By Steve Zalusky

Today’s libraries are changing to fulfill the needs of a digital society.  This is no less true for the nation’s oldest cultural institution, the Library of Congress, a fact verified by the confirmation of Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th librarian of Congress.

Hayden, former president of the American Library Association and director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland, is the first female and the first African American to lead the Library of Congress.

She also is the first professional librarian to be confirmed in more than 60 years, a distinction she bears with pride.  “Of all the titles I have had in my professional career, I am most proud to be called a librarian. And it...

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by Timothy Inklebarger, courtesy of American Libraries

Homemade concert fliers printed from an unguarded copy machine. Custom jean jacket patches for bands Transilvia, You and I, and The Degenerics. A set list from a 1982 Smithereens show stored away with a torn ticket stub. It’s the ephemera of a bygone era, before the internet or social networking, when building a fan base in a local music scene was a band’s best chance at getting broader recognition.

The do-it-yourself ethos of the local music scene tells a story of dissent from mainstream culture, says Rutgers University media studies doctoral student Frank Bridges, who...

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The Hartford (Conn.) Public Library has a long history with community engagement; it regularly sponsors community dialogues and youth forums. So after learning residents from a disadvantaged neighborhood felt underserved and misrepresented, the library jumped at the chance to strengthen the neighborhood’s bond to the rest of the city. Hartford’s North End consists of a group of neighborhoods with some of the lowest income levels in the United States. To learn more about the community, the library hosted a series of small “kitchen table-style” conversations in the area. Instead of starting the conversations with a list of problems, staff members asked North End residents how they envision their ideal community.

“That became a very, very...

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By Steve Zalusky

At Armstrong Elementary School Eastover, North Carolina, more than 60 percent of the children receive free or reduced price school lunch.  Although poverty is perceived to be a predictor of low academic success, the students at Armstrong, despite high levels of poverty, excel in reading and library use.

A major factor is the school librarian, Leslie Koch, whose work garnered her an I Love My Librarian Award in 2015.  The numbers provide strong testimony to the success of her efforts.

During the 2014-15 school year, among the 400 students, the library circulated more than 32,500 books, an average of more than 81 books per student over the course of the year, or greater than nine books per month per...

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Review of the Day


Butler, Robert Olen (author).
Sept. 2016. 288p. Atlantic Monthly, hardcover, $25 (9780802125750).
REVIEW. First published July, 2016 (Booklist). Life has a way of slipping by when we’re not looking. Secrets stay hidden, slowly eroding the truth between people, and then, again and again, we fail to act, further solidifying the barriers that keep us from one another and from ourselves. So it is in Butler’s latest novel, a deeply meditative reflection on aging and love, as seen through the prism of one family quietly torn asunder by the lingering effects of the Vietnam War. Robert is a 70-year-old academic, and his wife, Darla, also a professor, is 67; over decades, their lives have drifted into the...
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Legislative Action Center: Take action for libraries

Root for Columbus Campaign Transforms Community with Creative Projects

Headed by Library Director Cindy Fesemyer, the Columbus Public Library initiated a “Root for Columbus” campaign to bring the community together. The library started hosting community conversations, and staff members acted as natural facilitators by listening to residents and organizations. Through the discussions, the library found most people wanted to try new tactics to improve the community.....READ MORE


Libraries Transform

Michael Eric Dyson: "Libraries are churches of literacy."

Michael Eric Dyson: "Libraries are churches of literacy."

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I Love My Librarian 2016 Award
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