Mayra Castrejón-Hernandez performs at Milwaukee Public Library’s first Deaf StorySlam event in September 2019. Photo: Pat A. Robinson Photos/Milwaukee Public Library

Signing Stories

November 2, 2020

In September 2019, Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) hosted its first Deaf StorySlam, a storytelling event intended to highlight Deaf voices of color and their lived experiences and bring together the city’s Deaf and hearing communities. Out of 112 applications, the project was selected to receive the inaugural Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant, a $2,000 prize … Continue reading Signing Stories


A ballot drop box outside the Arthur Lakes Library in Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

The Library as Ballot Box

September 28, 2020

“I think people miss the environment of the polling place, and going to a drop box helps them re-create that,” says Oregon Library Association Vice President Arlene Weible. Oregon has conducted all elections by mail since 2000, but Weible says libraries hosting ballot drop boxes is a common practice in the state. The benefits of … Continue reading The Library as Ballot Box


Library resources for learning at home, from MacDonald Public Library in New Baltimore, Michigan

Teaming Up for Teaching

September 18, 2020

At Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library, librarians administering the Brooklyn Connections program are not only faced with the challenge of reimagining their outreach to the 35 schools and thousands of 4th–12th graders they serve but are also grappling with students’ day-to-day struggles amid the pandemic. Jen Hoyer, educating librarian with Brooklyn Connections, reports that many students … Continue reading Teaming Up for Teaching


Montgomery County Public Schools in Christiansburg, Virginia, uses drone delivery service Wing to transport library books to the town’s students. Photo: Courtesy of Wing.

The Great Outdoors

September 14, 2020

Thanks to an idea from MCPS middle school librarian Kelly Passek and a partnership with Wing, the first commercial drone delivery service in the US, any student in the district who lives within Wing’s delivery zone can request a book through the school system’s library catalog. Passek locates the book, checks it out, and drives … Continue reading The Great Outdoors


A worker installs solar panels on the roof of Ledding Library in Milwaukie, Oregon. Photo: Katie Newell/Ledding Library in Milwaukie, Oregon

Ready for Action

September 1, 2020

In recent years, global warming has also led to worsening wildfires, invasive pests, and the melting of permafrost across the state. “There are some coastal villages that are literally sinking into the sea,” Preskitt says. In response, the city of Anchorage decided to brace for the impact of climate change by creating a formal framework. … Continue reading Ready for Action


Libraries rise to the challenge of maintaining services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos: Nicole Johnson/Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library (drive-through); Robyn Huff (reopening); Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library (e-sports); Tina Chenoweth (Animal Crossing)

Bookend: The New Normal

July 1, 2020

Some of our favorite examples of libraries meeting this challenge in creative ways, clockwise from top left: Michelle L. Johnson, cataloging technician at Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library, passes books through a drive-through window. The library averaged 50 pickups per day following the expiration of state stay-at-home orders May 18. Delray Beach (Fla.) Public Library … Continue reading Bookend: The New Normal


PLA Survey

ALA Survey Shows Effects of Pandemic on Library Services

June 3, 2020

A new American Library Association (ALA) survey of US libraries, “Libraries Respond: COVID-19 Survey,” documents a shift in services to support students, faculty, and communities at large during the crisis and phased preparations for the months ahead. While virtually all libraries (99%) report limited access to the physical building, survey respondents shared leaps in the … Continue reading ALA Survey Shows Effects of Pandemic on Library Services


Illustration: © Atstock Productions/Adobe Stock

Narcan or No?

June 1, 2020

The response might seem like an obvious “yes.” But for many public libraries the answer is more nuanced. In October 2018, Emergent BioSolutions, the company that manufactures the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan (generic name: naloxone), issued a press release offering two free doses of Narcan to every public library and YMCA in the US. … Continue reading Narcan or No?


Staffers at Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library, which closed its doors March 16 because of COVID-19, advertise the library's remote-reference services in a group Zoom call.. Photo: Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library

Bookend: Remote and Ready

June 1, 2020

Director Dana Wishnick’s first priority was setting up the phone system to forward calls to staffers working from home: “We have about 20% of our community that doesn’t have access to computers or internet connections, and we really wanted to be able to serve them during this time.” To let users know that staffers were … Continue reading Bookend: Remote and Ready


Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan, donated 100 3D-printed protective face shields to Beaumont Hospital in nearby Troy. Photo: Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan.

Using 3D to Make PPE

June 1, 2020

Jillian Rutledge, public services manager at Waterloo (Iowa) Public Library, learned about a PPE production initiative through a local branch of the national community revitalization project Main Street America. When her library closed its doors to patrons March 17, she obtained instructions online for printing PPE and tried various iterations before finding one that worked … Continue reading Using 3D to Make PPE