The Army National Guard distribute water at the Hinds Community College's Academic Technical campus during Jackson, Mississippi's ongoing water crisis.

Boiling Point

September 13, 2022

Unfortunately, Jackson has also faced more than its fair share of water crises. In late August, heavy rain caused the Pearl River, which runs through the city, to flood. Water from its largest water treatment plant, already running on backup pumps before this flood, couldn’t keep up. Many of Jackson’s libraries, businesses, and homes were … Continue reading Boiling Point


Episode 75: Rethinking Your Space

Call Number Podcast: Rethinking Your Space

September 12, 2022

As any library staffer who has gone through a building renovation knows, significant behind-the-scenes work goes into updating or overhauling a facility. From working with architects to communicating with committees to soliciting community feedback, rethinking a library doesn’t happen overnight. On Episode 75, the podcast team focuses on library design and architecture. First, American Libraries … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: Rethinking Your Space


ID Made Easier

September 1, 2022

“We saw how hard it was for [residents] to get electricity, rent an apartment, open a bank account, or pick up their children from school” without them, says Damaris Gonzalez, an immigration rights organizer with the nonprofit Texas Organizing Project (TOP), which has been advocating for enhanced library cards in the state. These cards are … Continue reading ID Made Easier



Call Number with American Libraries, Episode 66 - Library Architecture and Design: The Past Meets the Future

Call Number Podcast: Library Architecture and Design

September 21, 2021

First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Call Number host Phil Morehart speaks with Heather Hart, manager of Salt Lake City Public Library’s Sprague branch, about renovations that were made to the 93-year-old, English Tudor–style library after a flood destroyed much of the building in 2017. Next, Morehart talks with Sean Ngo from architecture firm DLR … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: Library Architecture and Design


Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11

Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11

September 1, 2021

In the aftermath, American Libraries tried to make sense of the tragedy and our nation’s response, and consider their implications for libraries and American Library Association members. Our 2001 and 2002 reporting covered topics related to collections destroyed in the attacks, communities dealing with Islamophobia, restrictions imposed on civil liberties, and what librarian eyewitnesses remembered … Continue reading Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11


The Sphere, a sculpture by Fritz Koenig, survived the collapse of the Twin Towers partially intact. The unrestored sculpture now sits in New York City's Liberty Park near the National September 11 Memorial Museum. (Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA)

What Was Lost

September 1, 2021

Kathleen D. Roe, chief of archival services at New York State Archives in Albany at the time and now retired, says her team was prepared to deal with wet or dusty records or damaged collections. “We pretty quickly found out that either collections were pretty much okay because they were in a safe building that … Continue reading What Was Lost



Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Disasters in Libraries

June 1, 2020

Public Libraries and Resilient Cities Edited by Michael Dudley Resilience is the art of being able to bounce back from disaster. The uniting thesis of these essays is that public libraries are crucial to this process. Dudley makes the point that climate change guarantees near-future crises; other essays use relatively recent disasters, such as Hurricane … Continue reading Disasters in Libraries


On My Mind with Lori A. Goetsch

When Disaster Strikes

December 9, 2019

This wasn’t the first time we’d had fire alarms: leaky pipes, burned bagels, and other incidents had set off our alarms in the past, and the staff was experienced in and accustomed to vacating themselves and others from the building. However, this time was different—smoke was observed and, as first responders came on the scene, … Continue reading When Disaster Strikes



The Camp Fire in Northern California, as viewed by NASA's Landsat 8 on November 8. Photo: NASA

California Libraries in Wildfires’ Wake

January 2, 2019

“Miraculously, the Paradise branch of the Butte County Library system is still standing,” says Butte County Library Director Melanie Lightbody, noting that it’s one of the only remaining structures in town. While the library was not destroyed by the fire, the building and its contents have suffered extensive smoke damage. The five other branches in … Continue reading California Libraries in Wildfires’ Wake