What’s Lost in a Furlough

June 5, 2020

One of the biggest challenges—the effect on morale—is heightened when furloughs arrive with little warning, little support, or both. “Communication has been terrible. We are actually finding out more from the news than from our own admins,” says Cara*, an assistant at a branch library in Tennessee who was furloughed the week of March 20 … Continue reading What’s Lost in a Furlough


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Perfect Storm

May 1, 2020

And all this within the first 30 days of my taking the helm. On day 31, a member wrote to me acknowledging the unforeseen series of events that had played out, and confided, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had buyer’s remorse.” I didn’t, and I don’t. Though I certainly would have wished for other … Continue reading Perfect Storm


Librarians from San Francisco Public Library working at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.

Other (Pandemic) Duties as Assigned

April 24, 2020

Of course, being asked to take on tasks that fall outside their traditional job description is nothing new for librarians. But the unprecedented, widespread closure of libraries has made conditions especially ripe for staff redeployment—particularly since many localities consider librarians “city workers.” “All city and county employees, per our contract, work as disaster service workers … Continue reading Other (Pandemic) Duties as Assigned


Conte Flowers, Family Resource Center coordinator for Gallatin County (Ky.) Elementary Schools (one of the statewide participants), poses at a collection point. (Photo: Kelley Warnick/Gallatin County (Ky.) News)

Collections in Briefs

November 1, 2019

Campbell County (Ky.) Public Library (CCPL) has four branches serving 92,000 residents, about 9% of whom are living below the poverty line. When an instructor at an early literacy skills workshop mentioned that something as basic as lacking clean underwear can keep some children from staying in the classroom, the library’s managers brainstormed a creative … Continue reading Collections in Briefs


Mentors and student reporters for Coal Cracker in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, gather for a journalism training session inside the Teen Canteen, an old bank building that used to be a popular hangout in the 1950s and 1960s. Krista Gromalski (back, left) founded the community paper. Photo: Nikki Stetson

Community Reporting

May 31, 2016

“It’s a very depressed area economically,” Gromalski says of Mahanoy City. “The coal region, which is made up of small towns, used to be booming. Now the mining industry has been gone for several decades, older people are getting older [and] younger people are moving away because there are no jobs.” To re-create pride in … Continue reading Community Reporting


Travel Grants for San Francisco

September 17, 2014

Deadline: October 1, 2014 Penguin Young Readers Group Award Description: Up to four children’s librarians can receive a stipend to attend their first ALA Annual Conference. Award amount: $600 Requirement: Must be ALSC member Administered by: ALSC Sponsored by: Penguin Young Readers Group Deadline: December 1, 2014 Baker & Taylor Conference Grant Description: Two grants for … Continue reading Travel Grants for San Francisco


Detroit Public Library Provides Food to Fight Child Hunger

February 24, 2014

“Our kids come to our library branches starving,” says Merritt, executive director of the Friends of the Detroit Public Library Foundation. “They can’t concentrate.” Luckily, the person who asked the question was also someone who was poised to help—Brian Glowiak, vice president of the Chrysler Foundation, the charitable arm of the Detroit-based car company. The … Continue reading Detroit Public Library Provides Food to Fight Child Hunger



On the Perils of Licensing; or Bah Humbug Capitalism

December 16, 2013

Cory Doctorow shared the sad tale on December 15 of one family’s holiday hopes being dashed by bah-humbug capitalism and the slippery nature of contractual licenses. Here is Bill's story, with another type of license taken from Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas. ’Twas the night before movie time, when all thro’ the house Not … Continue reading On the Perils of Licensing; or Bah Humbug Capitalism


referendaroundup4web.jpg

Referenda Roundup

December 16, 2013

As libraries look forward, the question to ask is this: What factors influence people to vote yes or no on library referenda? The overarching challenge of developing a successful referendum campaign is to build trust and establish a compelling need. Meeting that challenge requires a campaign that clearly identifies three key things: (1) the amount … Continue reading Referenda Roundup


BenjaminRichards-ForWeb_0.jpg

LIS on the Job

December 16, 2013

Due to loss of funding over the years, many libraries opted to hire less expensive staff members who were not certified librarians. Now, even though people with the title “librarian” make up one-third of library staff, only half of all libraries reported having a credentialed librarian on staff in 2010, according to the Public Libraries … Continue reading LIS on the Job


CenCampbell-Drupal.jpg

Start-Up Librarian

November 11, 2013

Remember all those library jobs that were going to open up once the boomers retired? Pundits prophesied librarians being in demand everywhere, with libraries scrambling to fill empty positions. There weren’t going to be enough librarians to go around! Things haven’t turned out quite as we expected, and now the rhetoric has shifted to the … Continue reading Start-Up Librarian