SAPL’s digital wallpaper brings the library's ­collection into the community.

Digital Wallpapers Open Doors

March 1, 2017

Libraries are employing unique methods to make their digital collections available to patrons outside of the library. As a part of its Digital Library Community Project, San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) created digital wallpapers—virtual bookshelves that give patrons access to ebooks by simply scanning a QR code with a smartphone—that can be placed throughout the … Continue reading Digital Wallpapers Open Doors



1 in 5 people suffer from mental illness.

Mental Health First Aid

March 1, 2017

Though many library staffers receive physical first aid and CPR training as part of their jobs, mental health first aid training happens far less often. For libraries, however, mental health training can defuse tense situations, provide needed resources, and most importantly, help patrons through crises. Such training is meant “to raise awareness and break down … Continue reading Mental Health First Aid


A Bedford, Indiana, student reads on pajama day at school to Bridget, a therapy dog owned by Mary Hall of Bedford Public Library. Photo: Mary Hall/Bedford (Ind.) Public Library

Library Waggin’ Train

March 1, 2017

Thankfully, Hall, assistant director of the Bedford (Ind.) Public Library, had an ally she knew could come to the rescue: Bridget, a beautiful Golden Retriever therapy dog waiting in her office. “When she told him [about the dog], he stopped crying immediately and got up from the floor where he had been lying face down,” … Continue reading Library Waggin’ Train



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