A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Kathleen Hughes Author Archive


Email: khughes@ala.org   Website: http://ala.org/  


First place ribbon

Article on RA Services to the Grieving Wins First Place in PL Contest

Congratulations to our first place winner ($500) Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, for her article “Excuse Me, Is There a Loss Section?-Readers Advisory to the Grieving and Bereaved.” 

computer keyboard with one key GDPR in blue with the date 25/05/18 and an image of a lock

The General Data Protection Regulation and U.S. Public Libraries

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European-Union (EU) wide regulation that unifies European data privacy laws and also codifies the personal data protection rights of residents. It was enacted to provide European citizens with full control over the data that is collected and stored about them.

laptop computer open notebook and pen

Digital Literacy Support in Libraries: More than Just Your Computer Classes

Digital literacy initiatives within local libraries are imperative to helping our patrons create and upload resumes, sign up and use email to communicate with friends and family, download an app to get a ride to the airport, create and edit a presentation to share at work, search for a new doctor online, create a movie to complete a school project, communicate with a computer technician when their device has issues, and so much more.

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

The Youth Opportunity Design Approach (YODA)

Did the word “YODA” catch your eye too?  Anything involving a little green, gruff voiced Star Wars icon would get anyone’s attention, right?  Well that and anything involving “Youth” jumps out at me too.  I attended PLA’s “The Youth Opportunity Design Approach” and got more than I anticipated!

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

Preserving Local African American History at the Public Library

While working for Athens Regional Library System (ARLS), archivist Angela Stanley realized that the rich history of African Americans in her community wasn’t well-reflected in the library’s archival collection. So, with the help of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “Match-Your-Project” tool, she was able to find and apply for a Common Heritage grant, which was developed to help small to mid-size organizations digitize archival materials and perform community outreach about preservation.

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

(Re)Building Latina/o Outreach: Steps to Engaging Your Community

By Andrea Castillo, andrea.castillo101@gmail.com. Partnerships between libraries and local Latino/a communities begin with relationship-building, both within and outside of the library’s walls, according to Miguel Ruiz, Latino engagement librarian for the Evanston Public Library, which serves a community of about 75,000 in suburban Chicago. As the Latino engagement librarian, Ruiz’s work focuses on outreach (going into […]

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

Providing Immigration Services and Rebuilding Latinx Outreach

While attending the 2018 PLA conference in Philadelphia, I was thrilled to see a number of sessions that discussed the many issues that are affecting public libraries and their communities. Working at a public library in a densely populated Latinx neighborhood, I was hoping to attend sessions that would introduce me to resources and strategies to better serve this community. Now, perhaps more than ever, it is vital for libraries to support their Latina/o population. Two sessions that were the most impactful and beneficial to this cause, were “Providing Immigration Services in Public Libraries: Making It Possible is Not Impossible” and “(Re)Building Latina/o Outreach: Steps to Engaging Your Community.

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

Reflecting Community: The Importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Library Staffing

By Rachel Masilamani, rachel.masilamani@gmail.com. PLA2018 offered several excellent programs related to serving diverse communities, and improving institutional equity and inclusion.  As a beneficiary of ALA’s Spectrum Scholarship Program, I have been personally and professionally engaged with these needs in libraries for my entire career.  I believe that a crucial component of any public library’s success in […]

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

Drawing Millennials into the Library

“Millennials Take Over the Library” was a must-see session at PLA 2018. Presenter Jackie Flowers from the Calgary (Alberta, Canada) Public Library showed how her library has implemented user-centered design to draw in this often misunderstood generation of people. She sought to answer how libraries can successfully market to the millennial generation, when business and large corporations are having such a hard time drawing them in. As part of the millennial generation and working in a community with a large millennial community, this session interested me because I wanted to know how to draw in a greater millennial group into the library for more than just books or wifi. Flowers tackled this session with humor and a message that has stuck with me since.

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

Building Meaningful Relationships through Community Engagement

At the 2018 PLA Conference, Maggie Killman, Youth Community Engagement Librarian, and Gabriel Venditti, Community Engagement Librarian, gave a presentation called Building Meaningful Relationships through Community Engagement, in which they discussed the importance of increasing community engagement by creating more adaptive public services.

ALA Spectrum Scholars-Dispatches from PLA 2018

Applying an Equity Lens: Shifting Resources to Reach Low Income Audiences

“Equity” is a word that seems to be on everyone’s lips. As a resident and public librarian in a region undergoing rapid economic changes, including the displacement of long-standing communities of color and lower-income neighborhoods, “equity” has certainly been on my mind and heart.

George Orwell

Books Vs. Cigarettes

Although George Orwell is perhaps better known for his scathing attack on totalitarian Stalinist communism in “Animal Farm,” and his dystopian futuristic novel “1984,” he also wrote an engaging short piece in 1947 called “Books vs. Cigarettes.” In this brief essay Orwell discusses a reluctance among many people to purchase books because of their perceived expense. Orwell challenges this general prejudice through an examination of the relative cost of book buying compared to the cost of other items and pursuits.

Public Libraries Podcast logo

New Podcast! Providing Health Information/Evaluating Health News

We talk with Carolyn Martin and Sally James about providing Health Information Services and in particular evaluating health news. Carolyn Martin is a librarian who is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) Pacific Northwest Region. Sally James reads health news critically and gives grades to stories and news releases as a part of a team at the nonprofit Health News Review. She also writes about medical research and other science as a freelancer from Seattle.

Public Libraries Podcast logo

New Podcast! Serving Homeless Patrons with John Spears

We talk with John Spears, Director of the Pikes Peak (Colorado) Public Library about challenges and opportunities in serving homeless patrons at the public library, educating the public, tensions in the community, efforts to expand initiatives, and more.

Public Libraries Podcast logo

New Podcast – A Look at Graphic Medicine

In this podcast, we discuss Graphic Medicine, which can be defined as the use of comics (graphic narratives) in health sciences education and patient care. Our guests are Susan Squier and Ellen Forney. Susan Squier is Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, where she taught graphic narratives (comics!) to graduate students. She is now Visiting Fellow at the Freie Universität, Berlin (the Free University, that is) where she is part of a collaboration called the PathoGraphics project, a study of the relations between illness narratives (also called pathographies) and comics about medicine, illness, disability and caregiving. She is a co-editor of the Graphic Medicine book series at Penn State Press, which publishes long form graphic narratives, graphic narratives for classroom use, and scholarly studies of works of graphic medicine. Ellen Forney is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me,” a graphic memoir about her bipolar disorder. Her new book, the follow-up to Marbles, is a self-help guide to maintaining stability with a mood disorder. It’s called “Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice from My Bipolar Life,” and will be out this May. She teaches comics at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.