We talk with Nicholas Higgins, director of Outreach Services at the Brooklyn (NY) Public Library. Higgins, author of the latest book in the PLA Quick Reads series, shares wisdom gleaned from his years of experience providing library service to incarcerated persons; provides a thoughtful perspective on the American criminal justice system and shows how to provide the absolute best service to this group and the families they have left behind.
Kathleen Hughes Author Archive
Librarian Kyra Hahn shares her experiences navigating the intense bureaucracy of the Federal Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and provides tips, advice, and explanations that can make the process easier for applicants.
PLA’s Brendan Dowling Talks with Eric Motley, Executive Vice President, The Aspen Institute about his new book, “Madison Park: A Place of Hope.” Motley shares stories from his childhood and about the place he was raised, an African-American community established by freed slaves, and elaborates on how those experiences shaped his journey all the way to the Bush White House.
Whether they’re searching the Internet, watching television, or browsing social media, Americans are bombarded with information related to their health, but the messages they’re receiving may not be understandable, reliable, or even credible. Faced with confusing medical terminology, conflicting reports, and a constantly changing healthcare system, people are looking to their local public libraries for guidance. That’s why the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) is partnering with the Public Library Association (PLA): to help libraries meet the challenges of keeping up with evidence-based health resources and producing successful health programming.
The term “participatory culture” had no meaning to me until recently. It is a term that has been around for at least a decade, and it is an idea that Henry Jenkins, a provost professor at the University of Southern California School of Communication, has been working with for more than two decades. There is a relationship between participatory culture and libraries; in some cases, the would would not exist without the other. It behooves us, as librarians, to be aware of the relationship, and to promote collection development with participatory culture in mind.
The Anythink Libraries bookmobile was part of the Memorial Day parade in one of our local communities. I was surprised at how people responded with such admiration and affection as the bookmobile closed the parade. Onlookers cheered, applauded, and shouted out, “We love our library!” I know that moments like this occur for public libraries everywhere. This sense of pride and heartfelt connection brings to mind the respect that public libraries garner in our communities. Public libraries are among the most trusted institutions in the United States. With this trust, I realize that libraries have earned the responsibility—and even the power—to help create sustainable communities.
In the fourth installment from PLA’s “Quick Reads for Busy Librarians” series, Nicholas Higgins, director of outreach services at the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library, shares wisdom gleaned from years of experience providing library service to incarcerated persons. But Higgins doesn’t just provide nuts and bolts information, he also considers the shortcomings of the American Criminal Justice system including embedded racism and harsh sentencing laws that have led to statistics like one in fifteen black men over the age of eighteen is incarcerated in this country. Higgins provides all this background as a framework in the hopes that readers will become more conscious of how they think and talk about prisons and prisoners.
Sitting in the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto (CA) City Library is taking the lead in exploring the future of library services. As part of our mission to “inspire and nurture innovation, discovery, and delight,” the library explored how cutting edge technologies like robots and 3D design can be applied in libraries. Generous support from a Pacific Library Partnership Innovation Grant made this effort possible.
Librarians are in a unique position to raise awareness about the importance of children’s oral health. To assist the Public Library Association’s efforts to build healthy communities, we are pleased to present an Oral Health Resource List for Public Librarians. This resource includes suggested books for children and families as well as child-friendly graphics for library, early education, and clinical settings. Links to information in English and Spanish on fluoride and community water fluoridation are also included, along with links to tips for parents on brushing and bedtime routines.
American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal released the following statement regarding a mass shooting at the Clovis-Carver Public Library in New Mexico, “We are shocked and saddened by the shooting at the Clovis-Carver Public Library in New Mexico,” said Neal. “We mourn those who were killed, and we offer our thoughts and prayers for the wounded, the families of the victims, library staff, and the community. ALA offers its full support to Clovis-Carver Public Library, the New Mexico Library Association, and the New Mexico State Library as they deal with this senseless violence.
Building economic opportunities, equity, and inclusion for all also are core values for librarians. Public libraries are particularly well situated to advance equitable economic development as they are a trusted and familiar resource for information and learning of all kinds. Too often, though, local, state and national decisionmakers don’t think of libraries as part of their community assets for supporting entrepreneurs and economic growth. The American Library Association (ALA) is working to change that.
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 […]
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.
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.
We talk to Megan Sullivan, writer and college professor (Boston University) about her book, “Clarissa’s Disappointment: And Resources for Families, Teachers and Counselors of Children of Incarcerated Parents” about how to best serve this group, the author’s own experience with parental incarceration, and more.