A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
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A Different Kind of Proposal: Weddings in the Library

Liverpool Central Library proposes weddings as a new revenue stream.

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Check out Seeds at the Library

Recent research shows that many public libraries now manage seed libraries. This unique kind of “library of things” has many benefits for libraries and for the communities they serve.

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A.J. Baime on Truman’s “Completely Different Avenue of the American Dream”

A.J. Baime’s “The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World” dives deep into the tumultuous first four months of Truman’s presidency. Tracing Truman’s rise from failed farmer to leader of the free world, Baime constructs a compelling argument that no other President has ever faced such a fraught entrance into the office.

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EasyJet Brings Children’s Books to the Sky

Over the last summer EasyJet unveiled their “flybraries” or flying libraries, hoping to encourage young passengers to read more.

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Jessica Yu on Gladys Kalibbala and the Value of the Small Act

Jessica Yu’s “Garden of the Lost and Abandoned” tracks the work of Gladys Kalibbala, a Ugandan reporter whose weekly column on missing children works to reunite her subjects with their families. Equal parts detective, social worker, and child advocate, Kalibbala hunts down the origin of each child’s story, working tirelessly to find a solution for each child’s predicament. Yu brings her skills as a documentary filmmaker (she won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short for “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien”) to bring Kalibballa’s story to life. While “Garden of Lost and Abandoned” is her first book, it has been met with rapturous praise. Kirkus Reviews called it “an eloquent affirmation of the vast capacity of the human heart,” while Amazon selected it as one of its Best Books of the Month: Nonfiction. Yu spoke to Brendan Dowling via telephone on November 6th, 2017.

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The Importance of Teaching Adult Services Librarians to Teach

“But, librarians aren’t teachers.” This was one of the first (and most common) comments I encountered when I began my research. “Degree-wise, yes. But,” I asked, “are they instructors?” Do most libraries (read this as librarians) have to walk someone through a process, whether it be how to download and use an app, reserve a book or a room, or access and use library databases? What about programs and classes? Most libraries today are offering a variety of choices to their adult communities: help with résumés, genealogy, technology. Name a topic, and some library in the United States is probably offering a class or program. Do these all count as teaching? Of course they do.

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New Podcast! Public Service Loan Forgiveness with Kyra Hahn

Librarian Kyra Hahn shares her experiences navigating the intense bureaucracy of the Federal Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and provides tips, advice, and explanations that can make the process easier for applicants.

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Phil Harrison on Finding the Joy in the Darkness of his New Novel

Phil Harrison’s novel The First Day spans decades in tracing the fallout caused by a tumultuous love affair in Belfast. When Beckett scholar Anna meets local pastor Orr in 2012, they embark on a passionate relationship despite their profound differences, thus permanently altering their families’ lives. Thirty years later, their son Sam must deal with the aftershocks of their relationship as he navigates his carefully isolated life in New York City. Publishers Weekly noted “Harrison’s remarkable writing elevates a story that is all the more powerful for its eschewing of easy answers and resolution,” while Kirkus raved that “Harrison’s elegant prose and deeply felt characters create a novel with a fiercely beating heart.”

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The Library Needs Laughter

As library leaders, we need to do better, be funnier, and use humor liberally especially when times are tough and things are hard. Your staff, and ultimately your patrons, will thank you for it.

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Making Social Change: Promote Civility

The public library by our mission and place within communities across the country is in a position to help facilitate positive social change. 

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Anyone Can Make Homemade Pickles: Teaching Canning at the Library

As the homesteading and sustainability movement grows larger every year, a basic class in Canning and Preserving is just what your community library needs. Besides Raising Your Chickens and How to Live Off the Grid classes, canning and preserving is a hobby anyone can do in their home, with a minimal amount of cost.

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Writer-in-Residence Project at Québec Library

During the visit of the first floor, I noticed a study room with glass walls. Inside a man sat, concentrated, in front of a notebook and a large, colorful candy jar which immediately caught my attention. Our guide explained that he was Mathieu Blais, the current “writer-in-residence”

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Mindfulness in the Library

After suffering from burnout for a while, I took a professional development course on mindfulness through ALA’s Online Learning platform. I heard a lot about mindfulness meditation but never practiced it. I was in a difficult state but I am improving little by little.

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New Podcast! FYI 026 Guest Eric Motley Author of Madison Park: A Place of Hope

PLA’s Brendan Dowling Talks with Eric Motley, Executive Vice President, The Aspen Institute about his new book, “Madison Park: A Place of Hope.” Motley shares stories from his childhood and about the place he was raised, an African-American community established by freed slaves, and elaborates on how those experiences shaped his journey all the way to the Bush White House.

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The Best Meeting Ever

Have you ever asked your colleagues about the best meetings they’ve ever attended? While most of us have probably told war stories about mediocre to downright awful meetings, stopping to think about the very best meetings you’ve attended can be instructive.