Image of ALA President Patricia "Patty" M. Wong

Leading the Fight

June 1, 2022

Those words were not written about the current spate of book bans, although they certainly apply. They were written nearly 70 years ago, as the ravages of McCarthyism, censorship, and persecution made it necessary to codify a defense of the reading choices of individuals. The 1953 Freedom to Read Statement remains a rallying cry for … Continue reading Leading the Fight


Photo of On My Mind author Nancy Jo Lambert

Collections under Fire

June 1, 2022

From my perspective as an educator and a school librarian who has worked across age levels, the reconsiderations themselves don’t bother me as much as the precedent: We’re normalizing the use of school libraries as a battleground in political conflicts that have no place in the classroom. Book challenges and the reconsideration process are a … Continue reading Collections under Fire



Librarian's Library by Allison Escoto

Diving into Diversity

May 2, 2022

  Public Libraries and Their Communities By Kay Ann Cassell Before a library can offer services and build collections for diverse patrons, it is important that it understands the makeup of its community. Cassell offers an introductory look at the basics of running a public library and speaks to how staffers can directly connect to … Continue reading Diving into Diversity


Kal Penn

Finding Ourselves

March 26, 2022

“You should be proud of the results,” she told the PLA board, conference committee, and staff who created a safe and stimulating atmosphere in Portland, Oregon, and a seamless experience for the more than 1,000 people who participated virtually. “It’s so amazing to see this Closing Session so full!” Huggins thanked attendees for their thoughtful … Continue reading Finding Ourselves


Mariko Tamaki

Wrapped in a Mystery

January 25, 2022

Tamaki discussed her new novel, Cold (Roaring Brook Press, February), at the American Library Association’s (ALA) LibLearnX virtual conference on January 24. She said that as she read and researched the genre, she discovered that the mystery format “plays really well into the things that I’m interested in writing about,” she said in conversation with … Continue reading Wrapped in a Mystery


How to Be Queer in Texas

January 24, 2022

The state climate can be openly hostile to queer people: The nonprofit Movement Advancement Project has ranked Texas “low” when it comes to policies relating to sexual orientation and “negative” on policies related to gender identity. How, then, has the lived experience of queer librarians and library workers compared with expectations? Arro Smith, technical services … Continue reading How to Be Queer in Texas


Headshot of actor, playwright, and author Harvey Fierstein

Newsmaker: Harvey Fierstein

January 3, 2022

He spoke with American Libraries about his librarian mother, what he’s learned from playwriting, and his recent $2.5 million gift to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts campus at Lincoln Center, which will fund a new laboratory space. How did your mother become a school librarian? My mother had a great love … Continue reading Newsmaker: Harvey Fierstein


Drag queen reads a book to children (Photo: Jennifer Ricard)

A Deeper Look: Censorship beyond Books

July 8, 2021

Databases and digital resources Almost every library has at least one database subscription that offers curated content published by reputable sources. The target audience and content vary widely among databases, and because databases are digital resources, users can access the content in various settings—in the library, at school, and at home. These factors can cause … Continue reading A Deeper Look: Censorship beyond Books


What's in a name: LGBTQ+ and Latinx perspectives on access

What’s in a Naming Term?

June 26, 2021

Access language—subject headings, naming terms, and search terms—reflect the values, priorities, and assumptions of their creators, and often demean or pathologize marginalized groups. The complexity of solving these issues—if they are solvable—was explored in “What’s in a name?: LGBTQ+ and Latinx perspectives on access terminology—challenges and solutions,” on Saturday, June 26, as part of the … Continue reading What’s in a Naming Term?


Gale Case Studies

Promoting LGBTQ Resources

October 28, 2020

Her longstanding commitment to equal rights and making LGBTQ material more available to educators, students, and researchers led to Johnston herself becoming part of an archive a few years ago. She shared experiences about her involvement with the Rainbow Round Table with members of the ALA Emerging Leaders Program for their oral history of the … Continue reading Promoting LGBTQ Resources


Serving the transgender community panel: Rebecca Hass, Tatiana Kozbur, Meg Metcalf, and Robert Taylor

Serving the Transgender Community

June 29, 2020

In “Serving the Transgender Community: It’s More Than Just Bathrooms!,” an American Library Association (ALA) Virtual program sponsored by the ALA Rainbow Round Table and moderated by Deb Sica, deputy county librarian at Alameda County, panelists discussed things libraries can do to serve the needs of the transgender community. Transgender and nonbinary members of the … Continue reading Serving the Transgender Community