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Working for Well-Being

Photo: ©SewcreamStudio/Adobe Stock Social workers who connect patrons to needed physical and emotional care. Quiet rooms for rest and relaxation. Robotic pets that purr away patrons’ anxieties. And grief groups to support patrons over the holidays. Over the past decade, mental health support in libraries has grown more inventive, specific, and widespread. Institutions continue to […]

Sip, Sip, Hooray

Staff members from Collier County (Fla.) Public Library dressed for a Bridgerton-themed high tea. Photo: Collier County (Fla.) Public Library On a leisurely Saturday afternoon, guests draped in Regency-era fashion—lightweight muslin and chiffon, adorned with delicate lace and ribbons—converge in an airy hall to indulge in a spread of tea, elaborate pastries, cakes crowned with […]

The Spice of Life

In February, Maynard (Mass.) Public Library featured fenugreek as its spice of the month. The library started its spice club in January 2022. Photo: Maynard (Mass.) Public Library Once a month, the aromas of unique herbs and spices waft through Maynard (Mass.) Public Library (MPL). These spices accent dishes like sweet and spicy tahini noodles, […]

Librarian’s Pet

Sister Stella, a resident of Queen of Peace, a retirement community for nuns, plays with Henry. The robotic dog belongs to Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Illinois.Photo: Liz Kristan Liz Kristan wanted to bring four-legged friends to patrons who needed them the most. Kristan, outreach services coordinator at Ela Area Public Library (EAPL) […]

A Monumental Task

A nearly 100-year-old headstone that was revived as part of Christian County (Mo.) Library’s Uncovering History: Gravestone Cleaning program.Photo: Christian County (Mo.) Library During the pandemic, Christian County (Mo.) Library was looking to launch an ongoing service series that would bring staffers and patrons together outdoors. So it turned to some of the rural area’s […]

By the Numbers: Inventors

Photo: University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor May is National Inventors Month 135,850Number of items in the Edison Sheet Music Collection, housed at University of Michigan Library in Ann Arbor. Thomas Edison, who invented the phonograph in 1877, spearheaded this collection as a way for his phonograph company to select vocal and instrumental scores […]

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 […]

Considering Cannabis

The legalization of marijuana in many states and municipalities in recent years has created a newly legal industry and budding entrepreneurs who can benefit from the expertise of business librarians. As soon as Washington state introduced an initiative to legalize recreational cannabis use in 2012, Seattle Public Library (SPL) librarian Jay Lyman started fielding questions […]

Meeting Neurodiverse Needs

Participants at LifeWorks, a residential community for neurodiverse young adults, hold bags from Warren County (Ky.) Public Library (WCPL). WCPL recently opened a satellite branch at LifeWorks.Photo: Warren County (Ky.) Public Library To fill in service gaps exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Warren County (Ky.) Public Library (WCPL) opened four satellite libraries. These one-room, full-service satellites, […]

By the Numbers: Recycling

Meridian (Idaho) Library District’s Tiny Library. 75%Percentage of recycled material required for each item featured in Mattapoisett (Mass.) Free Public Library’s RE-ART show, held in September 2023. Among the pieces local artists submitted: a robe constructed with upcycled quilts and a purse made from a vintage book. 1,000Number of volunteers who support the annual book […]

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 […]

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 […]

Spirit-Free Spaces

Adult patrons sample an array of sober cocktails at Grand Forks (N.Dak.) Public Library’s Music and Mocktails event in October 2023. The event brought together residents, local businesses, and live musicians. Photo: Windland Photography Alcohol-free events have gained significant traction in recent years. It’s a trend reflected in the growing popularity of wellness challenges like […]

Hot Topic

Aydin Kwan, adult services librarian at Sunnyvale (Calif.) Public Library (SPL), uses an induction cooktop available for loan. Since March 2021, SPL has circulated 12 cooktop kits nearly 300 times. Photo: Neha Paralkar When the existing gas range in his home began to malfunction, Brian Bunk considered replacing it with an induction stove. That decision, he […]

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 […]

Holiday Healing

Photo: Adobe Stock Though often referred to as the most wonderful time of year, the holidays can be the exact opposite for those mourning the loss of family or friends. El Progreso Memorial Library (EPML) in Uvalde, Texas, is one of an increasing number of libraries, with help from community partners, organizing programming about handling […]