Kathy McFadden (right), a staffer at Sussex County (Del.) Libraries, hands out rapid, at-home COVID-19 testing kits during a drive-through distribution event at Seaford (Del.) District Library in August 2021. Photo: Delaware Division of Libraries

Put to the Test

December 1, 2021

In Delaware, the Division of Public Health (DPH) approached the Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) with a plan to distribute more than 75,000 BinaxNOW antigen self-tests through the state’s public libraries for three months from summer to fall 2021. “I think it’s a slam dunk that [health departments] would think of libraries,” says Alta Porterfield, … Continue reading Put to the Test


Charlie cart

By the Numbers: Food

November 1, 2021

350 Number of classes offered annually through Free Library of Philadelphia’s (FLP) Culinary Literacy Center. According to FLP, this kitchen classroom is the first of its kind created at a public library in the US. $9,000 Amount that Chattanooga (Tenn.) Public Library spent on a Charlie Cart—a mobile kitchen that includes a convection oven, an … Continue reading By the Numbers: Food


The Virtual Interview Lab at Do Space in Omaha, Nebraska

Acing the Interview

November 1, 2021

An estimated 19 million Americans—or 6% of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. And as more job interviews have moved online during the pandemic, those without access face a major roadblock to finding employment. That’s where Do Space has stepped in. In July 2020, the Omaha, Nebraska–based community technology library … Continue reading Acing the Interview


Foodlink Community Café in Rochester (N.Y.) Public Library’s Central Library provides culinary training and work experience for people who have faced barriers to employment. Photo: Foodlink

Cafés with a Conscience

November 1, 2021

“We talked about how we could make things better in our neighborhood,” says Patricia Uttaro, director of RPL and Monroe County Library System. “We have been doing a lot of work with our library on social justice and conversations on race. We wanted to find a solution there.” RPL collaborated with Foodlink, a local nonprofit … Continue reading Cafés with a Conscience


Jeff Whalen, special collections librarian at Long Beach (Calif.) Public Library, records an episode of Don’t Know Beach about History: Short Histories of Long Beach in August.

Broadcasting the Past

November 1, 2021

That all changed in the 1950s, when parts of the neighborhood were partially destroyed to make way for Interstate 75. “[The area] will never be what it was,” she says. In an effort to share this history with her city, Parks started The West End Stories Project, a monthly podcast that preserves the fading narratives … Continue reading Broadcasting the Past



Photo of patrons at Tulsa (Okla.) City–County Library view an immersive exhibit on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in spring 2021.

Confronting History

September 1, 2021

In the years after World War I, an affluent African-American community flourished in the Greenwood district of oil-rich Tulsa, Oklahoma, an area that came to be known as Black Wall Street. Then, in late May and early June 1921, racial tensions erupted and violent white mobs—spurred by a murky allegation of sexual assault—destroyed thousands of … Continue reading Confronting History


Tristan Wheeler (right), audio-visual and event planning specialist at Cleveland Public Library, plays Windjammers with streamers from sfxxPLAY on Twitch.

The Twitching Hour

September 1, 2021

The livestreaming platform Twitch is primarily used by gamers who broadcast themselves playing videogames. Anyone can watch from anywhere for free. The platform entered the mainstream in 2020, when the number of active streamers on the platform more than doubled over the year, from just under 4 million to more than 9 million. Twitch is most … Continue reading The Twitching Hour


An ad used by Multnomah County (Ore.) Library to promote its Library Music Project.

Stream On

September 1, 2021

“Portland and Multnomah County really treasure their music and libraries, so it was a natural fit,” says Shawn Cunningham, director of communications and strategic initiatives at MCL, about the Library Music Project, which offers more than 250 locally produced albums to stream or download. The service also provided MCL with a gateway into the local … Continue reading Stream On


Photo of a children's birdwatching backpack, available for checkout from Henrico County (Va.) Public Library, which contains binoculars and bird guides.

Programming on the Fly

September 1, 2021

During this year’s migration season, billions of birds will cover millions of square miles in their annual southbound journey across North America—and new and avid birdwatchers will reach for their binoculars, guidebooks, and smartphones and head outdoors. Birdwatching has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, with The New York Times last year observing record participation … Continue reading Programming on the Fly


A band celebrates Juneteenth in Austin, Texas, in 1900. Photo by Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

By the Numbers: Juneteenth

June 1, 2021

19 Date in June when Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US, is observed. The holiday is also sometimes called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. 1865 Year that US General Gordon Granger arrived with 2,000 Union troops in Galveston, Texas, on June 19 with news that the Civil … Continue reading By the Numbers: Juneteenth