A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online
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New Expectations for Search Functionality Bring Challenges

In the past few weeks I’ve come across two articles that predict the imminent rise of voice-searching as the preferred method to seek information. My immediate reaction was a sinking feeling of discouragement when I consider how clunky searching for library materials already feels, let alone how it would feel if this new expectation comes […]

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Meghan Flaherty on Dancing Back and Writing Herself Back into Tango

Megan Flaherty’s heartfelt Tango Lessons details how a passing interest in tango turned into a full-fledged passion for the author when she was in her early twenties. With levity and grace, Flaherty guides the reader through the history of the dance, as well as the world of nightly prácticas and ballroom dance competitions. Flaherty also writes candidly about how the dance helped her confront face traumatic events from her childhood and issues in her relationships. Tango Lessons has been highly praised by the literary community, with Kirkus Reviews calling it “a vibrantly intelligent reading pleasure” and Pulitzer Prize-winner Margo Jefferson hailing Flaherty as “entertaining, thoughtful, and trustworthy because her self-examination—doubts, insecurities, grief—is never self-indulgent.”

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The Growler

We have all experienced the public’s perception that libraries are quiet peaceful places, in which staff merely sit around and read.  This idyllic image is frequently presumed about my library as we are relatively small and rural.  Although we have had some significant incidents, such as the elderly gentlemen who drove his car six feet into our building, these are infrequent and we are thankful that we do not often experiences the challenges that some of our more urban colleagues face daily. Still, we are not immune.

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Feeding the Body and the Mind – Library Summer Feeding Programs

What was once a fledgling experiment taking place in a few public libraries across the country has now become a mainstream success. Through summer feeding programs, public libraries are finding new ways to serve and engage their communities, while also contributing to the fight to end food insecurity, and pulling new audiences into their libraries.

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Rare Book Thefts Among Us

So, while investigations are quietly underway for recent thefts, what about unsolved book mysteries from 20, 30, 40 or 80 years ago? We can only speculate what public treasures are waiting to be discovered in hidden safes, basements, trunks and cardboard boxes around the world.

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Educating Tweens/Teens about Substance Use

By: Lydia N. Collins, Consumer Health Coordinator, NNLM Middle Atlantic Region, University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System, Pittsburgh, PA  Historically, public libraries exist within communities and work to support, improve and sustain the individuals who live in their neighborhoods. The ultimate goal of all public libraries is to help build capacity for individuals in […]

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Winner Selected in PL Readers’ Choice Contest

The winner of the Readers Choice vote for the Honorable Mention award is Kyra Hahn, for her article, “Public Service Loan Forgiveness – The Struggle to Qualify is Real.”

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Five Recommended Pop-Culture Podcasts

I am surprised how much I like podcasts. I was never a fan of audiobooks, and therefore thought I would never get into podcasts either. And, if you are anything like me, constantly short on time, podcasts will keep you up to date and informed, all on your schedule.

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Net Neutrality is Dead. For Now.

While this is a huge change that could endanger equal access to the internet, the American Library Association (and other organizations) continue to press for a restoration of Net Neutrality laws.

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GDPR and American Public Libraries

You may be asking yourself, “What in the world does this have to do with me, isn’t this just a EU regulation?” Well, yes and no. GDPR effects any business that handles the personal data of someone living in the EU. As we all know, the internet is worldwide. Many businesses have customers living not only in Europe, but the United States, Australia, Brazil, etc. GDPR requires companies to change how they collect, store, and share customers’ information.

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Hannah Pittard on the Complexity and Messiness of Life

Hannah Pittard’s sweeping Visible Empire focuses on the aftermath of a real-life plane crash in 1961, which claimed the lives of over 100 Atlantans traveling home after an extended art tour of Paris. Pittard employs her formidable skills to focus on how the crash affects four Atlantans: Robert Tucker, a middle-aged newspaper editor whose mistress was on the plane; his wife, Lily, who is eight months pregnant with their first child; Piedmont Dobbs, a teenager who was recently denied the chance of being one of the first African-American students to integrate Atlanta’s Public Schools; and Anastasia Rivers, a calculating grifter who uses the crash as a springboard to a better life.

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Kenneth Bonert on Finding the Right Tone to Make the Story Come Alive

Kenneth Bonert’s The Mandela Plot is a propulsive literary thriller set in late 80’s Johannesburg, when eighteen year-old Martin Helger’s life is upended upon the arrival of Annie, an intriguing American college student. Annie quickly proves to have a bevy of  secrets, and Martin is soon exposed to a world far different than his sheltered working class […]

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Article on RA Services to the Grieving Wins First Place in PL Contest

Congratulations to our first place winner ($500) Nicolette Warisse Sosulski, for her article “Excuse Me, Is There a Loss Section?-Readers Advisory to the Grieving and Bereaved.” 

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The General Data Protection Regulation and U.S. Public Libraries

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European-Union (EU) wide regulation that unifies European data privacy laws and also codifies the personal data protection rights of residents. It was enacted to provide European citizens with full control over the data that is collected and stored about them.

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In Practice: Civility

In other blog posts I have expressed my beliefs that especially in today’s world, civility is imperative.  I have also expressed a belief that librarians have a responsibility to lead tolerance.  In response to these expressed beliefs some have challenged civility is a silencing tool of oppression and that tolerance is an unacceptable dodge of acceptance.  I believe these responses indicate experiences in which civility or tolerance have not been practiced.