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


2020 Year in Review

January 4, 2021

ALA Headquarters Move After 57 years on East Huron Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, ALA headquarters relocated to Michigan Plaza at 225 N. Michigan Avenue.   ALA Welcomes New Executive Director Tracie D. Hall began on February 24 as the American Library Association’s (ALA) new executive director (ED). The 10th ED—and the first female … Continue reading 2020 Year in Review



Academic Insights, by Twanna Hodge and Jamia Williams

Call to Action

January 4, 2021

Libraries have been described as beacons of democracy, inclusion, and equity. As a direct result of the pandemic, we have seen that in striving to fulfill our values and serve our patrons, the very people who make up libraries—library workers—are being neglected. Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people are experiencing higher death rates in this pandemic. … Continue reading Call to Action


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Defending the Fifth Freedom

January 4, 2021

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. About 698 per 100,000 of the national population are in some form of detention. According to a March 2020 report from the Prison Policy Initiative, the US criminal justice system detains almost 2.3 million people in various facilities in the US and its territories. Chief … Continue reading Defending the Fifth Freedom



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