2020 Year in Review

January 4, 2021

ALA Headquarters Move After 57 years on East Huron Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, ALA headquarters relocated to Michigan Plaza at 225 N. Michigan Avenue.   ALA Welcomes New Executive Director Tracie D. Hall began on February 24 as the American Library Association’s (ALA) new executive director (ED). The 10th ED—and the first female … Continue reading 2020 Year in Review


Teen leader Iris Alvarenga poses in front of yard signs at Waltham (Mass.) Public Library that depict issues youth patrons care about. The installation was a partnership between the library, civic organization For Freedoms, and local art group Blueprint Projects. Photo: Erwin Cardona/Waltham (Mass.) Public Library

Let Them Lead

November 2, 2020

This isn’t the first time in recent years that teens have taken a visible role in public protests. Many of them marched in support of the DREAM Act and spoke out about immigration policy; advocated for gun control after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and followed environmental … Continue reading Let Them Lead


In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Our Collective Power

November 2, 2020

However, during this crisis, many library workers are unexpectedly forced to advocate for themselves. Early in the pandemic, Twitter became a vital space for workers seeking advice and support when trying to get their libraries to close or to demand adequate safety measures. I know many library workers who are fierce advocates for their patrons … Continue reading Our Collective Power


Librarian's Library by Allison Escoto

Empower, Provide, Engage

November 2, 2020

  Social Justice and Activism in Libraries: Essays on Diversity and Change Edited by Su Epstein, Carol Smallwood, and Vera Gubnitskaia For a holistic look at the role libraries can play in the realm of social activism, Social Justice and Activism in Libraries is a comprehensive collection of essays that covers a range of issues—including … Continue reading Empower, Provide, Engage


ALA logo

ALA Condemns Police Violence

June 11, 2020

In a June 11 statement, the American Library Association condemned police violence against people of color, protesters, and journalists. The full statement reads as follows: The American Library Association is deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the killings by police or vigilantes … Continue reading ALA Condemns Police Violence


Author and education professor Bettina Love brings big ideas to the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville February 27. (Photo: Laura Kinser/Kinser Studios)

Calling on Co-Conspirators

February 28, 2020

Bettina Love, education professor and author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press, 2019), posed this question to attendees of the Public Library Association 2020 Conference’s Big Ideas session in Nashville on February 27. In her dynamic talk, she confronted the ways in which … Continue reading Calling on Co-Conspirators


Society of American Archivists Archives*Records 2019 Conference logo

Archiving Controversial Digital Materials

August 8, 2019

Presenters explored how current events are captured in collections and archives and the effect that collecting controversial and sensitive materials has on patrons and staff. Jennifer Weintraub, librarian and archivist for digital initiatives at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, opened with a discussion on the #MeToo Digital Media Collection project from the History of Women in America … Continue reading Archiving Controversial Digital Materials


Social Unrest, Democracy, and Librarianship in the 21st Century

June 24, 2019

Diana Moronta, instruction and technology librarian at New York Institute of Technology, said that she often reminds herself to step back as an instructor and elevate the voices of her students. “I believe they are experts in their own lives,” she said. Tracy Drake, an archivist with Chicago Public Library, said she tries to let … Continue reading Social Unrest, Democracy, and Librarianship in the 21st Century


Pickle reads Jacob’s New Dress at West Hollywood (Calif.) Library at an event by the national organization Drag Queen Story Hour. Photo: Jon Viscott

Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition

November 1, 2018

But while queens have proven their ability to bring the party with fantastic fashions and tales of individuality and acceptance, pockets of resistance remain. Many 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) faced protests of its planned drag … Continue reading Fierceness—and Fierce Opposition


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