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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 Afterma1

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 T1

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 […]

Bookend: History Rolls On

Monique Sugimoto, librarian and archivist for Palos Verdes Library District’s Local History Center, points out over the coast. Photo: Erik Jay From housing former military installations to settling neighborhood squabbles over lighthouse design to becoming overpopulated with wild peacocks, Palos Verdes Peninsula, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, is full of history. Monique Sugimoto, […]

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. […]

Emerging Leaders: Where Are Th1

The American Library Association’s (ALA) annual Emerging Leaders (ELs) program recognizes the best and brightest new leaders in the library profession, allowing them to get on a fast track at the Association by participating in planning groups, networking, gaining an inside look at ALA structure, and serving in leadership capacities early in their careers. At […]

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 […]

Users at the Center of Everyth1

Photo: ©Monkey Business/Adobe Stock In her professional life, coauthor Lauren Stara has worked for three architectural firms, one zoo, one multinational corporation, two museums, five universities, three public libraries, and one state library agency. She has also done freelance work or consulting in both architecture and librarianship. Over those 32 years, she has worked in […]

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 […]

Meet the 2021 I Love My Librar1

The American Library Association (ALA) announced 10 winners of its I Love My Librarian Award on January 11. Recipients were nominated by patrons nationwide for their expertise, dedication, and profound impact on the people in their communities. “During an unprecedentedly challenging year, librarians have risen to the occasion, providing much-needed resources to their communities from […]

2021 Midwinter Preview

The American Library Association’s (ALA) 2021 Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits Virtual, originally scheduled for January 22–26 in Indianapolis, was always planned as a transitional event that would lead to an innovative new conference concept in 2022. The pandemic, however, necessitated bigger changes than anticipated, as ALA announced in August that this year’s meeting would be […]

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 […]