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



Stacey Abrams Photo: Gerri Hernández

Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams

June 1, 2020

COVID-19, social distancing, and self-quarantine have become facts of American life. Meanwhile, the US is conducting primary elections and the 2020 Census. How do you see these events being affected by the public health crisis? What can be done to encourage civic participation during a time of fear? We have to remember this isn’t the … Continue reading Newsmaker: Stacey Abrams


Librarian's Library by Anna Gooding-Call

Disasters in Libraries

June 1, 2020

Public Libraries and Resilient Cities Edited by Michael Dudley Resilience is the art of being able to bounce back from disaster. The uniting thesis of these essays is that public libraries are crucial to this process. Dudley makes the point that climate change guarantees near-future crises; other essays use relatively recent disasters, such as Hurricane … Continue reading Disasters in Libraries




The Silent Book Club at Newport (R.I.) Public Library offers teens a space for quiet reading after school. Photo: Newport (R.I.) Public Library

The Sound of Silence

May 1, 2020

“Our Silent Book Club has been a surprising success—surprising because if someone had told me a year ago that relaxing on comfortable beanbags and reading whatever books we want to read qualifies as an actual program, I would have yeeted that person straight out of the library,” says Wolfskehl, using the popular slang term for … Continue reading The Sound of Silence


The Mobile Law Network RV visits two St. Paul (Minn.) Public Library branches per month. Photo: Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Meeting Legal Needs

May 1, 2020

Aaron Mason, Cleveland Public Library’s (CPL) director of outreach and programming services, says that example from one of CPL’s monthly legal aid clinics shows how a number of libraries are filling a significant need in their communities by connecting patrons to civil legal aid. Civil legal matters encompass noncriminal issues such as health care, housing, … Continue reading Meeting Legal Needs


Youth Matters: Linda W. Braun

Give Teens the Lead

May 1, 2020

As Luke Kirkland, teen department head at the Waltham (Mass.) Public Library, describes teen-driven services, they are initiated by youth: “Adults are invited to support teens in executing their ideas. Teens retain power of decision making and agency throughout execution.” It’s important that our libraries progress from a teen-centered to a teen-driven model. The latter … Continue reading Give Teens the Lead


Librarians from San Francisco Public Library working at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.

Other (Pandemic) Duties as Assigned

April 24, 2020

Of course, being asked to take on tasks that fall outside their traditional job description is nothing new for librarians. But the unprecedented, widespread closure of libraries has made conditions especially ripe for staff redeployment—particularly since many localities consider librarians “city workers.” “All city and county employees, per our contract, work as disaster service workers … Continue reading Other (Pandemic) Duties as Assigned


Woman wearing a face mask with a laptop

Reopening: Not “When?” But “How?”

April 17, 2020

Once reopened, most will likely continue to support social-distancing measures through such steps as rearranging furniture, cleaning computers between uses, disinfecting books and other materials, and—as the Radnor Memorial Library in Wayne, Pennsylvania, is considering—perhaps providing special hours for at-risk populations such as the elderly and immunocompromised. “Public and staff safety will always be my … Continue reading Reopening: Not “When?” But “How?”


PLA survey

How Public Libraries Are Responding to the Pandemic

April 9, 2020

For instance, most respondents (98%) reported their buildings were closed to the public but, in many cases, staff continued to expand access to digital resources, launch virtual programs, and coordinate services with local government agencies. The survey, conducted by PLA between March 24 and April 1, found that libraries are rapidly adapting services. A substantial majority … Continue reading How Public Libraries Are Responding to the Pandemic