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Libraries See Increase In Drug Overdoses

Public libraries are inviting public spaces which can offer both privacy and solitude. Unfortunately, this also makes them the perfect spot for those seeking a place to use illegal drugs. According to the Associated Press, the characteristics of public libraries leave them particularly vulnerable to these types of situations, “They’re free of charge and open to everyone, and no transaction or communication is required.”[1] As the country is in the midst of a heroin/pain-killer epidemic [2], libraries have lately seen cases of drug users overdosing or passing out in library spaces.

Imbolo Mbue Author Photo

Imbolo Mbue on Being A Reader Who Writes and Redefining the American Dream

Imbolo Mbue’s transfixing debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, details the lives of Jende and Neni, two Cameroonian immigrants who have moved to New York to pursue the American Dream. The story begins in 2007 when Jende takes a chauffeur job with Clark Edwards, an executive at Lehman Brothers. More financial opportunities arise as Neni begins to work for Cindy, Clark’s wife, and the two families’ lives are soon deeply intertwined. When Lehman Brothers collapses, all four characters’ ways of life are threatened and they each begin to buckle under the financial pressure. Mbue’s lush and compassionate prose makes each character come to life and forces the reader to reexamine the notion of the American Dream. The New York Times Book Review hailed Behold the Dreamers as a “capacious, big-hearted novel” while The Washington Post praised Mbue as a “bright and captivating storyteller.” Mbue talked with Brendan Dowling via telephone on August 29, 2016.

red white and blue ballons

Great Resources for Election 2016

We the Voters debuted its second collection of 10 short films on October 12, doubling the number of free films available for educational and community use.

a row of white office chairs with one red chair

Cultivating Your Inner Leader

In public libraries, most managers have an impressively broad range of duties. Our training and background may be primarily in some audience or service specialty and our day-to-day responsibilities may still include significant quantities of work related to that area. Whatever our duties, they can leave us little time or energy to develop our supervisory, management, or leadership knowledge and skills.


Just Say No: Keeping Your Library Drug-Free and Safe

The same things that make libraries a good place to study also make them a place where individuals feel they can get away with drug use.

rows of small plants

Connecting Community Groups at the Library

The library’s reach isn’t limited to just its walls. The library’s reach should extend to the whole community. In a way, the whole community is part of the library: the schools, the civic groups, the offices of local politicians, the senior centers, the playgrounds, and much more.

Map with a flag pin denoting Syria

Democracy, Libraries, and the Human Spirit: We Learn from Syria

In a free, democratic society, we live by a sacred code–a guarantee that some countries just do not have or if they do, it is not upheld. Libraries, as purveyors of the freedom of information, lay the foundation of democracy by encouraging literate, thinking people who participate in government and become educated voters. Read more about how a small secret library in Syria provides hope and why we all need to learn from them.

image of emergency route red back ground white stick figure running down stairs

Don’t Forget Your Emergency Plan

Every October fire departments remind us to change our smoke detector batteries. This is the perfect time to update your emergency plan.

Vote sign

Political Ethics: Keeping Your Library Neutral

As the presidential election season endures, librarians and other information professionals in public libraries may be tempted to express fondness for one political party and dislike for the other. Sometimes expression of one’s political stance is done unintentionally. Whether such expression is intentional or benign, it may convey a perceived bias to patrons and to the community that the library is for or against a certain candidate running for office whether that is for president, governor, mayor, senator, etc.

Censored Media

Censors Near You

During the recent observation of Banned Books Week 2016 (September 25-October 1, 2016), I was reminded of the challenges that can face the information we harbor in our libraries.

Purpose Based Library

What Is The Purpose-Based Library?

Every so often a new phrase, buzzword, or philosophy about library service comes along and throws a different light on what we do, and how we do it. There’s been a lot of talk and interest in “the purpose-based library” recently. What’s that all about?

I had an opportunity to speak with Steven Potter, library director and CEO of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri who recently co-authored a book on the subject. The purpose-based library connects with the community, collaborates to better reach goals, measures what is useful and shows value, and continually improves. Summing up, Potter says, “It is all about re-embracing the vitality of our profession.”

Huge library

Book? Book? Do You Know Where This Book Is?

With more than one million books now being “published” per year, will we ever be able to preserve and maintain even a hint of that number in the near future?

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Pew Research Center Report: Digital Readiness Gaps – FYI Podcast, Episode 14

PLA Deputy Executive Director Larra Clark talks with John B. Horrigan of the Pew Research Center about his report, “Digital Readiness Gaps,” which finds that just over half of American adults have low levels of readiness to use digital tools as they pursue lifelong learning.

Modern day library

The Library of the Future Is Coming, and It’s All About Experience

A recent Business Insider article[1] touts the changes coming to public libraries, detailing the shifts our field will see over the next fifty years. According to writer Chris Weller’s research, libraries five decades from now will transform into “all-in-one spaces for learning, consuming, sharing, creating, and experiencing,” even offering alternate realities for loan. Their emphasis will be on connectivity, not just physically providing technology to patrons, but also in linking them with sensory experiences. They will connect experience with the ever-present technological movements of social media, streaming content, and data.

books on a shelf

Library and Librarian Are Powerful Words

Middle school media specialist/teacher librarian Diana Rendina recently posted on her blog, Renovated Learning, her wish to return to the term “librarian” as her title and the term “library” as the name of her institution. Her endeavor to own the terms again and use them as advocacy tools for school librarians can speak to us as public librarians, too.