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A Disproportionate Pandemic

Jack Miller dusts shelves at the main location of Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, Illinois, pre-pandemic. Photo: Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, Illinois Before COVID-19 came along, 18-year-old Jack Miller, who has autism, visited the main location of Gail Borden Public Library District (GBPLD) in Elgin, Illinois, three times a week. […]

The Road to Normal

Valerie Wagley, counselor at Fair Oaks Elementary School in Cobb County, Georgia, reads to kids at a bookmobile stop in summer 2020. Photo: Kelli Wood When Goochland County (Va.) Public Schools abruptly stopped in-person learning at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, school librarians Zoe Parrish, Sarah Smith, and Susan Vaughn worried that […]

Fighting the Spread

©wei/Adobe Stock When the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading throughout the US in early 2020, Jessica Daly, consumer health librarian at hospital network Orlando (Fla.) Health, knew it was time for her—and other information specialists in the medical field—to step up. “As medical professionals and librarians, we tell people what to do, but we don’t often […]

Think Inside the Box

A kamishibai box is a small stage containing a sequence of cards that illustrate traditional folktales. Photo: Geo1208 The performance begins like this: Erica Siskind, librarian at Oakland (Calif.) Public Library, rides her bike to the front of the room, parks it, and pulls from her basket two sticks and a small wooden box. Clack, […]

Where Monarchs Reign

Human visitors explore the butterfly garden at Kokomo–Howard County (Ind.) Public Library’s South branch. Photo: Kokomo–Howard County (Ind.) Public Library When members of the Howard County (Ind.) Master Gardener Association became enchanted by the idea of creating a local butterfly habitat, their first stop was Kokomo–Howard County Public Library (KHCPL). Not for books and information […]

2021 Midwinter Wrap-Up

Since 1908, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter Meeting has taken place 107 times, with only a few pauses. Held virtually, this year’s Midwinter was the last in its current format; next year ALA will launch LibLearnX, a learning, networking, and collaboration experience scheduled for January 21–24, 2022, in San Antonio. Though this year’s event […]

2020 Year in Review

ALA Headquarters Move After 57 years on East Huron Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, ALA headquarters relocated to Michigan Plaza at 225 N. Michigan Avenue. ALA Welcomes New Executive Director Tracie D. Hall began on February 24 as the American Library Association’s (ALA) new executive director (ED). The 10th ED—and the first female African-American […]

REALM Test Results

Our collective knowledge of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to evolve as researchers across the world work to understand and combat the virus. In such an uncertain information landscape, establishing best practices isn’t easy; it requires library workers to balance community needs with the best available guidelines for limiting the virus’s spread. Since […]

Escape for the Isolated

Illustration: Katie Wheeler When you seek the advice of a goblin priest in the fantasy world of Dungeons & Dragons, beware: Instead of helping you in your quest, he might try to feed you to a tentacled monster with a taste for adventurers. A crew of six explorers—library patrons playing as a gnome, two half-elves, […]

Collecting Coronavirus Stories

Patrons at Palos Verdes Library District in Rolling Hills Estates, California, submitted photos that include images of daily jokes, Zoom meeting signs, protests, and jigsaw puzzles. Photos: Palos Verdes Library District in Rolling Hills Estates, California The Palos Verdes Library District (PVLD) coronavirus archiving project started with a cat. Monique Sugimoto, archivist and local history […]

Black Caucus of the ALA Celebr...

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). “BCALA comes out of an unflagging commitment to equity,” says Tracie D. Hall, executive director of the American Library Association (ALA) and herself a member of the affiliate organization. “I cannot help but think of how prescient its founding […]

Virus-Responsive Design

A floor plan for furniture removal at Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Eden Prairie branch. Illustration: MSR Design Libraries have always been spaces for discovery. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been tasked with transforming themselves into places that allow users to physically distance while being more digitally connected than ever. As some […]

Bookend: The World on a String

Top: Puppeteer Morgan Matens (left) and Children’s Librarian Greg Hall pose with puppets from Nashville Public Library’s in-house troupe, Wishing Chair Productions. Below: Scenes from their viral Facebook video “Curbside Baby.” Photo: Samantha Saldana/Nashville Public Library (Matens and Hall) When Greg Hall and Morgan Matens met and fell in love as graduate students over a […]

Can You Hear Me Now?

Illustration: Kwun Yee/Adobe Stock When Boston College Libraries was forced to close its doors this spring during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rodrigo Castro, head librarian for access services, made a list. “I started identifying the tasks that individuals could do remotely versus tasks they could do onsite,” he says. “When you are in this situation, your […]

School Librarians Face Reopeni...

BOOKHUB offerings available from Van Meter (Iowa) Community School District. In Park County, Wyoming, the number of COVID-19 cases is relatively low—only 31 reported as of August 11—and K–12 schools plan to open in-person on August 30. That’s with the understanding that the plans could change at any moment and teaching could shift online. “Part […]

Advancing Digital Equity

Illustration ©ivector/Adobe Stock In an April 23 Public Library Association (PLA) webinar, “Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Strategies for Advancing Digital Equity Now,” three public librarians shared their experiences with everything from lending laptops and mobile hotspots to low-tech solutions like using sandwich boards and direct mail to advertise library services. Larra Clark, deputy director […]