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


Wow Us with Your New Library

January 4, 2016

We are looking for libraries that are shining examples of innovative architecture and that address patrons’ needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. Previous submissions have ranged from beautiful restorations of historic buildings to vacant structures that have been repurposed into libraries to colorful kids’ sections and high-tech facilities with audio and video production studios. … Continue reading Wow Us with Your New Library


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




Digital ephemera

Saving Digital Ephemera

January 4, 2016

Larger institutions also got involved in attempting to preserve digital ephemera. That includes the Library of Congress (LC), which reached an agreement with Twitter in 2010 to build an onsite research archive. “Archiving and preserving outlets such as Twitter will enable future researchers access to a fuller picture of today’s cultural norms, dialogue, trends, and … Continue reading Saving Digital Ephemera



A death cafe meets in the Ann Stevens Room in the Anchorage (Alaska) Public Library. Photo: Kris Green

When the Subject Is Death

October 30, 2015

Since the first gathering, named death café, was held in the US in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2012, the forums have spread across the nation. And many are beginning to appear in libraries, according to Lizzy Miles, an organizer for DeathCafe.com. Miles, who organized the Columbus death café, tells American Libraries that she was inspired … Continue reading When the Subject Is Death


Portland (Oreg.) Community College includes single-stall gender-neutral restrooms in all of its libraries and new campus buildings.

Libraries Create Gender-Neutral Bathrooms

October 30, 2015

“When we have restrooms that are segregated according to gender, some customers may feel uncomfortable using them because other people may not perceive that they’re allowed to use that restroom,” says Peter Coyl, a district manager at Dallas Public Library and chair of ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table. “It can make using … Continue reading Libraries Create Gender-Neutral Bathrooms