Joseph Janes

The Fee Library

October 30, 2015

You can imagine my reaction when our local public radio station introduced a story about the plans for a new library, opening January 2016. Not the sort of thing one hears every day, and my interest deepened when the details emerged: This isn’t a new branch of Seattle Public Library (SPL); it’s a new subscription … Continue reading The Fee Library


Marilynn Lance-Robb, branch manager at the Carvers Bay Branch Library in Georgetown, South Carolina, assists a patron with health information. Photo: Marilynn Lance-Robb

Improving Health Literacy, One Public Library at a Time

October 30, 2015

Instead, Davis assists patrons with their health care questions by helping them find information on Medline-Plus, an authoritative, free website where the public can find health information in more than 40 languages. Although Davis, a former medical librarian, is familiar with health care topics, most public librarians do not necessarily have a medical background. Still … Continue reading Improving Health Literacy, One Public Library at a Time


A death cafe meets in the Ann Stevens Room in the Anchorage (Alaska) Public Library. Photo: Kris Green

When the Subject Is Death

October 30, 2015

Since the first gathering, named death café, was held in the US in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2012, the forums have spread across the nation. And many are beginning to appear in libraries, according to Lizzy Miles, an organizer for DeathCafe.com. Miles, who organized the Columbus death café, tells American Libraries that she was inspired … Continue reading When the Subject Is Death



Salt Lake City Public Library System staffers pose as characters from the Back to the Future films. From left, teen services coordinator Christina Walsh as Doc Brown, children's services coordinator Liesl Johnson as Marty McFly, and adult services coordinator Tommy Hamby as Jennifer Parker. Photo: Salt Lake City Public Library System

Marty, We’ve Got to Go Back—to the Library!

October 21, 2015

Many libraries are celebrating Back to the Future Day—October 21, 2015—with screenings of the Back to the Future trilogy and programming related to the films. The date, which is featured prominently in Back to the Future Part II, has been incorrectly depicted in internet hoaxes and memes for years. “We actually have a super fan … Continue reading Marty, We’ve Got to Go Back—to the Library!


(left to right) Andy Cardimen, BMO Harris Bank managing director, Jackie Nytes, Indianapolis Public Library chief executive officer, Chris Cairo, director of project development at Indianapolis–Marion County Public Library, and Greg Ballard, mayor of Indianapolis, hold the One Book, Two Cities book selection, Vienna by Eva Menasse, at the program’s launch in December 2013. Photo: Indianapolis Public Library

The Indianapolis Public Library Goes Global

September 29, 2015

With advanced technology and the ability to connect globally, the Indianapolis Public Library (IPL) formed partnerships with the eight international cities that are part of Indianapolis’s Sister City Program. IPL has made connections so far with Campinas, Brazil; Hangzhou, China; Cologne, Germany; and Piran, Slovenia. The first meetings involved a collection exchange between each city. … Continue reading The Indianapolis Public Library Goes Global


A patron renews her driver’s license inside Ames (Iowa) Public Library in June. Iowa DOT unveiled 11 kiosks in libraries in May.

Driver’s License Kiosks Expand to Iowa Libraries

September 18, 2015

After a successful two-year pilot project to make driver’s license renewals easier for state residents via public kiosks, the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) began implementing similar kiosks in 11 libraries in late May. One of those kiosks is inside Ames (Iowa) Public Library. Mary Logsdon, the library’s adult services manager, says providing the … Continue reading Driver’s License Kiosks Expand to Iowa Libraries



Sari Feldman

Library Card Spokesdog

September 3, 2015

Snoopy has inspired all of us at Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library (CCPL) to expand Library Card Sign-Up Month into a dog-­tastic extravaganza. We are crowdsourcing a “top dog” to be featured on an official CCPL library card, and we’re giving customers the chance to create their own customized library cards during a special pet … Continue reading Library Card Spokesdog



Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director Scott Bonner

Ferguson, One Year Later

August 7, 2015

ALA: How are you feeling about the anniversary? Scott Bonner: Worried. Not knowing is the worst part. There’s a possibility that we’ll see a big crowd of protesters, and if the police react strongly, things could get rough. We just don’t know. I tend to be optimistic, but I was also optimistic about the grand … Continue reading Ferguson, One Year Later


Richard Frieder (standing), community engagement director at Hartford Public Library, facilitates a community dialogue among neighborhood residents and Hartford police officers on the topic of community violence and public safety. The dialogue took place in June 2015 at Hartford Public Library's Barbour Street branch. (Photo: Judy Wyman Kelly)

Hartford Public Library Builds, Strengthens Community–Police Relationships

August 3, 2015

HPL is one of 10 public libraries in the US that have been participating in ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) initiative since April 2014. The initiative, in collaboration with the nonprofit Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, is an 18-month community engagement training program where libraries learn how to address challenges facing their community. (Read more … Continue reading Hartford Public Library Builds, Strengthens Community–Police Relationships