A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
solar eclipse

Get Your Library In On the Eclipse Action

Public libraries have a tremendous opportunity to supplement STEM programming with the event — before and after.

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Denver Public Library Works to Improve Library Safety

Denver’s Channel 9 News sent an undercover reporter into the city’s main public library earlier this year because it has become a central location for crime and drug abuse.

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Summer Lunch: Partnering with Community Agencies

There are plenty of libraries around the country who are fortunate to be able to provide food to children in need during the summer. However, if your library that isn’t able to, it doesn’t mean you can’t be part of feeding children’s minds while someone else fills their stomachs!

spooky book and candle

Newberry Library’s Bewitching Project

Chicago’s Newberry Library needs your help transcribing and/or translating seventeenth century occult books, including a book of spells. The research library has placed the 17th century texts on their website in the hopes that viewers can aid in ongoing transcription work.

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The Value of No

Saying no does not mean being rude or mean. Sometimes saying no is necessary.

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New Podcast! FYI 023-Serving All Families in a Queer and Genderqueer Way

In this episode we discuss providing the best library service for your LGBTQ community with our guest Joel A. Nichols. Joel is the author of the winner in this year’s “Public Libraries” magazine feature article contest, for the article “Serving All Families in a Queer and Genderqueer Way.” He is an administrator for data strategy […]

Public Libraries Magazine May June 2017 President's Message

The Transformation Will Not be Televised

This will be my last column as PLA President, and I want to take the time to thank four special groups that have made my tenure so memorable. First, I want to thank my staff and board at the Cleveland Public Library for their support of my leadership journey. Second, I must thank my wife and daughters for their patience and love during the past twelve months. Third, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you: the great people I have met this year, who work at and support libraries. You have been phenomenal. I’ve heard such great stories about how you are dedicated to making your communities better, it really reaffirmed my love for libraries. Finally, I want to thank the extraordinary PLA staff. Under the leadership of Executive Director Barb Macikas, the organization has made tremendous strides toward making PLA all that it can be, and I’m just thankful to have been a small part of this transformation.

March/April 2017 Public Libraries Magazine President's Message

Being Loved is Not Enough

If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you’ve probably noticed that I prefer to impart life lessons by telling stories. While this is a practice that drives my teenage daughters crazy, it has been effective for me in getting my point across. I’d like to reveal an important lesson that all librarians need to understand by telling a story that opened my eyes to the power of libraries and of librarians. There are a number of lessons to be learned from this story, but most important may be the realization that we can’t keep underestimating our community’s respect and love for what we provide them.

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Gender Reassignment Surgery and the Library’s Health Plan

In 2016, library employee Rachel Dovel (via employer health care plan) planned to undergo gender reassignment surgery. When told the surgery was not covered by the library’s health insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Dovel took the library board/insurance company to court.

sip and spell

Library Spells Success with Sip & Spell Event

How do you attract more readers to your library? Let them show off their dictionary know-how in a head-to-head spelling competition!

Kindness Rocks

Easy. Inexpensive. Trending. Dispenses kindness and inspiration. There’s something that does all of that and is a great fit for the public library?

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Public Libraries and Podcasting

Podcasting is an effective way for many groups, organizations, and individuals to relay their message to thousands of listeners. Public libraries have jumped on this trend and are reaching out to their communities via this platform.

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Rachel Kadish On Wasps, Ink, And Making History Come Alive

Rachel Kadish’s The Weight of Ink tells the story of two academics separated by 350 years: Helen Watt, a British professor at the tail end of her career, and Ester Velasquez, a Portuguese Jew living in 1660’s London. When Helen is tasked with verifying recently discovered scholarly papers written by a mysterious “Aleph,” she hires American grad student Aaron to assist her. As Helen and Aaron realize the possibility exists that Aleph is a woman, interest in the papers escalates and the two find themselves having to fend off competing forces. Bouncing between present day England and London right before the plague, Kadish explores the inner lives of all three characters as each is pushed to save the thing they love. Booklist praised The Weight of Ink as “a richly textured, addictive novel,” while Toni Morrison called Kadish “a gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion.”

illustration of green paper currency with dollar sign in middle

Teaching the Tech Side Hustle

More than a quarter of workers and job-seekers have a second source of income. By teaching a tech side hustle, your library has an opportunity to quickly deliver value–and dollars–to your patrons!

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Self-Publishing, Indie Authors, and Libraries

A recent article from the University of Arizona Press titled “Public Libraries as Publishers: Critical Opportunity” provides a history of traditional self-publishing activities in libraries and shows how libraries can use self-publishing to foster community needs. I have a soft spot for self-publishing (I’m an indie author myself), and believe that libraries are missing out on an incredible opportunity. Our communities have so much hidden creative potential, but may lack the means to express it. Self-publishing services and local library recognition can help patrons find an outlet for their creativity. Most importantly, it puts locally created book content into the hands of other community members.