The library circulation desk at Oliver McCracken Middle School in Skokie, Illinois, offers “No Room for Hate” pins assembled by the Social Justice Club that demonstrate a wearer’s pledge to stand up against injustice.

Messages of Inclusion

May 1, 2017

“Libraries were suddenly in the middle of everything,” Gray says. Libraries have long offered their patrons inclusive, safe places to go, she says, but increasingly “they were doing it in crisis.” Nationally, librarians looked to ALA for leadership. When Gray received calls from people seeking advice on how to deal with trauma and discrimination, she … Continue reading Messages of Inclusion


Jessica Andrews (as The Force Awakens' Rey) reads The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu, as recommended by the librarians at Emerald City Comicon's Pop-Up Library.

Bringing the Library to the Comic Con

March 7, 2017

Staffed by more than 35 volunteers from 12 library systems around the country, the ECCC Pop-Up Library brought together children’s librarians, teen librarians, academic librarians, and adult services librarians for the common purpose of bringing the library outside its physical space and into a new realm. The Pop-Up Library, open during exhibit hours, offered reading recommendations, research … Continue reading Bringing the Library to the Comic Con



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


Bookmobiles from Ohio and Kentucky were available for attendees to tour at the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services Conference, October 19-21, in Covington, Kentucky.

Bookmobiles and Building Community

October 27, 2016

The conference kicked off October 19 with a welcome from ABOS President Marianne Thompson, Covington Mayor Sherry Carran, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Director Kim Fender and Manager of Outreach Services Drew Pearson, Kenton County (Ky.) Public Library Director Dave Schroeder, and Covington Branch Manager Julia Allegrini, all of whom connected the area’s … Continue reading Bookmobiles and Building Community


Kenneth Clayton cuts James Trautman’s hair during a Barbershop in the Library event on June 20, 2016. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries

Bookend: The Cutting Edge

July 13, 2016

“Teens wanted a space to talk about what was happening in their communities,” says Adewole Abioye, teen program director at the West Englewood branch who organized and facilitates the program. “The barbershop concept was used as a catalyst to get them talking.” The program debuted in December 2015 and is held the third Monday of … Continue reading Bookend: The Cutting Edge


Jacquie Welsh, Leo Hayden, and Susan Woodwick

Preparing Inmates for Life After Prison

June 27, 2016

Jacquie Welsh was looking to undertake a project during her two-year residency at Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL), so she asked herself the question: “How can we innovate to make our libraries more accessible and more just?” What resulted was Pathways, a program designed to provide resources to those reentering the community after prison.


New Routes to Library Success

New Routes to Library Success

March 1, 2016

I’m director of Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine. As the result of being a worrywart and wanting to make sure that the library makes a successful transition to a technology-driven, digitally dominated future, I spend a great deal of time identifying and evaluating new library programs, processes, and management methods. After years of struggling … Continue reading New Routes to Library Success


Los Angeles Public Library patron Dennis Levin returned The Story of Scotch, a book he checked out in 1950, during the library's recent fine amnesty campaign.

Fine Amnesty Campaigns Bring Rewards in Chicago, L.A.

February 23, 2016

CPL’s “Welcome Home” program ran from February 4–18, while LAPL’s campaign, “LAPL Misses You,” was held February 1–14. The libraries waived late fees on all materials during the campaigns. CPL’s 80 branches received at least 20,000 items, worth about $500,000. This was CPL’s third time holding a fine amnesty program—the first was in 1985 just for … Continue reading Fine Amnesty Campaigns Bring Rewards in Chicago, L.A.



Yik Yak logo

Ignite Session: Outreach, Yik Yak, and Reality TV

July 1, 2015

Mary Abler, project manager of the Southern California Library Cooperative, says when it comes to outreach, “Keep it simple, stupid.” Librarians need to think about outreach differently. Outreach traditionally takes money, time, materials, and permission. And even though it’s important to do, most librarians have maybe one hour a week to devote to it. So … Continue reading Ignite Session: Outreach, Yik Yak, and Reality TV


Sunday's Ignite Session presenters.

Outreach in Five Minutes

June 28, 2015

San Francisco Public Library Teen Librarian Mary Abler’s presentation, “Outreach—Keep It Simple, Stupid,” provided tips for doing effective, active outreach immediately. Abler emphasized the importance of spending just a little bit of time doing outreach activities that we already know will work in our libraries. While serving a two-year residency at Los Angeles Public Library, … Continue reading Outreach in Five Minutes