Skip to main content

Newsmaker: George M. Johnson

In their bestselling young adult memoir, All Boys Aren’t Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020), author and activist George M. Johnson tells the story of their life growing up Black and queer in the United States, while also addressing topics like racism, gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, and sexual abuse. The book has been […]

Boiling Point

The Army National Guard distributes water at Hinds Community College’s Academic and Technical Center on the Jackson, Mississippi, campus. Water distribution sites have been set up to respond to the city’s recent water crisis. The capital city of Jackson, Mississippi—the “City with Soul”—is the state’s second-largest metropolitan area, home to many colleges, museums, and libraries, […]

2022 Library Design Showcase

Fulton County (Ga.) Library System’s Central Library in Atlanta Photo: Jonathan Hillyer Welcome to the 2022 Library Design Showcase, American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries that address user needs in inventive, interesting, and effective ways. This year’s slate—similar to last year’s—features building projects completed during the ongoing pandemic. Despite continued challenges and […]

2022 ALA/AIA Library Building ...

The following libraries are winners of the 2022 Library Building Awards, sponsored by Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures (a division of the American Library Association) and the American Institute of Architects. The awards recognize the best in library architecture and design and are open to any architect licensed in the United States. Projects may be located […]

2022 ALA Award Winners

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes the achievements of more than 200 individuals and institutions with an array of awards. This year’s winners, chosen by juries of their colleagues and peers, embody the best of the profession’s leadership, vision, and service as well as a continued commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and outreach. […]

Show and Tell

Libraries are complicated. They have a maze of departments, a specific method for retrieving books, and many rooms with different purposes: public and staff areas, service desks, and storage areas for materials, with varying access policies. Library signs can help guide users through this unfamiliar maze, allowing them to find what they came for with […]

ID Made Easier

Patrons display their new enhanced library cards at an April 6 sign-up event at the Fairbanks branch of Harris County (Tex.) Public Library. The cards offer another form of ID. Photo: Nancy Hu/Harris County (Tex.) Public Library Photo identification is an essential part of American life. But for large swaths of the populace, photo IDs can […]

A Carrel and a Corral

Play areas next to desks give care­givers flexibility at Henrico County (Va.) Public Library’s Fairfield branch. Photo: Chris Cunningham Photography In January, images of some unusual new workstations at Fairfield Area Library—part of Henrico County (Va.) Public Library (HCPL)—went viral on social media and across national and international news media. What caught people’s attention: the […]

Newsmaker: George Saunders

George Saunders Photo: Zach Krahmer George Saunders is best known for his dystopic short stories that satirize—and humanize—the absurdities of our shared reality. His forthcoming collection Liberation Day (Random House, October) is no exception, exploring themes of power, ethics, and justice amid backdrops of a hailstorm, a tyrannical government, and an underground theme park. American […]

By the Numbers: Halloween

This movie poster is one of 3,000 items in the Witchcraft Collection at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Photo: Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections 19thCentury in which Halloween was popularized in the US, thanks in part to the arrival of Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween has its roots in the […]

Riders’ Advisory

RAR-Atlanta leaders (left to right) Sarah Cruz, Hannah Griggs, and Devin Cowens. Photo: Dessa Lohrey The gear library of the Radical Adventure Riders Atlanta chapter (RAR-ATL) isn’t the first of its kind for cycling gear, but it is one of the most organized and accessible. In researching other groups that loan cycling gear, “we hadn’t […]

2022 Annual Wrap-Up

Registrants browse the ribbon bar at the 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. Photo: EPNAC From June 23 to 28, the American Library Association (ALA) held its 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition, its first major in-person conference since the pandemic began. Participants’ eagerness to gather and reconnect was palpable and seen in the […]

A Marketplace of Ideas

Daphene Keys, public services librarian at Houston Community College, poses with the Baker & Taylor mascots. Photo: EPNAC The American Library Association’s (ALA) 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition returned to Washington, D.C., June 23–28, and the mood in the exhibit hall was only slightly subdued compared with previous in-person conferences. This year’s attendance of just […]

2022 International Innovators

Students from universities in several countries participate in calligraphy tutorials through City University of Hong Kong and learn how to parse historical East Asian texts. Two libraries earned this year’s American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects. The winning entries include a program that teaches information literacy through calligraphy and a […]

Newsmaker: Celeste Ng

Photo: Kieran Kesner Celeste Ng’s third novel, Our Missing Hearts, tells a story that may not feel as speculative as we might wish: When an economic crisis hits the United States, fear and racism poison society, and people look for a scapegoat. Under the guise of national security, a law called PACT—the Preserving American Culture […]

Bookend: Reunited, and It Feel...

Exhibit hall candids from the American Library Association’s 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C.Photos: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries The exhibit hall at this year’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., boasted the usual fan favorites—books, author talks, new product demos, robots, mascots, and all the swag fit for a canvas bag. Attendees weren’t exactly sure […]

Our Brave Communities

Over the past few years, we have been asked to be brave as we do things that once would have been unthinkable. We have had to be brave while defending intellectual freedom and the right to read. We have had to be brave taking on the role of disaster workers in response to COVID-19. And […]

Calling a Thing a Thing

In this third and final installment of my columns on the pervasiveness of adult low literacy, I feel an urgent need to call out how race, gender, and class coincide—and collide—when it comes to reading ability. This topic is especially critical at a moment marked by de facto and de jure attacks on women’s bodies […]