A customer picks up her reserves at the drive-through window at Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library’s New Albany branch.

Reclosing … after Reopening

August 4, 2020

Since it first reopened some locations for curbside service on May 18, Shreve Memorial Library (SML) in Shreveport, Louisiana, has had to close branches on 20 occasions because staffers were exhibiting symptoms or had tested positive for COVID-19. The first closure occurred on May 26 when SML was only offering curbside, but SML continued to … Continue reading Reclosing … after Reopening


Advancing digital equity

Advancing Digital Equity

July 1, 2020

Larra Clark, deputy director of PLA and the American Library Association’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office, moderated the event, joined by Betsy Fowler, director of Williamsburg (Va.) Regional Library; Misty Hawkins, director of Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System; and Julie Walker, state librarian for the Georgia Public Library Service. As nearly every aspect of … Continue reading Advancing Digital Equity


Libraries rise to the challenge of maintaining services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos: Nicole Johnson/Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library (drive-through); Robyn Huff (reopening); Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library (e-sports); Tina Chenoweth (Animal Crossing)

Bookend: The New Normal

July 1, 2020

Some of our favorite examples of libraries meeting this challenge in creative ways, clockwise from top left: Michelle L. Johnson, cataloging technician at Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library, passes books through a drive-through window. The library averaged 50 pickups per day following the expiration of state stay-at-home orders May 18. Delray Beach (Fla.) Public Library … Continue reading Bookend: The New Normal


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Let Our Legacy Be Justice

July 1, 2020

Just as there was an outcry across the field to keep our staff and communities safe and protected from COVID-19, so too are we obligated to decry racism. As library and information workers, our resistance in both fights requires resilience. The future of libraries rests on building institutions and developing leaders who will promote racial … Continue reading Let Our Legacy Be Justice


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


Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services Past-President Susan Parkins and President Cathy Zimmerman

Reimagining the Bookmobile

June 25, 2020

At “Outdoing Outreach in a Post–COVID-19 World,” a June 25 live session at ALA Virtual, two Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) board members discussed how their work has evolved in the face of coronavirus. “We woke up one morning and the entire world had changed,” said Cathy Zimmerman, ABOS president and bookmobile associate … Continue reading Reimagining the Bookmobile




What’s Lost in a Furlough

June 5, 2020

One of the biggest challenges—the effect on morale—is heightened when furloughs arrive with little warning, little support, or both. “Communication has been terrible. We are actually finding out more from the news than from our own admins,” says Cara*, an assistant at a branch library in Tennessee who was furloughed the week of March 20 … Continue reading What’s Lost in a Furlough


PLA Survey

ALA Survey Shows Effects of Pandemic on Library Services

June 3, 2020

A new American Library Association (ALA) survey of US libraries, “Libraries Respond: COVID-19 Survey,” documents a shift in services to support students, faculty, and communities at large during the crisis and phased preparations for the months ahead. While virtually all libraries (99%) report limited access to the physical building, survey respondents shared leaps in the … Continue reading ALA Survey Shows Effects of Pandemic on Library Services


Boxes of returns organized by day in the large meeting room at Elmhurst (Ill.) Public Library. All items sit in quarantine for three days before small teams working in shifts check them in and reshelve them. Photo: Alea Perez/Elmhurst Public Library

Reopening Gets Real

June 2, 2020

Both library services and the spaces themselves will look much different from before the pandemic. Changes include limiting capacity and computer use, putting one-way walking markers on floors, requiring both patrons and staff to wear masks, having sanitizer available, installing Plexiglas sneeze guards, and allowing appointment-only entry—all intended to prioritize staff and patron health. Still, … Continue reading Reopening Gets Real


Illustration: Tom Deja

Coping in the Time of COVID-19

June 1, 2020

Freeman was joined by Maria Stella Rasetti, director of San Giorgio Library of Pistoia in Tuscany, Italy; Lisa Rosenblum, executive director of King County (Wash.) Library System; Loren Mc Clain, certified instructor for the National Council for Behavioral Health and Mental Health First Aid USA and senior academic advisor for the School of Science, Technology, … Continue reading Coping in the Time of COVID-19