Graphic: Letters of the Law with Mary Minow

Can My Library Ban Guns?

October 17, 2019

Letters of the Law is a new online column exploring a wide range of legal issues that arise in libraries, from a pair of leading authorities: Mary Minow, a librarian who became a lawyer, and Tomas A. Lipinski, a lawyer who became a librarian. Together they have authored four books on the subject, including The … Continue reading Can My Library Ban Guns?


2020 Census (Image: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries)

ALA Statement on SCOTUS Census Ruling

June 27, 2019

“The American Library Association agrees that there is a ‘substantial mismatch’ between the Commerce Secretary’s decision and the rationale he provided for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to at least temporarily block the addition of the question. ALA has consistently opposed the addition of the question on … Continue reading ALA Statement on SCOTUS Census Ruling


Mary Minow

Following the Letter of the Library Law

June 23, 2019

Queries addressed topics ranging from privacy issues to unruly teens, from how to respond to police warrants to dealing with people experiencing homelessness. The topic of patron behavior—and attendant issues of penalty policy and compassion—struck a chord, as the session’s format evolved from question-and-answer to open exchange among librarians raising questions and weighing in to … Continue reading Following the Letter of the Library Law


Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor Embraces Librarians—Literally

June 22, 2019

Her talk was moderated by her longtime editor Jill Santopolo, associate publisher of Philomel Books. Sotomayor noted that as a child she could never sit still and was soon walking the aisles of the auditorium—followed closely by her security detail—telling her story, hugging attendees, and being serenaded for her upcoming birthday (June 25). Sotomayor said … Continue reading Sonia Sotomayor Embraces Librarians—Literally


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