A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

News & Opinion

Illustration of two people holding a baby and suitcases with a boat filled with people in background

Library on the Border Acts as Haven for Immigrant Families

One public library offers a safe space for immigrant families to gather. The Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which straddles the U.S. – Canada border, has become a safe haven and a commons for immigrants.

Public Libraries Help Support Resolutions to Get Healthy

For the sixth year, Devon Libraries in the United Kingdom offers Active Life, Active Mind programming series. This year features over 250 events across the county. Their slogan is “take a step in the right direction and try a new activity this January at your local library.” Meanwhile, here in the U.S., dozens of libraries planning “New Year, New You” programs

Photo Four teens on a bench studying

Taking Teen Services to the Teens

Why not opt to get out of the library and meet the teens where they are already at?

photograph of a girl in a library setting reading a large book

Breaking Down Barriers to Library Service-Going Fine Free

As community driven institutions, libraries should focus on removing all possible barriers to achieve equality of access for every member of our communities.

illustration of a magnifying glass and a document

Finding Answers – Unexpected Reference Sources

The issue of Lapham’s Quarterly that I saw on my friend’s table was about music and it is a treasure trove of information for general readers and researchers alike.

photo of exterior of library of congress

Library of Congress Digitizes Vast Teddy Roosevelt Collection

The Roosevelt collection is the  largest presidential archival collection held by the LOC, at 276,000 documents, which have been scanned into 461,000 images. The bulk of the collection was a personal gift from President Roosevelt to Herbert Putnam (Librarian of Congress 1899-1939).

megaphone and images of three people

Reframe Advocacy to Highlight Library’s Essential Services

By not specifically highlighting how the work of public libraries impacts disadvantaged populations we’re simultaneously selling ourselves short, reinforcing the idea that libraries are for some and not all, and slowly but surely digging our own grave. Our advocacy must start getting real about who is using our libraries and for what reasons. A public building is intended for public use, and not just the version of the public that people feel comfortable being around. Our facilities, services, programming and materials should be able to be used by even the most marginalized in our societies. Otherwise we’re not doing our job and assisting in its demise.

colorful book shelves

Picture Book Discussion Group at the Library

Why not host an adult book club focused on picture books?

Cool Tech I Didn’t Hear About at PLA

A few months back, while planning for the next few issues of this column, I penciled in the topic “Cool Things I Heard About at PLA.” Then a snowstorm, a full day in the Houston airport (I started in Chicago), and no PLA conference for me. Instead of things I heard, here are some tech trends that I imagine would have come up in conversation.

book club sign

Library Book Clubs Can Change Lives

The simplicity behind gathering to talk about a shared story softens feelings of self-doubt. The book and its storyline are the vehicle allowing club members to listen, and be listened to. It is meant to expose feelings through difficult ideas and opposing viewpoints. While talking about fictional characters, real experiences bubble up to the surface. There’s an opening to relate first to the story and then to each other. There is no better way to spread great ideas then when people meet face-to-face. A bookclub is neutral ground, which makes it subtly powerful and influential.

Photo of a child pulling a book from a shelf in a library

Leaving Dewey for BISAC

Four years ago we wrote about our library converting to a BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) organizational structure. We thought it was time to detail what we learned about the experience, especially as we receive plenty of emails asking how it went or would we do it again if we had the opportunity to do everything over.

Calendar with job interview marked on it

What Are Hiring Managers Really Looking For?

Whether you are looking for your first library job or your next library job there are certain details that, if left unattended, can derail your job hunt even before you get called in for the interview. What is it that hiring managers look for in an applicant? How can you be that perfect candidate? Read on to find out!

Illustration of a DJ

Turn the Tables: L.A. County’s DJ Training Program

The DJ training program is nine weeks long and it “teaches teens not just how to remix a song and scratch a record, but also how to market themselves and navigate the business world. Reflecting both today’s changing job market and the interests of teens, the library is beginning to offer more courses around S.T.E.M. — science, technology, engineering, math — and the arts.

illustration of three hands raised

Public Libraries Celebrate the Democratic Ideal

Public libraries face the challenge of providing information and resources about the upcoming election this November but they also engage their communities in civic opportunities and experiences throughout the year.

Tree with a knitted afghan on its branches

Yarn-Bombing the Library

What better way to showcase Barnett’s picture book, our knitting program, and Project Literacy than to “yarn bomb” the library—especially the trees?