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Wildfires Damage Libraries

“We are open regular hours- except of course the branch that burned to the ground.”

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Be Like RBG – Lessons from a Life

Like countless others, I admired the Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), Supreme Court Justice and human rights icon. In 2017 I painted her portrait as part of a series on human rights leaders. I had a quality art print made from the original and mailed it with a letter of appreciation. To my delight, I […]

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Anne Helen Peterson on Structural Solutions to Tackle Millennial Burnout

Anne Helen Peterson has been a welcome voice for readers of Buzzfeed for years, covering a range of topics from the history of cool girls to refugee resettlement. When she turned her attention to millennial burnout in 2019, the topic struck a nerve, resulting in over seven million views. Now Peterson has expanded the scope of her article with her new book, Can’t Even: How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation. Here, Peterson employs her rigorous academic background to dissect the common misconceptions about this generation and focus on how burnout has uniquely affected the ways they work, parent, and socialize. The result is a fascinating look at history, economics, and culture that will profoundly transform the way readers think of this generation.

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Bookmobile Conference Goes Virtual

For the first time in its history, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services’ annual conference will be conducted virtually this year. Learn more about this organization and the benefits of outreach professionals swapping trade secrets.

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A Pandemic Side Effect: Low Morale in Public Libraries

Employee morale takes another hit in the age of COVID.

“This is a Tour of My Brain and My Heart” — Meredith Hall on her Magnificent New Novel

In Meredith Hall’s Beneficence, readers are immersed in the lives of the Senter family, dairy farmers in the fictional town of Alstead, Maine, as their lives are upended by an unimaginable crisis. In the early 1930s, Tup and Doris are devoted parents to their three children: the charismatic Sonny, introspective Dodie, and fiercely loyal Beston. Over the next two decades, they pour their hearts into restoring the neglected farm and the family remains a compact, devoted unit. When tragedy befalls, each member is rocked in a different way. With lyrical precision, Hall dissects how grief reshapes each member and pushes them into newfound territory. The result is a profoundly moving family saga that provides an engrossing reading experience.

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Nancy Pearl on How Reading Informs the Person That You Are

Whether it’s through her beloved Book Lust series, her frequent appearances on NPR’s Morning Edition, or her own critically acclaimed novel, George and Lizzie, Nancy Pearl has been providing readers with impeccable reading options for many years. With The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives, Pearl has taken it one step further. She and her collaborator, playwright Jeff Schwager, interviewed a wide-ranging group of twenty-three American authors about the books that made them who they are today. From Susan Choi on The Borrowers to Amor Towles on The Honorable Schoolboy, the result is a series of illuminating conversations that reveal your favorite writers in surprising and intimate ways.

Voices are Power

The insights gained from a library visit in Nashville, have put into motion events that will certainly change lives and create a new future for many libraries in Africa. We are on the threshold of making history as we seek to transform lives by empowering African voices to tell their stories.

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Magdalena Newman on Kindness Momentums and Her Aha Moment

Magdalena Newman’s Normal: One Kid’s Extraordinary Journey, beautifully details her oldest son Nathaniel’s experience with Treacher Collins syndrome, a congenital disorder that causes craniofacial deformities. At birth, Nathaniel’s ears, eyes, cheekbones, and jawbone were not properly formed, necessitating hearing aids, a gastrointestinal tube, a tracheostomy tube to assist breathing, and over sixty surgeries the first fifteen years of his life. Newman, who had been a professional concert pianist in her native Poland, was totally unprepared to care for a baby with such enormous medical needs, Yet she immediately rose to the challenge, becoming laser focused on ensuring Nathaniel could lead a normal life. Magdalena and her husband Russel’s fierce advocacy serve as a guiding light for their family and community, navigating through Nathaniel’s complicated medical procedures (as well her own bouts with both non-Hodgkins and Hodgkins lymphoma diagnoses) with grace and dignity. Newman charts her family’s journey with raw honesty, while Nathaniel’s perspective pops up throughout the memoir, emerging as a clever and funny teenager with his wry commentary. Magdalena and Nathaniel’s journey take them to unexpected places, including a friendship with R.J. Palacio, who saw a picture of Nathaniel while doing research for Wonder.

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Collections May Be Low Risk but Public Spaces are Not

Public libraries are caught in a Catch-22 where their services are low risk for individuals who are able to access the internet from home, but increase the risk for marginalized patrons, who rely on shared public space.

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“I Had Grown Too Big to Shrink”: Tiffany D. Cross on her Journey from the Control Room to the Green Room

Tiffany D. Cross has been a major player in the news media for nearly two decades, first working as an Associate Producer for CNN, then founding the influential newsletter The Beat DC, to her current appearances as an on-air political analyst on MSNBC. In her new book, Say It Louder: Black Voters, White Narratives, and Saving Our Democracy, Cross digs into the current landscape of the news media, exploring how a lack of diversity in newsrooms shapes not only what stories are covered but also how they are reported, and then examining the resultant effect on day-to-day life in the United States. Through comprehensive data analysis as well as exploring key moments in U.S. history, Cross investigates the critical role Black voters have played in past elections, and how that role has been misunderstood and under-reported by the media. The result is an illuminating look at the current political moment that profoundly shapes how readers consume and examine news media.

Social Work in Public Libraries

Relationship as a Resource

These are tough times, and we’ve got questions. What are we supposed to do? We face so much communal and individual pain—pain that is fueled by a global pandemic and systematized racial injustice—pain that existed long before 2020 but has been ignited, amplified, and now refuses to be ignored. What are we supposed to do now?

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David Nicholls on the Fond Embarrassment of First Love and Community Theater

In David Nicholl’s hilarious and tender Sweet Sorrow, the impending marriage of thirty-eight year-old Charlie causes him to look back on his formative first relationship, a summer romance with the ebullient Fran, a fellow cast member in a community theater production of Romeo and Juliet over twenty years earlier. As the present-day Charlie recalls the highs of falling in love and the many embarrassments of his first foray into acting, he also recounts the darker moments of that summer: the loneliness of being left behind as his school friends prepared to leave for university and his recently divorced dad grappling with the collapse of his beloved record shop. The result is an emotionally rich look at a man reckoning with his past and the relationships that guided him to his present, one that stands proudly alongside Nicholls’ previous books, which include the beloved One Day and Starter for Ten.

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Libraries Launch BLM Book Clubs

As indicated by the ALA’s response to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, libraries have an obligation to act on behalf of racial justice with genuine systemic change, not just statements or book lists.

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Encouraging Computational Thinking for Young Children and Families From a Distance

Development of computational thinking skills can begin in very early childhood, helping to foster creative problem solvers capable of solving 21st century challenges. By intentionally incorporating, modeling, and making computational thinking skills accessible in your programs and services during this time and beyond, you can empower and support families in this realm.