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



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