Photo of young patrons playing in the music garden at Pickerington (Ohio) Public Library.

The Beat Goes On

June 1, 2022

The concept of music gardens isn’t new, but it has gained traction since early 2020 as libraries shifted programming and services online and sought ways to safely engage patrons outdoors and spark joy during the pandemic’s darkest days. Library green space outfitted with full-size, playable instruments allowed for both sensory engagement and social distancing. Percussion … Continue reading The Beat Goes On


In 2020, Bloomington (Ill.) Public Library began holding plant swap programs, designed to be held outdoors during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Branching Out

June 1, 2022

“Oh look, there’s Fred!” Davis recounts the plant’s original owner calling out, revealing the donated spider plant’s name. “And his babies are getting new homes.” These special reunions between plant owners and their beloved sprouts are the culmination of plant swap programs, where gardeners exchange their plant cuttings and share knowledge on how to grow … Continue reading Branching Out


A photo of Jennifer Johnson, the author of June's Youth Matters column

In Training

June 1, 2022

That short exchange planted a seed in my mind: Could public libraries find ways to give kids hands-on library experience in a real-life work environment? If we are to foster learning in innovative ways, shouldn’t we offer opportunities for children who have an interest in libraries? Is this feasible on a library-wide scale? It turned … Continue reading In Training


Antiracist storytime

Antiracist Storytimes

May 2, 2022

“It was just joyful,” says Jessica Ralli, coordinator of early literacy programs at BPL. “It was a very diverse crowd and majority nonwhite.” About 75 families attended the event, which was minimally marketed because of concerns about gatherings amid the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. “The content was timely,” says Ralli, “and … Continue reading Antiracist Storytimes



Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Achieving Relevance

May 2, 2022

On the surface, the staffers who decided to put up the banner most likely wanted people passing by to know that libraries provide a variety of services that go beyond checking out materials. Perhaps they also hoped that if members of the community knew more about these services, they would perceive the library as a … Continue reading Achieving Relevance


Elgin (Ill.) Area Pandemic Team

Relief for Renters

March 1, 2022

In March 2021, Gail Borden Public Library District (GBPLD) received a grant contract from the Illinois Department of Public Health with a budget of up to $415,000 to create the Elgin Area Pandemic Assistance Team. Part of the department’s Pandemic Health Navigator Program, the project connects people with community and municipal resources that address pandemic-induced … Continue reading Relief for Renters


Photo of young people playing chess

A Winning Move

March 1, 2022

In 2001 it was the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone film, which culminates with its heroes playing a giant, magical game of high-stakes chess, says HPL Librarian Alison Creech. In 2020, during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit put the spotlight back on the … Continue reading A Winning Move


Madison (Wis.) Public Library's first Native Storyteller-in-Residence, A. J. “Andi” Cloud, leads a harvest walk in the city’s Edna Taylor Conservation Park last fall. Photo: Madison (Wis.) Public Library.

Storytellers-in-Residence

March 1, 2022

At MPL, taking a conscious approach to diversifying our collection, staff, and services has been essential to our mission. In recent years, our programming efforts have followed a model that encourages staffers to connect with local communities and partners and amplify their voices through collaboration. Through conversations with our partners in the local Indigenous community, … Continue reading Storytellers-in-Residence


Photo of patrons at Tulsa (Okla.) City–County Library view an immersive exhibit on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in spring 2021.

Confronting History

September 1, 2021

In the years after World War I, an affluent African-American community flourished in the Greenwood district of oil-rich Tulsa, Oklahoma, an area that came to be known as Black Wall Street. Then, in late May and early June 1921, racial tensions erupted and violent white mobs—spurred by a murky allegation of sexual assault—destroyed thousands of … Continue reading Confronting History


Photo of a children's birdwatching backpack, available for checkout from Henrico County (Va.) Public Library, which contains binoculars and bird guides.

Programming on the Fly

September 1, 2021

During this year’s migration season, billions of birds will cover millions of square miles in their annual southbound journey across North America—and new and avid birdwatchers will reach for their binoculars, guidebooks, and smartphones and head outdoors. Birdwatching has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, with The New York Times last year observing record participation … Continue reading Programming on the Fly


Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library’s StoryWalk participants read a page from picture book Jonathan and His Mommy last summer.

Skip to the Next Page

June 1, 2021

“It’s important that [kids] move, it’s important that they read, it’s important that they get outside,” says Anguish, “especially in a pandemic when nothing is the norm anymore.” StoryWalks—outdoor paths that feature children’s book pages posted at a young reader’s height and take families on self-guided storytimes—are gaining traction in communities across the US and … Continue reading Skip to the Next Page