More than 250 patrons attended a recent “Paint-Along with Bob Ross” event at Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library. Photo: Tracy Grosshans

Painting with Purpose

November 1, 2018

Patron paint-alongs During the events, patrons watch an episode of The Joy of Painting and paint along, while library staffers facilitate and provide canvases, paints, and other supplies. Some libraries hire Certified Ross Instructors, trained by Bob Ross Inc., to lead the workshops; others obtain video permissions from the official Bob Ross YouTube channel or … Continue reading Painting with Purpose


Maschine

Local Music Remix

November 1, 2018

Maschine Maschine is a music controller and sequencing software package by Native Instruments that can be used for creating and performing musical arrangements. It includes 16 pressure-sensitive pads for live performance or sequencing, as well as a “smart strip” that enables slides and pitch bends. The Maschine controller can function as a stand-alone device to … Continue reading Local Music Remix


Emily Elizabeth Lazio and Sean R. ­Ferguson perform a song from NYPL Sings! Songs for Our Children

Sing a Song of … Early Literacy

September 4, 2018

More than 40 current and former New York Public Library staffers and their friends helped create NYPL Sings! Songs for Our Children, an album that has found a ready audience in fellow librarians, early childhood educators, parents, and kids. Here, three of the album’s chief contributors explain how this project came to be. The idea … Continue reading Sing a Song of … Early Literacy


Hasan Minhaj at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia on March 24. Photo: Laura Kinser

Newsmaker: Hasan Minhaj

June 1, 2018

You share some intensely personal experiences in Homecoming King about being the child of an immigrant. Was it hard deciding what to codify into comedy? In a comedy special you have only 70 minutes, so a lot of times you’re working with coffee and you need to boil it down to comedy espresso. I’m trying to … Continue reading Newsmaker: Hasan Minhaj


Members of an African drum and dance ensemble lead patrons in a performance routine as part of Richland Library's day-long Black History Month Fair on January 28, 2017. Photo: Richland Library

Every Month Is Black History Month

March 1, 2018

Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina, needed a better way to reach its African-American community. Quincy Pugh, film and sound manager, explains how the decision to celebrate black history year-round and start “I Have a Problem with That”—a series of panel discussions that address challenging social issues—has boosted program attendance and engagement among its target … Continue reading Every Month Is Black History Month


Misty Copeland. Photo: Gregg Delman

Newsmaker: Misty Copeland

February 1, 2018

Copeland is author of Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina (Simon and Schuster, 2014); Firebird (Putnam, 2014), with illustrator Christopher Myers, which won the 2015 Coretta Scott King Book Illustrator Award; and Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Grateful You (Grand Central Life and Style, 2017). She spoke with … Continue reading Newsmaker: Misty Copeland


A team returns a restored mural to the wall in Boston Public Library’s Bates Hall.

Saving Our Murals

November 1, 2017

It’s one of three murals in the library’s entryway, painted by artist John Theodore Jacobsen when the art deco building opened in 1934. Jacobsen was also a preeminent architect, helping lay the groundwork for Pacific Northwest modernism. But the mural was almost lost forever to water damage following a storm that hit the library during … Continue reading Saving Our Murals



In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Beautiful Music Together

June 1, 2017

I live in Portland, Oregon, which has a thriving music scene with many artists achieving national recognition. Local music has great value to the cultural fabric of a city or town, and libraries can play an important role in collecting, supporting, and promoting it. The D.C. Public Library’s D.C. Punk Archive not only preserves artifacts and … Continue reading Beautiful Music Together


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


Hoopla’s catalog includes more than 500,000 items and is accessible by mobile app.

Online Streaming Options

November 1, 2016

Hoopla Hoopla, launched in 2013 by Midwest Tape, provides single-platform access to most major types of digital holdings: audiobooks, ebooks, video, and music. Patrons can access content either by streaming it from the Hoopla website or by using the mobile app, which allows both streaming and temporary downloads for offline access. Items are automatically removed … Continue reading Online Streaming Options


Frank Bridges, media studies doctoral student, and Christie Lutz, New Jersey regional studies librarian and head of public services in Special Collections and University Archives, with items in the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive at Rutgers University.

Rock in the Vault

May 2, 2016

The do-it-yourself ethos of the local music scene tells a story of dissent from mainstream culture, says Rutgers University media studies doctoral student Frank Bridges, who played in bands and ran his own record label in the 1980s and 1990s near the New Brunswick, New Jersey, campus. He thinks it’s a story worth preserving. Bridges’s … Continue reading Rock in the Vault