Boxes of medical supplies await use at Schenectady County (N.Y.) Public Library, which is serving as a COVID-19 vaccination site. (Photo courtesy Karen Bradley)

A Shot in the Arm

February 2, 2021

“Now, we’re getting these big commercial vehicles—these long tractor-trailer things that pull in here,” says Bradley. “It’s quite the image.” In 2020, many libraries proved essential to their counties’ coronavirus pandemic response by acting as testing sites, manufacturers of 3D-printed personal protective equipment, and donation centers for food pantries. In 2021, some are once again … Continue reading A Shot in the Arm


Melissa N. Glenn and Melissa Munn

Caring for the Caretakers

January 24, 2021

“Most of us are managing multiple stresses at once. Some are related to the pandemic, and some are related to normal life,” said Melissa Glenn, health and social services coordinator for King County (Washington) Library System (KCLS). “Working from home, witnessing racial violence, political tension—these are all things can cause distress, especially when they are … Continue reading Caring for the Caretakers


Watercolor image of a Black woman's face surrounded by swirls of color (Photo illustration: ©Victor Tongdee/Adobe Stock)

The Weight We Carry

November 2, 2020

Although stereotypes about cold, harsh, robotic librarians persist, those of us who work with the public must display emotional intelligence for our patrons’ sakes—and our own. Emotional labor Vicarious traumatization (VT) occurs when we work with patrons whose traumatic stories transfer onto us. We may not realize that transference has happened. Subtly and gradually, it … Continue reading The Weight We Carry


Illustration: Tom Deja

Coping in the Time of COVID-19

June 1, 2020

Freeman was joined by Maria Stella Rasetti, director of San Giorgio Library of Pistoia in Tuscany, Italy; Lisa Rosenblum, executive director of King County (Wash.) Library System; Loren Mc Clain, certified instructor for the National Council for Behavioral Health and Mental Health First Aid USA and senior academic advisor for the School of Science, Technology, … Continue reading Coping in the Time of COVID-19


Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan, donated 100 3D-printed protective face shields to Beaumont Hospital in nearby Troy. Photo: Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan.

Using 3D to Make PPE

June 1, 2020

Jillian Rutledge, public services manager at Waterloo (Iowa) Public Library, learned about a PPE production initiative through a local branch of the national community revitalization project Main Street America. When her library closed its doors to patrons March 17, she obtained instructions online for printing PPE and tried various iterations before finding one that worked … Continue reading Using 3D to Make PPE


A child undergoes a hearing test at a Sense-Screening Storytime at Omaha (Neb.) Public Library’s Swanson branch. Photo: Omaha (Neb.) Public Library

Testing the Senses

November 1, 2019

Sight and sound are integral parts of storytime and early literacy, so it makes sense for libraries to take an active role in children’s eye and ear health. Across the country, institutions are hosting free vision and hearing screenings tied to children’s reading sessions. OPL started hosting its Sense-Screening Storytime program last September and has … Continue reading Testing the Senses


Libraries Connecting You to Coverage

Reaching the Uninsured

October 29, 2019

Through PLA’s second annual Libraries Connecting You to Coverage initiative, libraries can start or increase efforts to educate and build year-round awareness of coverage options including enrollment in Medicaid or a Special Enrollment Period. These efforts will help reach the uninsured, many of whom are people of color. Health insurance is an important first step … Continue reading Reaching the Uninsured


Photo: Megan Rosenbloom.

Newsmaker: Megan Rosenbloom

October 22, 2019

Rosenbloom, a medical librarian at University of Southern California (USC) and obituary editor for the Journal of the Medical Library Association, is a leader in the “death positive” movement and the Order of the Good Death, a group of “funeral industry professionals, academics, and artists exploring ways to prepare a death phobic culture for their … Continue reading Newsmaker: Megan Rosenbloom



Drew Alvey (in red shirt), manager of Houston Public Library's Stimley–Blue Ridge branch, models interactive play for families. Photo: Houston Public Library

Bringing Libraries to WIC

June 1, 2018

It’s a question that Marisa Conner, manager of youth and family engagement at Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library (BCPL), says her staffers are often asked when doing outreach at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) centers. She explains: Many WIC clients, particularly those originally from other countries, aren’t sure what a library is or whether it … Continue reading Bringing Libraries to WIC


Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Information Access for All

June 1, 2018

Let’s start with Revised Standards and Guidelines of Service for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 2017, from the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Developed by the Library of Congress and ASCLA, these supersede the 2011 standards. … Continue reading Information Access for All


Elizabeth Sargent (left), associate director of customer experience at Houston Public Library, speaks about her experience using the WIC center at Stimley-Blue Ridge.

WIC, Wellness, and Libraries

March 26, 2018

Staff members of Houston Public Library (HPL) discusses the WIC food and nutrition center in one of their branches in the session “What Having a WIC Center in Your Library Brings (Besides Crying Babies)” on March 22. Drew Alvey, manager of HPL’s Stimley-Blue Ridge branch, spoke of the WIC center project consisting of three overlapping … Continue reading WIC, Wellness, and Libraries