The library circulation desk at Oliver McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois, offers “No Room for Hate” pins assembled by the Social Justice Club that demonstrate a wearer’s pledge to stand up against injustice.

Messages of Inclusion

May 1, 2017

“Libraries were suddenly in the middle of everything,” Gray says. Libraries have long offered their patrons inclusive, safe places to go, she says, but increasingly “they were doing it in crisis.” Nationally, librarians looked to ALA for leadership. When Gray received calls from people seeking advice on how to deal with trauma and discrimination, she … Continue reading Messages of Inclusion


Hemlines perform in the basement of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Punk at the Library

May 1, 2017

What started as an archive to document Washington, D.C.’s fabled punk music history evolved into wider support of the city’s current music scene, including hosting basement shows—a punk staple—in the library itself. Librarians Michele Casto, Bobbie Dougherty, and Margaret Gilmore of D.C. Public Library (DCPL) explain how this unconventional venture increased visibility not only for … Continue reading Punk at the Library


Chicago’s Northtown library branch, shown here in a rendering, will have a ground-floor library with senior housing above.

Bringing the Library Home

May 1, 2017

A rocky start In August 2013, the first satellite library in a public housing development opened at Estrada Courts in Los Angeles, a joint project between Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), and Kids Progress Inc., a nonprofit established in 2009 by HACLA. The program was … Continue reading Bringing the Library Home


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