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


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

California Libraries in Wildfires’ Wake

November 16, 2018

“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 the town. The remaining five branches in the system are still operational and have become information centers, offering computers, Wi-Fi, and printers to help displaced … Continue reading California Libraries in Wildfires’ Wake


Hurricane Florence, photographed September 13, 2018, by NASA

ALA, Library Community Work to Support Hurricane Florence Recovery Efforts

September 14, 2018

“Our hearts and prayers go to the more than 10 million citizens working to recover from this historic and devastating storm,” said ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo. “ALA and the library community have a long history of helping those in need and will work to support our chapters during this crisis. As we continue to assess damage … Continue reading ALA, Library Community Work to Support Hurricane Florence Recovery Efforts


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When Ransomware Attacks

June 1, 2018

County Librarian Todd Stephens says that he and his colleagues suspect the attack came through an infected email message opened by a staff member, though the exact mechanism is uncertain. The anonymous attacker demanded 3.6 to 3.8 bitcoins in payment—then valued at about $36,000. Ransomware, a form of computer malware that encrypts a victim’s data … Continue reading When Ransomware Attacks


Dewey Decibel Podcast: Disaster Response

May 9, 2018

First, American Libraries Associate Editor Terra Dankowski talks with Miriam Centeno, a collections care coordinator at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Libraries, who traveled to Puerto Rico to help train librarians in preservation and collections care following Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Centeno shares what she saw and learned during her trip to the storm-damaged … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Disaster Response



2017 Year in Review

January 2, 2018

Saving Federal Funding Thanks to extensive grassroots efforts by ALA members, in September the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an increase of $4 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, all of which would go to the formula-based Grants to States program. The bill also included increased funding in FY2018 for a … Continue reading 2017 Year in Review



ALA President Jim Neal

Your Thoughts Needed

November 1, 2017

A process of review must incorporate the perspectives, interests, and contributions of a wide variety of stakeholders and affiliated groups. It must be mission-driven and embrace our core values. It must focus on member development and engagement, and on encompassing the complexity of voices that enrich ALA. ALA’s governance structure includes a web of units: … Continue reading Your Thoughts Needed


Flooded stacks of the Port Arthur (Tex.) Public Library. Photo: Port Arthur (Tex.) Public Library

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

November 1, 2017

Depending on their location, some libraries sustained significant damage from the ensuing flood waters, while others escaped with only a little cleanup required. The flood also affected many librarians and other library workers due to the damage to their homes. Public libraries Houston Public Library reopened 18 of its 42 locations on September 5, according … Continue reading Hurricanes Harvey and Irma


Hurricane Irma

Rebuilding Communities after Disasters

September 29, 2017

Now librarians around the country are working to assist in recovery efforts and connect patrons—particularly those of Hispanic and Latin heritage—with support groups, aid organizations, and other resources. Loida Garcia-Febo, president-elect of the American Library Association (ALA), who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, said the disaster there is personal: Her family is still … Continue reading Rebuilding Communities after Disasters