K. O. Lee Aberdeen (S.Dak.) Public Library, from framing to final product. Photos: K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (top three); Spencer Sommer/MSR (bottom)

How to Build a Library

September 3, 2019

These libraries, each completed within the past three years, are now centerpieces of their communities. They have inspired awe and appreciation, increased user engagement, received architecture and design awards—and won over some of their critics. So how did these endeavors come together? How does a beautiful building become a reality? We asked three administrators—who have … Continue reading How to Build a Library


National Friends of Libraries Week (October 20–26)

By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week

September 3, 2019

This year’s National Friends of Libraries Week is October 20–26. 14 Number of years that National Friends of Libraries Week has been celebrated. The week is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and advocacy efforts of Friends groups and trustees, and to promote United for Libraries membership with such events as fundraisers, author signings, and … Continue reading By the Numbers: National Friends of Libraries Week


An attendee samples craft beer at a 2018 “Stouts and Stories, Ales and Tales” event hosted by Jefferson County (Colo.) Library Foundation.Photo: Steve Hostetler

Libations in the Library

March 1, 2019

The idea of alcohol at a library-sponsored event may strike some as unusual. But supporters say that serving alcohol increases event attendance, particularly among younger adults, and cultivates a public image of the library as a hip, up-to-date social setting. “People are used to relaxing with a beer or a glass of wine,” says Marcy … Continue reading Libations in the Library


A team returns a restored mural to the wall in Boston Public Library’s Bates Hall.

Saving Our Murals

November 1, 2017

It’s one of three murals in the library’s entryway, painted by artist John Theodore Jacobsen when the art deco building opened in 1934. Jacobsen was also a preeminent architect, helping lay the groundwork for Pacific Northwest modernism. But the mural was almost lost forever to water damage following a storm that hit the library during … Continue reading Saving Our Murals


The panel, from left: Fred Stielow, Susan J. Schmidt, Peter Pearson, Sally Gardner Reed

Directors, Trustees, and Friends Build the Future

January 24, 2017

Schmidt kicked off her 2017 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits session, “Building the Future: Public Libraries and Their Trustees Making Future Policy Decisions Together,” in Atlanta on Sunday by painting a picture of the challenges directors, trustees, and Friends groups are up against. Panelists then presented tactics for ways these groups can leverage their relationships, to … Continue reading Directors, Trustees, and Friends Build the Future