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A Message from PLA President Maria McCauley Regarding Recent Library Threats

Responding to threats to my library or my colleagues is something that I never expected to need to prepare for in my role as a library director. Unfortunately, these incidents seem to be coming up more often, and most recently colleagues in five cities have worked with local authorities to address bomb or shooting threats […]

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New FYI Podcast – Hosting an Expungement Clinic at the Public Library

Job seekers with a criminal record face an enormous barrier to employment. While legal service providers can assist with the expungement process, often at little or no cost, they are predominantly located in urban centers, making access difficult for those in rural areas. In this episode Elena Coelho, Adult Program Manager, Worcester County (MD) Library; […]

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Barbara Graham On The Joy Of “Not Knowing” In Crafting Her Compassionate and Suspenseful Debut Novel

When musician Henry Bird disappears shortly before the birth of his daughter, local police initially chalk it up to a fear of impending fatherhood. Yet his mother, Helen, instinctively fears the worst and sets out to uncover what happened. As Helen pursues her investigation, Lucie and Matt Pressman, two young Manhattanites who frequently vacation in Henry’s hometown of Aurora Falls, New York, welcome the arrival of their son, Jonah. When the Pressmans return to Aurora Falls the summer their son Jonah is seven, Helen and Lucie find their lives inexplicably connected. Jonah, who has long referenced his “other mom and dog,” rattles off memories that only could have been known by Henry, who remains missing. The two mothers, unnerved by this improbability, form a cautious friendship as they seek to understand the link between their sons and uncover what happened to Henry all those years before. Barbara Graham’s What Jonah Knew is a compassionate examination of grief, a celebration of friendships and unexpected communities, and a deeply gripping mystical thriller. Graham spoke to us about her extensive research, unlocking the different voices of her characters, and the joy of “not knowing” in writing. 

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Changing Expectations: New Ways to Entice the Public

Is your library quiet or noisy? Are the patrons reading, playing a board game, or getting documents notarized? Public libraries are evolving. As the focus (and access) changed from providing original sources for academics to providing materials to teach kids how to read, adults are thinking of libraries differently. Now they are more likely to […]

Brave Voices, Brave Choices: A look into Howard County Library System’s racial equity initiative

The Public Library Association’s (PLA) July webinar highlighting Howard County Library System’s (HCLS) Brave Voices, Brave Choices (BVBC) initiative was an energizing introduction to one public library system’s approach to advancing racial equity within its community. While Howard County in Maryland is acclaimed for its diversity, its Black residents increasingly have the worst outcomes across […]

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Just Where are We Heading?

With the overturning of Roe, it is more important than ever for libraries to protect the privacy of patrons who seek information to help them make decisions about their health. And, if recent events in public library land provide any indication, some library workers will likely do that work under the threat of criminalization.

Using Co-Design as an Approach to Better Serve and Engage Low-Income, Latinx Communities

The nation’s Latinx population is estimated at 58.9 million and is predicted to make up 28% of the U.S. population by 2060 (U.S. Census Bureau 2021). [1]. While this proportion has been increasing, institutional resources to support Latinx families have not been developed at a similar pace. For example, historically, Latinx populations are less likely […]

Uso del diseño colaborativo como método para atender mejor e involucrar a las comunidades Latinx de bajos ingresos

La población Latinx de la nación se estima en 58.9 millones de personas y se prevé que represente el 28 % de la población de EE. UU. en 2060 (Oficina del Censo de EE. UU., 2021). [1]. Si bien esta proporción ha ido aumentando, los recursos institucionales para apoyar a las familias Latinx no se han desarrollado a […]

Author Photo of K-Ming Chang

“I Feel Like I Can Create The Rules Of The World As I’m Writing It” — K-Ming Chang On The Stories in Her Phenomenal New Collection

In Gods of Want, K-Ming Chang has assembled an assortment of sly, challenging, and consistently surprising stories that will surely earn her the same level of critical acclaim as her debut novel, Bestiary. From a young woman whose new marriage to a storm-chaser is nearly upended by the ghosts of her dead cousins to the teenage girl who becomes so entranced with a model in a cigarette ad that the ad comes to life, each of these stories inventively plays with mythology while taking the reader to unexpected places. Indeed, the exhilarating stories of Gods of Want have already captured the attention of critics. The New York Times called Gods of Want “a voracious, probing collection, proof of how exhilarating the short story can be in the hands of a writer who, as one of her narrators puts it, ‘somehow … made every word sound like want,’” and Publishers Weekly noted that “Chang’s bold conceits and potent imagery evoke a raw, visceral power that captures feelings of deep longing and puts them into words.” Chang recently spoke with us about mythology, writing characters with an expanded sense of agency, and why she held her breath in the children’s section of her library.

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New FYI Podcast Episode! Directors Dialogue

From leadership and management matters to current public library hot topics to strategic planning, capital projects, collection development, program planning, and so much more, the Directors Dialogue episodes aim to share ideas, best practices, and lessons learned.

Cover Photo of Ray Scott's Memoir

“That Little Brown Ball Saved My Life” — Ray Scott On His Compelling New Memoir and Groundbreaking Career in the NBA

Ray Scott played a formative role in the creation of the modern day NBA, not only through his years playing for and coaching the Detroit Pistons, but also for his contributions to establishing the NBA players’ union in the 1960s. Now, in his richly told memoir, The NBA in Black and White: The Memoir of a Trailblazing NBA Player and Coach, Scott gives readers and basketball fans an unprecedented look at those early years, from growing up playing against Wilt Chamberlain on the basketball courts of Philadelphia, to unexpectedly being named head coach of the Detroit Pistons in the 70s. Scott also details his role in the civil rights movement, from meeting Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to working alongside Coretta Scott King. Scott guides readers through the intimate moments of his professional life with warmth and humor, recounting the past with integrity and compassion. Critics have praised Scott’s book, with Publishers Weekly proclaiming it “a valuable addition to hoops history.” Scott recently spoke with us about his early days on the court against Chamberlain, his unexpected path to coaching, and growing up in the library.

Juneteenth Freedom Day 6/19/1865

Public Libraries Celebrate Juneteenth

This weekend, public libraries around the country are celebrating Juneteenth and Black freedom with events, discussions, book recommendations and more.

Love Maps? GIS Mapping Exchange info

GIS-Mapping Exchange Grant Program

The GIS-Mapping Exchange is seeking applications from public libraries, for funding ($1500-$5000) to partner with local geospatial data professionals.

Lessa Kanani'opua Pelayo-Lozada, incoming ALA President

Brave Communities – A Conversation with Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada

Feeling like I was making an impact I aspired to do more. The idea of becoming President stuck in my mind because when I was in Emerging Leaders, my group said I was going to be ALA president someday although I’m not sure I agreed then. When I was on the Executive Board and started doing work for the Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness (SCOE) it was a labor of love, and a lot of work. I saw how much I cared about the Association, but it also showed me how much others cared about too