A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
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Age as a Factor in Programming

I had many parents and caregivers call in and ask what the recommended age for the program was. I find this question difficult to answer because children develop at their own rate. Compatibility is not a question of age, but of interest and focus.

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¿Como Puedo Ayudarle? How Can I Help You?

We gladly assisted wherever we could and not once did we ever inquire about their “legal” status. They came in, asked for assistance, and we provided that assistance to them.

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The Census Needs to Hire Half a Million People – Here’s How Libraries Can Help

Public libraries can play a central role in helping community members learn about and apply for these jobs, and a new tip sheet from the ALA can help.

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Mike Wallace Is Here, A Review

This documentary succeeds in part because of Director Avi Belkin’s skillful use of archival footage to show us how Wallace interacted with public figures ranging from Richard Nixon and Vladimir Putin to Malcolm X and Barbara Streisand.

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Performance Evaluations: What Not to Do

Managers, avoid these common pitfalls, and stop stressing over employee reviews.

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Andrea Pitzer on Concentration Camps, Library Neutrality, and Combating Misinformation

The author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps talks with Public Libraries Online about Concentration Camps and the Challenges of Combating Misinformation

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Peers — In Their Own Words

Over the past ten years public libraries around the country have been bringing in social workers to connect with and assist customers experiencing life challenges. Some library systems have added social workers to the staff while other systems partner with government agencies and nonprofit organizations that detail a social worker to the library. From Alaska […]

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Library’s 3D Printer Makes a Difference

As the presence of 3-D printers grows in public libraries across the nation, patrons utilize them for custom orders and librarians continue to question and discover new ways for their usage to be incorporated into library programming and the overall mission of building community.

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Creative Learning @ Your Library

The Public Library Innovation Exchange Fosters Creativity and STEAM Programming  Central to the mission of public libraries is the facilitation of self-directed learning for all members of the community.  Now more than ever, learning includes not just the ability to consume information in the form of text, but the ability to create and share information […]

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“You Don’t Know How Unique Your Own Mother is Until You’re Out in the World” — Bridgett M. Davis on Her Heartwarming Memoir

In The World According to Frannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, Bridgett M. Davis traces the extraordinary life of her mother, a glamorous businesswoman who ran a thriving Numbers enterprise in Detroit for over thirty years. Frannie Davis arrived in Detroit in 1958 as a young mother with little prospects to support a growing family. She quickly transformed a $100 loan from her brother into a prosperous Numbers venture, serving as a de facto banker, bookie, and counselor for her neighborhood. With luminous prose, Davis delves into her mother’s life, providing an insider’s look at the Numbers world and a sweeping look at Detroit’s evolving landscape in the sixties and seventies.

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Measuring Civic Impact a Theme of Knight Public Spaces Forum

Just before the 2019 ALA Annual Conference, it was my pleasure to participate in the first-ever Knight Public Spaces Forum in Philadelphia. More than 250 people from across the country, including staff from parks, community foundations, libraries, and arts organizations, joined Knight Foundation staff and government leaders to discuss our civic commons and efforts to […]

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Unlikely Mentors and Cultural Malaise: Maureen Stanton on her Powerful Memoir

Maureen Stanton probes her dark teenage years with compassion and insight in her new memoir, Body Leaping Backwards: Memoir of A Delinquent Girlhood. Stanton grew up in a boisterous family in 1970s Walpole, Massachusetts, a working-class community where the local prison loomed large in each citizen’s life. Yet when her parents divorce, Maureen and her family find themselves reeling not only from the seismic shifts in their personal lives, but from the political and cultural changes in the country as well. Maureen’s mother, a devout woman who puts herself through college as a single mother, soon finds herself resorting to shoplifting in order to put food on the table. Maureen, meanwhile, experiments with angel dust and dabbles in delinquency, skipping school and breaking into nearby homes. Stanton combines rigorous historical research with acute perception, crafting a memoir that takes a clear-eyed look at adolescence.

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Casey McQuiston on Nora Ephron, History Nerds, and Full Circle Moments at her Library

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue spins an irresistible premise— what if the son of the U.S. President fell in love with the Prince of Wales— into one of the summer’s most pleasurable reads. Alex Claremont-Davis breezes through life as the son of the United States’ first female President, but he’s brought up short by a contentious relationship with the straight-laced Prince Henry. After a disastrous run-in involving a Royal wedding cake, both men must pose as friends in order to rehabilitate their images. This false friendship soon uncovers very real feelings, and the two men unexpectedly find themselves falling in love. What follows is equal parts swoony romance and adept political comedy that has delighted critics and readers alike.

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Flatter, Focused, and Community Led – Public Library Staffing Continues to Evolve

21st century public libraries are adapting their internal structures to serve their patrons and communities in new ways. An informal look at public library structures from around the country shows they are becoming flatter organizations. Middle management or “deputy director” positions are not common. Directors often have more than five direct reports. Many support functions, […]

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New Podcast! Library Marketing with Cordelia Anderson

We talk library marketing and PR with Cordelia Anderson, a marketing and communications consultant who works primarily with libraries and nonprofits. She is also the former director of marketing and communications at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library in North Carolina. Anderson shares her concept of the library marketing funnel, understanding the library user’s wants and needs, the importance of the overall customer experience, and finding where library users are dropping off at your library.