COVID-19 materials cleaning

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic

March 27, 2020

It’s an unprecedented situation. Conservators, who are experienced in diagnosing and repairing collection damage, say that historical information on sanitizing library materials is lacking. Despite anecdotal evidence in a 2019 article in Smithsonian Magazine, Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, says there’s very little historical data available. “[There’s] nothing published … Continue reading How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic


Tom Green County Library System in San Angelo, Texas, is closed to walk-ins but offering curbside checkout services, as explained by this image from their website.

Staying Open during COVID-19

March 23, 2020

But as of Monday, March 23, a handful of public and academic libraries were still serving patrons in person. “[Southeastern Idaho] Public Health said that we should maintain services, and they’re the experts, right?” says Robert Wright, director of Idaho Falls (Idaho) Public Library (IFPL), which has canceled all programming but remains open for the … Continue reading Staying Open during COVID-19


"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


School librarian and volunteer firefighter Dinah Wade

Bookend: Sparking a Love for Learning

September 3, 2019

Wade is library media specialist at Freedom Intermediate School, serving 5th- and 6th-graders in the city of Franklin, Tennessee—and a volunteer firefighter with the nearby Williamson County Rescue Squad. She started her fire training in 2007, the year she married a career police officer who also volunteers with the station. Since then, she’s partnered with … Continue reading Bookend: Sparking a Love for Learning


Illustration: David Michael Moore

Target: Librarians

June 3, 2019

“All hell broke loose when just the title of the grant [‘Minority Student Experiences with Racial Microaggressions in the Academic Library’] was discovered,” Cooke said at “Defeating Bullies and Trolls in the Library: Developing Strategies to Protect our Rights and Personhood,” a workshop held at Skokie (Ill.) Public Library on March 8. A harassment campaign … Continue reading Target: Librarians


Spokane Community Court, held in the Spokane (Wash.) Public Library, connects about 1,000 participants per year with onsite social services.

Courting Libraries

June 3, 2019

That’s the reasoning behind the community-court model, which has been around since the early 1990s. Designed with restorative justice in mind, community courts typically focus on nonviolent cases. The legally binding sentences they issue usually include community service as well as a commitment on the part of the defendant to get help, such as drug … Continue reading Courting Libraries


On My Mind, by Kelly Clark

Keep Library Workers Safe

April 23, 2019

In the wake of Amber’s murder, I have come to seriously reassess my own role as a public library employee. This month’s release of Emilio Estevez’s film The Public has led me to share my story—and Amber’s—with others in the profession. Amber was a fierce advocate for literacy and the underserved. Her entire professional life, … Continue reading Keep Library Workers Safe


3D-printed gun

A Patron Wants to Print a Gun: Now What?

August 9, 2018

The incident and the recent efforts by the Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed to publish blueprints for manufacturing 3D-printed guns has libraries across the country working to establish policies to block individuals from printing the weapons. On July 31, US District Court Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order to block Defense Distributed from publishing … Continue reading A Patron Wants to Print a Gun: Now What?


Dewey Decibel Podcast: Cybersecurity

July 31, 2018

In Episode 28, Dewey Decibel looks at cybersecurity in the library world. First, American Libraries Associate Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Patrick Craven, director of the nonprofit Center for Cyber Security Safety and Education based in Florida. They discuss the center’s mission, its programs for libraries, and tips on making you … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Cybersecurity


Your files have been encrypted

When Ransomware Attacks

June 1, 2018

County Librarian Todd Stephens says that he and his colleagues suspect the attack came through an infected email message opened by a staff member, though the exact mechanism is uncertain. The anonymous attacker demanded 3.6 to 3.8 bitcoins in payment—then valued at about $36,000. Ransomware, a form of computer malware that encrypts a victim’s data … Continue reading When Ransomware Attacks


Julie Jones

Institutional Neutrality Isn’t Reality

May 1, 2018

The rally was hosted by the UW College Republicans, who invited Patriot Prayer—a right-wing group based in the Pacific Northwest—as a way to exercise free speech rights. As many open-carry advocates, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis voiced their intentions to attend the rally, fears of maintaining campus safety increased. (Just last year, a protester was shot … Continue reading Institutional Neutrality Isn’t Reality


no guns allowed

ALA and AASL Release Joint Statement on Florida Senate Bill 7026

March 8, 2018

“ALA and AASL support the efforts of Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) and Florida Library Association to provide safe and accessible learning spaces for students and learners of all ages,” stated Neal and Yates. “School librarians work with classroom teachers to provide instruction integral to the curriculum and offer additional informal learning opportunities for students. School … Continue reading ALA and AASL Release Joint Statement on Florida Senate Bill 7026