Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (behind podium) announces the elimination of late fees throughout the Chicago Public Library system on September 30 at Woodson Regional Library with CPL Commission Andrea Telli (center, holding paper) and American Library Association Executive Director Mary Ghikas (right). (Photo: Stephanie Hlywak/American Library Association)

Chicago Public Library Goes Fine-Free

September 30, 2019

Starting October 1, CPL will eliminate overdue fines on all CPL-owned items currently in circulation, which it said will remove barriers to basic library access, especially for youth and low-income patrons. CPL’s data shows that one in five suspended library cards citywide belong to children under age 14. The data also indicates the disproportionate impact … Continue reading Chicago Public Library Goes Fine-Free


K. O. Lee Aberdeen (S.Dak.) Public Library, from framing to final product. Photos: K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (top three); Spencer Sommer/MSR (bottom)

How to Build a Library

September 3, 2019

These libraries, each completed within the past three years, are now centerpieces of their communities. They have inspired awe and appreciation, increased user engagement, received architecture and design awards—and won over some of their critics. So how did these endeavors come together? How does a beautiful building become a reality? We asked three administrators—who have … Continue reading How to Build a Library


"key" with Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library logo

Automatic for the People

September 3, 2019

But he says any move to automate would be about expanding services, not cutting staff. “I told that journalist, the conversation would regard whether we repurpose one of our staff, who is doing transactional work, to do more transformational work enhancing library resources and programs in senior living facilities or nursing homes or low-income housing … Continue reading Automatic for the People


Tiny but Mighty

September 3, 2019

Meridian Library District’s (MLD) Tiny Library—a brick-red, 320-square-foot repurposed shipping container—stands out. As families cross the parking lot to the YMCA and spot the new building, we’ve heard kids ask “Can we go today?” and adults remark “This is so neat!” The Tiny Library was born out of the desire partner with other community organizations … Continue reading Tiny but Mighty


The BeeChicas tend to one of two rooftop beehives at Boulder (Colo.) Public Library. (Photo: The Bee Chicas)

File under Bee

September 3, 2019

When Theresa Beck, a member of the Boulder, Colorado–based beekeeping team and advocacy group the BeeChicas, shared her idea with Kathy Lane at the Bee Boulder Festival in 2014, she didn’t think of it as more than a playful suggestion. But Lane, who is programs, events, and outreach coordinator for the Boulder Public Library (BPL), … Continue reading File under Bee




Photojournalist Diana Davies documented the activism spurred by the Stonewall raids. Her photographs, along with those of Kay Tobin Lahusen, are part of New York Public Library's exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Photo courtesy of NYPL.

Collecting Pride

June 27, 2019

“Love and Resistance: Stonewall 50,” through July 13 New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwartzman Building “Many people think of Stonewall as the start of the LGBTQ activist movement,” says Jason Baumann, assistant director for collection development at NYPL and coordinator of the library’s LGBTQ initiative, who curated the exhibit. “We wanted to show how … Continue reading Collecting Pride


From left to right: Marion Rorke, Sharon Streams, Lynn Connaway

Addressing the Opioid Epidemic

June 25, 2019

“Questions are being raised about what is the role of libraries in this epidemic,” said Sharon Streams, director of OCLC’s WebJunction, at the outset of “Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Crisis with Their Communities,” a June 24 session at the American Library Association’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. More than 130 people die … Continue reading Addressing the Opioid Epidemic


Mary Minow

Following the Letter of the Library Law

June 23, 2019

Queries addressed topics ranging from privacy issues to unruly teens, from how to respond to police warrants to dealing with people experiencing homelessness. The topic of patron behavior—and attendant issues of penalty policy and compassion—struck a chord, as the session’s format evolved from question-and-answer to open exchange among librarians raising questions and weighing in to … Continue reading Following the Letter of the Library Law


From left, Mikel Gonzales, Dominique Robinson, Sommer Kinsler, Kelsey Coston, Sade Wilkins, and Cade Langsdon are a few of this year's selected interns. Photo: Phil Daquila

Inclusive Internship Initiative Begins Another Chapter

June 18, 2019

“Libraries should be more inclusive, different-thinking, and innovative,” he said. “I want us to try and revolutionize libraries towards the better and change stereotypes.” Now in its third year, PLA’s III program offers summer internships designed to introduce students of diverse backgrounds to library careers. The III Kick-Off, a commencement where intern–mentor pairs attended sessions … Continue reading Inclusive Internship Initiative Begins Another Chapter


Making It Count

June 3, 2019

The 2020 Census kicks off next April. As always, some census takers will be out knocking on doors. But for the first time, people will also be able to complete the questionnaires online. Librarians can help provide space, equipment, and information to guide patrons through the process. Conducting a fair and accurate count isn’t as … Continue reading Making It Count