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Shaking Up Science

At Roanoke (Va.) Public Libraries’ 2023 Flip the Fair event, elementary school students discuss a research presentation on microbiology with a graduate student from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Photo: Amber Lowery On a school morning last September, small groups of 5th-graders crowded around tools connected to scientific research—a microscope, a robotic camera, and even a […]

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 […]

A Greener Way to Read

Summer reading program participants at Montgomery County (Md.) Public Libraries choose brand-new books to take home, courtesy of Friends of the Library, Montgomery County. Photo: Jason Turner/Montgomery County (Md.) Public Libraries Summer reading program prizes are a fun way to spark children’s participation. But those prizes often consist of nonrecyclable plastic items that—once the fun has […]

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) […]

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 […]

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 […]

Talking Points

Courtney Waters (left), youth services manager at Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City, Missouri, learns fencing moves from a Guild of Knightly Arts instructor.Photo: Photo: Mariah Luebbering When Courtney Waters saw young patrons taking an interest in fantasy and medieval history, she decided to introduce sword fighting at her library. “I’m always looking to […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Winning Case

A kiosk at Cleveland Public Library’s (CPL) South branch. CPL has four Neighborhood Housing Court kiosks throughout the city to assist residents who need to attend hearings. The economic impact of the past few years has disproportionately affected renters across the country. In the second half of 2021—when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention […]

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 […]

True Colors

Teen artist-in-residence Celia Hamilton uses the studio at Carmel Clay (Ind.) Public Library (top left) to plan and execute a photoshoot of herself wearing her fashion designs (right). Photos: Carmel Clay (Ind.) Public Library Celia Hamilton wanted to identify further with her Chinese heritage. Her adoptive parents are not Chinese, and she says this left […]

Tranquil Tones

Patrons at Mt. Lebanon Public Library (MLPL) in Pittsburgh play with a tongue drum, rain stick, and singing bowls—instruments used during MLPL’s sound bath sessions. Photo: Katie Donahoe After talking with students who were grappling with mental health challenges, Katie Donahoe wanted to do something to help. Donahoe, teen librarian at Mt. Lebanon Public Library […]

A New Start

The spring 2023 cohort of Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library’s entrepreneurship program celebrates after completing a six-month course to help cohort members start their own businesses. Photo: Gwinnett County (Ga.) Public Library More than 1.8 million people in the United States were incarcerated in a prison or jail at the end of 2021, according to […]

By the Numbers: Toys

A catalog from the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play in Rochester, New York. 230,000Number of volumes available at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, located at Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The museum is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame. The library houses books, […]