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


Justin Schell (standing, top right), director of Shapiro Design Lab at the University of Michigan’s Shapiro Undergraduate Library, was an organizer of a data rescue event at the library in January.

Archiving Against the Clock

June 1, 2017

The effort began at University of Toronto and Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania prior to Trump’s inauguration and has since spread to as many as two dozen universities and libraries across the US and Canada. The fear that government research and information—particularly that produced by the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the … Continue reading Archiving Against the Clock


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


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


Baltimore resident Kevin Eaton walks past the Enoch Pratt Free Library at Pennsylvania Avenue on April 29 as police were stationed against many city buildings and on the streets.

Libraries Respond to Community Needs in Times of Crisis

May 15, 2015

A pretty typical moment for most librarians, Diggs says, except that Tuesday morning, April 28, was no typical day. Just 12 hours before, rioting had erupted across the street from the Pennsylvania Avenue branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, when protests against the high-profile death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray turned violent. As a … Continue reading Libraries Respond to Community Needs in Times of Crisis