ACRL 2021 invited speakers (from left) Jennifer Brown, Jennifer Ferretti, and Charlotte Roh of We Here

ACRL Day Three: Recasting the Roles of Academic Libraries

April 16, 2021

Jenny Ferretti, We Here founder and digital initiatives librarian at Maryland Institute College of Art, opened the session “Systemic Oppression Requires Systemic Change: Recasting the Roles of Academic Libraries in Contemporary Contexts” by providing background on the racial past and present of libraries. Libraries, she said, are traditionally white-serving institutions, citing Todd Honma’s “Trippin’ over … Continue reading ACRL Day Three: Recasting the Roles of Academic Libraries


ACRL 2021 Virtual Conference Invited Speaker Kaetrena Davis Kendrick

ACRL Day Two: Getting to Welcome

April 15, 2021

She began her talk by laying out the challenges facing the field—such as rising tuition costs, student retention, competition, and the pandemic—and their corresponding opportunities, including attracting nontraditional students, expanding degree programs, tapping alumni resources for networking, and rethinking what the campus experience could mean to students after the pandemic. Kendrick spelled out her theory … Continue reading ACRL Day Two: Getting to Welcome


ACRL 2021 Opening Session speaker Tressie McMillan Cottom

Ascending into an Open Future

April 14, 2021

Cottom, associate professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, spoke about how these discussions inform the courses she teaches as well as her current thinking about the role of the academic library. One course, “Networks of Racial Capitalism,” examines the effects of information capitalism and structural inequality. … Continue reading Ascending into an Open Future


In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Building Morale in a Pandemic

March 1, 2021

I’ve heard countless stories of library workers who have gone above and beyond to support their communities during this time. But I’ve also wondered how many libraries surpassed expectations to meet their staffers’ needs. I spoke with several librarians about what they’ve done to support their workers as whole people. Early in the pandemic, administrators … Continue reading Building Morale in a Pandemic


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Revolutions Where We Stand

March 1, 2021

Those words seem especially prescient now as we look across the country at the libraries that have struggled most during this period of widespread library defunding and service reductions. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue, there has long been an unmistakable correlation between communities that navigate high rates of poverty and those that … Continue reading Revolutions Where We Stand


Academic Insights, by Twanna Hodge and Jamia Williams

Call to Action

January 4, 2021

Libraries have been described as beacons of democracy, inclusion, and equity. As a direct result of the pandemic, we have seen that in striving to fulfill our values and serve our patrons, the very people who make up libraries—library workers—are being neglected. Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people are experiencing higher death rates in this pandemic. … Continue reading Call to Action




University of Kentucky in Lexington is attempting to remove a 1934 mural by artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon (detail shown here). Photo: Mark Cornelison

Drawing the Line

November 2, 2020

Roughly eight decades later, some of the images depicted in those murals are now recognized as racist. Deciding whether to remove, alter, or retain these murals can be challenging; not all stakeholders agree on a course of action. At University of Oregon’s (UO) Knight Library in Eugene, four stairwell murals commissioned under the WPA have … Continue reading Drawing the Line


Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan, donated 100 3D-printed protective face shields to Beaumont Hospital in nearby Troy. Photo: Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan.

Using 3D to Make PPE

June 1, 2020

Jillian Rutledge, public services manager at Waterloo (Iowa) Public Library, learned about a PPE production initiative through a local branch of the national community revitalization project Main Street America. When her library closed its doors to patrons March 17, she obtained instructions online for printing PPE and tried various iterations before finding one that worked … Continue reading Using 3D to Make PPE


Sustainability in Libraries, by Allison Brungard and Jennifer Bartek

Sustaining Sustainability

May 18, 2020

To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day—and recognize the American Library Association adding sustainability as a core value—American Libraries returns with its ongoing sustainability series. In these posts, information professionals share their experiences with sustainability in libraries. Bailey Library, where we work, is located in the heart of Slippery Rock University’s (SRU) campus in rural western … Continue reading Sustaining Sustainability