Historical photos of Black men participating in civic life from the Black Male Archives.

Chronicling the Black Experience

June 1, 2021

“I felt there weren’t enough stories portraying positive Black men,” says Freeman, director of Riviera Beach (Fla.) Public Library. “If people, mainly white people, saw us in a more holistic light, as fathers, husbands, and leaders, they wouldn’t automatically assume we are criminals, monsters, and demons.” To fill this need, Freeman created the Black Male … Continue reading Chronicling the Black Experience


Illustration of dozens of diverse faces (Illustration: Franzi Draws)

Ask, Listen, Empower

June 1, 2021

Put another way, it is not enough to simply be not racist; we must work to be antiracist. Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, uses the analogy of a moving walkway. The history and structures of racism are the walkway. It is not enough to simply stop walking, because you’re still moving … Continue reading Ask, Listen, Empower



In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

All Good Things …

June 1, 2021

What’s striking to me in hindsight is how homogeneous the magazine’s contributors and staff were back in 2007. It has been encouraging to see the efforts AL staffers have made to include writers of diverse backgrounds and points of view, and with that in mind, I’ve decided to end this column. There are so many … Continue reading All Good Things …


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Moving Forward

June 1, 2021

Thanks to all who joined me last summer on the virtual “Holding Space” tour, a conversation series with libraries. I will forever remember you as faithful partners and travel companions as we faced seemingly insurmountable difficulties. Thanks in part to our advocacy, libraries secured federal relief funding of historic proportions. ALA staff and leadership managed … Continue reading Moving Forward



Maria Taesil Hudson McCauley, Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, and Patricia "Patty" M. Wong

Countering Anti-Asian Hate

May 26, 2021

Three ALA member leaders who have helped blaze the trail for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander library workers discussed with American Libraries their goals for the Association, their experiences with bigotry, and what libraries and library workers can do to counter hate. The three leaders are: Maria Taesil Hudson McCauley, director of libraries, … Continue reading Countering Anti-Asian Hate


AAPI booklist covers

Recommended Reading: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May 17, 2021

Library workers across the country have condemned the harassment and violence, and the American Library Association’s Executive Board—along with the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association—has issued statements against these attacks. In consultation with Terry Hong, Booklist advisory board chair, we have compiled this list of recommended titles for Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month this May … Continue reading Recommended Reading: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month


Academic Insights by Andrea Jamison

What Does Diversity Mean?

May 3, 2021

My study aimed to determine whether sampled policies had manifest messages of diversity and the degree of congruence between these policies and ALA’s “Diversity in Collection Development: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights,” adopted in 1982 and last amended in 2019. Given that diversity is one of the core values of librarianship and … Continue reading What Does Diversity Mean?


In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Building Morale in a Pandemic

March 1, 2021

I’ve heard countless stories of library workers who have gone above and beyond to support their communities during this time. But I’ve also wondered how many libraries surpassed expectations to meet their staffers’ needs. I spoke with several librarians about what they’ve done to support their workers as whole people. Early in the pandemic, administrators … Continue reading Building Morale in a Pandemic


Natalie Baszile

Voices from the Land

January 22, 2021

“Farming is an integral part of our national identity,” she told viewers from the Diversity In Publishing stage at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual on January 22. “Land represents freedom, independence, and self-determination.” But Baszile, herself a great-great-granddaughter of a farmer and beekeeper who lived near Tuskegee, Alabama, saw that Black … Continue reading Voices from the Land


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