Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11

Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11

September 1, 2021

In the aftermath, American Libraries tried to make sense of the tragedy and our nation’s response, and consider their implications for libraries and American Library Association members. Our 2001 and 2002 reporting covered topics related to collections destroyed in the attacks, communities dealing with Islamophobia, restrictions imposed on civil liberties, and what librarian eyewitnesses remembered … Continue reading Special Report: The Legacy of 9/11


Young woman in blue shirt reads the 10th edition of ALA's Intellectual Freedom Manual

Intellectual Freedom: A Manual for Library Workers

July 8, 2021

What were some of the biggest changes in the manual—such as new laws, policy updates, privacy rules, and technology issue—since the ninth edition in 2015? MARTIN GARNAR: One of the biggest changes was the sheer number of new interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights—eight in total, with topics ranging from religion and politics to … Continue reading Intellectual Freedom: A Manual for Library Workers


Mary Davis Fournier

11 Questions: Mary Davis Fournier

June 16, 2021

Prior to ALA, Fournier worked in neighborhood development, as program director at the nonprofit Near South Planning Board in Chicago. There she directed the Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest, and the Authors in the Schools literacy program. She also worked in higher education as programming associate at … Continue reading 11 Questions: Mary Davis Fournier



Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library converted a former junk room into a private telehealth space with its own outdoor entrance. Photo: Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library

Healthy Distance

May 3, 2021

The pandemic has thrown digital disparities into sharp relief. Between Zoom classrooms, working from home, and costly data plans, even people with reliable online access can be stretched thin. Now, as virtual doctor visits have become more common, inequitable online access has become a public health issue, too. Pam DeGuzman, associate professor for the Department … Continue reading Healthy Distance


A health care worker from Schenectady County (N.Y.) Public Health Services (right) wheels in the vaccine while David Bradley (left), a member of Friends of the Schenectady County Public Library (SCPL) and spouse of SCPL Director Karen Bradley, checks in vaccine recipients. Photo: Karen Bradley

A Shot in the Arm

May 3, 2021

“Now, we’re getting these big commercial vehicles—these long tractor-trailer things that pull in here,” says Bradley. “It’s quite the image.” In 2020, many libraries proved essential to their counties’ coronavirus pandemic response by acting as testing sites, manufacturers of 3D-printed personal protective equipment, and donation centers for food pantries. In 2021, some are once again … Continue reading A Shot in the Arm


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

A Hurting Thing

May 3, 2021

Usually the calls were about the kids who frequented the library—which ones had graduated, who was off to college or the military, and sometimes, sadly, who had been shot or killed, or gone to jail. One call still haunts me: A teenage boy I knew well was facing serious time in a juvenile detention center. … Continue reading A Hurting Thing


Items from the Greenpoint collection, including a newspaper, a photo of an implosion of natural gas storage tanks, and an award presented to Greenpoint Against Smell and Pollution. (Photos: Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library, Brooklyn Collection)

A Movement Grows in Brooklyn

March 1, 2021

Greenpoint, New York, a historically working-class Polish immigrant community, sits at the confluence of the East River and Newtown Creek, at the northwest edge of Brooklyn. This neighborhood of more than 34,000 has also been home to decades of industrial pollution. The Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center, a branch of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library … Continue reading A Movement Grows in Brooklyn


A wooden kamishibai box, which contains illustrated cards ((Photo: Geo1208)

Think Inside the Box

March 1, 2021

Clack, clack! Siskind hits the sticks together, sets them down, and opens the flaps on the front of the box to create a small stage showing the illustrated cover of that day’s kamishibai storytime. Kamishibai, or “paper theater,” is a form of storytelling that originated in Japan in the late 1920s. Storytellers would ride into … Continue reading Think Inside the Box


Human visitors explore the butterfly garden at Kokomo–Howard County (Ind.) Public Library’s South branch. (Photo: Kokomo–Howard County (Ind.) Public Library)

Where Monarchs Reign

March 1, 2021

Drawing on their existing relationship with KHCPL, the gardeners discussed planting a community butterfly garden—a sanctuary designed to attract and support the colorful winged creatures at all stages of life—on the grounds of the system’s South branch. “What I love best is that when they wanted this for their community, they first thought of the … Continue reading Where Monarchs Reign


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Revolutions Where We Stand

March 1, 2021

Those words seem especially prescient now as we look across the country at the libraries that have struggled most during this period of widespread library defunding and service reductions. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issue, there has long been an unmistakable correlation between communities that navigate high rates of poverty and those that … Continue reading Revolutions Where We Stand