Charles Person

A Seat on the Bus

June 25, 2021

“All our lives are compilations of stories,” he said. “As members of the American Library Association, you put stories into the hands of people in your community to help them learn, and grow, and expand their worlds.” At 78, Person noted, he has finally realized his decades-old dream of writing a book and telling his … Continue reading A Seat on the Bus


Gracey Gordon, Liz M. McChesney, Vicky Perez, Aldo Vasquez

Priming the STEM Pipeline

June 25, 2021

The STEM career pipeline is “leaky,” often leaving behind students of color and those in poverty. For this reason, the Urban Libraries Council—with funding from IMLS—launched Partners for Middle School STEM in 2018. This grant funded programs at 11 libraries to develop models for building strong STEM community partnerships for middle school children. Durham County … Continue reading Priming the STEM Pipeline


Photo of Annual speaker Alison Macrina

Reconciling Our Values

June 24, 2021

Macrina spoke about the thorny concept of viewpoint neutrality, or the idea that libraries must provide equal access to collections, services, and spaces without regard to the entrenched power dynamics that often shape library policies and outcomes. She also touched on libraries’ precarious position in the crosshairs of the culture wars. “Many marginalized people, in … Continue reading Reconciling Our Values


The Impossible Made Possible

June 24, 2021

Magician David Copperfield opened his talk at the American Library Association’s 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition Virtual stating his raison d’etre and explaining the extraordinary power of magic. It was a theme that ran throughout his conversation with moderator Richard Wiseman, who coauthored with Copperfield the upcoming book, David Copperfield’s History of Magic (Simon & … Continue reading The Impossible Made Possible


The Power of Fairytales

June 24, 2021

“Stories shape how you look at the world,” de la Cruz said at the American Library Association’s 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition Virtual on June 24. “They shape how you look at yourself.” Whether communicating with friends or family or finding entertainment in books, TV, and film, we use stories for “empowerment and enrichment in … Continue reading The Power of Fairytales



Danny Trejo

The Man behind the Image

June 23, 2021

Trejo charts his unconventional rise to stardom in his new book, Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood (Atria Books, 2021), cowritten with actor and friend Donal Logue (The Tao of Steve, Sons of Anarchy, Grounded for Life). The pair discussed the book, their relationship, Trejo’s life, and their admiration for libraries during a … Continue reading The Man behind the Image



Sen. Barack Obama speaks at the 2005 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition

Bound to the Word

June 2, 2021

President-Elect Barack Obama keynoted the opening general session at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 23–29, 2005, while a US senator from Illinois. This article, published in the August 2005 issue of American Libraries, is an adaptation of that speech, which drew record crowds and garnered a standing ovation. See also AL’s interview with … Continue reading Bound to the Word


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Perfect Storm

May 1, 2020

And all this within the first 30 days of my taking the helm. On day 31, a member wrote to me acknowledging the unforeseen series of events that had played out, and confided, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had buyer’s remorse.” I didn’t, and I don’t. Though I certainly would have wished for other … Continue reading Perfect Storm


ALA Cancels 2020 Annual Conference

March 24, 2020

“ALA’s priority is the health and safety of the library community, including our members, staff, supporters, vendors, and volunteers,” said Wanda Kay Brown, ALA president. “As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it’s become clear that in the face of an unprecedented situation, we need to make tough choices.” This year will mark the first time in … Continue reading ALA Cancels 2020 Annual Conference