Photo of young patrons playing in the music garden at Pickerington (Ohio) Public Library.

The Beat Goes On

June 1, 2022

The concept of music gardens isn’t new, but it has gained traction since early 2020 as libraries shifted programming and services online and sought ways to safely engage patrons outdoors and spark joy during the pandemic’s darkest days. Library green space outfitted with full-size, playable instruments allowed for both sensory engagement and social distancing. Percussion … Continue reading The Beat Goes On


In 2020, Bloomington (Ill.) Public Library began holding plant swap programs, designed to be held outdoors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Branching Out

June 1, 2022

“Oh look, there’s Fred!” Davis recounts the plant’s original owner calling out, revealing the donated spider plant’s name. “And his babies are getting new homes.” These special reunions between plant owners and their beloved sprouts are the culmination of plant swap programs, where gardeners exchange their plant cuttings and share knowledge on how to grow … Continue reading Branching Out


Photo of Cameron Socha, who graduates this year from Wayne State University’s School of Information Sciences, posing in front of a mural in Detroit. He collaborated with his professor Joan Beaudoin to catalog local murals.

Mapping the Murals

June 1, 2022

Detroit’s murals are incredible cultural resources that speak to the vibrant artistic spirit of the city and its people. When I was first driving around the city as a newcomer, I’d see murals and public art installations and look for information about them online. Some websites and apps included notes about the murals, but they … Continue reading Mapping the Murals


June is Audiobook Appreciation Month

By the Numbers: Audiobook Appreciation Month

June 1, 2022

June is Audiobook Appreciation Month. 1998 Year the Audio Publishers Association—which represents the audiobook industry—established June as Audiobook Appreciation Month. 71,000 Number of audiobooks published in the United States in 2020. 1975 Year that the company Books on Tape was founded by Duvall Hecht, an Olympic gold medalist in rowing and a former Marine Corps … Continue reading By the Numbers: Audiobook Appreciation Month


A toddler at Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library (AHML) enjoys tummy time while playing with Peek-a-Boo Mirror, a sensory toy in AHML’s collection.

A Sense of Support

May 2, 2022

That experience more than 13 years ago inspired her to start BTPL’s Youth Accessibility Support Collection, a set of items designed to meet the needs of children with various types of disabilities and learning needs. Since 2009, families have been borrowing from the collection, which includes adaptive toys, sensory storytime boxes, speech therapy cards, and skills … Continue reading A Sense of Support


Pad with Free Pads 4 All written on it

Period. End of Story.

May 2, 2022

“The products are important, and normalizing the conversation is important,” says Eiko La Boria, founder and CEO of The Flow Initiative, a New Jersey–based organization devoted to stamping out social, cultural, and economic inequities associated with “period poverty.” She says libraries are a natural partner for her organization’s outreach: “I wanted to implement greater access, … Continue reading Period. End of Story.


Antiracist storytime

Antiracist Storytimes

May 2, 2022

“It was just joyful,” says Jessica Ralli, coordinator of early literacy programs at BPL. “It was a very diverse crowd and majority nonwhite.” About 75 families attended the event, which was minimally marketed because of concerns about gatherings amid the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. “The content was timely,” says Ralli, “and … Continue reading Antiracist Storytimes


Patron Xander Dianen returns a wagon to Summers County (W.Va.) Public Library.

An Uphill Battle

May 2, 2022

At the core of library work are stories. We listen to our patrons’ stories when we perform a reference interview, readers’ advisory, or a community needs assessment. We interpret these stories to supply our users with the best information and resources to fit their situation. Often, this is simple, but other times this requires close … Continue reading An Uphill Battle



Northwestern library workers assemble on campus

Getting Organized

March 1, 2022

Library unionization efforts are blooming around the country, taking place in public, private, and academic institutions of all sizes. In Maryland, Baltimore County Public Library workers have joined the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and in Colorado, Denver Public Library (DPL) staffers formed Denver Public Library Workers United, a unit of the Communications … Continue reading Getting Organized


Elgin (Ill.) Area Pandemic Team

Relief for Renters

March 1, 2022

In March 2021, Gail Borden Public Library District (GBPLD) received a grant contract from the Illinois Department of Public Health with a budget of up to $415,000 to create the Elgin Area Pandemic Assistance Team. Part of the department’s Pandemic Health Navigator Program, the project connects people with community and municipal resources that address pandemic-induced … Continue reading Relief for Renters


Photo of young people playing chess

A Winning Move

March 1, 2022

In 2001 it was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone film, which culminates with its heroes playing a giant, magical game of high-stakes chess, says HPL Librarian Alison Creech. In 2020, during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit put the spotlight back on the … Continue reading A Winning Move