is a unique arrangement,” says Andrew Shaw, the library’s communications manager. In addition, a café, a coffee shop, a public radio station, a writing center, and a library store occupy the first … Continue reading A Balancing Act


Lyndon B. Johnson. Photo: Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum

By the Numbers: Presidential Libraries

November 1, 2016

1939 Year the Presidential Library System began. Franklin D. Roosevelt donated his presidential and personal documents to the federal government. 643 Number of hours of recorded telephone conversations the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum has collected. The conversation topics range from the assassination of JFK to dealing with the USSR. 45 Number of meetings … Continue reading By the Numbers: Presidential Libraries


Some of the entries in Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library's Geofilter design contest for teens.

Snapchat in the Library

November 1, 2016

The ability to chat with your friends, use filters, toss in an emoji, and showcase your lighthearted side are some of the many reasons millennials have flocked to this platform. This mass migration of millennials to Snapchat has made librarians sit up and take notice. Library Snapchat accounts have begun popping up over the past … Continue reading Snapchat in the Library


Claudia Alstrom, president of the Adult Library Garden Club at Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library's Rancho Cordova branch, teaches children about vegetables in the Read and Feed garden. Photo: Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library

Library to Farm to Table

November 1, 2016

For some libraries serving vulnerable populations, food-producing gardens and nutrition initiatives are born out of necessity. Others have launched programs to advance the causes of sustainability and education. When David Mixdorf was named director of the South Sioux City (Neb.) Public Library in 2009, he was well positioned to establish the library’s first community garden. … Continue reading Library to Farm to Table