Kathy McFadden (right), a staffer at Sussex County (Del.) Libraries, hands out rapid, at-home COVID-19 testing kits during a drive-through distribution event at Seaford (Del.) District Library in August 2021. Photo: Delaware Division of Libraries

Put to the Test

December 1, 2021

In Delaware, the Division of Public Health (DPH) approached the Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) with a plan to distribute more than 75,000 BinaxNOW antigen self-tests through the state’s public libraries for three months from summer to fall 2021. “I think it’s a slam dunk that [health departments] would think of libraries,” says Alta Porterfield, … Continue reading Put to the Test


Academic Insights by Naomi Bishop

Fighting Medical Racism

November 1, 2021

I am a health science librarian at University of Arizona’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus. I am also Akimel O’odham (Pima) from the Gila River Indian Community. From a Native perspective, the needs of the community are greater than the wishes of the individual. Mask mandates are in place on tribal lands, and colleges and universities occupy … Continue reading Fighting Medical Racism


Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library converted a former junk room into a private telehealth space with its own outdoor entrance. Photo: Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library

Healthy Distance

May 3, 2021

The pandemic has thrown digital disparities into sharp relief. Between Zoom classrooms, working from home, and costly data plans, even people with reliable online access can be stretched thin. Now, as virtual doctor visits have become more common, inequitable online access has become a public health issue, too. Pam DeGuzman, associate professor for the Department … Continue reading Healthy Distance


A health care worker from Schenectady County (N.Y.) Public Health Services (right) wheels in the vaccine while David Bradley (left), a member of Friends of the Schenectady County Public Library (SCPL) and spouse of SCPL Director Karen Bradley, checks in vaccine recipients. Photo: Karen Bradley

A Shot in the Arm

May 3, 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


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