Above, a Congolese immigrant waves to the camera in a screenshot from a home movie archived by Home Made Visible. Below, metadata is collected for a photo submitted to Los Angeles Public Library's Mobile Memory Lab. Screenshot: Home Made Visible; Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Uncovering the Past

January 2, 2020

Caught on old home movies, each image offers an intriguing glimpse of a specific community. But if those movies stay trapped on dusty VHS tapes or forgotten reels of 8-millimeter film, their stories—and those of the populations they belong to—stay hidden. That’s why some libraries in the United States and Canada are offering patrons the … Continue reading Uncovering the Past


bystander training

Know Your Rights—and Theirs

January 2, 2020

Will that change? No one is certain. Though ICE’s official policy states it will avoid carrying out enforcement actions at “sensitive locations” such as daycares and places of worship, libraries are not specifically named among those locations. In this politically tense climate when immigration has been a major focus, some libraries wonder how they should … Continue reading Know Your Rights—and Theirs



San Antonio Public Library hosted the third annual San Anto Zine Fest in October. In 2018, the fest welcomed more than 1,000 attendees. Photo: Mari Hernandez

On the Zine Scene

January 2, 2020

“He was really excited about them,” says Kristina Gomez, MPL events and programming librarian. “I was really happy to see that he participated.” Though usually small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, zines pack a punch as an empowering form of personal and community expression. Small and self-published, zines are handmade publications … Continue reading On the Zine Scene


Howard County (Md.) Library System’s Longest Table 2019, held at Howard Community College on September 21, drew 231 guests. (Photo: Geoffrey S. Baker/Howard County Library System)

Tables of Content

January 2, 2020

The origins of these events can be traced back to communal meals such as the World’s Longest Lunch, held annually across Australia. In 2015 the first Longest Table meal served 400 people along a two-block stretch of downtown Tallahassee, Florida. That inaugural evening was organized by city and county leaders, local nonprofit The Village Square, … Continue reading Tables of Content



Children use laptops and tablets in a library

FCC Adopts ALA E-Rate Recommendations

December 12, 2019

Since its inception in 1998, E-Rate, also known as the Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism, has provided discounts on advanced telecommunications services to public libraries and K–12 schools. The program covers internet access (Category 1) and much of the internal wiring and equipment (Category 2) necessary for libraries to deliver important services, such … Continue reading FCC Adopts ALA E-Rate Recommendations


2019 I Love My Librarian Award winners

Meet the I Love My Librarian Award Winners

December 10, 2019

“Our nation’s librarians serve the needs and aspirations of their communities by promoting education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment, and engagement,” said ALA President Wanda Kay Brown. “Congratulations to this year’s I Love My Librarian Award recipients, who represent the highest qualities in social service and transform lives every day.” Winners will each receive a $5,000 cash … Continue reading Meet the I Love My Librarian Award Winners


From left: Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Cranston (R.I.) Public Library Director Ed Garcia, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden at Cranston Public Library. Photo: Ed Garcia

Stories That Stand the Test of Time

November 11, 2019

Housed in the library’s American Folklife Center, the VHP collects and preserves interviews and remembrances of US military veterans from World War I through the present. VHP also includes memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps, and other historical documents that capture the diverse experiences of veterans from every state. Hayden’s goal for … Continue reading Stories That Stand the Test of Time



Illustration: Drew Bardana

Special Report: Democracy in Action

November 1, 2019

And libraries are especially well suited to be “democracy coaches,” in the words of Amanda Smithfield, a librarian at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Open to everyone regardless of political leanings, they serve as voter registration hubs and polling places and provide meeting space for community groups and forums. Our special report … Continue reading Special Report: Democracy in Action


Linda Neunzig, Snohomish County (Wash.) agriculture coordinator, takes a question from the audience during a discussion titled “­Disappearing Farmland: Population Growth and Food Supply Sustainability” at Monroe Library. The event was part of the Issues That Matter series hosted by ­Sno-Isle Libraries.

Discourse for Democracy

November 1, 2019

In a city of more than 23,000 residents, just 40 miles south of Cleveland, these forums have attracted dozens of attendees and receive significant local media coverage. They are recorded and later posted to the city’s website. Daniel Slife, the library’s director, moderates the forums, which were initiated by former Director Pamela Hickson-Stevenson. Slife always … Continue reading Discourse for Democracy