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2022 Annual Conference Preview

After two years of pandemic-imposed social distancing and virtual meetings, librarians will once again gather in person at the profession’s largest event. The American Library Association’s (ALA) 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition returns to Washington, D.C., June 23–28. In addition to the face-to-face networking opportunities that so many have missed, Annual will offer a full […]

A Celebration of the Newbery M...

This year marks 100 years since the Newbery Medal—the world’s first children’s book award—was instituted. To celebrate this centennial, American Libraries covers the history of the award, offers a timeline of events, and talks with previous Newbery winners. In “100 Years of the Newbery Medal,” we look at the legacy, challenges, and future of this […]

100 Years of the Newbery Medal

Fenton T. Newbery (left), a direct descendent of John Newbery, watches author Arthur Bowie Chrisman receive the 1926 Newbery Medal for Shen of the Sea from Nina C. Brotherton, chair of ALA’s Children’s Librarians Section, as Frederic G. Melcher (right) looks on. Photo: ALA Archives For 100 years, the shiny John Newbery Medal seal that […]

Winner’s Circle

From left, Lois Lowry, Cynthia Kadohata, Tae Keller, and Jerry Craft. American Libraries interviewed Jerry Craft, Cynthia Kadohata, Tae Keller, and Lois Lowry about their past Newbery Medals in honor of the award’s 100th anniversary. Jerry Craft Recipient of the 2020 Newbery Medal for New Kid How did you react when you learned you had […]

Newbery Firsts

1922The first Newbery Medal is awarded to The Story of Mankind, written and illustrated by Dutch American historian and journalist Hendrik Willem van Loon. 1928Dhan Gopal Mukerji becomes the first person of color and the first Asian American author to win the Newbery. Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon is set in his homeland of […]

Quitting Time

Illustration: ©Nuthawut/Adobe Stock *Editor’s note: All librarian names have been changed to protect their privacy. Alex* can pinpoint the day she knew she was done with library work. “I was doing a lot of extra emotional support for people who didn’t have anybody else,” says the public librarian, who is disabled and has been working […]

5 Library Jobs on the Rise

Illustration: ©Nuthawut/Adobe Stock Last year, career prospects for library workers weren’t looking so rosy. The pandemic had thrust many industries into uncertainty, and library schools, job boards, and recruiters reported a contraction of library jobs not seen since the Great Recession. Luckily for job seekers, that trend seems to have receded. CNBC reported in late […]

Newsmaker: Art Spiegelman

Photo: Nadja Spiegelman Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic novel Maus details the experiences of Spiegelman’s father during the Holocaust, with Jewish characters depicted as mice and Nazis as cats. It has been the subject of multiple book challenges and bans since its publication in 1991—most recently in January when the board of McMinn County (Tenn.) […]

The Beat Goes On

Young patrons play in the music garden at Pickerington (Ohio) Public Library. The garden was installed in November 2019, and continues to see regular use during the pandemic. As Tony Howard explored the exhibit hall at the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2019 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., his head was still in his […]

Book Battle in Tennessee

If you visit Nashville, Tennessee, chances are you’ll venture downtown, where country music spills out of honky-tonks and into the streets. Across town, the Tennessee State Capitol sits on a hill overlooking it all. Earlier this year, country music and legislation crossed paths with House Bill 1944 and Senate Bill 1944, also known as the […]

2022 Library Systems Report

Illustration: Tom Deja Events of the last year have reshaped the library technology industry. Previous rounds of acquisitions pale in comparison to the acquisition of ProQuest by Clarivate, which has propelled the leading library technology provider into the broader commercial sector of scholarly communications. This deal signals that the gap in size among vendors is […]

A Career Path for Youth

Photos: ©Merla/Adobe Stock (coffee shop); ©Monkey Business/Adobe Stock (workshop, kitchen); ©Daria Trofimova/Adobe Stock (garden) No question: The coronavirus pandemic has warped the educational path for today’s young adults, in turn affecting their readiness for the workforce. In the past, many young people have sought out part-time employment in areas such as the food service industry […]

Rightsizing Your Collection

Illustration: ©cristinn/Adobe Stock Academic librarians have long grappled with issues of collection size, quality versus quantity, and maintaining a core collection. In previous eras, libraries provided access to content by acquiring and owning print copies of titles to allow immediate access to users. From a national perspective, we now understand that collections are hugely redundant […]

Newsmaker: Mariko Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki’s skill at portraying the queer teenage experience has earned her many awards, including the Michael L. Printz Award and a Caldecott Honor for This One Summer (illustrated by Jillian Tamaki) and Eisner Awards for Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell). Her unflinching approach to telling these stories has […]

A Sense of Support

When her son brought home speech cards from elementary school to help him better learn and articulate words, Jen Taggart could barely see what the cards depicted. The cards had been duplicated and the images were blurry, says Taggart, head of youth services at Bloomfield Township (Mich.) Public Library (BTPL). That experience more than 13 years […]

Period. End of Story.

Photo: Jenna Toulantis That time of the month.” “On the rag.” “Shark week.” The euphemisms range from coy to absurd, but library workers and others want to make talking about menstruation—and accessing products related to it—as straightforward and shame-free as discussing hand-washing. “The products are important, and normalizing the conversation is important,” says Eiko La […]

Antiracist Storytimes

Juana M. Flores, children’s librarian at the Kings Highway branch of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL), reads to kids on September 30. Flores is one of the founding members of BPL’s antiracist services meetup. Photo: Winston Williams/Brooklyn Children’s Museum In September 2021, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL) saw its first chance since the pandemic started […]

An Uphill Battle

Patron Xander Dianen returns a wagon to Summers County (W.Va.) Public Library. The wagons help users without access to transportation carry groceries up a steep hill. Photo: Austin Persinger/Summers County (W.Va.) Public Library In November 2021, the Hinton (W.Va.) Police Department took to Facebook with a complaint. The department said shopping carts abandoned across the […]

By the Numbers: Older American...

Photo: ©Lightfield Studios/Adobe Stock May is Older Americans Month. 1963Year President John F. Kennedy established Senior Citizens Month, now called Older Americans Month. 2030Year when all baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—will be at least 65 years old. 43%Percentage of baby boomers in the US who visited a public library or bookmobile over a […]