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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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

2021 Library Systems Report

Illustration: Tom Deja In a year complicated by a global pandemic, the community of vendors providing technologies to libraries made important strides to meet pressing needs and make ongoing progress in their longer-term initiatives. Though the pandemic disrupted library services—as well as funding—in 2020, concerted efforts were made to fulfill the demands of users to […]

The Virtual Job Hunt

Illustration: Shane Tolentino Gloria Vela, fresh from receiving her MLIS and earning her Texas school librarian certification, did all the right things when she applied for school librarian jobs. She set up a tidy workspace well-lit for Zoom interviews. She applied makeup, styled her hair, and made sure her 6-month-old miniature Australian shepherd, Olive, was […]

Serving the Community at All T...

In early March 2020—before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the US in full—a typical Tuesday evening at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales branch of Denver Public Library (DPL) would bustle with activity, the smell of coffee brewing, and the murmurs of many voices. Some people would practice English together, while others worked on homework assignments or drilled […]