A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
hand parting blinds

Librarians Stand for Right to Privacy and Freedom of Speech

“Privacy is the right to a free mind. Without privacy, you can’t have anything for yourself. Saying you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”[2] Those powerful words reverberate what librarians have been preaching for so long.

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The Transformative Possibilities of Libraries

Libraries are an important part of our democratic society. They serve as centers of knowledge as well as places where anyone can look for a job, get homework help, or attend an event.

Light bulb illustration

Shaking Things Up at Your Library

Let’s start with a gross generalization: Libraries as an institution seem to prefer conformity within our organizations; but librarians as a profession also strive to counter conformity. We cater our services to various nonconformists, and provide service to those who want to learn something new on taboo topics, or to have access to materials they may have been denied elsewhere. We will fight to the death for the rights we all have to express ourselves, and privacy is very important to us. But as a profession, we shy away from change. Even the most forward thinking librarians can be afraid to rock the boat. Let’s face it, we embrace the rules.

Manga monster character on purple background

New York Comic Con 2016

I have always wanted to go to New York Comic Con but haven’t so far as it always seemed like it might be too crowded and I also felt that it was too expensive. However, this year I found out about the Pro Pass which is given free of charge to professionals, such as teachers and library workers.

diverse people standing around a globe

Making the Library a Positive Place for LGBTQIA Patrons

Public libraries have seen a lot of change in the last three decades: the advent of the Internet and modern computer, the creation of the OPAC/ILS (bye-bye card catalog), the burgeoning eBook industry, and the rise of self-published authors, to name a handful. What hasn’t changed is the ongoing plight of the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Allied) community and the fact that they are often not provided relevant resources in public libraries.

illustration of books on green background

Sure Bet Bests: Matching Readers With Their “Best” Reads

The end of each year brings a deluge of lists with everyone and their neighbor weighing in on what are the “best” books. But are this year’s “best” titles a sure bet to recommend to your readers? And what happens in a few months? What lists can we fall back on as we work with readers no matter the season?

group of young people with 'volunteer' shirts on

The Challenges of Using Volunteers in The Library

When money is tight, libraries frequently look to volunteers to help get work done. Even if money isn’t tight, free labor is hard to ignore. However, is it really free? In this article we discuss the challenges that come with using library volunteers.

Author Photo: Jade Chang

Jade Chang On “The Wangs Vs. The World”

Jade Chang’s novel The Wangs Vs. The World traces the rollicking road trip of a brilliant family. The story kicks off when Charles Wang, a wealthy industrialist, loses all his money in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse. Left without a place to stay, he gathers up his two youngest children: Andrew, a college student who dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian, and Grace, a death-obsessed teenager with a thriving fashion blog. They pile into an ancient Mercedes station wagon to drive cross country to the home of the oldest sibling, Saina, a conceptual artist reeling from a devastating break-up. As the characters adjust to their diminished financial means, they also navigate new territories in their personal lives as well. The New York Times praised the book as “unendingly clever” while Newsday called it “a firecracker of a debut.” Jade Chang spoke to Brendan Dowling via telephone on October 27th, 2016.

kid reading book on floor in library between rows of library shelves

Bringing the Library Home: Mixed Income Housing and Libraries

Thanks to a partnership between the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), mixed income housing developments will house small libraries.

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The Paper Conundrum

Every day I see people in the library printing out electronic communications so they can review and have the information on paper: bank statements, emails, receipts, coupons, directions. People like paper, which brings me to a conundrum for my library.

november calendar page

November is National Novel Writing Month

It’s November and that means National Novel Writing Month is here again! Participating in National Novel Writing Month, or as it is more commonly known, NaNoWriMo, is a great way for public libraries to support aspiring authors.

girl perusing library stacks

A Card for Every Kid

This past September, the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library (CCPL) teamed up with eight other library systems to promote the “A Card for Every Kid” initiative, which aimed to raise awareness of the importance of library card ownership for children and teens. During September, every library in the county actively encouraged children and teens to sign up for a free library card, and offered one-time fine forgiveness to children and teens who were been blocked or barred from using their library cards because they owed fines.

row of old books

What’s In Your Secret Library Stash?

Libraries in northern New Jersey recently gave up some secrets to Jim Beckerman, staff writer for The Record. They shared some of the unusual items that live in ‘library limbo.’ For a variety of reasons, these items aren’t circulating, but librarians just can’t bring themselves to toss them away.

a laptop and a stack of books

Online Education: Connected or Disconnected?

Online coursework is becoming more prevalent across higher education, and this is especially the case in MLIS programs. When I began working towards my master’s in 2011, online programs were already popular; now, they seem even more ubiquitous. A recent article in Slate, “An Online Education Disconnect” by Rachael Cusick, explores the pros and cons of this type of study, which inspired me to explore my own thoughts as well.

red chairs in a conference room

Updating the ALA Annual Conference

There comes a time in almost every organization or program when the question must be asked, “How can we make this better?” In the case of the ALA Conference that time is now.