Mentors and student reporters for Coal Cracker in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, gather for a journalism training session inside the Teen Canteen, an old bank building that used to be a popular hangout in the 1950s and 1960s. Krista Gromalski (back, left) founded the community paper. Photo: Nikki Stetson

Community Reporting

May 31, 2016

“It’s a very depressed area economically,” Gromalski says of Mahanoy City. “The coal region, which is made up of small towns, used to be booming. Now the mining industry has been gone for several decades, older people are getting older [and] younger people are moving away because there are no jobs.” To re-create pride in … Continue reading Community Reporting


To raise awareness of sex trafficking, posters were designed for bus stops and billboards.

Out of the Shadows

May 31, 2016

The statistics are disturbing: San Diego is one of the 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation, according to the FBI. And the city’s sex trafficking industry—estimated at $810 million—is the second largest underground economy after the drug trade. But San Diego Public Library (SDPL) Director Misty Jones and her staff want to … Continue reading Out of the Shadows


Champions of Children's Privacy

Champions of Children’s Privacy

May 2, 2016

But in one sense, it’s already happening. In December 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital technology rights group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Google for Education, alleging that the company is surreptitiously collecting data about students as they use their school-owned Chromebooks and education apps—data that they’re using … Continue reading Champions of Children’s Privacy


Frank Bridges, media studies doctoral student, and Christie Lutz, New Jersey regional studies librarian and head of public services in Special Collections and University Archives, with items in the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive at Rutgers University.

Rock in the Vault

May 2, 2016

The do-it-yourself ethos of the local music scene tells a story of dissent from mainstream culture, says Rutgers University media studies doctoral student Frank Bridges, who played in bands and ran his own record label in the 1980s and 1990s near the New Brunswick, New Jersey, campus. He thinks it’s a story worth preserving. Bridges’s … Continue reading Rock in the Vault


Stationary bikes at Troy University Library

Sweating in the Stacks

May 2, 2016

In February, Troy (Ala.) University Dean of Library Services Christopher Shaffer brought fitness to the ­libraries when he made available six exercise bikes for student use. The endeavor made national headlines. Here, Shaffer explains his motivations, the bikes’ reception, and plans for the future. The bikes were reasonably priced at $299 each, so I ordered … Continue reading Sweating in the Stacks


Librarian Carrie Rogers-Whitehead (pictured) created Salt Lake County (Utah) Library’s sensory storytimes with special activities to engage kids on the autism spectrum.

Storytime for the Spectrum

March 1, 2016

“She began crying and got very upset. She said, ‘I’m so sorry. They have autism. We don’t go to the library very much because I don’t feel welcome,’” says Rogers-Whitehead. And that was the beginning of the Salt Lake County (Utah) Library’s sensory storytime—a special program for children on the autism spectrum. Rather than exclude … Continue reading Storytime for the Spectrum


Explore Chicago Collections

All Together Now

March 1, 2016

Explore Chicago Collections is a consortium of 21 institutions located throughout the Chicago area that have pooled resources to offer a richer perspective of the city’s history. “We have all of these incredible archives and libraries here in Chicago,” says Scott Walter, university librarian at DePaul University and member of Explore Chicago Collections’ executive committee. … Continue reading All Together Now


A billboard of Conquest of the Realm maps.

Engaging Students through Gamification

March 1, 2016

In 2015, teacher-librarian Tasha Squires of O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois, entered the Follett Challenge, an annual contest from Follett School Solutions that showcases schools with innovative methods for learning 21st-century skills. O’Neill Middle School won the grand prize—$60,000—and has used the funding to enhance its reading and writing program. Here, Squires explains … Continue reading Engaging Students through Gamification


San José (Calif.) Public Library’s privacy toolkit creates a personalized list of links, tips, and tutorials that reflect a user’s online privacy preferences.

California Library Creates Online Privacy Tool

January 4, 2016

The internet doesn’t have to be scary. That’s the message from Erin Berman, innovations manager at San José (Calif.) Public Library (SJPL), and Jon Worona, division manager for technology and innovation at SJPL. American Libraries invited Berman and Worona to discuss the library’s new Virtual Privacy Lab, an interactive site that teaches people about online … Continue reading California Library Creates Online Privacy Tool


An AASL makerspace in the exhibit hall attracted attendees to work with littleBits electronic building blocks and create lighted name badges and low-tech maker crafts.

Makerspaces, Digital Literacy, Advocacy at AASL15

January 4, 2016

Before the opening general session began, hundreds of school librarians met at IdeaLab, a digitally enhanced poster session with 20 video displays on topics that included STEM and STEAM, national standards, and Common Core, among others. Later, keynote speaker Heidi Hayes Jacobs challenged librarians to throw away old roles, quit making decisions based on habit, … Continue reading Makerspaces, Digital Literacy, Advocacy at AASL15