Khole Kash reads "Stella Brings the Family," at Mobile (Ala.) Public Library on September 8.Photo: WPMI

Drag Storytimes Bring Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition

September 20, 2018

But while queens have proven their ability to turn the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Some programs held in libraries still draw protests, as organized opposition groups insist that these storytimes aren’t appropriate for children. Lafayette (La.) Public Library (LPL) is currently facing protests of a … Continue reading Drag Storytimes Bring Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition


Emily Knox speaks at the Midwinter President’s Program. Photo: Cognotes

Are Libraries Neutral?

June 1, 2018

The Moderator ALA President Jim Neal Are libraries neutral? Have they ever been? Should they be? Can libraries be neutral as part of societies and systems that are not neutral? Are libraries, through their processes, their practices, their collections and technologies, able to be neutral? ALA has long advocated for certain principles, detailed in the … Continue reading Are Libraries Neutral?


Breaking Barriers with Patrisse Cullors and Marley Dias

February 11, 2018

Cullors’s parents had talked to her a little about the civil rights movement, but left out details. Mrs. Goldberg at Erwin Street Elementary School in Van Nuys, California, however, gave young Patrisse books to fill in the gaps, such as Mildred D. Taylor’s The Gold Cadillac. Goldberg also allowed Cullors to report on the books to the … Continue reading Breaking Barriers with Patrisse Cullors and Marley Dias


Desirée Fairooz in a 2013 screenshot from a video for Arlington (Va.) Public Library's Columbia Pike branch.

“Laughing Librarian” Gets the Last Laugh

November 15, 2017

Fairooz was arrested on January 10 while attending the hearing. The former children’s librarian laughed out loud when Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said he believed that Sessions had an extensive record of “treating all Americans equally under the law.” As a result, she was forcibly removed by Capitol police, and while being dragged from the … Continue reading “Laughing Librarian” Gets the Last Laugh


Dewey Decibel Episode 17

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Responding to Charlottesville

September 5, 2017

First, American Libraries Associate Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart talks with John Halliday, director of Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, and Krista Farrell, assistant director and manager of Jefferson-Madison’s Central Library. The Central Library sits on what was the front lines of the protests. Halliday and Farrell share how their community handled the … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Responding to Charlottesville


Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, Virginia (Photo: Billy Hathorn/Creative Commons license)

Charlottesville Violence Poses New Challenges for Libraries

August 18, 2017

Libraries at both the public and university level historically have developed response plans for natural disasters, but the Charlottesville demonstrations and similar white nationalist rallies planned for other cities have library administrators working not only to protect patrons and library infrastructure but to assist in relief efforts. Both the University of Florida and Texas A&M … Continue reading Charlottesville Violence Poses New Challenges for Libraries


Desirée Fairooz in a 2013 screenshot from a video for Arlington (Va.) Public Library's Columbia Pike branch.

Retrial for Former Librarian in Sessions Laugh Case

July 19, 2017

Chief Judge Robert Morin of the District of Columbia Superior Court was set to sentence Fairooz, an antiwar activist with the group Code Pink, on Friday, July 14, but instead declared a mistrial. Fairooz, who has worked as a librarian in Arlington, Virginia, and Fort Worth, Texas, confirmed the judge’s ruling in an email response … Continue reading Retrial for Former Librarian in Sessions Laugh Case


Desirée Fairooz in a 2013 screenshot from a video for Arlington (Va.) Public Library's Columbia Pike branch.

Former Librarian Faces Jail Time for Laugh at Sessions’s Confirmation

May 9, 2017

The reason for her arrest: laughing during the Jan. 10 Senate confirmation hearing of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She was found guilty on May 3 of charges of disorderly and disruptive conduct, and obstructing and impeding passage on US Capitol grounds. “I was listening when Sen. (Richard) Shelby [R-Ala.] made the comment that he … Continue reading Former Librarian Faces Jail Time for Laugh at Sessions’s Confirmation


Patricia Bearden (left) and Raquel Flores-Clemons present “Partners in History: Chicago State University Archive and International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry Digital Collaboration" at DPLAfest in Chicago on April 20.

DPLAfest Comes to Chicago

April 25, 2017

Several presentations highlighted efforts to document, preserve, and share digital collections on social justice and community engagement. Preserving African-American history on Chicago’s South Side “Partners in History: Chicago State University Archive and International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry Digital Collaboration,” led by Chicago State University (CSU) Archivist Raquel Flores-Clemons, Patricia Bearden, president … Continue reading DPLAfest Comes to Chicago



Chicago Women's March materials collected by the Newberry Library. Photo: Newberry Library

Archive Arises out of Protests

January 31, 2017

The simple message was emblazoned on the sign found hanging, abandoned on a fence at Washington Square Park—across the street from Newberry Library in Chicago—in the days following the January 21 Women’s March. Homemade posters, pussyhats, and buttons with slogans like “Women’s rights are human rights”—it’s the stuff that suddenly emerges during public demonstrations and … Continue reading Archive Arises out of Protests


Crowd at the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women.

Librarians on the March

January 21, 2017

Midwinter Meeting attendees gathered in a hall of the Georgia World Congress Center to create posters, distribute “Radical Militant Librarian” pins, and generate some LIS energy for the march. A sign on the wall suggested some slogans the librarian contingent could use: “Silence is not the answer,” “Libraries are the key to freedom,” and “Too … Continue reading Librarians on the March