A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

News & Opinion

ALA 2019 Conference Logo

ALA Annual Conference: Welcome to Washington, DC!

What does the Washington, DC location add to the 2019 ALA Annual Conference? Here are a few opportunities to consider.

woman at a desk working on a computer

Mean Girls

The movie Mean Girls turns 15 this year. For those who might not be familiar, the plot tells of a homeschooled teen entering a public high school to interact with peers for the first time. Being the nerdy newbie she is treated poorly until she infiltrates the ‘in-group’ with the intent of turning the tables. In doing […]

photograph of various people reading in a library

Readers’ Advisory Survey Now Open

As part of its ongoing work to measure the impact of libraries on author/title discovery and book sales, the Panorama Project has launched a new survey focused on collecting data on readers’ advisory services. The survey (available here) is open to all U.S. public libraries and public library staff and takes 15 to 20 minutes […]

illustration of man on a stand-up scooter with a briefcase stylized trees and hills in background

Rage Programming: Anger as Program Inspiration

One day, the sidewalks were empty. The next day, they were everywhere. The scooters. Dockless electric scooters, to be exact. They had suddenly appeared on the sidewalks of the DC metro area, where I live and work. They were scattered haphazardly: some on front lawns, some in driveways, some blocking wheelchair ramps. Some were standing upright, some lying on their sides like roadkill. And those were just the dormant ones. When in use, they were ridden in the streets, in and out of bike lanes, and on the sidewalk. Often, I saw children who were obviously below the minimum age for riders (18 years) riding two at a time. It was absolute chaos, and it made me livid.

illustration of a person pointing to a screen with a 'click here-type' button on it

5 Tips for Teaching Tech to Seniors

Social media platforms and electronic devices coupled with online forms, shopping websites, streaming media services, and a host of other items native to Millennial and Gen Z patrons can be daunting to those who grew up without computers and smartphones.

a photograph of a road with the words time for change on it

Making Changes as a New Library Employee

We aren’t saying you have to make a ton of changes in a new job immediately but we believe it is not necessary to wait until your first anniversary to enact some changes.

a wall of dryers at a laundromat

Embedded Librarianship: From Laundromats to Zumba Class

I first learned about embedded librarianship in public libraries at the PLA 2014 conference in Indianapolis. There at the program “Creative Community Connections,” librarians from Colorado and Ohio shared their story of embedding library staff in community institutions outside of the library. The panelists defined embedded librarians as those who “attend meetings and events hosted […]

black and white photo of a library orange banner in upper left reads 'social work in public libraries'

Incident Report Writing: A Person-in-Incident Approach

Incident report writing can be intimidating. Something big has happened at the library, and now you have to document it so that staff across your entire system can access the report. And someday your report might even be pulled in a records request for use in court? Talk about pressure!

book club sign

Winter Reading Programs For Adults

Winter reading programming for adults can be a fun way to help your community beat the winter doldrums, encourage reading habits, improve relationships with patrons and further familiarize them with the library and its resources.

photo of a library with curving book stacks

Defining the “Relevance Narrative” in Library Media Coverage

When we validate the premise that libraries and librarians must immediately do something different (presumably, something “new”) to avoid disappearing, we are effectively starting from a point of diminished value.

photo of a person sitting in a chair surrounded by robots

Working Alongside Robots at the Library

It is difficult enough to compete with other qualified candidates who are human – but, with increasing automation, do librarians have to worry about being replaced by robots?

museum passes illustration

The Cost of Museum Passes

Without museum passes at the public library, how many economically-challenged individuals will not get to experience a museum’s collection and the knowledge it brings them?

chalkboard with hand writing the word literacy

Basic Literacy a Crucial Aspect of Public Library Service

Can public libraries really claim that they are informing and enriching individuals by supporting the development of literacy and lifelong learning if our citizens keep failing to meet basic literacy levels?

By the Book – Muslims in Story

Our book is a must-have for librarians whose communities do not have any Muslim children. It will help them learn more about Muslims and educate the communities they serve as well. For example, many of the books curated in our “Muslim Kids as Heroes” booklist showcase universal stories that anyone can relate to. Books and resources listed in our book would help all children to empathize and find common ground with Muslims.

seniors at computers with instructor

Tips for Teaching and Troubleshooting Technology

“That’s okay, we’re all learning. Let’s see if we can figure this out together.” Starting with this message creates a safe space for the patron, and helps to manage their expectations. Moreover, it shows that it’s okay not to know everything—technology is an arena in which we all need to explore and problem-solve.