Emmanuel Acho. Photo: Ali Rasoul

Newsmaker: Emmanuel Acho

January 20, 2021

American Libraries caught up with Acho ahead of his January 24 appearance at the American Library Association’s 2021 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual to discuss his series and book, as well as equity in professional sports and the power of libraries. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man—the name of your YouTube series and book—is such … Continue reading Newsmaker: Emmanuel Acho


2020 Year in Review

January 4, 2021

ALA Headquarters Move After 57 years on East Huron Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, ALA headquarters relocated to Michigan Plaza at 225 N. Michigan Avenue.   ALA Welcomes New Executive Director Tracie D. Hall began on February 24 as the American Library Association’s (ALA) new executive director (ED). The 10th ED—and the first female … Continue reading 2020 Year in Review


A Lakota camp in 1891. During his presidency, Harrison forced the Sioux Nation to divide among separate reservations in the Dakotas and sent the military to Wounded Knee. Photo composite: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (Harrison, Lakota, tipis)

Tarnished Legacies

January 4, 2021

It also has led to repercussions at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia. When, in 2015, Princeton students staged a 32-hour sit-in demanding that the school remove Wilson’s name, “we had a huge drop in funding,” says Robin van Seldeneck, the Virginia library and museum’s president and CEO. “We had people saying, … Continue reading Tarnished Legacies


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



Teen leader Iris Alvarenga poses in front of yard signs at Waltham (Mass.) Public Library that depict issues youth patrons care about. The installation was a partnership between the library, civic organization For Freedoms, and local art group Blueprint Projects. Photo: Erwin Cardona/Waltham (Mass.) Public Library

Let Them Lead

November 2, 2020

This isn’t the first time in recent years that teens have taken a visible role in public protests. Many of them marched in support of the DREAM Act and spoke out about immigration policy; advocated for gun control after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and followed environmental … Continue reading Let Them Lead



Police in a library

Rethinking Police Presence

July 8, 2020

For example, Toledo–Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library (TLCPL) has announced that when it reopens after its COVID-19 shutdown, many of the security staff members in its branches will no longer carry arms or wear uniforms. In addition, TLCPL is forming a public safety working group that will “attempt to untangle complex questions about what safety … Continue reading Rethinking Police Presence


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Black Lives Matter

July 1, 2020

These events spurred singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye to record “What’s Going On” 50 years ago. As I assume leadership of ALA, we are confronting an unprecedented global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen since 1918; an economic collapse, including the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression; unjust police killings of unarmed Black … Continue reading Black Lives Matter


Reflections on Race and Racism

Reflections on Race and Racism

June 5, 2020

Because the presence of racism, bias, and bigotry in any of our LIS institutions limits our reach and the possibility of realizing the full promise and potential of an equitably informed public, we must go beyond hashtags, statements, and committees and do the hands-on work needed to systemically uproot racism. This requires that we be … Continue reading Reflections on Race and Racism


Challenges to nonbook materials in libraries

Censorship Beyond Books

September 24, 2019

“That didn’t necessarily make sense to me because most public libraries are well prepared to deal with challenges,” she says, pointing to the popularity of Banned Books Week (this year September 22–28) and the array of resources OIF provides for librarians dealing with book challenges. “When I went back and looked just at public libraries, … Continue reading Censorship Beyond Books


Laura Broderick

Still Chilling: Censorship Beyond Banned Books

June 23, 2019

Kristin Pekoll, Assistant Director of ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) began the session by announcing that OIF had recorded 531 affected items in 2018—which is a step beyond just challenges. These items included books films, board games, video games, magazines and much more. Sarah Ward, outreach librarian at Hunter College Libraries in New York … Continue reading Still Chilling: Censorship Beyond Banned Books