Articles

In light of the threatened cuts to IMLS and federal library funding this year, we have seen an outpouring a support and an increase in advocacy efforts by librarian across the country. Over 42,000 emails were sent to the House and Senate during the Fight for Libraries! campaign alone! But many libraries did not stop at phone calls and emails.In April, Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library decided to showcase how different types of funding (including state and federal) help the library to provide valuable services for their patrons. The librarians tied balloons around objects and materials in the library, using different colored balloons to signify the different funding sources that made the resources possible. The result was a low-cost, eye-catching campaign that got the patron attention they were hoping for! READ MORE
At one time or another, most communities face the challenge of reestablishing stability after periods of disruption—whether human-created, natural, or some combination thereof. As civic anchors, libraries have played a critical role in meeting that challenge. The images of libraries in Ferguson and Baltimore as neighborhood beacons during the aftermath of the deaths of two young black men at the hands of police are particularly poignant. Yet those images belie the groundwork that was laid long in advance by committed librarians who listened, engaged, and prepared to respond to the needs of the communities they serve. READ MORE
“Béédaałniih: Diné bizaad bídahwiil’aah. Táadoo biligáana k’ehjí yádaalłti’í. Ahéhee’.”These are the first words that visitors see on a sign at the entrance of Tsé Hootsooí Diné Bi’ Olta’, an elementary immersion school that teaches the Navajo language to its 133 students on the capital of the Navajo Nation (AZ).In English, the sign means, “Remember: We are learning in Diné. Please leave your English outside. Thank you.”Visitors coming to the school also see trophies. Lots of them. Two full trophy displays line the halls near the entrance and even more trophies sit on top of bookshelves in the library, or naaltsoos bá hooghan, as students and teachers call it.These trophies are awards that Diné Bi’ Olta’ students have won since the school opened its doors in 2004. Schools on the Navajo reservation compete in annual cultural competitions that include pow wow dancing, singing, Navajo spelling bees and science fairs. Many are Diné Bi’ Olta’ students who have showcased their knowledge of Navajo language and culture, earning the school a reputation well enough to feature previous students in the Navajo-dubbed version of Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” or “Nemo Hádéést’į́į́.” READ MORE
Libraries loaning “stuff” isn’t a new concept. Framed paintings were available for checkout at the Newark (N.J.) Public Library back in 1904. “Libraries were sharing before sharing was cool,” says Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association’s Center for the Future of Libraries. READ MORE
Students at Wheaton High School and Loiederman Middle School are using art to express how they feel about community and culture in Montgomery County, MD. Dozens of students gathered at Montgomery County Public Libraries Wheaton Interim Branch Thursday evening to debut their new artwork that will be displayed in the libraries.“I designed a multicultural bookmark which is based on a hot air ballon above the world which is meant to represent how you’re free to explore,” Katelyn Hinkel, ninth grade student at Wheaton High School said.In an after school program titled, “Multicultural Bookmarks Project,” 24 students had the unique opportunity to create bookmarks that not only promoted literacy but the diverse cultures in the community as well. READ MORE
Jamille Rogers not only serves the students who visit her library at Marguerite Vann Elementary School Conway, Arkansas. She gets to know them and encourages them to make the most of their potential.Bobby Walker, school principal and her nominator for a 2016 I Love My Librarian Award, said, “Miss Rogers has excellent rapport with students and parents. As an administrator in a building with nearly 500 students, sometimes it’s a challenge to just remember all their names; much less be familiar with all of their interests and concerns. However … Miss Rogers uses the time in her library each week to not only provide meaningful instruction, but to also become familiar with her students.”A prime example of her powerful motivation skills is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Club. Addressing low academic performance among the male students, Rogers and her fellow members in the Conway School District’s Closing the Achievement Gap Committee. Rogers worked alongside Walker, the Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program president, and a local men’s store owner to establish the Distinguished Gentleman’s Club. READ MORE
Confronting inequality is integral to the history of libraries and remains at the heart of library service today. The same materials, programs and services are available to anyone who walks through the library’s doors, no matter the size (or existence) of their wallet. Yet librarians’ commitment to equity requires greater action, particularly during a sustained period of rising income inequality as we are experiencing in the United States. Across the country, in libraries of all types, librarians are taking that extra step. READ MORE
Tom Ratliff was searching the internet to learn more about his deceased grandfather when he discovered an oral history of his military service — all thanks to the Mary L. Cook Public Library’s (OH) participation in a national project more than a decade ago.“I was trying to find his military records online. I stumbled across the Veterans History Project (VHP) maybe a year ago and saw there was a cassette tape of the interview at the Library of Congress. They required an advanced notice, and I would have had to travel to Washington, D.C.,” Ratliff said. “Recently, I looked up the project again and saw he was interviewed by members of the Mary L. Cook Public Library. I went to their site and right there on the page was a YouTube video of the interview.”For 45 minutes, Richard L. Levering details his military experiences as part of the Library of Congress’ VHP, which seeks to collect and preserve oral histories of veterans to share with future generations. READ MORE
Over the past six decades, the media, local and state governments, professional associations, and civic organizations of all kinds have apologized for doing little or nothing while black people were beaten, jailed, and sometimes killed for standing up for their civil rights. The numerous confrontations over integrating public libraries in the South, however, have largely gone unrecognized.It’s long past time that library organizations and individual libraries do something to recognize the black kids—many of them still alive like Joan Mattison Daniel—who risked their lives at this critical time. Here are some of their stories. READ MORE
At George Washington High School’s (VA) student library around 2:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, students are busy. Some are looking for books, while others work on research projects on the computers.Around all of the activity, librarians Haley Walters and Kim Roberson say the activity points to a singular belief: in an age of smartphones and evolving technology, school libraries still matter.  “We have a lot of kids who just enjoy reading,” Walters said.Walters leveraged that enthusiasm for reading into a grant proposal for the American Association of School Librarians’ Inspire Collection Development Grant, and submitted the grant just before winter break.Recently, the library organization announced GW was one of six recipients of the grant. The school will receive $3,000 to improve its selection. READ MORE

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