Illustration: Drew Bardana

Special Report: Democracy in Action

November 1, 2019

And libraries are especially well suited to be “democracy coaches,” in the words of Amanda Smithfield, a librarian at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Open to everyone regardless of political leanings, they serve as voter registration hubs and polling places and provide meeting space for community groups and forums. Our special report … Continue reading Special Report: Democracy in Action

District Library Supervisors Under Duress

District Library Supervisors Under Duress

November 17, 2014

More than five years after the start of the Great Recession, school libraries in the US are in crisis, their budgets constricted and their staff short-handed or nonexistent. Professional staff positions are left vacant or filled by uncertified personnel, materials budgets slashed. Many library programs have been eliminated. Most of these actions are taken at … Continue reading District Library Supervisors Under Duress


Ferguson’s Safe Haven

November 10, 2014

After being informed that classes would be canceled, Carrie Pace, an art teacher at Ferguson’s Walnut Grove Elementary, wanted to do something, anything, to help with the recovery. While driving through town she passed the Ferguson Public Library. That’s where she got the idea to use the facility as a place for kids to go … Continue reading Ferguson’s Safe Haven


A Novel in 30 Days

November 1, 2014

“It’s a natural partnership,” Lissa Staley, public services librarian at Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library (TSCPL), tells American Libraries. “We have everything you need to write a novel.” TSCPL offers two four-hour “write-ins” in November, allowing NaNoWriMo participants to work surrounded by others writers. A fiction-writing workshop and a kick-off event are held … Continue reading A Novel in 30 Days

ALA President Courtney L. Young

Feedback Wanted: Strategic Planning

July 29, 2014

Dear colleagues: I wanted to share some highlights related to our strategic planning activities at Annual Conference. The Executive Board held two working sessions related to strategic planning. At the first session, we discussed the proposed strategic planning process document that then–ALA President Barbara Stripling and I shared with you and other members in June. … Continue reading Feedback Wanted: Strategic Planning

Digital Resources in School Libraries

June 18, 2014

With the advent of the digital revolution and the opportunities and challenges that this disruption provides, the school librarian is one of the most prepared professionals to make momentous choices on behalf of students. These choices comprise a broad range of options that include hardware, software, age appropriateness, access, pricing models, collaboration with classroom teachers … Continue reading Digital Resources in School Libraries

A New Way of Looking at Public Library Engagement in America

June 10, 2014

The Pew Research Center’s Internet Project has intensively studied the changing world of public libraries for the last three years. The first stage of our research explored the growing role of ebooks, including their impact on Americans’ reading habits and library habits. Our second stage examined the full universe of library services, as well as … Continue reading A New Way of Looking at Public Library Engagement in America

Simon Sinek Opens with Big Ideas

March 14, 2014

The Big Ideas series, a new morning lecture program debuting at PLA 2014, kicked off on Thursday, March 13, with a talk by writer and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek. The author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action and Leaders Eat Last and a popular presenter on TEDx, Sinek drew … Continue reading Simon Sinek Opens with Big Ideas

Pew Charts the Motivations of Library Lovers and Distant Admirers

March 13, 2014

In a new report issued March 13, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project has explored the motivations behind the relationships that American adults have with their public libraries. “Rather than describe the basic library usage of various groups, as we’ve done in the past,” Kathryn Zickuhr, the report, titled “From Distant Admirers … Continue reading Pew Charts the Motivations of Library Lovers and Distant Admirers