Teen participants in Boston Public Library’s “Drag vs. AI” program test their makeup and props against facial recognition software. (Photo: Kathy Pham/American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts)

Dragging AI

September 1, 2020

In November 2019, Boston Public Library’s (BPL) Teen Central hosted a digital privacy instruction workshop for teens that centered on facial recognition technology. Titled “Drag vs. AI,” the workshop partnered BPL with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLU-MA) and Joy “Poet of Code” Buolamwini, artificial intelligence (AI) scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology … Continue reading Dragging AI


In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

Not Beyond Critique

September 1, 2020

At the heart of this issue is vocational awe, originally defined by Fobazi Ettarh in her article “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” which positions the profession as a calling and the institution as a sacred beacon of democracy. We’ve all read articles that portray libraries as “a city on a hill” … Continue reading Not Beyond Critique


Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of Book of the Little Axe (Photo: Anna Carson DeWitt)

Libraries Transform Book Pick: Lauren Francis-Sharma

August 10, 2020

This interview was first published in Booklist’s August 2020 issue. A historical novel set in Trinidad in 1796 and the Crow Nation of the Great Plains in 1830, Francis-Sharma’s second novel (after ‘Til the Well Runs Dry) follows the struggles and adventures of Rosa Rendón, who pushes back against the restraints associated with her sex and … Continue reading Libraries Transform Book Pick: Lauren Francis-Sharma


US Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) speaks to attendees at the 2013 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.

Remembering John Lewis

July 20, 2020

In 2013, to mark the launch of the first book in his graphic novel series, March (cowritten with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell), Lewis was an Auditorium Speaker at the 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibition. Former American Libraries Senior Editor George M. Eberhart chronicled the memories Lewis shared at that event: “In 1956, … Continue reading Remembering John Lewis



Police in a library

Rethinking Police Presence

July 8, 2020

For example, Toledo–Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library (TLCPL) has announced that when it reopens after its COVID-19 shutdown, many of the security staff members in its branches will no longer carry arms or wear uniforms. In addition, TLCPL is forming a public safety working group that will “attempt to untangle complex questions about what safety … Continue reading Rethinking Police Presence


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Let Our Legacy Be Justice

July 1, 2020

Just as there was an outcry across the field to keep our staff and communities safe and protected from COVID-19, so too are we obligated to decry racism. As library and information workers, our resistance in both fights requires resilience. The future of libraries rests on building institutions and developing leaders who will promote racial … Continue reading Let Our Legacy Be Justice


From the President, by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

Black Lives Matter

July 1, 2020

These events spurred singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye to record “What’s Going On” 50 years ago. As I assume leadership of ALA, we are confronting an unprecedented global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen since 1918; an economic collapse, including the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression; unjust police killings of unarmed Black … Continue reading Black Lives Matter


ALA logo

ALA Statement on Institutional Racism

June 26, 2020

The American Library Association (ALA) accepts and acknowledges its role in upholding unjust systems of racism and discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) within the Association and the profession. We recognize that the founding of our Association was not built on inclusion and equity but instead was built on systemic racism and … Continue reading ALA Statement on Institutional Racism


ALA logo

ALA Condemns Police Violence

June 11, 2020

In a June 11 statement, the American Library Association condemned police violence against people of color, protesters, and journalists. The full statement reads as follows: The American Library Association is deeply saddened by the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the killings by police or vigilantes … Continue reading ALA Condemns Police Violence


Reflections on Race and Racism

Reflections on Race and Racism

June 5, 2020

Because the presence of racism, bias, and bigotry in any of our LIS institutions limits our reach and the possibility of realizing the full promise and potential of an equitably informed public, we must go beyond hashtags, statements, and committees and do the hands-on work needed to systemically uproot racism. This requires that we be … Continue reading Reflections on Race and Racism


Reading for Change

Reading for Change: Booklist Recommends Antiracism Titles for All Ages

June 5, 2020

Booklist recently compiled a list of antiracist books and other resources for librarians and readers. The full list is reprinted below.  It can, of course, also mean reading. We’ve seen the antiracist reading lists; there’s New York magazine’s roundup, Betsy Bird’s comprehensive piece for Fuse8, the Stacks’ collection of nonfiction, the list goes on. There’s … Continue reading Reading for Change: Booklist Recommends Antiracism Titles for All Ages