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¿Como Puedo Ayudarle? How Can I Help You?

We gladly assisted wherever we could and not once did we ever inquire about their “legal” status. They came in, asked for assistance, and we provided that assistance to them.

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The Census Needs to Hire Half a Million People – Here’s How Libraries Can Help

Public libraries can play a central role in helping community members learn about and apply for these jobs, and a new tip sheet from the ALA can help.

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Mike Wallace Is Here, A Review

This documentary succeeds in part because of Director Avi Belkin’s skillful use of archival footage to show us how Wallace interacted with public figures ranging from Richard Nixon and Vladimir Putin to Malcolm X and Barbara Streisand.

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Performance Evaluations: What Not to Do

Managers, avoid these common pitfalls, and stop stressing over employee reviews.

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Andrea Pitzer on Concentration Camps, Library Neutrality, and Combating Misinformation

The author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps talks with Public Libraries Online about Concentration Camps and the Challenges of Combating Misinformation

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Peers — In Their Own Words

Over the past ten years public libraries around the country have been bringing in social workers to connect with and assist customers experiencing life challenges. Some library systems have added social workers to the staff while other systems partner with government agencies and nonprofit organizations that detail a social worker to the library. From Alaska […]

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Library’s 3D Printer Makes a Difference

As the presence of 3-D printers grows in public libraries across the nation, patrons utilize them for custom orders and librarians continue to question and discover new ways for their usage to be incorporated into library programming and the overall mission of building community.

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Creative Learning @ Your Library

The Public Library Innovation Exchange Fosters Creativity and STEAM Programming  Central to the mission of public libraries is the facilitation of self-directed learning for all members of the community.  Now more than ever, learning includes not just the ability to consume information in the form of text, but the ability to create and share information […]

Intersections an occasional column reporting on pla's collaborative projects

Measuring Civic Impact a Theme of Knight Public Spaces Forum

Just before the 2019 ALA Annual Conference, it was my pleasure to participate in the first-ever Knight Public Spaces Forum in Philadelphia. More than 250 people from across the country, including staff from parks, community foundations, libraries, and arts organizations, joined Knight Foundation staff and government leaders to discuss our civic commons and efforts to […]

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Flatter, Focused, and Community Led – Public Library Staffing Continues to Evolve

21st century public libraries are adapting their internal structures to serve their patrons and communities in new ways. An informal look at public library structures from around the country shows they are becoming flatter organizations. Middle management or “deputy director” positions are not common. Directors often have more than five direct reports. Many support functions, […]

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New Podcast! Library Marketing with Cordelia Anderson

We talk library marketing and PR with Cordelia Anderson, a marketing and communications consultant who works primarily with libraries and nonprofits. She is also the former director of marketing and communications at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Library in North Carolina. Anderson shares her concept of the library marketing funnel, understanding the library user’s wants and needs, the importance of the overall customer experience, and finding where library users are dropping off at your library.

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Media Literacy Ideas

In this post-truth age of fake news and filter bubbles, what are public libraries across the U.S. doing to help community members become more discerning users of media information?

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Do’s & Don’ts of Supervising Library Volunteers

Volunteer workers make the library world go ‘round, and it is important for supervisors to cultivate good relationships with volunteers and to ensure that volunteers are adequately prepared to perform their job duties. Here are some tips for making the most of your volunteer workforce for the benefit of staff, volunteers, and patrons alike.

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Staying Social: Why Your Library Needs Social Media Policies

Social media is relatively easy to publish to and free or low-cost, making it genuinely accessible to any type of organization. This ease, however, can come at a price — more and more often we hear stories of businesses dealing with fallout from a poorly thought out post.

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A Woman’s Place is in the House (And Senate!)

“Knock Down the House,” a new Netflix documentary about four female challengers who ran for congress in 2018, won two audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival.