Before all public libraries were desegregated, Black librarians were especially critical in providing library services to their communities. They often had to creatively marshal resources, working with modest budgets and collections. One such librarian was Mrs. Bertha Winborne Edwards, (1920-2009), librarian of the Portsmouth Colored Community Library in Virginia for its entire existence, from 1945 – 1963.
Suzanne LaPierre Author Archive
Suzanne S. LaPierre is a Virginiana Specialist Librarian for Fairfax County Public Library in Virginia. She has worked in public library information services for over fifteen years, in addition to prior experience in museums, archives, and special collections. She is a columnist for Public Libraries Magazine and co-author of the book Desegregation of Libraries in Northern Virginia, soon to be published by The History Press.
Through the 1950s, and even into the 60s, many public libraries remained whites-only until Black citizens protested and/or sued to rectify the situation.
A look at pandemic-born podcasts as well as how long-running library podcasts have fared during the past year of weirdness.
Combatting the behemoth of misinformation can seem like an impossible task. Here are three subtle ways libraries do so on a daily basis.
One of my colleagues used to say: “We get to work in the candy store.” Indeed, many outside the profession may read the title of this article and joke: Health hazards of librarianship? Like what, paper cuts or falling off book ladders? However, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light, there are health risks entailed by all front line workers, as well as some more specific to library employees.
Combating rampant misinformation in the age of internet and social media, as well as dilemmas regarding how best to serve the most vulnerable populations, were key topics of discussion.
New research published in the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science adds pieces to the puzzle of how public libraries can best address rising tides of misinformation within their communities. Most recently, misinformation surrounding COVID-19 has demonstrated how complex the issue can be and how serious- even lethal- the consequences.
“We are open regular hours- except of course the branch that burned to the ground.”
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 […]
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.
Participatory digital archives allow libraries to collect community responses to the pandemic in real time.
While library buildings are closed, staff work to extend broadband and Wi-Fi access.
In the wake of COVID-19, it’s time to reexamine questions: Is vocational awe harming us? Is it harming the profession? Is it harming the public?
Registering voters and serving as a polling place is one way libraries “live the mission.” Although state and local voting laws vary, many areas allow and even require public libraries to serve as voter registration sites and polling locations. Madison Public Library in Wisconsin is among them. “All 9 of our library locations serve as […]
From voting booths for kids to speed-dating candidates, libraries are encouraging all community members to participate in democracy.