Alicia Serratos poses in front of a seed library holding a box of seeds.

Newsmaker: Alicia Serratos

June 1, 2021

Serratos started her first seed library in 2014 at her elementary school in Mission Viejo, California, after learning about healthy eating, gardening, and sustainability. Through Three Sisters Seed Box, she has now helped place seed libraries in all 50 states and has filled requests from as far away as India. American Libraries talked with Serratos … Continue reading Newsmaker: Alicia Serratos


Illustration: Open laptop that looks like theater with people sitting in rows of seats and instructor pointing at image on screen (©wei/Adobe Stock)

Fighting the Spread

March 1, 2021

“As medical professionals and librarians, we tell people what to do, but we don’t often explain why,” she says. “A lot of times people are like, ‘I don’t want people telling me what to do.’ But if they understand the science behind it, I think it really helps.” In response to the unfolding crisis, Daly, … Continue reading Fighting the Spread


Librarian's Library by Araceli Mendez Hintermeister

Engagement at a Distance

March 1, 2021

    Pivoting during the Pandemic: Ideas for Serving Your Community Anytime, Anywhere Edited by Kathleen M. Hughes and Jamie Santoro This collection includes 22 reflections from library staffers across the US on how public libraries have responded to challenges posed by COVID-19. Whether you seek to serve specific patron groups, address larger community needs, or … Continue reading Engagement at a Distance


A customer picks up her reserves at the drive-through window at Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Library’s New Albany branch.

Reclosing … after Reopening

August 4, 2020

Since it first reopened some locations for curbside service on May 18, Shreve Memorial Library (SML) in Shreveport, Louisiana, has had to close branches on 20 occasions because staffers were exhibiting symptoms or had tested positive for COVID-19. The first closure occurred on May 26 when SML was only offering curbside, but SML continued to … Continue reading Reclosing … after Reopening


Timothy Dickey, Marie Ingram, and Mary Beth Riedner

Serving Patrons with Dementia

June 25, 2020

At the June 25 ALA Virtual session “The Frontiers of Library Dementia Services,” three panelists shared what library workers can do to better serve people with dementia—and help them thrive. The first step, said Timothy J. Dickey, adult services librarian at Columbus (Ohio) Metropolitan Libraries, is to learn more about dementia, which includes diseases such … Continue reading Serving Patrons with Dementia


Boxes of returns organized by day in the large meeting room at Elmhurst (Ill.) Public Library. All items sit in quarantine for three days before small teams working in shifts check them in and reshelve them. Photo: Alea Perez/Elmhurst Public Library

Reopening Gets Real

June 2, 2020

Both library services and the spaces themselves will look much different from before the pandemic. Changes include limiting capacity and computer use, putting one-way walking markers on floors, requiring both patrons and staff to wear masks, having sanitizer available, installing Plexiglas sneeze guards, and allowing appointment-only entry—all intended to prioritize staff and patron health. Still, … Continue reading Reopening Gets Real



Dewey Decibel: Libraries Respond to COVID-19

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Libraries Respond to COVID-19

April 21, 2020

First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Felton Thomas Jr., executive director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library, about the library’s use of 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for emergency workers. Then Morehart talks with Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, about … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Libraries Respond to COVID-19


Woman wearing a face mask with a laptop

Reopening: Not “When?” But “How?”

April 17, 2020

Once reopened, most will likely continue to support social-distancing measures through such steps as rearranging furniture, cleaning computers between uses, disinfecting books and other materials, and—as the Radnor Memorial Library in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is considering—perhaps providing special hours for at-risk populations such as the elderly and immunocompromised. “Public and staff safety will always be my … Continue reading Reopening: Not “When?” But “How?”


American Libraries Live

Webinar: Using 3D Printing to Make PPE

April 8, 2020

In the next American Libraries Live webinar, we’ll speak with librarians who have facilitated the creation of PPE components in partnerships with local hospitals and health care organizations. Learn how you can replicate some of these efforts for your community. Panelists include: T. J. Ferrill, head of creative spaces, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of … Continue reading Webinar: Using 3D Printing to Make PPE


Using 3D to Make PPE

April 3, 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


Personal protective equipment donated by University of Maryland's Preservation Department

University Libraries Help Hospitals with PPE Donations

March 27, 2020

Archivists and conservators from university libraries across the country have been pitching in to help bridge the supply gap, donating their supplies of the PPE typically used in the restoration of materials. Through networking with local health care providers, libraries are getting lifesaving supplies where they’re needed most. Eric Alstrom, head of conservation and preservation … Continue reading University Libraries Help Hospitals with PPE Donations