Referenda Roundup 2022

Referenda Roundup 2022: Final Report

November 22, 2022

While libraries notched notable victories in 2022, some failed measures reflect broader cultural and economic shifts. One alarming trend: Organized groups of politically driven voters who oppose libraries carrying materials written by, about, and for LBGTQ people are banding together to reject levies that fund libraries—and fighting to get referenda on the ballot that defunds … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2022: Final Report


Referenda Roundup 2022

Referenda Roundup 2022: Initial Report

November 9, 2022

While libraries notched many victories in 2022, some failed measures reflect broader cultural and economic shifts. For instance, in Jamestown Township, Michigan, a levy that would provide Patmos Library with 84% of its annual budget, failed on August 2 in large part because residents opposed to LGBTQ materials in the library’s collection campaigned against the … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2022: Initial Report


Illustration of a stack of books with a pickaxe

Facing the Challenge

November 1, 2022

Presenters included Kathy Carroll, school librarian at Westwood High School in Blythewood, South Carolina, and 2020–2021 president of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL); Melanie Huggins, executive director of Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina, and then–PLA president; and Deb Sica, deputy county librarian at Alameda County (Calif.) Library. The session was moderated by … Continue reading Facing the Challenge


A Career Path for Youth

May 2, 2022

An October 2021 webinar convened by the Public Library Association (PLA) and members of LibsWork, a national networking group focused on workforce and small business development, explored the ways in which libraries can support young people as they enter the workforce amid these ongoing challenges. Librarians and workforce development professionals shared how such programs are … Continue reading A Career Path for Youth


Kal Penn

Finding Ourselves

March 26, 2022

“You should be proud of the results,” she told the PLA board, conference committee, and staff who created a safe and stimulating atmosphere in Portland, Oregon, and a seamless experience for the more than 1,000 people who participated virtually. “It’s so amazing to see this Closing Session so full!” Huggins thanked attendees for their thoughtful … Continue reading Finding Ourselves


Patty Wong

Challenging Times

March 26, 2022

“The freedom to read and the fight against book bans is something we’re all thinking about a lot these days,” said American Library Association (ALA) President Patricia “Patty” M. Wong in her opening remarks at the March 24 Big Ideas session. She reported that book challenges had more than doubled from 2020 to 2021. But … Continue reading Challenging Times


Brittany K. Barnett

Dream It to Achieve It

March 25, 2022

She was a young adult and her mother was serving time for a drug offense. She remembers “just how deceiving that three-inch plexiglass” was as she gripped the phone tightly during the contactless visitation. At that point, everyone she knew was somehow affected by the war on drugs, “which was really a war on Black … Continue reading Dream It to Achieve It


Speaking Up

March 24, 2022

At the March 23 Opening Session of PLA 2022 in Portland, Oregon, PLA President and Richland (S.C.) Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins addressed a masked and gleeful crowd and acknowledged these “rough last two years.” “We have navigated challenges and risks in our personal and professional lives, but you made it a priority to be … Continue reading Speaking Up


The 411 on Funding

March 1, 2022

The pandemic threw the issue of unequal access to technology into sharp relief. Multiple funding bills have been proposed in the past few years—many with similar names—to alleviate this imbalance. However, staying on top of which bills have passed, what funding is available for libraries, and how librarians can get that funding can be a … Continue reading The 411 on Funding


Moving the Needle

March 1, 2022

1: Look around The first step is to take inventory of what digital programs, services, resources, and staffing already exist in your library and identify gaps and opportunities, says Larra Clark, deputy director of PLA and ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office. “That’s the number one thing—where are you today? No matter who you are, … Continue reading Moving the Needle



Referenda Roundup 2021

Referenda Roundup 2021

November 1, 2021

Libraries notched many wins in 2021: In Illinois, the state’s April 6 election saw four of five ballot measures passing. To many library workers’ relief, a threatened reduction in Ohio’s support for public libraries—from 1.7% to 1.66% of the general fund—did not make it into the final version of the state’s budget. In addition, all … Continue reading Referenda Roundup 2021