A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
people playing video game

Minecraft as a Historical Education Tool

Minecraft has taken over many households and libraries over the past several years. “To date, Minecraft has been downloaded more than 60 million times and is so popular that videos just discussing the game on YouTube attract 2.4 billion views.”[1] Libraries have incorporated this game into many of their yearly programs, and sessions about the innovative game have been given at conferences across the country.

airmail envelopes

Sending Books, Other Goods a Great Way for Libraries, Patrons to Contribute to Troops’ Mental Health

When deployed overseas, military service members can end up with a lot of downtime on their hands. Many struggle to fill the idle time with activities that contribute to their mental and physical well-being and even further their career aspirations. There is a growing concern about treating service members’ mental health issues when they return from deployment, but how do we contribute to improving or maintaining their mental health while they’re deployed overseas?

The product of the author's stress-knitting. Courtesy of Kimberly Knight

Roaring Back from Rejection: Managing the Peaks and Valleys of Your Library Career

During my two decades in public libraries, I’ve had a few dark valleys—failures, rejections, malaise—in the midst of many more soaring triumphs. I experienced a particularly dark valley some years ago. I found myself worn down and not sure of the next path to take in my career.


Music in the Library

Since—and perhaps before—public libraries started building auditoriums in their libraries, we have had music programs for the public. Some of these programs started back in the 1940s; possibly earlier. One of the first noted concert series in libraries was that of the Composers Forum. Under the joint auspices of Columbia University and the New York Public Library, contemporary American composers in 1947 gave concerts until 1977 in the Donnell Library, a branch of the New York Public Library, and in Columbia’s McMillin Theater (now the Miller Theater).

chairs in a meeting room

Library Meeting Room Conflicts

In February of 2016, the Nashville Public Library informed the local chapter of Black Lives Matter that they would not be able to continue hosting meetings in the library, as their policy of excluding non-black participants conflicts with the library’s meeting room policies. The Nashville chapter had been meeting there monthly since October 2015.


Avoiding Your Patrons’ Spam Filters

For those who receive many unsolicited emails, spam filters are a blessing and a great tool for keeping mail organized. But for a moment, let’s switch to the perspective of the bulk mail provider. From this perspective, spam filters can become problematic. Here are some tips to make your emails look less suspicious to a spam filter.

Modern Meeting Room

Meeting Rooms of the Future

Japan is known for advanced technology, lively pop culture, and its deep and ancient history. Many people do not likely think of libraries, however, when considering Japan’s contributions to its society and to the world. One Japanese university is changing the way information professionals and students alike view university library aesthetics and design, prompting a new view of the user experience in academic libraries.

computer with a chain around it

Privacy Laws, Libraries, and Librarians

This post provides a short list of resources for public libraries to consider when dealing with privacy policies and cases.

National Library Legislative Day Logo

Virtual Library Legislative Day

National Library Legislative Days are scheduled for May 2–3, 2016. If you have plans to travel to Washington, DC, that’s terrific! If such a trip isn’t in your budget or doesn’t seem worth your time—we have a solution tailored for you.

British Flag

Cuts Too Deep? England’s Public Libraries in Trouble

Since 2010, spending cuts have drastically affected public libraries in the United Kingdom, particularly in England.[1] A BBC investigation discovered a startling trend: In the past six years, almost eight thousand paid staff have lost their jobs, which amounts to 25 percent of the total working force. In that same time period, over 340 libraries have closed, with at least another hundred slotted to close in the next year. Additionally, over 170 libraries have been “transferred to community groups,” which means that they are solely run by volunteers. The use of volunteers is the only number that has increased (by fifteen thousand) since 2010.[2] Is this trend signifying the end of UK public libraries?

person holding several moving boxes

The Top Three Challenges of Library Relocation

Due to a renovation project for some much needed building repairs, my library was forced to temporarily relocate. Our approximately 65,000-item collection was reduced to a little over 4,000 available items. We left our 4,900 square foot space to set up temporary residence in approximately 300 square feet. The transition process took four weeks. We hired a company to pack our collection for storage, but all other packing, including what we were moving or needed accessible was done by staff. We are now settled in and hope to return home in the fall.

story time

(Don’t) Break a Leg: Children’s Librarian as Performer

Newsflash! If you are a children’s librarian, then you are a performer. As such, there are things you can do to make your “performances” really special. This post will focus on the most universal of library performances: storytime.

row of prison cells

Collaboration Changes the Lives of the Incarcerated

What happens when you combine thirteen students, a librarian, and a furniture design professor and put them in jail? Creativity, collaboration, and design. That’s exactly the formula for success that New York Public Library’s Correction Services Managing Librarian, Sarah Ball, looked for when she contacted the Parsons School of Design. She was looking for a way to update the makeshift carts NYPL was using at Rikers Island and the Manhattan Correctional Facility.

ala logo

Voting for 2016 ALA Elections Closes Tomorrow!

ALA members can vote through April 22, 2016. Balloting information was sent to all members via email; if you are a member and have not received this email, you can call ALA Customer Service at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5. PLA members are also electing future leadership via this election; read more about all of the candidates at the link below. Elections will be certified on April 29, and the results will be announced afterwards.


Library of Congress Shares Rosa Parks Collection

.A collection of 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs relating to civil rights icon Rosa Parks is now available for public viewing, thanks to the Library of Congress and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation. The Foundation has loaned the collection to the Library of Congress for ten years. Buffet, son of billionaire Warren Buffet, bought the items at auction after a long legal fight between Parks’ heirs and friends. Parks died in Detroit in 2005. At the time of purchase in 2014, Buffet told the Associated Press, “I’m only trying to do one thing: preserve what’s there for the public’s benefit. … I doubt that she would want to have her stuff sitting in a box with people fighting over them.”