A Louisville (Ohio) Public Library patron uses an LED softie, a large beanbag cushion with an integrated light source and fiber optics, that produces a calming effect. (Photo: Michael Damron)

A Sensory Wonderland

June 3, 2019

Louisville (Ohio) Public Library opened an innovative Sensory Space in August 2018 with the help of a $50,000 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant. It offers teen sensory relaxation sessions, adult sensory exploration, sensory storytimes, and other activities for patrons on the autism spectrum. Louisville is one of the first public libraries to offer … Continue reading A Sensory Wonderland


Members of Books for Dessert, Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library’s book club for adults over 21 with intellectual disabilities, meet to discuss The Case of the Bicycle Bandit. (Photo: Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library)

Everyone on the Same Page

June 3, 2019

“When people with developmental disabilities become 21, that’s the end of education for them, as if they don’t need to keep learning like other people keep learning as they get older,” says Comer, a trustee of the Port Washington (N.Y.) Public Library (PWPL). She enrolled her son in a local day program but found that … Continue reading Everyone on the Same Page



Chicago Public Library STEAM Team First Assistant Librarian Alejandra Santana (left) reads to storytime attendees at Bubbleland laundromat.Photo: Chicago Public Library

Front-Loading Literacy

May 1, 2019

That’s why, in 1989, Chicago Public Library (CPL) Children’s Librarian Elizabeth McChesney (now CPL’s director of children’s services and family engagement) visited a local laundromat to introduce herself to families. How she responded to what she saw there would help change the landscape of children’s literacy initiatives for decades to come. “What I saw was … Continue reading Front-Loading Literacy


Maricela Leon-Barrera

Spreading ‘Bookjoy’

March 1, 2019

Conceived in 1996 by author Pat Mora, with support from Reforma and the Association for Library Service to Children, Día is a celebration of children, literacy, and diversity. This year will mark 20 years that San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has been proudly supporting Día in our community, with the goal of connecting kids to … Continue reading Spreading ‘Bookjoy’


Betha Gutsche (seated) and Jennifer Peterson at the "Return to the Real" session, ALA Midwinter Meeting, Seattle.

Getting Real Again

January 28, 2019

“These are the new shiny things for [teens and 20-somethings],” Betha Gutsche, WebJunction program manager at OCLC, told attendees at “Return to the Real: The Library As Social Connector,” a Symposium on the Future of Libraries session at the American Library Association’s 2019 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Seattle on January 26. Analog objects give … Continue reading Getting Real Again


Detail from program flier for Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library's World War I programming.

Bridging Past and Present

November 9, 2018

Beginning in 2016, Library of America (LOA) awarded grants to 120 libraries around the country as part of its World War I and America program. The grants were created to support library programming that would bring together US veterans and their communities through shared exploration of firsthand writings from WWI. To establish the connection between … Continue reading Bridging Past and Present


More than 250 patrons attended a recent “Paint-Along with Bob Ross” event at Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library. Photo: Tracy Grosshans

Painting with Purpose

November 1, 2018

Patron paint-alongs During the events, patrons watch an episode of The Joy of Painting and paint along, while library staffers facilitate and provide canvases, paints, and other supplies. Some libraries hire Certified Ross Instructors, trained by Bob Ross Inc., to lead the workshops; others obtain video permissions from the official Bob Ross YouTube channel or … Continue reading Painting with Purpose


Youth Matters

Outside-the-Box Outreach

November 1, 2018

Your youth services staffers may already be doing this outreach. For instance, your library might bring storytimes to local day cares or crafts to after-school programs. But what about reaching the adults in your community as a means of reaching the kids? This outside-the-box approach to youth services outreach can reap results beyond what you … Continue reading Outside-the-Box Outreach


Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Reimagine Programming

November 1, 2018

Why libraries must expand their community role is explained in Transform and Thrive: Ideas to Invigorate Your Library and Your Community, by Dorothy Stoltz with Gail Griffith, James Kelly, Muffie Smith, and Lynn Wheeler. The authors explain how to build a culture in which risk-taking is encouraged and “unlearning” is developed to spur innovation. They … Continue reading Reimagine Programming


Members of the Reformed Druids of North America (from left: Cyril; coauthor Helen Ostman; Arch-druid John "The Verbose" Martens; Courtney; and Ross) mark the Autumn Equinox. (Photo: John "the Verbose" Martens)

Neopagans and Libraries

October 31, 2018

Paganism is a broad term referring to any non-Abrahamic faith, including Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as certain modern groups. Some of the most common neopagan faiths are Druidry, which has some Celtic influence and promotes the worship of nature and the human spirit, and Heathenry, a revived worship of the Germanic gods. The largest … Continue reading Neopagans and Libraries


Library Zombie Workshop Is a No-Brainer Success

October 30, 2018

That’s what it took to come up with the idea of the Zombie Pandemic Preparedness Workshop, held October 25 at Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library’s (GCPL) Suwanee branch. The workshop taught attendees how to plan and prepare for a real-life pandemic. Participants learned crucial tips such as the importance of having an emergency supply kit … Continue reading Library Zombie Workshop Is a No-Brainer Success