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



Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, Virginia (Photo: Billy Hathorn/Creative Commons license)

Charlottesville Violence Poses New Challenges for Libraries

August 18, 2017

Libraries at both the public and university level historically have developed response plans for natural disasters, but the Charlottesville demonstrations and similar white nationalist rallies planned for other cities have library administrators working not only to protect patrons and library infrastructure but to assist in relief efforts. Both the University of Florida and Texas A&M … Continue reading Charlottesville Violence Poses New Challenges for Libraries


2016 Year in Review

2016 Year In Review

January 3, 2017

Hayden Becomes 14th Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, 2003–2004 American Library Association (ALA) president and former director of Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, made history by becoming the first African American and the first woman to head the Library of Congress. She was sworn in September 14.     ESSA Shows ALA’s Grassroots Advocacy … Continue reading 2016 Year In Review


A fire destroyed the library of Mzuzu University in Malawi in 2015. Photo: TEAM Malawi

Rebuilding in Malawi

September 23, 2016

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT) has been running student service opportunities to Malawi for several years, so it was no coincidence the university was one of the first to hear about the fire. The student service initiatives, known as TEAM Malawi, are part of a multidisciplinary program based on a community wellness model … Continue reading Rebuilding in Malawi


Sam Meister, preservation communities manager at the Educopia Institute, discusses the preservation of digital data in disasters.

Preparing for the Worst

August 16, 2016

The panelists addressed the topic from a variety of angles. Bogdan Filip Zerek, head of the conservation department at the National Library of Poland, presented an exhaustive study of how the library combated the effects of water damage in the Krasiński Palace in Warsaw, built in the 17th century, which houses the library’s iconographic collections. … Continue reading Preparing for the Worst