Photo of Kathleen Hanna

Newsmaker: Kathleen Hanna

May 10, 2024

  Hanna’s new memoir Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk (Ecco, May) chronicles the challenges and triumphs of her life before, during, and after navigating the male-dominated genre during the 1990s, spurring the Riot Grrrl movement and paving the way for other women artists. American Libraries caught up with Hanna ahead of the … Continue reading Newsmaker: Kathleen Hanna


Palm Harbor (Fla.) Library’s new music garden in action.

Libraries: The New Champions of Music-Making

March 13, 2024

Let’s firstly talk about fun! Libraries that feature outdoor musical instruments add an element of fun and are a significant asset to the community, fueling inspiration, generating energy, and engaging people in a new and exciting way. Libraries and music are both magnets for social connections, and many libraries have outdoor spaces that aren’t used … Continue reading Libraries: The New Champions of Music-Making


Music and Mocktails at Grand Forks (N.Dak.) Public Library

Spirit-Free Spaces

January 2, 2024

In response, several public libraries around the country are now providing adults-only, sober-curious programming to educate attendees on making alcohol-free mixed drinks, often called mocktails or sober cocktails. “Coming out of COVID, there were a lot of people [who said], ‘I want to get healthier, I want to feel better,’ and they tried a sober … Continue reading Spirit-Free Spaces


Teen artist-in-residence Celia Hamilton uses the studio at Carmel Clay (Ind.) Public Library (top left) to plan and execute a photoshoot of herself wearing her fashion designs (right).

True Colors

November 1, 2023

To connect with that part of her identity, Hamilton crafted a traditional garment—inspired by the Chinese moon goddess Chang’e—as one of three teens selected for Carmel Clay (Ind.) Public Library (CCPL)’s teen artists-in-residence program. She used a silk-screen process to print emerald-colored clouds on the garment and accented the white outfit with sheer green sleeves … Continue reading True Colors


Philip Espe stands in a room with filing cabinets in the background. He is in a red US Marine Band uniform holding a stack of sheet music. Various pieces of music, memorability, and children's books are arranged on the table in front of him.

Bookend: Marching Full Circle

November 1, 2023

All signs pointed to Philip Espe joining the Marines. The 34-year-old comes from a long line of military family members. But he also had a calling in music. Espe studied clarinet performance, earned a master’s of music in orchestral conducting, and directed community and youth orchestras. He used those skills when serving as a youth … Continue reading Bookend: Marching Full Circle


Call Number Podcast: Every Witch Way

October 16, 2023

First, American Libraries Associate Editor Megan Bennett speaks with Dan Lipcan, of Phillips Library at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. The two discuss the library’s vast collection of materials related to the 1692 Salem Witch Trials and debunk common myths and misconceptions. Then, three staffers from Troy (Mich.) Public Library—director Emily Dumas; Olivia Olson, … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: Every Witch Way


Tatanisha "Tiki" Love

The Misrepresentation of Women in Hip-Hop

June 25, 2023

“Uncovering Unsung Sheroes: A Discussion of Women in Hip-Hop,” a June 24 session of the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2023 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, shone a light on these artists and the challenges they faced while building their careers. The panel included Tamela Chambers, manager of the Chicago Public Library’s Beverly branch; S. … Continue reading The Misrepresentation of Women in Hip-Hop


Head curator Jenny Robb poses with collection items from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Bookend: A Library of Laughs

May 1, 2023

“When I was growing up, we didn’t have graphic novels for a children’s audience,” says Robb, head curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum (BICLM) at Ohio State University in Columbus. “But now we have all kinds of stories,” she says. “Autobiographical, fantasy, adventure, you name it. It’s incredible to see this explosion … Continue reading Bookend: A Library of Laughs




Jillian Rudes, school librarian at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in New York, talks at "The Value of Manga in School Libraries" session on June 26.

The Magic of Manga

June 26, 2022

Ratica was joined by Ashley Hawkins, librarian at the Samuel J. Tilden Educational Campus in Brooklyn; Sara Smith, teacher librarian at Sanger Unified (Calif.) School District; Jillian Rudes, school librarian at Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School in New York; and Julie Stivers, school librarian at Mount Vernon (N.C.) Middle School. The panel, held June 26 at … Continue reading The Magic of Manga


Photo of young patrons playing in the music garden at Pickerington (Ohio) Public Library.

The Beat Goes On

June 1, 2022

The concept of music gardens isn’t new, but it has gained traction since early 2020 as libraries shifted programming and services online and sought ways to safely engage patrons outdoors and spark joy during the pandemic’s darkest days. Library green space outfitted with full-size, playable instruments allowed for both sensory engagement and social distancing. Percussion … Continue reading The Beat Goes On