Mindfulness for Librarians

Mindful Librarianship

June 1, 2017

Participants sit in comfortable chairs arranged in a circle, and Allen sounds a low bell to begin. Overhead, sunlight sifts through the double windows as the meditators silently listen to the sounds of the bell and their own in-breaths and out-breaths. Then, while a recording of a meditation by Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh … Continue reading Mindful Librarianship


Abby Johnson

Summer Reading Reboot

May 1, 2017

It’s understandable. Summer is a busy time at the public library, and repeating a program saves work, even if it’s not the best thing for your youth participants or staff. Though your plans for summer reading are probably set, now is an opportune time to take inventory of what you’re doing, what is and isn’t … Continue reading Summer Reading Reboot


Abby Johnson

’Tis the Season …

November 1, 2016

In recent years, there has been much discussion among children’s librarians about whether to provide—and how to execute—holiday programming. I think the answers to those questions depend on your community, and the first step is to stop and think objectively about what you’re offering and why. Start by reading “Librarians—Check Your Holidays at the Door,” … Continue reading ’Tis the Season …


Claudia Alstrom, president of the Adult Library Garden Club at Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library's Rancho Cordova branch, teaches children about vegetables in the Read and Feed garden. Photo: Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library

Library to Farm to Table

November 1, 2016

For some libraries serving vulnerable populations, food-producing gardens and nutrition initiatives are born out of necessity. Others have launched programs to advance the causes of sustainability and education. When David Mixdorf was named director of the South Sioux City (Neb.) Public Library in 2009, he was well positioned to establish the library’s first community garden. … Continue reading Library to Farm to Table


David Piper

Growing a Program

May 2, 2016

The boys were eager to share their favorite graphic novels and joke books, and it was fulfilling to see them have fun and cultivate a joy of reading. While the enthusiasm was inspiring, the library needed to find ways to attract more participants and make the program worth the time it required each week. For those who have … Continue reading Growing a Program


Attendees are seated at the Perspectives on Islam event on March 9 at Darby (Mont.) Community Public Library.

Perspectives on Islam in Montana

April 15, 2016

In 2016, along with our regular programming for children, we chose the Montana Historical Society traveling history footlocker, Coming to Montana: Immigrants from Around the World, for field trips with elementary-school children from Darby Public Schools, one of our local partners. The footlocker was exhibited at the library and provided a useful starting point for … Continue reading Perspectives on Islam in Montana


A death cafe meets in the Ann Stevens Room in the Anchorage (Alaska) Public Library. Photo: Kris Green

When the Subject Is Death

October 30, 2015

Since the first gathering, named death café, was held in the US in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2012, the forums have spread across the nation. And many are beginning to appear in libraries, according to Lizzy Miles, an organizer for DeathCafe.com. Miles, who organized the Columbus death café, tells American Libraries that she was inspired … Continue reading When the Subject Is Death




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A Novel in 30 Days

November 1, 2014

“It’s a natural partnership,” Lissa Staley, public services librarian at Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library (TSCPL), tells American Libraries. “We have everything you need to write a novel.” TSCPL offers two four-hour “write-ins” in November, allowing NaNoWriMo participants to work surrounded by others writers. A fiction-writing workshop and a kick-off event are held … Continue reading A Novel in 30 Days



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Guide to Reading Levels

September 24, 2013

By now, we’ve gotten used to the idea that many children’s books identify a Reading Level (RL) somewhere on the jacket or back cover. This number is handy for parents and children’s librarians trying to find books of an appropriate comprehension level for young readers. But where did the number come from? It was generated … Continue reading Guide to Reading Levels