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2024 Library Systems Report

Illustration: Jacob Stead The library technology industry had a quiet year in 2023. But in the absence of major business moves and acquisitions, companies set their sights on executing strategies to strengthen their market position. Previous cycles of business consolidation have yielded a layered landscape with distinct levels of competition. At the top, a handful […]

Show Yourself

Illustration: Rudzhan/Adobe Stock As school librarians, we are always rethinking how to convey who we are and what we do. To compete and remain viable, we need to work on our brand identity. You might be thinking, “Our school library has a brand?” Most of us associate the word with a name, logo, tagline, and […]

Bookend: Holding Court

Pickleball Librarian Drew Evans poses on the court. Photo: Ken Doll Photography Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the US, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, with participation more than doubling to 9 million players between 2020 and 2022. Drew Evans, a retired law librarian who has previously worked at Kansas State University in […]

The World of AI

Last October, President Joe Biden released an executive order detailing guidelines for various aspects of artificial intelligence (AI), with the aim of driving inquiry, regulations, and policy around current and emerging tools. A hot topic in many industries, generative artificial intelligence (generative AI) has increasingly occupied our cultural consciousness since the large language model ChatGPT debuted […]

Realizing Potential

Santa Ana (Calif.) Public Library’s AStounD program, part of its Robots in Residence initiative, provides youth with autism access to robots like Moxie (pictured), “the world’s first AI robot for kids.”Photo: Embodied Inc. Around the world, organizations are learning how to assess the benefits and challenges of swiftly evolving artificial intelligence (AI) tools, while simultaneously […]

Common Forms of AI

Grammarly’s text generator. Text generators Tools that generate text based on user prompts. Examples: copy.ai, Anyword, Peppertype, Grammarly Uses: Automate drafting of routine documents like overdue notices or new cardholder welcome messages, draft marketing copy or web page text Controversies: » Sports Illustrated was recently criticized for publishing AI-generated product reviews on its website, which […]

Bookend: Completing the Circui1

Kathleen Donahoe, robot archive processing archivist at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), poses with a selection of robots in CMU’s archive. Photo: Heather Mull How do you archive a robot? This is the question that Kathleen Donahoe, robot archive processing archivist at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Libraries in Pittsburgh, and a team of archivists, roboticists, and […]

Newsmakers: Trish Adlesic and 1

From left: Filmmakers Trish Adlesic, Nazenet Habtezghi, and Sheila Nevins. The trio codirected The ABCs of Book Banning (MTV Documentary Films). American Libraries spoke with Adlesic and Habtezghi about the nomination and the ongoing fight for intellectual freedom. Photos, from left: Brandi Merolla, Nazenet Habtezghi, Valerie Chiang Book challenges and bans rage on in the […]

2024 LibLearnX Wrap-Up

Washington Post columnist Michele Norris (right) speaks with ALA President Emily Drabinski at the opening session of the 2024 LibLearnX conference in Baltimore on January 20. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries Freezing temperatures in Baltimore could not stop librarians from exchanging hot ideas at the American Library Association’s (ALA) second in-person LibLearnX conference. Held January 19–22, […]

2024 LibLearnX Preview

LibLearnX heads to the Charm City this year, and what place could B’more enticing? The American Library Association’s (ALA) LibLearnX conference will be held January 19–22, bringing collaborative learning activities, networking opportunities, celebrations, and author talks to the city of Baltimore. Designed for active learning, the conference will offer more than 100 educational programs in returning […]

Bite into Baltimore

Steamed mussels at The Choptank Hi, hon! Welcome to Bawlmer. Established as a port and shipbuilding town in 1729, Charm City has long been home to a diverse bunch of hardworking residents. Maybe that’s why we have more than 200 distinct neighborhoods here, each with its own personality and flair. For visitors to our town, […]

2023 Year in Review

Another record year for book challenges Photo: OntheRun Photo/Adobe Stock Preliminary data from the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) through August 31 showed a 20% increase in reported book challenges for 2023—surpassing the record set in 2022. The data also showed an increase in challenges that targeted multiple titles, with libraries in 11 states receiving challenges […]

Referenda Roundup 2023: Campai1

A yard sign developed by Neighbors United for Progress in support of Columbia County (Wash.) Rural Library District is displayed by a resident. In last year’s Referenda Roundup, American Libraries noted the growing trend of organized groups of voters fighting library levies due to those groups’ opposition to libraries carrying materials by and about LGBTQ […]

In Their Own Words

Steve Phan discussed moving from Washington, D.C., to Kentucky amid COVID-19 for Jessamine County (Ky.) Public Library’s (JCPL) Pandemic Stories Project. Photo: Jessamine County (Ky.) Public Library Steve Phan, a park ranger with the US National Park Service (NPS), remembers driving to his office in Washington, D.C., after the first shutdown of the COVID-19 pandemic […]

Show Us Your Beautiful New Lib1

Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) in Centereach, New York. MCPL was featured in the 2023 Library Design Showcase. American Libraries is now accepting submissions for the 2024 Library Design Showcase, our annual feature celebrating new and newly renovated libraries of all types. The showcase will appear in the September/October issue. We are looking for examples […]

Lighting the Way

Illustration: Gaby FeBland Poets Reginald Dwayne Betts and Randall Horton both discovered the transformative power of literature while incarcerated, and both have dedicated their lives since their release to bringing that power to others. Betts founded Freedom Reads, an organization that installs 500-book Freedom Libraries in prisons and juvenile detention centers. Horton cofounded Radical Reversal, […]

One of a Kind

Libraries of all sizes across the US are more than just information access points: They’re social hubs, technology centers, and can be safe havens for the marginalized. In rural areas and small towns in particular, libraries are often one of the few—or only—places to serve these functions in a way that’s free and accessible to […]

Figuring Out Fair Use

Why do librarians and teachers—the very professionals who specialize in information literacy, equitable access to information, and the advancement of learning—have so many anxieties and misconceptions about copyright? Many of us harbor an unfounded fear of copyright litigation. “Better safe than sorry” is a frequent assertion. But that attitude can keep users and creators of […]