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PLA Contributor Author Archive


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Feature article nov/dec 2021 public libraries magazine

We All Win — Training and Advancement for Non-MLS Library Workers

There is a shift happening in East Bay Libraries, in California. One after another, hiring managers are inviting librarian candidates to the interview
table who do not have a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS).

gold star on blue background

Missing Karen

Karen Blumenthal (1959-2020) was a journalist, a teacher, a historian, a biographer, a master needle-pointer, a cookie-maker, a proud Texas native, a much-loved wife and mother, an enthusiastic Dallas sports fan, a passionate public library supporter, a tireless fund-raiser, and a dedicated civic volunteer.

photo of books on a shelf on a pink background

Readers Advisory Reimagined

How do we create sustainable RA practices that empower staff and embed Readers’ Advisory fully into libraries?

2021 Public Library staff and diversit survey header imposed over a bookshelf

2021 Public Library Staff & Diversity Survey

PLA invites all US public libraries to complete the 2021 Public Library Staff & Diversity Survey! The deadline has been extended to January 14, 2022.

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A Salute to the Schneider

Since 2004, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Schneider Family Book Award has been given annually to honor an author or illustrator for a work that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Prizes are bestowed in the categories of Young Children, Middle School, and Teen.

Image of the "Cursed" book cover

Cursed — A Conversation with Karol Ruth Silverstein

Since 2004, ALA’s Schneider Family Book Award has honored an author or illustrator for a title that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.  In 2020, the “teen” category prize went to screenwriter and first-time novelist Karol Ruth Silverstein’s Cursed, published in 2019 by Charlesbridge Teen. Readers meet 14-year-old […]

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.

Build America's Libraires Act logo and ALA logo

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 […]

illustration of three figures representing staff members

Library Staff In and Beyond the Workplace

The survey comments indicated that inadequate support has two main characteristics: lack of access to paid leave and caregiver accommodations, and lack of flexibility, especially for part-time staff. A lack of support can have serious consequences for individual staff members, libraries, and the profession as a whole. It is a particularly pressing issue within the library profession as it is predominantly female, and women are more likely to be caregivers.

Illustration of a bright yellow light bulb

Help Fight Light Pollution with a Science Experiment

Globe at Night asks volunteers to go outside and measure light pollution in their communities using either the naked eye or a simple piece of equipment called a Sky Quality Meter.

girl + woman looking at the screen of a laptop - text says Participate from Home!

Five Kitchen Sink Science Experiments to Try at Home

It’s April: Citizen Science Month! There are hundreds of online events and ways to engage, including many opportunities from libraries around the world. Looking to do some projects inside, where you live? Check out the below projects. Then, discover additional events and opportunities on CitizenScienceMonth.org.

three blue figures with a red heart above them on a yellow background meant to show care for library staff

The Impact of COVID-19 on Library Staff: Supporting Health and Well-Being

In 2020 the Public Library Association (PLA) and the American Library Association (ALA) conducted two surveys about the impact of COVID-19 on libraries. Following on from that, PLA’s “Survey of the Public Library Field” in February 2021 asked library staff about the impact of the pandemic on them as individuals. The survey received 2,967 responses. […]

citizen science month logo seen with woman working on laptop

What is Citizen Science Month?

This April, explore over 100 events planned around everything from measuring light pollution to counting caterpillars.

photograph of hands typing on a laptop keyboard

COVID-19 Makes Library Skilling Programs Critical

Improving their communities’ digital literacy is important for public libraries as they seek to live up to their mission. The challenge has taken on new urgency as we fight against the economic costs of the pandemic.

illustration of a hand pointing at data on a screeen

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Allen County Public Library has strategically incorporated logic models and outcome measurement in planning and evaluating programs and services in a relatively short amount of time by using Project Outcome tools as a central part of an overall shift to a more outward-facing approach to library services.