Spokane Community Court, held in the Spokane (Wash.) Public Library, connects about 1,000 participants per year with onsite social services.

Courting Libraries

June 3, 2019

That’s the reasoning behind the community-court model, which has been around since the early 1990s. Designed with restorative justice in mind, community courts typically focus on nonviolent cases. The legally binding sentences they issue usually include community service as well as a commitment on the part of the defendant to get help, such as drug … Continue reading Courting Libraries


From left: ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo; Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby; and Annie E. Casey Foundation President and CEO Lisa Hamilton at the US Census Bureau’s Census Day press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., April 1, 2019.

ALA Joins Groups Opposing Census Citizenship Question

April 2, 2019

“Accurate and reliable census information features in an astonishing array of decisions, from where voters cast their ballots, to where small businesses choose to invest, to how the federal government allocates money, to how emergency responders prepare for natural disasters, among many others,” the brief states. The brief argues that the US Commerce Department’s addition … Continue reading ALA Joins Groups Opposing Census Citizenship Question


Copyright for Creators

March 1, 2019

In 2017 we started the “Copyright for Creators” series aimed at graduate and undergraduate students and faculty in arts disciplines, as well as creators throughout the university, such as web designers and communicators. Like most VCU Libraries events, this series was free and open to the public, and the topics covered were relevant to this … Continue reading Copyright for Creators


Unions 101

November 1, 2018

Librarians realized this when their union, the University Council of the American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) Unit 17, filed grievances against the UC administration regarding disciplinary actions for such things as managers reprimanding librarians over product assessments and conference presentation titles. Their grievances were rejected. The union’s contract expired September 30, and at press time … Continue reading Unions 101


Sonia Sotomayor (Photo: Elena Seibert)

Newsmaker: Sonia Sotomayor

October 16, 2018

Now she’s brought those stories to younger readers with two new books: The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor (Delacorte Press, September), for middle graders; and the picture book Turning Pages: My Life Story (Philomel, September). American Libraries spoke with Justice Sotomayor while she traveled to an appearance at Chicago Public Library. I understand that you … Continue reading Newsmaker: Sonia Sotomayor


“Marrakesh Treaty in Force” presenters, from left: Hiroshi Kawamura, Victoria Owen, Dipendra Manocha, and moderator Kirsi Ylänne.

Marrakesh and More

August 28, 2018

Victoria Owen, chief librarian at the University of Toronto Scarborough, provided an overview of several guides on Marrakesh implementation—published by IFLA, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), the World Blind Union (WBU), and other organizations—and their target audiences and purposes. Some guides are geared for libraries and librarians, while others are more suited for government decision … Continue reading Marrakesh and More



Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Kennedy’s Retirement and Library Issues

July 16, 2018

American Libraries asked Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) and an attorney by training, to reflect on Kennedy’s rulings and impact. “Kennedy was certainly a free speech advocate,” says Caldwell-Stone. She points to United States v. American Library Assn., the 2003 case in which the court ruled … Continue reading Kennedy’s Retirement and Library Issues


Legal Issues

February 11, 2018

These were some of the questions addressed at the “Legal Issues in Public Libraries Forum” at the American Library Association’s 2018 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits on Sunday. The session, sponsored by the Public Library Association, brought together lawyers and librarians for a frank, casual conversation on some of the most contentious issues popping up at … Continue reading Legal Issues


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Filtering and the First Amendment

April 2, 2013

Recent court filings, news reports, and online posts, however, have begun to shine a spotlight on libraries’ filtering policies and practices. According to legal complaints, some libraries are denying users access to websites that discuss Wicca and Native American spirituality; blacklisting websites that affirm the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities while whitelisting sites … Continue reading Filtering and the First Amendment