A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
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Twelve Months of Passive Programming

Passive programming can be a challenge. More so, the difficulty is determining how to supply activities that are not too pricey (we try to supply enough kits for 60 patrons) and too complicated for patrons to follow via printout instructions. With that being said, my library has successfully carried out twelve months of dynamic passive […]

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Make Your Library ADA Friendly, Not Just ADA Compliant

Having an ADA compliant library is necessary by law, but you can go above the ADA requirements to become an ADA friendly library and better help your patrons with different abilities.

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Why Do We Think Library Services are Free?

I was in the library’s media lab helping a patron with Microsoft Publisher, and I recommended she learn how to use Publisher with an online course provided through the library. My co-worker chimes in, “and the best part is that it’s free!” I frowned and said, “it’s not free. It’s paid for with your tax dollars.” I am beginning to believe that how we think about public library services as free directly impacts how public libraries don’t get funded.

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The Library Comic Convention Goes Virtual

Like most other library programming, Library Comic Conventions went virtual during the pandemic. Three libraries share how they made the transition.

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New FYI Podcast! Hosting Digital Author Events

In this episode, Stesha Brandon, Literature and Humanities Program Manager at the Seattle Public Library (SPL) shares how SPLA successfully moved author programming to a digital format during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in for tips and great ideas on creating or improving your library’s digital author programming.

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Short Story Dispensers Make Strides, Despite Pandemic

French publisher Short Édition made waves in U.S. libraries with its innovative Short Story Dispenser.

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Jonathan Parks-Ramage on Subverting the Expectations of Genre and the ‘Fever Dream’ of His New Novel

Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s debut novel Yes, Daddy is an unnerving examination of the relationship between Jonah, a young writer struggling in New York City, and Richard, an incredibly wealthy, much-lauded middle-aged playwright. Jonah, who is barely able to make ends meet working at a restaurant for an abusive boss, is initially swept away by Richard’s lavish lifestyle and career full of accolades. Their idyllic romance turns dark, however, when Richard invites Jonah to his opulent compound in the Hamptons. Jonah, awed by the cultural glitterati who pop by for Richard’s wild weekend parties, overlooks several ominous signs, including the compound’s forbidding iron gates and the bruises that appear on the bodies of the handsome young men who serve as Richard’s staff. Yet after a fallout with Richard, Jonah finds himself plunged into a terrifying situation, one that forces him to confront some of the darkest moments from his past. In Yes, Daddy, Parks-Ramage deftly hops among multiple genres to spin an unsettling tale of abuse, betrayal, and atonement, crafting a story that will enthrall critics and readers alike.

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Brian Broome on Gwendolyn Brooks, Giving Everybody the Benefit of the Doubt, and Why He Loves Writing on the Bus

Brian Broome’s triumphant memoir Punch Me Up to the Gods heralds the arrival of an extraordinary new writer. In essays of searing wit and compassion, Broome leads the reader through growing up Black and gay in rural Ohio, examining his relationship with his pragmatic mother and defeated father. As a young adult, he moves to Pittsburgh. The city affords him the community he had long sought growing up, but also causes him to confront his issues with addiction and past traumas. In every essay, Broome’s joyful empathy shines through, as he unflinchingly recollects the darkest moments of his life with sensitivity and good humor. Broome’s book has been met with glowing praise by fellow writers and critics. The New York Times Book Review stated, “Punch Me Up to the Gods feels like a gift,” and Kiese Laymon said, “Punch Me Up to the Gods obliterates what we thought were the limitations of not just the American memoir, but the possibilities of the American paragraph. I’m not sure a book has ever had me sobbing, punching the air, dying of laughter, and needing to write as much as Brian Broome’s staggering debut.” 

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Amazon, E-books, Copyright, and Libraries

Amazon refuses to allow libraries to purchase copies of the e-books they publish. That means more than 10,000 e-books and tens of thousands of audiobooks are simply not available to our patrons.

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COVID-19 Operating Restrictions Ease but Differences Remain

Now that vaccines are available and virus transmission rates are dropping, public library service is largely being restored across the United States, but at vastly different timelines.

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Ransomware Attacks at Libraries: How They Happen, What to Do

Malicious hacking attacks of institutions are on the rise, particularly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporations, including nonprofits like public libraries, face greater dangers from these attacks. Ransomware is the name for a particular type of cyberattack where hackers encrypt a victim’s files, then demands a ransom to give users access to their […]

Feature Article May/June 2020 Issue of Public Libraries

Define & Design: The Bookstore Model of Customer Service

We have often looked to retail to borrow marketing, merchandising, and materials arrangement ideas, but few of us have considered the other bookstore model—the deliberate design of customer service transactions—for inspiration in understanding how the consumer environment has changed around us. Strengthening the interpersonal components of user experience is something every library can and should do, especially in these most uncertain of times.

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Urge Congress to #BuildLibraries During United for Infrastructure Week

This year, May 10-14, 2021 marks United for Infrastructure Week. This week presents a wonderful opportunity for libraries to position themselves as critical infrastructure, and to advocate for the Build America’s Libraries Act to support that role. The Build America’s Libraries Act, introduced in the Senate and House by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and Representatives Andy Levin (D-MI) and […]

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Learning From Our Statistics

To utilize statistics effectively, librarians need to have an understanding of the underlying principles. An oft-neglected area of study in librarianship, statistical fundamentals are approached here in a simple rules format with examples. The purpose is to help librarians gather and use statistical information in new and better ways. This is of particular concern at this point in time when traditional library statistics like circulation and visitation are dropping nationwide due, in part, to the proliferation of convenient digital information sources

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Online Training: Libraries as Community Hubs for Citizen Science

With support from the National Library of Medicine, SciStarter, a popular citizen science platform, assembled a team with expertise in instructional design, education, libraries, inclusive practices, digital design, micro accreditation, and, of course, citizen science to produce a free series of self-guided tutorials, trainings, and accompanying modules to help people from all walks of life discover and engage in authentic science.