American Libraries

Articles from Vol. 41, No. 5, May

Alan Furst
On the 10th of March 1938, the night train from Budapest pulled into the Gare du Nord a little after four in the morning." To readers of historical espionage fiction, that sentence can only mean one thing: Alan Furst. Furst writes about the years from...
A Literature of Risk: Teens Dealing with Violence and Other Risky Behaviors Can Get Help from Young Adult Fiction
Risky behaviors remain very real factors in the daily lives of 21st-century teens. Ranging from physical and emotional violence to drug and alcohol abuse, from risky sexual practices resulting in STDs and unintended pregnancies to driving recklessly...
American Libraries: "Read for Your Life" Is Your Ambassadorship Theme. Why?
American Libraries: "Read for Your Life" is your ambassadorship theme. Why? KATHERINE PATERSON: I wanted to talk about a broad range of things that would be inclusive of not only reading that you do for your own enjoyment, nourishment, and information,...
Candidates Sought for 2011 Election
The ALA 2011 Nominating Committee is soliciting nominees to run on the 2011 spring ballot for the offices of ALA president and councilor-at-large. The committee will select two candidates to run for president-elect and no fewer than 51 candidates...
Chalkboard Heroine: If Only a School Librarian Had Her Back
One might reasonably think I'm beyond having a favorite teacher. Having turned in all my assignments and completed my formal education years ago, such a declaration might seem a tad unnecessary. A note on author Nikki Grimes's Facebook page, though,...
Dipping into the Stream: Building Collegial Ties on Twitter and FriendFeed
When you think of Twitter, you might think of Oprah. You might think of Ashton Kutcher. But do you think of Roy Tennant, Jessamyn West, and ALA's Association of College and Research Libraries? While social networks are useful for keeping up with celebrities,...
Everyday Existence: The Founder of StoryCorps Talks about the Central Role of Libraries in This National Oral History Project That Records the Lives of Ordinary People
A confession: I am a library freak. I believe deeply in the importance of libraries and think of librarians as some of the most amazing, committed, brilliant, and radical professionals I've ever been lucky enough to meet and work with. I believe that...
Faculty Survey Tracks Changing Perceptions of Campus Libraries
A new survey of U.S. colleges and universities has some troubling findings for libraries about their declining use by faculty, but also holds clues as to how they can maintain their relevance. The report of the results, Faculty-Survey 2009: Key...
Fixing the Federal Depository Library Program: The System Must Respond to the Digital Age and a Weakened Economy
In April 2009, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) released its updated Federal Depository Library Program Strategic Plan, 2009-2014 (tinyurl.com/y8xde7c), which summarizes the current condition of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)...
From Children's Literature to Readers Theatre: Get Kids Excited and Engaged with Books by Getting Them Onstage
Five 2nd-graders stand before a group of 20 preschool children sitting on the rug in the library's story area. Each of them is holding a hardback copy of Eric Rohmann's picture book A Kitten Tale (Knopf, 2008). [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] After the...
Gadgets and Gizmos: Personal Electronics and the Library
If we think back, we can imagine a time before the book and, once books became inexpensive and widespread, what a revolutionary and democratizing tool the book was for sharing information. It must have been incredible to think that you could have so...
Gates Foundation, IMLS Research Proves Patrons Value Online Access
The economic downturn has led to dramatic increases in library visitation across the nation, including unprecedented demand for free computer and internet access. Over the last year, Americans have flocked to libraries to go online and find help from...
Global Reach
HAITI (1) A Duke University graduate student has discovered what is believed to be the only known printed copy of Haiti's Declaration of Independence. While researching the early independence of Haiti in February, Julia Gaffield found the document,...
How the World Sees Us
"Before parents accept the wisdom of a school board to cut school librarians, they should ask: Will my child graduate with a 21st-century resume, or a 19th-century transcript? ... As the information landscape becomes ever more complex, why does a school...
Let's Review Everything: Why Stop at Books?
For many years, readers' advisory has been a fundamental and valuable library service that has helped library patrons and others decide what books to borrow from a library or to buy from a book dealer. Librarians have also been prolific writers of...
New Normal for Libraries: Embracing Today's Challenges for a Better Tomorrow
I was recently invited to address librarians, support staff, and administrators at one of our largest public library systems about dealing with changing and challenging times for their libraries. For my talk, I borrowed a term we hear frequently now--the...
Public Librarians Rally for Centrality
I spent my entire childhood at the library," singer Natalie Merchant exulted during a surprise appearance that opened the Public Library Association's national conference in Portland. Noting that Leonardo da Vinci was her idol when she was 7, she pledged...
Quirkiness "R" Us: Have You Embraced Your Inner Eccentricity?
A couple of months ago I started a daily blog entitled--'Will Unwound." At first, 1 had no idea what I was doing. All 1 knew was that as a retired librarian I wanted to stay connected to librarians on a daily basis. Call me crazy, but I think librarians...
State of America's Libraries: Usage Soars, Funding Shrinks
When jobs go away, Americans turn to their libraries to find information about future employment or educational opportunities. This library usage trend and others are detailed in the 2010 State of America's Libraries report, released April 11 by the...
Tell Us a Story
There's nothing quite so satisfying as a good story well told. We all tell stories, and libraries are the best places in the world to share them. With a growing national trend toward taking advantage of the cultural and literary programs, personalized...
The Association's Associations: ALTAFF
LET ALTAFF SHOW YOU THE MONEY Even as the national economy seems to be eking out a small recovery, libraries of all types across the country continue to reduce staff and hours, or close altogether. What's a librarian to do? Many librarians have...
The Biggest Front Porch: The Medium Changes the Way We Tell Our Stories
There are few pleasures in life as rewarding as being in the presence of a great storyteller--an opportunity I get every year when the University of Washington SLIS hosts the Spencer Shaw Lecture, in honor of our beloved emeritus faculty member. This...
Those Who Can Do. Those Who Can Do More, Volunteer: A Thriving Volunteer Workforce Can Help Libraries Fill the Gaping Holes Caused by Funding Reductions, Staff Cuts, and Reduced Hours
The world is in fiscal meltdown, with libraries feeling the heat. Layoffs and budgets cuts in Philadelphia, threatened branch closings in Boston, reduced hours and services in Charlotte, North Carolina: These big stories overshadow how commonly we...
Weeding Grows the Garden: Removing Worn-Out and Outdated Material Is a Surprisingly Effective Circulation Booster
Michael Sawyer takes pride in weeding books. In fact, he estimates that over the past 30 years he has overseen the removal of more than 500,000 items across eight library-systems. As you can imagine, this has not been without controversy. "Many...
Will Social Media Activism Reverse the Fortunes of Besieged Libraries?
Library workers and supporters nationwide are turning to social media to spread the word about proposed funding cuts and recruit advocates. Despite what looks to be a very bleak FY 2011, social media blitzes to stave off cuts for the current fiscal...