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Recruit, Retain, and Engage

On February 19, United for Libraries (UFL) hosted “Friends and Trustees under 40: Recruit Them, Retain Them, Engage Them,” a webinar featuring tips for attracting millennials and younger adults to Friends groups, trustee boards, and foundations. The session was moderated by Jillian Wentworth, UFL’s manager of marketing and membership, and presented by members of UFL’s […]

Intellectual Freedom: A Manual...

First published in 1974, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Intellectual Freedom Manual has become an essential reference for library workers who need dependable answers to thorny questions about book challenges, patron privacy, and policy development for their institutions. The 10th edition, coedited by Martin Garnar, director of Amherst (Mass.) College Library and former president of […]

A Deeper Look: Censorship beyo...

Programming such as drag queen story hours has been subject to challenges. Photo: Jennifer Ricard Just as books are sometimes challenged and banned in libraries, schools, universities, and public institutions, other library materials, resources, and services have been challenged, canceled, or dismantled. People’s perception of offensive content is not limited to the written word. Censorship […]

2021 International Innovators

Students compete in the Virtual Library InfoLit Race Challenge at Nazarbayev University Library in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan Five libraries earned this year’s American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects. The winning projects include programs that offered online academic aid and games to college students during the pandemic; examined the significance of historic […]

Catalog Locally, Share Globall...

If you have paid any attention to cataloging matters over the past three years, you might have heard rumblings about something called the 3R Project, which is having a large impact on RDA cataloging. RDA, or Resource Description and Access, is the successor to AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, second edition), the cataloging system developed nearly […]

Bookend: Beyond Words

Tenzin Kalsang, children’s librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library’s Williamsburg branch, performs Tibetan storytimes for users around the world. Photo: Todd Boebel When Tenzin Kalsang, children’s librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library’s (BPL) Williamsburg branch, started an online series of bilingual storytimes in April 2020, the native Tibetan speaker couldn’t have predicted she’d become an […]

A Little Light to See By

A confession: I had intended to write about the strategic planning work that we have been engaged in across the Association for the past year. It’s work that centers on the financial stability and membership growth required to achieve ALA’s goals of universal broadband (and the educational, employment, and public health access that depend on […]

Libraries Connect Us

Connection—across our diverse backgrounds, experiences, and futures—is a theme of my presidential year, and it is a necessary conversation. Demographers predict that by 2050, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latinx, and Indigenous people will constitute the majority of Americans. So how does the American Library Association (ALA) fit into our rapidly evolving democracy? How can […]

2021 Annual Conference Wrap-Up

Though the ongoing pandemic prompted the American Library Association (ALA) to hold its 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition virtually June 23–29, there was no shortage of enthusiasm or curiosity among the more than 9,100 attendees who gathered online to hear from speakers and authors and share their experiences. Nikole Hannah-Jones Headlining speakers talked about books, […]

Newsmaker: Savala Nolan

Savala Nolan. Photo: Andria Lo As a woman who is mixed race, has experienced elite schools and generational poverty, and has been thin and fat at different times in her life, Savala Nolan has long felt that she occupies in-between spaces in society. The lawyer, speaker, and writer (whose work has appeared in Bust, Time, […]

Bound to the Word

Sen. Barack Obama speaks at the 2005 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition President-Elect Barack Obama keynoted the opening general session at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 23–29, 2005, while a US senator from Illinois. This article, published in the August 2005 issue of American Libraries, is an adaptation of that speech, which drew […]

The Reader’s Road Trip

Illustration: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries and Anastasia Krasavina/Adobe Stock In 1986, Friends of Libraries USA President Frederick G. Ruffner Jr. had the ambitious idea to start the Literary Landmarks Association, an organization that would encourage the development of historic literary sites across the US. Thirty-five years later, his vision has been realized: 187 Literary Landmarks spanning […]

2021 Annual Conference Preview

This year’s Annual Conference—the third American Library Association (ALA) conference to go virtual during the coronavirus pandemic—brings together an exciting lineup of speakers and educational sessions designed to engage members in a week of collaboration and connection. Tune in to hear from leading authors, thinkers, and activists, and explore programs and panel discussions devoted to […]

Libraries and the Law

Legal issues arise in libraries. Which is why, over the past year and a half, our Letters of the Law column at americanlibraries.org has explored a wide range of legal topics, led by two authorities: Mary Minow, a librarian who became a lawyer, and Tomas A. Lipinski, a lawyer who became a librarian. Together they […]

Ask, Listen, Empower

Illustration: Franzi Draws Until we live in a truly egalitarian society, we need to actively work toward making society more equitable. Put another way, it is not enough to simply be not racist; we must work to be antiracist. Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, uses the analogy of a moving walkway. […]

By the Numbers: Juneteenth

A band celebrates Juneteenth in Austin, Texas, in 1900. Photo: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library 19Date in June when Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US, is observed. The holiday is also sometimes called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. 1865Year that US General Gordon Granger arrived with […]

Bookend: Archiving the Afterma...

Ellen Keith, director of the Chicago History Museum Library, displays items related to the Great Chicago Fire. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries Nearly 150 years after it leveled 18,000 buildings and killed 300 people, the Great Chicago Fire (October 8–10, 1871) lives on—in the city’s tourist attractions, sports team names, and soon in a Chicago History […]

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Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library’s StoryWalk participants read a page from picture book Jonathan and His Mommy last summer. Photo: Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library Last year, Danielle Anguish, children’s services manager at Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library (HCPL), was tasked with coordinating a summer literacy activity for kids from seven elementary schools and four […]