Eight people standing with certificates in their hands

A New Start

November 1, 2023

More than 1.8 million people in the United States were incarcerated in a prison or jail at the end of 2021, according to a February 2023 Bureau of Justice Statistics report. Research shows that formerly incarcerated people have more difficulty finding employment than the rest of the population, resulting in lower long-term earnings and other … Continue reading A New Start

A catalog from the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play

By the Numbers: Toys

November 1, 2023

230,000 Number of volumes available at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, located at Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The museum is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame. The library houses books, catalogs, personal papers, design documents, oral history projects, and other research material relating to … Continue reading By the Numbers: Toys

Banned Books Week 2023: Let Freedom Read, featuring the Uncensored Library in Minecraft


October 3, 2023

Libraries and schools nationwide are working overtime to repel an unprecedented level of attacks on the freedom to read. Vigorous debate, advocacy, and coalition-building remain the backbone of the fight against book banning. But some libraries, groups, and individuals have recently taken innovative approaches to ensure information access for all. Books Unbanned is one of … Continue reading Unbanned

Banned Books Week 2023: Let Freedom Read, featuring a heat map showing the relative frequency of book challenges in the US.

Visualizing Book Challenges

October 1, 2023

To help visualize these historic censorship attempts, OIF has created a series of infographics to help explain the current state of material challenges—and to give historical context. These infographics include: A heat map showing how many attempts to restrict book access take place in each state every year. This map dates back to 2013, demonstrating … Continue reading Visualizing Book Challenges

World War I–era peace pins housed at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford (Calif.) University. The pins belonged to pacifist and feminist activist Alice Park.

Keep the Peace

September 1, 2023

Lucy Biddle Lewis, a fellow peace activist, walked in on this happening. Lewis told her contemporaries that she saw Addams and begged her to stop because scholars could learn from her life and work. There’s no record of when this interaction took place, but in 1930, Addams began donating her materials to Swarthmore (Pa.) College, … Continue reading Keep the Peace

Illustration of a variety of antiques with an appraisal tag

Another’s Treasure

September 1, 2023

These were just some of the items brought in by library patrons during antiques appraisals held at Wilkes County (N.C.) Public Library (WCPL). “You wonder how some of these things end up in this small town in North Carolina,” says Nicole de Bruijn, WCPL’s technical services manager. At antiques appraisals, appraisers examine rare and collectible … Continue reading Another’s Treasure

It’s in the Bag

September 1, 2023

Spartanburg County is the fifth most populated county in South Carolina—and it’s growing. In 2022, it had close to 346,000 residents, but nearly 14% of them were living at or below the federal poverty line, with an estimated 11% of children experiencing food insecurity. To help address these issues of affordability and access, Spartanburg County … Continue reading It’s in the Bag

Book cover of Code Talker by Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila

By the Numbers: Indigenous History and Culture

September 1, 2023

1979 Year that the American Indian Library Association (AILA) was founded. AILA, an affiliate of ALA, is a membership group that supports individuals and institutions working to improve library services to American Indians and Alaska Natives and disseminate information about Indian cultures, languages, and values. 300 Number of tribes represented in the National Indian Law … Continue reading By the Numbers: Indigenous History and Culture

A patron at Charleston County Public Library in South Carolina picks up fruits and vegetables from one of its Free and Fresh Fridges.

Fresh Ideas

June 1, 2023

“We know that if people don’t have enough food, every other need they have is going to seem secondary,” says Montgomery, associate director of community engagement at Charleston County (S.C.) Public Library (CCPL). The pandemic exacerbated food insecurity throughout the country, with an estimated 3 million more US residents facing food insecurity in 2020 than … Continue reading Fresh Ideas

A photo of the Community Cabinet that Billings Public Library in Montana installed in its lobby in January. The cabinet contains hygiene products that patrons can take freely and discreetly. Photo by Billings Public Library.

Personal Care

June 1, 2023

During one of his routes, Arnold stopped at a downtown skate park and noticed that many of the people who approached him weren’t skaters and had atypical requests. “I had multiple interactions with folks who were like, ‘Do you have any period products? Do you have soap?’” Arnold remembers. “That’s what motivated me to start … Continue reading Personal Care

Baby caps and new parent resources for patrons

Special Delivery

June 1, 2023

“We had run out of books to read,” says Spence, a mom of two who works at the Grosse Pointe Public Library (GPPL) in suburban Detroit. Her children were ages 1 and 6 at the time, and she says the gift “felt like Christmas for everyone in the house.” When she returned to onsite work, she … Continue reading Special Delivery