Graphic: Plug into the Census

Plug into the Census

March 2, 2020

Citywide collaboration in Baltimore Baltimore received a $250,000 grant from the state of Maryland to support census outreach efforts, led by the Baltimore Complete Count Committee (BCCC). The committee has worked closely with local libraries to implement a plan for “bringing the census to the people,” says Austin C. Davis, census project manager for the … Continue reading Plug into the Census


Illustration: Kristen Solecki

After the Census

March 2, 2020

“Census data is the mother of all open data sets,” says Jeffrey Lambert, assistant director of digital inclusion and workforce readiness at Queens (N.Y.) Public Library (QPL). “It’s a huge resource about people who live in the United States, and it’s accessible to anyone.” Libraries have an important part to play in accessing that data, … Continue reading After the Census



From left: Jillian Rael, Sharon Kay Edwards, and Patricia Rua-Bashir at the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 25.

Advocacy Assets

February 26, 2020

“[People] think advocacy is marble steps and these throne rooms. [For me,] it’s handshakes and sweet tea and conversations,” said Sharon Kay Edwards, legislative monitor for the Tennessee Library Association (TLA), librarian at Motlow State Community College, and an American Library Association (ALA) Policy Corps member. Edwards and her Tennessee colleagues presented the preconference “Developing … Continue reading Advocacy Assets


Andrea Telli, Chicago Public Libraries commissioner

Newsmaker: Andrea Telli

February 4, 2020

American Libraries spoke with Telli about her path to librarianship, her plans for CPL’s future, and the effects of CPL’s fine-free policy. I understand that you didn’t originally plan to become a librarian. I actually have a master’s degree in medieval and Renaissance Spanish literature. So marketable! Then I received a fellowship, and as part … Continue reading Newsmaker: Andrea Telli


From left: Punxsutawney Phil, 134 years old and living at the Punxsutawney (Pa.) Memorial Library since the 1970s, inside his burrow; at the front of the library, visitors can see Phil's Burrow through the viewing window. Photos: Punxsutawney (Pa.) Memorial Library

Burrowed in Books

January 31, 2020

You read that correctly. When Phil isn’t swarmed by media and visitors clamoring for his shadow-dependent spring predictions on Groundhog Day every February 2—last year 25,000 people gathered before the stump at Gobbler’s Knob—the well-known woodchuck lives in a burrow at the front of Punxsutawney (Pa.) Memorial Library. American Libraries talked to Jessica Church, director … Continue reading Burrowed in Books


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