Silhouette of mosque on gold background (Illustration: green2/AdobeStock)

Understanding the Other

September 1, 2021

Ghada Kanafini Elturk, a Lebanese American who was then working as community and cultural outreach librarian at Boulder (Colo.) Public Library, described the hostility against Muslims and Arab Americans in the months after the attacks. “Those Americans who are not familiar with my culture do not show respect,” she told American Libraries reporter Ron Chepesiuk … Continue reading Understanding the Other


Colson Whitehead (Black man with braided hair pulled back, wearing leather jacket, looking just up and to the right)

Newsmaker: Colson Whitehead

September 1, 2021

Will the experience of having The Underground Railroad turned into a 10-episode miniseries for Amazon affect your writing? No, I don’t think it will affect my writing. It felt very separate. They optioned it five years ago, so it was always on the backburner, and occasionally I would talk to Barry Jenkins, the director, but … Continue reading Newsmaker: Colson Whitehead


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

The Pivot and the Path

September 1, 2021

I visualize nkyinkyim’s lines moving one direction, then the opposite whenever I hear the word “pivot,” by now one of the most overused (and misused) terms bandied about since the start of the pandemic. For the LIS sector, where our mission is more important than ever despite changes in external conditions and internal resources, business … Continue reading The Pivot and the Path


A Seat for All

September 1, 2021

It’s a striking reminder that in our all-too-recent past, entire groups were denied access to the institutions we serve. That’s why during Library Card Sign-Up Month, celebrated each September, I am calling on all of us to recognize the errors of the past and commit to fighting for improved access for groups that may still … Continue reading A Seat for All


United for Libraries 2021 Virtual Conference

Advocacy through Storytelling

August 23, 2021

Sessions underscored that stories—of individuals, of libraries, of communities—are at the core of library advocacy. “It’s really all about storytelling,” observed Beth Nawalinski, executive director of United for Libraries, during the conference. Representation in collections At “Auditing Diversity in Library Collections,” Sarah Voels, community engagement librarian at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Public Library (CRPL), described the … Continue reading Advocacy through Storytelling


ALA logo

ALA Executive Board Opposes Censorship of Programs Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education

August 18, 2021

The American Library Association is committed to upholding our core values, which include equitable access to knowledge, social justice, and intellectual freedom. As members of a profession committed to free and equitable access to information and the pursuit of truth, we stand firm in opposing any effort to suppress knowledge, to label “controversial” views, or … Continue reading ALA Executive Board Opposes Censorship of Programs Addressing Racial Injustice, Black American History, and Diversity Education



Tenzin Kalsang, children's librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library's Williamsburg branch, performs Tibetan storytimes for users around the world. Photo by Todd Boebel.

Bookend: Beyond Words

July 8, 2021

But her program garnered tens of thousands of viewers, from patrons in her neighborhood to students attending a Tibetan school in Australia to monks living in Nepal. “I did not expect it would go that viral,” says Kalsang. “I’m a really camera-shy person.” Once or twice a month, Kalsang reads three picture books (past titles … Continue reading Bookend: Beyond Words


Libraries Connect Us

July 8, 2021

Taking on the struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to ALA’s mission of fostering cultural understanding and defending equity, diversity, and inclusion. In that spirit, my presidential plans focus on equity at the intersection of service. During my term, I will advocate for four initiatives, collectively called “Libraries Connect.” The first focus … Continue reading Libraries Connect Us


2021 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition Virtual

2021 Annual Conference Wrap-Up

July 8, 2021

Headlining speakers talked about books, libraries, and the exchange of ideas in the greater context of major societal challenges. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and Opening Session speaker Nikole Hannah-Jones, who developed the 1619 Project for The New York Times Magazine, recalled an elective course on Black studies she took as a teenager. “It was the first … Continue reading 2021 Annual Conference Wrap-Up


Barack Obama

Hope and Harmony

June 29, 2021

Interviewed by Lonnie Bunch III, the first African American secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and introduced by ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr., Obama talked about A Promised Land (Crown, November 2020)—the first of two memoirs spanning his paradigm-breaking presidency—and the role of libraries in shaping the story of American democracy. “A Promised Land chronicles … Continue reading Hope and Harmony


Julius C. Jefferson Jr. and Crosby Kemper III

Realms of Opportunity

June 29, 2021

Kemper started his position in January 2020 with “mixed messages”—he’d been appointed by a president who had proposed defunding IMLS over three consecutive years and unanimously confirmed in the Senate, which had approved increases for the agency over the same period. There was no time to process the president’s fourth proposed elimination before the pandemic … Continue reading Realms of Opportunity