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COVID-19: The Impact on Public Libraries

Public libraries hustle to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.


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New Podcast! EDISJ with Jessica Bratt

Our guest is Jessica Bratt, Youth Services Manager at the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Public Library. Jessica began the DigiBridge partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools, and received national recognition as a Library Journal Mover & Shaker. She writes reviews for library trade publications, serves on the Board of Directors for the Michigan Library Association, and on the ALA 2019 Coretta Scott […]

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Resisting “Vocational Awe” During the Pandemic

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?

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Building a More Empathetic Library Culture

In these times of great uncertainty, anxiety, and fear, empathy is a valuable skill in libraries. No matter our position or job title, we all have opportunities to lead, and can utilize this crisis to build more empathetic cultures within our organizations.

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Combating Stress During Times of Crisis

The same vocational awe that leads us to a career of tirelessly connecting people with free and equal access to information, resources, and each other, can lead to inevitable burnout under normal circumstances. In times of crisis, when environmental stressors abound, we must be especially careful not to forget that in order to take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves.

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Work Really Hard and Be Kind

To find a job when I was done earning my degree, I knew I would have to go above and beyond – I had to work really hard, and be kind. And spoiler alert: it worked.

Voting at the Library

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 […]

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The Census Starts in Two Weeks

Are You Ready for Patron Questions? On March 12, millions of American households will begin receiving mailings inviting them to respond to the 2020 Census. To get an accurate count, everyone has to respond – if they don’t, our libraries and communities will lose needed funding. As the mailings arrive, and especially with the new […]

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Kent Garrett on Meeting Malcolm X and His Eye-Opening Time at Harvard

In 1959, Kent Garrett was one of eighteen Black students recruited for Harvard’s incoming freshman class, a varied group that included a future New York Times journalist, a research scientist, and experimental jazz musician. Nearly fifty years later, after an award winning career at both CBS and NBC news, Garrett, along with his partner Jeanne Ellsworth, embarked on a project to place his classmates’ experiences at Harvard into a historical context. The resulting book, The Last Negroes at Harvard: The Class of 1863 and the 18 Young Men Who Changed Harvard Forever, is a remarkable investigation of how these young men forged their identities during a pivotal point in American history.

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“I Believe the Proverbial Arc is Bending Towards Justice; It’s Just Going to Need a Lot of Support”—Mimi Lemay on her Memoir

From the time he was two-and-a-half, Mimi Lemay’s son, Jacob, born “Em,” asserted that he was a boy. As Lemay listened to her middle child reckon with his gender identity, it called to mind how as a young woman she struggled against the expectations of the ultra-Orthodox community in which she was raised. In her extraordinary memoir, What We Will Become: A Mother, a Son, and a Journey of Transformation, Lemay skillfully interweaves how her own experience breaking away from her religious community helped inform how she was able to support Jacob’s recognition of his authentic gender identity. The result is a compassionate memoir about family and faith. Library Journal hailed it as “a vital and engrossing book about how to live an authentic life” and Publisher’s Weekly called it “a fascinating, heart-wrenching memoir [that] offers invaluable insights into issues of gender identity.”

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Dogs and Libraries: A Paw-Fect Match

A growing number of libraries are offering programs inviting therapy dogs to sit and listen as young patrons practice reading aloud inspiring a new generation of readers.

Election Year at the Library

From voting booths for kids to speed-dating candidates, libraries are encouraging all community members to participate in democracy.

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Karen McManus on Thorny Sibling Relationships, Gender Stereotypes, and Teenagers with Main Character Potential

Karen McManus’ twisty One Of Us Is Next kicks off a year and a half after the events of her bestseller thriller One Of Us Is Lying. Bayview High School is recovering from the havoc unleashed by Simon Kelleher’s gossip app when an unknown student launches a phone-based game of Truth or Dare. Yet what begins as harmless teenage fun soon grows more sinister. The mysterious person behind the game reveals dark secrets about its players, and the dares grow increasingly dangerous. When the game targets Maeve Rojas, who played an integral part in solving the mystery of One Of Us Is Lying, she teams up with her best friend, Knox, and the game’s first victim, Phoebe, to unmask the anonymous game master before things turn deadly.

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Shannon Pufahl on Luck, the Social Avant-Garde, and the “Interesting Fictional Problem” at the Heart of Her New Novel

In Shannon Pufahl’s luminous On Swift Horses, newlywed Muriel whiles away her days at the local diner where she waitresses. There, she becomes a careful student of the horse trainers and jockeys who eat there, learning the intricacies of the horse racing world by eavesdropping on their conversations. When this newfound knowledge yields an unexpected windfall at the track, Muriel finds herself at a crossroads, tentatively exploring this newfound financial freedom and its impact on her marriage. Meanwhile, her beloved brother-in-law Julius has found work at a Las Vegas Casino, where he has fallen deeply in love with his co-worker (and card cheat), Henry. Both Muriel and Julius soon find themselves on unexpected quests, and Pufahl masterfully tracks their journeys through Tijuana and the queer spaces of mid-century San Diego.

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New Podcast! The 2020 Census and Public Libraries

In this episode, Larra Clark, PLA and ALA Washington Office Public Policy and Advocacy Deputy Director, and Michelle Perera, Director of the Pasadena (California) Public Library discuss the 2020 census. With billions in federal funding at stake over the next ten years, it is crucial for libraries that an accurate count is taken. Clark and […]