Over the past six decades, the media, local and state governments, professional associations, and civic organizations of all kinds have apologized for doing little or nothing while black people were beaten, jailed, and sometimes killed for standing up for their civil rights. The numerous confrontations over integrating public libraries in the South, however, have largely gone unrecognized.It’s long past time that library organizations and individual libraries do something to recognize the black kids—many of them still alive like Joan Mattison Daniel—who risked their lives at this critical time. Here are some of their stories. READ MORE
At George Washington High School’s (VA) student library around 2:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, students are busy. Some are looking for books, while others work on research projects on the computers.Around all of the activity, librarians Haley Walters and Kim Roberson say the activity points to a singular belief: in an age of smartphones and evolving technology, school libraries still matter.  “We have a lot of kids who just enjoy reading,” Walters said.Walters leveraged that enthusiasm for reading into a grant proposal for the American Association of School Librarians’ Inspire Collection Development Grant, and submitted the grant just before winter break.Recently, the library organization announced GW was one of six recipients of the grant. The school will receive $3,000 to improve its selection. READ MORE
Kathryn Cole, school librarian at Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, N.C. has maximized her resources to make her library is not only available to all students, but that those students make the most of their educational opportunities.According to her nominator for the award, Nancy Zeman, Cole “helps all students in this diversely populated school build literate lives” by creating opportunities for them to identify as readers, encouraging curiosity and exploration through literature and fostering positive relationships with the community.She has especially distinguished herself in her work with underserved students within the school, making sure all students have equal access.  Her dedication to that mission is evident in her summer reading program. She has worked diligently to combat the summer learning loss known as “the summer slide.” READ MORE
Libraries have gained a reputation as places of escape for many.  Recently, libraries have been encouraging their patrons to engage in a different form of escape.Libraries are utilizing the concept of “escape rooms” to inspire patrons and tap their creativity by converting library spaces into arenas for collaborative gaming and problem solving. And in college libraries, they are even used as tools to teach students how to use the library for research.An escape room, as described on the site of the University of North Texas Digital Library, is “an immersive, real-life gaming experience where participants are given a role in a story, and must solve a series of puzzles to accomplish a goal and escape the room. Escape rooms require players to interact with elements within a room to reveal hidden information in a string of puzzles, and to solve each within a set timeframe to succeed.” READ MORE
Kate Coleman worked with nearly 500 homeless people at Minneapolis (MN) Central Library last year. But whenever one homeless person asks if she's ever met another homeless person like him or her, her answer is always "no." "Every single person that I encounter is different," she said.Coleman works full time at the downtown library as part of a years long effort by the Hennepin County Library system to better help the homeless connect with tools and resources in the area.  Library staff often receive requests from patrons about homeless services that are beyond a librarian's knowledge, said Lois Langer Thompson, director of the library system. READ MORE
Sometimes when you’re researching items from the past, there are historical mysteries you just can’t figure out.  And sometimes, the answer is right at your fingertips.Such was the case for identifying a “thing” that’s been sitting on a shelf in the Arda Haenszel California Room of the Feldheym Library in San Bernardino (CA) for longer than anybody can remember.One day, Sue Payne, who has volunteered at the local history room for more than 20 years, decided she would try to determine the purpose of this black metal object with a handle and 18 inches of rope. It has the words “Armstrong Power Studios” written on it.Payne would take photos of the object with her during vacation trips, hoping to find someone who recognized it. She even showed it to officials at a mechanical museum in Weaverville, in far northern California, but with no success. READ MORE
Summer is almost here! With it comes summer vacations, busier public libraries, and an influx of children and teens looking for things to do and materials to use. In addition, many libraries have begun to be involved with summer food programs. While these programs often come about as part of a push toward meeting area needs and community engagement, there is an argument to be made that engaging in summer food programs helps libraries fulfill their mission as agents and protectors of intellectual freedom.The Article V of the Library Bill of Rights states, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.” When it comes to the summer food programs provided by the federal government, both age and background come into play. READ MORE
The exponential growth of data in our hyper-connected world raises a number of questions, starting with: what do we do with all of it? In response, librarians innovate and collaborate to serve their communities as they endeavor to locate, gather, analyze, and make meaning of information. As champions of both information access and privacy, librarians also build the capacities of communities to understand privacy implications and take measures to protect their own privacy as well as those of subjects whose data they gather. READ MORE
Libraries are welcoming spaces that promote diversity, equity and inclusion.This is especially evident as, for the third year, the American Library Association marks June as GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, this occasion is an opportunity for book lovers and libraries with the very best in GLBT literature.  GLBT Book Month™ is coordinated through the ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.The ALA supports GLBT literature through the Stonewall Book Awards, as well as two bibliographies including Rainbow Books and Over the Rainbow Books. These awards not only recognize the very best in contemporary literature, but also provide a foundation for quality GLBT collections in our nation’s libraries. READ MORE
Art that’s inspired by a good book can be interesting.In Meg Wolitzer’s celebrated 2013 novel, “The Interestings,” a gaggle of teenagers at a summer arts camp bond together in that amazingly intense way that only summer campers can. Love, rivalry, hero worship and enduring dreams for the future all sprout. So do years of unexpected consequences and soul-searching about what it means to be ordinary versus what it means to be special and truly “interesting.”The Camas Public Library’s bimonthy Book-to-Art club is special and interesting. Its mission is not just to get people reading and talking — it’s also to get them creating. It was started by librarian Judy Wile, who has run a monthly “Saturday Adult Craft-o-Rama” at the library for years. In that group, Wile selects a project and everybody tries it. READ MORE