Tom Bober

The Power of Primary Sources

September 4, 2018

My 1st-grade students recently prepared for a trip to the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis by analyzing photographs and films of streetcars to better understand the part they played in our city. Inspired to share their learning, students wrote about streetcars and built their own with simple tools like paper, scissors, tape, and … Continue reading The Power of Primary Sources


Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Future Strategies

September 4, 2018

In Six Issues Facing Libraries Today: Critical Perspectives, John M. Budd calls these issues persistent and thorny—and they are. The first topic addressed is information: what it is and what it is not. Budd explores the criteria used to evaluate statements and suggests further avenues for considering the theory of information. Next is information literacy, an … Continue reading Future Strategies


Fake News panel

Fake News or Free Speech: Is There a Right to be Misinformed?

June 25, 2018

Long before the session was due to begin, every seat was full. Attendees were sitting on the floor and more were standing along the walls. Moderated by Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom James LaRue, this panel featured Nicole Cooke from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Damaso Reyes from The News Literacy Project, Joyce Valenza … Continue reading Fake News or Free Speech: Is There a Right to be Misinformed?


Dallas high school students participate in a Storytellers without Borders session in collaboration with The Dallas Morning News at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library branch of Dallas Public Library. Photo: Tom Huang/The Dallas Morning News

Our Vocation Is Information

June 1, 2018

Although the daily work of librarians and journalists differs, the vocations share many professional values. Brandy Zadrozny, who worked as a librarian for a decade before becoming a reporter and researcher for the Daily Beast and a reporter for NBC News, and Alice Crites, an MLIS-trained research editor whose work has helped earn six Pulitzers … Continue reading Our Vocation Is Information


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Beyond Fake News

June 1, 2018

A 2016 study of the web evaluation skills of middle school, high school, and college students by Stanford University’s History Education Group found that young people are quite likely to be duped by misleading or false information. Even Stanford’s own students, when evaluating articles from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the conservative fringe group … Continue reading Beyond Fake News


Opening Session speaker Sally Yates addresses attendees at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia on March 21, 2018.

Objective Truth Will Save Democracy

March 22, 2018

Yates, former deputy attorney general in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Obama administration and former acting attorney general, is perhaps best known for refusing to defend President Trump’s ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries and her testimony before the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism about Russian interference in the 2016 … Continue reading Objective Truth Will Save Democracy


At Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Civic Data Zine Camp, young adults learned data literacy concepts by presenting statistical narratives and visualizations in a handmade zine format. Photo: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Engaging Civic-Minded Teens

March 1, 2018

But what about data literacy? Did librarians tackle charts and graphs as much as headlines? And what about teens, who are often overlooked in the context of civic and voter preparedness? Increasingly, librarians are addressing these questions by bringing statistical education and opportunities to young adults—and they’re using massive collections of open civic datasets to … Continue reading Engaging Civic-Minded Teens


Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. --Neil Gaiman

Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet

December 19, 2017

Sixteen years ago, American Libraries published Mark Y. Herring’s essay “Ten Reasons Why the Internet Is No Substitute for a Library” (April 2001). Technology has improved exponentially since then—social media didn’t even exist yet. But even the smartest phone’s intelligence is limited by paywalls, Twitter trolls, fake news, and other hazards of online life. Here … Continue reading Ten Reasons Libraries Are Still Better Than the Internet



Raymond Pun

Campus Sustainability through Information Literacy

September 12, 2017

This column is one in a multipart American Libraries series that explores the library profession’s relationship to sustainability. When I first started working at Fresno State as the first-year student success librarian in 2015, a colleague referred my name to a team of science professors in this program. From there, I began attending weekly meetings and contributing … Continue reading Campus Sustainability through Information Literacy


In Practice by Meredith Farkas

Framework Freakout?

September 1, 2017

In some ways, the Framework was a major departure from ACRL’s previous Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education. Organized around six information literacy threshold concepts, the Framework is not an exhaustive list of threshold concepts or dispositions and practices. Instead, its developers encouraged libraries to determine their own programmatic learning outcomes based on local … Continue reading Framework Freakout?


From left: Marale Sande, senior research and policy analyst at the Parliament of Kenya; Avelina Morales Robles, from Mexico's Cámara de Diputados; and Leonor Calvão Borges from the Library of the Assembleia da República at the "Parliament and the People: Transparency, Openness, and Engagement” session.

Call for Transparency: Day Three at IFLA WLIC

August 23, 2017

Questions of transparency and access were explored on the third day of the International Federation of Library of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Wroclaw, Poland. In a nod to the topics, many of the August 22 sessions included a Q&A or structured discussion, bringing together many voices and political … Continue reading Call for Transparency: Day Three at IFLA WLIC