Scissors cutting "gender" off of a library card

Ditching the Gender Data

March 1, 2019

That might sound like the opening volley of a gender-studies lecture. But when Erin Shea, supervisor of Ferguson Library’s Harry Bennett and Weed Memorial and Hollander branches in Stamford, Connecticut, wondered it aloud at a staff meeting last October, she was waxing practical, not theoretical. Specifically, she was questioning a common procedure followed by her … Continue reading Ditching the Gender Data


Residents of The Highlands at the Moorings of Arlington Heights assisted-living facility in Illinois enjoy a ­virtual tour of Monticello.

It’s Not Such A Small World After All

March 1, 2019

Many seniors are prevented from traveling the world—or even just taking a stroll outside—by limited physical or cognitive abilities. But now, thanks to virtual reality, older patrons of Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library don’t have to feel homebound: The world is coming to them. Mary Jo Lepo, the library’s senior and accessible services manager, first … Continue reading It’s Not Such A Small World After All


Rick Steves Photo: Tim Frakes

Newsmaker: Rick Steves

January 18, 2019

Steves will appear as an Auditorium Speaker at the American Library Association’s 2019 Midwinter Meeting in Seattle on January 27 to talk about the third edition of his book, Travel as a Political Act (Hachette Book Group, 2018). This month he releases Rick Steves Classroom Europe, a searchable resource of video clips that he hopes … Continue reading Newsmaker: Rick Steves


Roberta McCulloch-Dews, director of administrative services in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, listens during a speed-repping event at Berkshire Athenaeum.

Lawmaker Matchmaker

January 2, 2019

“I thought that maybe something similar could advance the city’s goals of getting information out to the public,” Griffin says. He adapted the format to allow residents one-on-one time with several local leaders at a single event. He wanted to appeal to people who might not feel comfortable speaking up at a city meeting or … Continue reading Lawmaker Matchmaker


Unions 101

November 1, 2018

Librarians realized this when their union, the University Council of the American Federation of Teachers (UC-AFT) Unit 17, filed grievances against the UC administration regarding disciplinary actions for such things as managers reprimanding librarians over product assessments and conference presentation titles. Their grievances were rejected. The union’s contract expired September 30, and at press time … Continue reading Unions 101


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


More than 250 patrons attended a recent “Paint-Along with Bob Ross” event at Ann Arbor (Mich.) District Library. Photo: Tracy Grosshans

Painting with Purpose

November 1, 2018

Patron paint-alongs During the events, patrons watch an episode of The Joy of Painting and paint along, while library staffers facilitate and provide canvases, paints, and other supplies. Some libraries hire Certified Ross Instructors, trained by Bob Ross Inc., to lead the workshops; others obtain video permissions from the official Bob Ross YouTube channel or … Continue reading Painting with Purpose


Anti-opioid overdose Narcan Nasal Spray.

Company to Supply Free Narcan to Libraries

October 24, 2018

The drug maker announced the offer—which also includes distributing Narcan to 2,700 local YMCAs—at the White House, where President Trump signed legislation that aims to curb the opioid crisis. Emergent BioSolutions spokesman Thom Duddy says the company’s announcement is not directly related to the legislation, but the administration requested the company to participate in the … Continue reading Company to Supply Free Narcan to Libraries


Author Eric Klinenberg (Photo: Lisa DeNeffe)

Newsmaker: Eric Klinenberg

October 11, 2018

Klinenberg spoke with American Libraries about his lifelong love of libraries and the inadvertent lessons learned from Amazon stores. Your book opens with a discussion of the 1995 Chicago heat wave, which killed more than 700 people in just a few days. Why did you decide to start there? Eric Klinenberg: It was the first … Continue reading Newsmaker: Eric Klinenberg


From left: Maria Taesil Hudson McCauley, ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo, and John Spears

My Library, My Story

September 30, 2018

American Library Association (ALA) President Loida Garcia-Febo hopes these prompts and others can be leveraged to create better advocates and visibility for libraries on the local, national, and international level. “This is a time for action. We’re living in challenging times,” she said. “We need a seat at the table.” At “My Library, My Story,” … Continue reading My Library, My Story


Ana Ndumu, PhD postdoctoral researcher at University of Maryland iSchool, presented her findings on the obstacles black immigrants face in public libraries at the National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 28.

Serving Black Immigrants

September 29, 2018

At “Engaging and Serving Black Immigrant Communities,” a September 28 session at the third National Joint Conference of Librarians of Color in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ana Ndumu, PhD postdoctoral researcher at University of Maryland iSchool, presented her findings on the obstacles black immigrants face in accessing information and what libraries can better do to reach … Continue reading Serving Black Immigrants


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