The Activist Life of E. J. Josey

November 2, 2020

Renate L. Chancellor, associate professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and author of E. J. Josey: Transformational Leader of the Modern Library Profession (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020), is a leading Josey scholar. American Libraries spoke with her about his life, activism, and impact on … Continue reading The Activist Life of E. J. Josey


Teen leader Iris Alvarenga poses in front of yard signs at Waltham (Mass.) Public Library that depict issues youth patrons care about. The installation was a partnership between the library, civic organization For Freedoms, and local art group Blueprint Projects. Photo: Erwin Cardona/Waltham (Mass.) Public Library

Let Them Lead

November 2, 2020

This isn’t the first time in recent years that teens have taken a visible role in public protests. Many of them marched in support of the DREAM Act and spoke out about immigration policy; advocated for gun control after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and followed environmental … Continue reading Let Them Lead


University of Kentucky in Lexington is attempting to remove a 1934 mural by artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon (detail shown here). Photo: Mark Cornelison

Drawing the Line

November 2, 2020

Roughly eight decades later, some of the images depicted in those murals are now recognized as racist. Deciding whether to remove, alter, or retain these murals can be challenging; not all stakeholders agree on a course of action. At University of Oregon’s (UO) Knight Library in Eugene, four stairwell murals commissioned under the WPA have … Continue reading Drawing the Line



From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Ending Information Redlining

November 2, 2020

In my most recent column, I called out equitable information access as a matter of social justice and questioned how ALA and its collective constituency might work even more intentionally to eradicate information poverty. I want to pick up this discussion. Let’s look at the pervasive and persistent inequities in information and digital access—and the … Continue reading Ending Information Redlining


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Necessary Trouble

September 1, 2020

Lewis, who served as a US representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district for more than three decades, was a friend to libraries and to ALA, for which he was a frequent speaker. His late wife, Lillian, had been a librarian, and libraries played a major role in Lewis’s early activism. He often spoke about how, … Continue reading Necessary Trouble


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Stand Up, Speak Out

September 1, 2020

For 60 years Lewis served and advocated for our collective humanity. What many may not know is that his wife, Lillian, who passed in 2012, was his chief advisor and a librarian. Lewis’s legacy reminds me that service is the fundamental reason libraries exist and that reading and access to information—which are human rights—are necessary … Continue reading Stand Up, Speak Out


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Let Our Legacy Be Justice

July 1, 2020

Just as there was an outcry across the field to keep our staff and communities safe and protected from COVID-19, so too are we obligated to decry racism. As library and information workers, our resistance in both fights requires resilience. The future of libraries rests on building institutions and developing leaders who will promote racial … Continue reading Let Our Legacy Be Justice


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Black Lives Matter

July 1, 2020

These events spurred singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye to record “What’s Going On” 50 years ago. As I assume leadership of ALA, we are confronting an unprecedented global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen since 1918; an economic collapse, including the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression; unjust police killings of unarmed Black … Continue reading Black Lives Matter


Making Comics History: Malaka Gharib and Tasha Spillet-Sumner

This Moment in Comics

June 29, 2020

With Tasha Spillett-Sumner, author of the Surviving the City graphic novel series, Gharib discussed the role of the comics industry in this historic moment of uprisings against white supremacy and structural inequality at “A Comics History in the Making,” moderated by Alea Perez, president of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Graphic Novels and Comics Round … Continue reading This Moment in Comics


Moving Multicultural Collections Online

June 26, 2020

In a June 26 session at ALA Virtual, two panelists discussed the challenges and strategies of doing just that. As part of the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) Chair’s Program, the session, “Promoting Multicultural Library Services in Virtual Spaces,” was moderated by EMIERT Vice Chair Andrea Jamison, librarian and lecturer at Valparaiso (Ind.) University. … Continue reading Moving Multicultural Collections Online