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A Career Path for Youth

Photos: ©Merla/Adobe Stock (coffee shop); ©Monkey Business/Adobe Stock (workshop, kitchen); ©Daria Trofimova/Adobe Stock (garden) No question: The coronavirus pandemic has warped the educational path for today’s young adults, in turn affecting their readiness for the workforce. In the past, many young people have sought out part-time employment in areas such as the food service industry […]

A Sense of Support

When her son brought home speech cards from elementary school to help him better learn and articulate words, Jen Taggart could barely see what the cards depicted. The cards had been duplicated and the images were blurry, says Taggart, head of youth services at Bloomfield Township (Mich.) Public Library (BTPL). That experience more than 13 years […]

Period. End of Story.

Photo: Jenna Toulantis That time of the month.” “On the rag.” “Shark week.” The euphemisms range from coy to absurd, but library workers and others want to make talking about menstruation—and accessing products related to it—as straightforward and shame-free as discussing hand-washing. “The products are important, and normalizing the conversation is important,” says Eiko La […]

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 […]

An Uphill Battle

Patron Xander Dianen returns a wagon to Summers County (W.Va.) Public Library. The wagons help users without access to transportation carry groceries up a steep hill. Photo: Austin Persinger/Summers County (W.Va.) Public Library In November 2021, the Hinton (W.Va.) Police Department took to Facebook with a complaint. The department said shopping carts abandoned across the […]

The Last Mile

Illustration: David Alvarado For librarians working to overcome the digital divide in rural communities, understanding the value of—and urgent need for—broadband internet service is just a starting point. Grasping the details of the equipment and infrastructure necessary for high-quality service is another matter and can be a major stumbling block for librarians not steeped in […]

The 411 on Funding

Illustration: David Alvarado In January 2021, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Council passed a resolution declaring support for broadband as a human right. Yet the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that ­approximately 19 million Americans lack broadband access, and “even in areas where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe.” According […]

A Dream Team

Prince George’s County (Md.) Memorial Library System partnered with pro soccer team D.C. United in 2020 to create Talon’s Workout Tapes. Here, midfielder Russell Canouse and his dog Lola demonstrate an exercise. Last year, when kids were stuck at home during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, staffers at Prince George’s County (Md.) Memorial […]

By the Numbers: Love and Libra...

Stats to honor Valentine’s Day (February 14) and Random Acts of Kindness Week (February 13–19). 1,100Number of public submissions received for Love Letters in Light, a poetry project conceived by artist Leila Hamidi in partnership with Los Angeles County Library (LACL) and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. In May 2021, LED signs were […]

Put to the Test

Kathy McFadden (right), a staffer at Sussex County (Del.) Libraries, hands out rapid, at-home COVID-19 testing kits during a drive-through distribution event at Seaford (Del.) District Library in August 2021. Photo: Delaware Department of Libraries Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, libraries have served both informally and officially as public health partners, from 3D-printing […]

Referenda Roundup 2021

As Election Day approaches, American Libraries and the Public Library Association are partnering to track library referenda across the country to measure public support for libraries on the ground. Listed below are results that have appeared since last year’s report. Libraries notched many wins in 2021: In Illinois, the state’s April 6 election saw four […]

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 Movement Grows in Brooklyn

Items from the Greenpoint collection, including a newspaper, a photo of an implosion of natural gas storage tanks, and an award presented to Greenpoint Against Smell and Pollution. Photos: Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library, Brooklyn Collection Greenpoint, New York, a historically working-class Polish immigrant community, sits at the confluence of the East River and Newtown Creek, […]

Think Inside the Box

A kamishibai box is a small stage containing a sequence of cards that illustrate traditional folktales. Photo: Geo1208 The performance begins like this: Erica Siskind, librarian at Oakland (Calif.) Public Library, rides her bike to the front of the room, parks it, and pulls from her basket two sticks and a small wooden box. Clack, […]

Where Monarchs Reign

Human visitors explore the butterfly garden at Kokomo–Howard County (Ind.) Public Library’s South branch. Photo: Kokomo–Howard County (Ind.) Public Library When members of the Howard County (Ind.) Master Gardener Association became enchanted by the idea of creating a local butterfly habitat, their first stop was Kokomo–Howard County Public Library (KHCPL). Not for books and information […]

Tales as Old as Time

The Masterpiece Book Club at Chicago Public Library’s Vodak–East Side branch hosted a Miss Fisher–themed holiday party in 2015. Photo: Nancy Devlin Sheri Czulno, head library clerk at Chicago Public Library (CPL)’s Vodak–East Side branch, says she doesn’t consider herself much of a reader—but when she was asked to take over the branch’s Masterpiece Book […]