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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 […]

By the Numbers: Older American...

Photo: ©Lightfield Studios/Adobe Stock May is Older Americans Month. 1963Year President John F. Kennedy established Senior Citizens Month, now called Older Americans Month. 2030Year when all baby boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—will be at least 65 years old. 43%Percentage of baby boomers in the US who visited a public library or bookmobile over a […]

Getting Organized

Northwestern University Library workers marched across the Evanston, Illinois, campus to declare their union. Photo: SEIU Local 73 At noon on October 12, 2021, more than 130 library workers at Northwestern University met at the Rock, a well-known gathering space on the Evanston, Illinois, campus. They had decided to march to the provost’s office to […]

Relief for Renters

Elgin (Ill.) Area Pandemic Team members Anamaria Mora (seated, left) and Susan Tuominen provide information at Gail Borden Public Library District. They are part of a broader program set up by the state’s health department to connect communities with resources related to pandemic challenges. Photo: Laura Espinoza In spring 2021, a family of eight from […]

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 […]

By the Numbers: Food

A Charlie Cart mobile kitchen. Illustration: The Charlie Cart Project 350Number of classes offered annually through Free Library of Philadelphia’s (FLP) Culinary Literacy Center. According to FLP, this kitchen classroom is the first of its kind created at a public library in the US. $9,000Amount that Chattanooga (Tenn.) Public Library spent on a Charlie Cart—a […]

Acing the Interview

The Virtual Interview Lab at Do Space in Omaha, Nebraska, is equipped with a computer, webcam, microphone, and ring light.Photo: Do Space An estimated 19 million Americans—or 6% of the population—still lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. And as more job interviews have moved online during the pandemic, those without access face a […]

By the Numbers: United Nations...

Map indicating the 50 countries that participated in the UN Conference on International Organization at San Francisco in 1945. Photo: ©United Nations (2021), digitallibrary.un.org 50Number of countries represented at the United Nations (UN) Conference on International Organization in San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945. Representatives wrote a charter for the UN with […]

By the Numbers: Juneteenth

A band celebrates Juneteenth in Austin, Texas, in 1900. Photo: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library 19Date in June when Juneteenth, the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US, is observed. The holiday is also sometimes called Freedom Day or Emancipation Day. 1865Year that US General Gordon Granger arrived with […]

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Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library’s StoryWalk participants read a page from picture book Jonathan and His Mommy last summer. Photo: Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library Last year, Danielle Anguish, children’s services manager at Henderson County (Ky.) Public Library (HCPL), was tasked with coordinating a summer literacy activity for kids from seven elementary schools and four […]

Aging Masterfully

Prior to the pandemic, Amy DelPo (center), administrator of older adult services at Denver Public Library, led in-person programs for seniors. Photo: Denver Public Library More than one in five people in the United States—or 73 million—is a baby boomer, according to the Census Bureau. By 2030, all boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—will be […]

Newsmaker: Isabel Allende

Photo: Lori Barra Since her first novel, The House of the Spirits, was published in 1982, Isabel Allende has written frequently about the interior lives of women. Her latest book, The Soul of a Woman (Ballantine Books, March), is a collection of essays that follows the trajectory of Allende’s life and evolving approach to feminism—as […]

By the Numbers: Deaf History a...

Deaf actor Linda Bove played Linda the Librarian on Sesame Street for 31 years. Photo illustration: YouTube (screenshot); ©R. Gino Santa Maria/Adobe Stock (television) 15Number of years National Deaf History Month has been celebrated. In 2006, the American Library Association (ALA) and National Association of the Deaf announced the month would be observed March 13–April […]

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, […]

Fighting the Spread

©wei/Adobe Stock When the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading throughout the US in early 2020, Jessica Daly, consumer health librarian at hospital network Orlando (Fla.) Health, knew it was time for her—and other information specialists in the medical field—to step up. “As medical professionals and librarians, we tell people what to do, but we don’t often […]