Derek Meader, reference librarian at Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, stands in front of Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, a 54-foot sparkplug-like structure adjacent to campus. Meader is the owner and operator of The Real Portland Tour, a sightseeing experience that stops at three Maine lighthouses. Photo taken by Michael D. Wilson.

Bookend: The Man with a Van

June 1, 2022

“You’re gonna get on a tour with a real local, born and raised,” says Meader, who is also reference librarian at Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) in South Portland. “The route literally goes by where I work [and] my high school.” During the two-hour excursion, the tour van stops at three lighthouses, including Spring Point … Continue reading Bookend: The Man with a Van


Photo of Latia Ward, Academic Insights column. Text says "Academic Insights by Latia Ward"

Accessing Justice

June 1, 2022

This scenario is an example of both a reference transaction and an access-to-justice issue. Many people do not have easy access to an attorney and will come to the library seeking legal information. Librarians are not authorized to give legal advice, but they can direct patrons to useful organizations and resources. According to Jessica Steinberg, … Continue reading Accessing Justice


Setting Up for Self-Care

Call Number Podcast: Setting Up for Self-Care

May 16, 2022

First, American Libraries Associate Editor and podcast Diana Panuncial speaks with Randa Lopez Morgan, programming and events librarian for Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, about LSU’s Relaxation Room and how it has helped students decompress during finals week. Next, American Libraries Managing Editor Terra Dankowski interviews Rebecca Tolley, author of A Trauma-Informed Approach to … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: Setting Up for Self-Care


Academic Insights, by Raymond Pun, Melissa Cardenas-Dow, and Kenya S. Flash

Prioritizing Ethnic Studies

March 1, 2022

In August 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 1460, requiring all students in the 23-campus California State University system to take a three-unit ethnic studies class—in Native American studies, African American and Black studies, Asian Pacific American studies, or Chicanx and Latinx studies. During the 2021–2022 academic year, thousands of students enrolled in … Continue reading Prioritizing Ethnic Studies


How to Be Queer in Texas

January 24, 2022

The state climate can be openly hostile to queer people: The nonprofit Movement Advancement Project has ranked Texas “low” when it comes to policies relating to sexual orientation and “negative” on policies related to gender identity. How, then, has the lived experience of queer librarians and library workers compared with expectations? Arro Smith, technical services … Continue reading How to Be Queer in Texas


T-Kay Sangwand, digital collection development librarian at UCLA Library and host of radio show The Archive of Feelings.

Bookend: The Right Track

November 1, 2021

Sangwand’s monthly show on nonprofit internet station dublab features curated sets that often highlight albums from countries she has visited; she started her record collection while studying in Brazil in 2007. One of her favorite sets kicks off with “A Dream of Los Angeles with Clear Blue Skies” by the Life Force Trio—a quintessential local … Continue reading Bookend: The Right Track


Academic Insights by Naomi Bishop

Fighting Medical Racism

November 1, 2021

I am a health science librarian at University of Arizona’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus. I am also Akimel O’odham (Pima) from the Gila River Indian Community. From a Native perspective, the needs of the community are greater than the wishes of the individual. Mask mandates are in place on tribal lands, and colleges and universities occupy … Continue reading Fighting Medical Racism


Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11

Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11

September 1, 2021

In the aftermath, American Libraries tried to make sense of the tragedy and our nation’s response, and consider their implications for libraries and American Library Association members. Our 2001 and 2002 reporting covered topics related to collections destroyed in the attacks, communities dealing with Islamophobia, restrictions imposed on civil liberties, and what librarian eyewitnesses remembered … Continue reading Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11


LIS and the Next Crisis

September 1, 2021

God gave Noah the rainbow sign No more water, the fire next time! (“Mary Don’t You Weep,” Black American spiritual) I will never forget Friday, March 13, 2020, the last day we worked in our building. It was also our admitted-student day, and several attendees had already arrived. Our staff quickly arranged a socially distanced … Continue reading LIS and the Next Crisis


In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

All Good Things …

June 1, 2021

What’s striking to me in hindsight is how homogeneous the magazine’s contributors and staff were back in 2007. It has been encouraging to see the efforts AL staffers have made to include writers of diverse backgrounds and points of view, and with that in mind, I’ve decided to end this column. There are so many … Continue reading All Good Things …


Academic Insights by Andrea Jamison

What Does Diversity Mean?

May 3, 2021

My study aimed to determine whether sampled policies had manifest messages of diversity and the degree of congruence between these policies and ALA’s “Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights,” adopted in 1982 and last amended in 2019. Given that diversity is one of the core values of librarianship and … Continue reading What Does Diversity Mean?