Skip to main content

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.) […]

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 […]

Newsmaker: Ibram X. Kendi

Photo: Stephen Voss Since the breakout success of his National Book Award–winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America in 2017, historian Ibram X. Kendi has continued to research and write about antiracism for new audiences. In early 2020 he partnered with author Jason Reynolds to adapt the book for […]

2022 LibLearnX Wrap-Up

More than 2,100 people attended the American Library Association’s (ALA) inaugural LibLearnX virtual conference January 21–24. The format of LibLearnX is designed to motivate, inspire, and enable discussions that shape the future of libraries and communities, emphasizing active and applied learning in a variety of formats. The lineup also included familiar ALA conference components: high-profile […]

2021 Year in Review

Wong’s election makes ALA history At the conclusion of the 2021 Annual Conference Virtual, Patricia “Patty” M. Wong began her term as the first Asian American to serve as ALA president. The American Rescue Plan Act and libraries When President Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 on March 11, […]

Belonging as Technology

In an era when our access to education, employment, and public health—our primary quality of life indicators—is increasingly predicated on digital access, libraries are and must be deeply invested in ensuring the greatest level of connectivity for users. This is a critical area of focus for the American Library Association (ALA) and for the LIS […]

Decolonizing the Catalog

In summer 2020, during the national outcry that followed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, the concept of antiracism—or actively opposing racism and promoting tolerance and inclusion—gained traction in critical conversations about library work. Earlier this year the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association explored this theme further […]

Understanding the Other

Illustration: green2/AdobeStock Islamophobia in the US existed long before the September 11 attacks. But as a traumatized country mourned and searched for someone to blame, fear and suspicion of those perceived to be Muslims or Arab Americans intensified. The FBI reported a 17-fold increase in anti-Arab and anti-Muslim crimes in 2001 over the previous year, […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

Countering Anti-Asian Hate

On May 20, President Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which addresses the increase in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans during the pandemic. The measure comes as the nation celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Three ALA member leaders who have helped blaze the trail for Asian […]

Newsmaker: Emmanuel Acho

Emmanuel Acho. Photo: Ali Rasoul After the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020, Fox Sports analyst and former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho felt compelled to do something. He, a Black man and son of Nigerian immigrants, was receiving questions from white people asking about racism and how to […]

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 […]

Mitigating Implicit Bias

Illustration: ©Feodora/Adobe Stock In January 2019, Jade Alburo, librarian for Southeast Asian and Pacific Island studies at UCLA, wrote a Twitter thread that recounted a patron’s experience searching a large academic archive. When the patron could not find materials on Vietnamese or South Vietnamese subjects, archives staffers suggested that he search with a pejorative term […]

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 […]

The Activist Life of E. J. Jos...

A towering figure in both librarianship and the civil rights movement, E. J. Josey (1924–2009) cofounded the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and served as ALA president (1984–1985). He inspired and mentored colleagues and students with a leadership style that reverberates today. Renate L. Chancellor, associate professor in the Department of Library […]

Let Them Lead

Teen leader Iris Alvarenga poses in front of yard signs at Waltham (Mass.) Public Library that depict issues youth patrons care about. The installation was a partnership between the library, civic organization For Freedoms, and local art group Blueprint Projects. Photo: Erwin Cardona/Waltham (Mass.) Public Library Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations—renewed by the death of […]