Drew Alvey (in red shirt), manager of Houston Public Library's Stimley–Blue Ridge branch, models interactive play for families. Photo: Houston Public Library

Bringing Libraries to WIC

June 1, 2018

It’s a question that Marisa Conner, manager of youth and family engagement at Baltimore County (Md.) Public Library (BCPL), says her staffers are often asked when doing outreach at Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) centers. She explains: Many WIC clients, particularly those originally from other countries, aren’t sure what a library is or whether it … Continue reading Bringing Libraries to WIC


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Organizational Barriers

June 1, 2018

I’ve thought a lot about this disconnect and realized that, at least in part, library staffers continue to stay inside because of systemic barriers. What are some of these barriers? Job descriptions. Think about how your work is defined. Do your responsibilities include regularly going outside of the building to build relationships with teens and … Continue reading Organizational Barriers


Students play videogames during the grand opening of the Nest, the e-sports facility at University of North Texas in Denton. Photo: Photo: University of North Texas

Wide World of E-Sports

May 1, 2018

The biggest competitions in the world of e-sports—of which the most popular include League of Legends, Super Smash Bros., and Overwatch—fetch top players millions of dollars in prizes, and in 2017 the industry is estimated to have earned $696 million in revenue. Universities across the country have established e-sports teams, and some of the top … Continue reading Wide World of E-Sports


Learning Spanish First

May 1, 2018

In California, more than 565,000 Spanish-speaking adults cannot read or write in any language, according to the 2010–2012 American Community Survey. This affects their ability to learn English, to support their children’s education, and to advance in the workplace. It often leaves them feeling vulnerable and isolated. In 2015, the James Irvine Foundation funded an … Continue reading Learning Spanish First


Abby Johnson

Helping Hands

May 1, 2018

At the New Albany–Floyd County (Ind.) Public Library, where I work, we have a teen volunteer program that starts at age 11. We get a high volume of requests for volunteer hours because of a service requirement at a nearby middle school. We’re one of the only games in town for these kids, many of … Continue reading Helping Hands


Panelists Mairghread Scott, Vera Brosgol, and Melanie Gillman respond to a question in the "Great Graphic Novels for Kids" session at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, March 1, 2018. Illustration by Melanie Gillman.

Comics, Education, and Advocacy

March 6, 2018

Creating a community of practice for librarians and educators around comics collection, education, and advocacy was a major theme of the program, which included sessions such as “Censored: The Comics They Don’t Want You to Read (and How to Keep ’Em Circulating),” “The Representation Bookshelf,” and “What Do I Say When?: Tough Questions about Comics and How to … Continue reading Comics, Education, and Advocacy


Members of an African drum and dance ensemble lead patrons in a performance routine as part of Richland Library's day-long Black History Month Fair on January 28, 2017. Photo: Richland Library

Every Month is Black History Month

March 1, 2018

Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina, needed a better way to reach its African-American community. Quincy Pugh, film and sound manager, explains how the decision to celebrate black history year-round and start “I Have a Problem with That”—a series of panel discussions that address challenging social issues—has boosted program attendance and engagement among its target … Continue reading Every Month is Black History Month


Newsmaker: Emilio Estevez

March 1, 2018

What was the inspiration behind The Public? I was inspired by a moving 2007 essay called “Written Off” by Chip Ward, now-retired assistant director of the Salt Lake City Public Library System, published in part in the Los Angeles Times (and in full at tomdispatch.com under the title, “What They Didn’t Teach Us in Library … Continue reading Newsmaker: Emilio Estevez


Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Serving the Community

March 1, 2018

The afterword in Introduction to Public Librarianship, 3rd edition, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook and Jenny S. Bossaller, captures the essence of public librarianship. In it, Katharine Phenix, adult services librarian at Anythink Libraries in Adams County, Colorado, describes how her work makes a difference: “Libraries will be there, collecting, organizing, and making [materials] available … Continue reading Serving the Community