A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
Public Libraries Podcast logo

New FYI Podcast! A Discussion of Imposter Syndrome

How often do you catch yourself feeling like you are in ‘over your head’ at work? Imposter syndrome – the sense that you are inadequate for the task in front of you despite past proof of your ability – can wreak havoc on your career and keep you from taking on new challenges. It can […]

illustration of a person pressing a button on a vending machine

Short Story Dispenser Connects Libraries to Communities

Short Édition’s Short Story Dispenser was embedded in four pilot communities around the country through a project called “Fostering Creative Community Connections,” a partnership between the Public Library Association (PLA) and French publisher Short Édition, and made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

photo of packed book shelves

“We Aren’t Afraid to Have the Numbers, and They’ve Showed Up”—Heights Libraries on their 1619 Project Programming

For over a year, Heights Libraries (Cleveland Heights, OH) has held monthly programs surrounding The 1619 Project, The New York Times’ long-form journalism project that investigates how slavery molded the United States’ economy, politics, and social structure. Outreach Librarian John Piché spoke with us about best practices for holding your own program, community engagement, and partnering with local organizations.

illlustratio of a hypodermic needle

Why Aren’t More Public Librarians Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Public librarians wear many hats — we’re de facto educators, social workers, emergency responders, and much more — but which role will keep us safe from COVID?

Amy Gentry Author Photo

Amy Gentry on Toxic Workplaces, How to Construct the Perfect Plot Twist, and Why Grad School is the Perfect Place to Become a Villain

Amy Gentry’s engrossing Bad Habits digs into the dark recesses of academia, pulling apart the long lasting aftershocks of a toxic relationship among a dynamic professor and the two star students in her graduate program. When we first meet Mac, she’s living a seemingly glamorous life in academia, headlining conferences and on the verge of interviewing for her dream job. Yet she’s brought up short when she unexpectedly runs into her former best friend Gwen at a hotel bar. The two haven’t spoken since Gwen left their graduate program nearly a decade earlier, and the reunion stirs up dark memories of the past that Mac has long since suppressed. As high school students, they formed an intense bond over their shared appreciation of beauty and art, despite coming from wildly different backgrounds. Mac’s childhood was marked by her mother’s struggles with addiction and financial issues, while Gwen came from a world of near unimaginable wealth. Later as doctoral students in an elite graduate program, they fell under the thrall of a brilliant professor, Bethany, whose iron-like grip on her students’ lives shapes the ultimate fates of both Gwen and Mac. With spiky humor and exquisite plotting, Gentry crafts a twisty tale that explores the surprising and brutal ways a person’s past may bump against their present life.

Hazard Sign Yellow Triangle with Black Exclamation Mark

Health Hazards of Librarianship: Not Just Paper Cuts

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.

line illustration of two people pointing at each other with thought bubbles over their heads

Fostering Civility at the Library

Fierce disagreements between individuals is what causes incivility and many US citizens believe that we, as a country, are more divided, so instead, this article is about how US citizens agree on most topics.

photograph of hands typing on a laptop keyboard

COVID-19 Makes Library Skilling Programs Critical

Improving their communities’ digital literacy is important for public libraries as they seek to live up to their mission. The challenge has taken on new urgency as we fight against the economic costs of the pandemic.

Author Photo of Te-Ping Chen

Te-Ping Chen on the Land of Oz, Writing as a Secret Self, and the Stray Wonderings that Inspire Her Stories

Each of the stories in Te-Ping Chen’s phenomenal debut collection, Land of Big Numbers, plunge the reader into the often fantastical lives of her memorable characters. With wit, grace, and compassion, Chen brings each character fully to life, from a lovestruck flower vender who accidentally comes into possession of an expensive fountain pen to an […]

zoom-type meeting illustration

Virtual Programming Tips

Every librarian is at a different place when it comes to virtual programming. Some of us are longtime users/experts, some are coming up on a year of using video meeting software, Facebook, or YouTube to present programs, while others are just starting out. Programming in general can be difficult, but virtual programming has its own rules. Here are some of the things that have helped me in my first year of virtual programming.

illustration of a blue figure and a sign with two arrows pointing in different directions

Ethical Issues in Libraries: An International Conference

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.

Author Photo of Mateo Askaripour

Mateo Askaripour on Mob Movies, James Baldwin, and the Book that Gave Him Permission to Not Hold Back

Four years after graduating as valedictorian from Bronx High School of Science, Darren Vender coasts through life as manager of a Starbucks in the lobby of a New York skyscraper. He spends his free time hanging out with his childhood sweetheart, Soraya, and best friend, Jason, while evading his mother’s persistent questions about his future. An unexpected career path opens up for him, however, when he impulsively up-sells one of the high profile executives who frequent his store. Soon Darren finds himself thrust into the high-pressure (and very white) start-up world, scrambling to learn a new skill set as a member of their elite sales team while dodging his racist co-workers’ attempts to sabotage him. Darren’s considerable sales acumen quickly vaults him into a world of unimaginable opulence, one that pushes him farther away from his family, friends, and neighborhood. When a tragic event upends Darren’s life, Darren finds unexpected purpose by launching an underground plot to recruit and train a more diverse sales force. With his debut novel Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour has crafted a riotously funny dissection of race, corporate culture, and the American Dream that is also one of the most anticipated books of 2021. The Washington Post called it “an irresistible comic novel about the tenacity of racism in corporate America” and Entertainment Weekly hailed it as “a combination of character study, searing indictment of all the problematics of white corporate culture, and some good old-fashioned enjoyable sarcasm.”

illustration of a greenish mask on a purple background

Blurred Line Between Safety and Service

As the pandemic continues, how do library workers stay safe and still
provide the services desperately needed in our communities?

black and white illustration of a person painting on a brick wall set against a red background

Libraries Celebrate Community with New Murals

In 2020, through the global pandemic and the rise of voices for social justice, libraries across the country found their own means of expression through art. In particular, three libraries celebrated the diversity of their communities with the creation of new library murals.

two people in an online meeting one on computer screen one looking at computer screen

Job Searching During a Pandemic: Flexibility is Key

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the recruitment process upside down for both job seekers and employers. Here’s how to cope.