See 2020's most impressive new and renovated libraries

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Census Read-along featuring Auli'i Cravalho

Library Learning Center at Texas Southern University in Houston. (Photo: Kayla Hartzog)

The Library Design Showcase is American Libraries’ annual celebration of new and renovated libraries. These shining examples of architectural innovation—completed before the COVID-19 pandemic—address user needs in unique, interesting, and effective ways. As with past showcases, renovations and expansions dominate submissions, as communities find novel ways to conserve and honor existing spaces while moving them into the 21st century....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

A floor plan for furniture removal at Hennepin County (Minn.) Library’s Eden Prairie branch. (Illustration: MSR Design)

Libraries have always been spaces for discovery. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been tasked with transforming themselves into places that allow users to physically distance while being more digitally connected than ever. As some institutions emerge from months of shutdowns, design and architecture experts seek to meet current health and safety challenges as well as safeguard these community spaces against an uncertain future....

American Libraries feature, Sept./Oct.

From the President by Julius C. Jefferson Jr.

ALA President Julius C. Jefferson Jr. writes: “As I write this, many of us are reflecting on the life of the ‘boy from Troy,’ US Rep. John Lewis. For 60 years Lewis served and advocated for our collective humanity. Lewis’s legacy reminds me that service is the fundamental reason libraries exist and that reading and access to information—which are human rights—are necessary for full participation in our democracy. To carry on that legacy, how will we advocate for participation by all and serve all our communities? Or, as Lewis asked: ‘If not us, then who? If not now, then when?’”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

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From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall writes: “Two civil rights giants, C. T. Vivian and John Lewis, died on the same July day. Both were courageous Freedom Riders who challenged segregation in the South. Lewis, who served as a US representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district for more than three decades, was a friend to libraries and to ALA, for which he was a frequent speaker. His late wife, Lillian, had been a librarian, and libraries played a major role in Lewis’s early activism. He often spoke about how, as a teen, his efforts to desegregate his public library in the South started him on the road to becoming a ‘good trouble’ maker.”...

American Libraries column, Sept./Oct.

Art Plotnik (Photo: Mary Phelan)

Art Plotnik, former editor of American Libraries and editorial director of ALA Editions, died August 28 in Chicago. He was 82. Before joining ALA in 1975, Plotnik earned his MSLS at Columbia University in New York City, wrote pulp fiction, and served as a newsletter editor in the Librarian’s Office of the Library of Congress. Plotnik wrote eight nonfiction books and the 2019 YA novel Aaron Schmink’s First Crazy Love. He also taught in the journalism department at Columbia College in Chicago and was a charter board member of the American Book Awards. Many of his former colleagues at ALA, where he worked until 1997, shared their memories....

AL: The Scoop, Sept. 1

ALA is joining  as a premier partner. , receive information and resources about hosting voter registration, and join libraries across the country in celebrating NVRD on September 22. Register by September 7 to receive  delivered by mail directly to your library....

ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office

Latest Library Links

Percent distribution of library professionals by age, 2018

A new fact sheet from the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees explores the role of library staffers in the workforce, diversity and demographics within the profession, educational attainment and wages of librarians, gender inequality, the benefits of union membership for librarians, and other issues faced by library workers, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on libraries and library professionals....

AFL-CIO, August 2020

Students Deserve School Libraries

School Library Media Specialist Steve Tetreault writes: “There’s a lot going on in the world right now. COVID-19 is going to have far-reaching economic effects. We know that school libraries tend to be the first programs cut when money gets tight. And school libraries have the potential to help deal with the institutional racism and lack of information literacy that plague many of our schools, and certainly our society. None of us are alone. School librarians are a vast and clever community. And we touch the lives of so many. If we each take some action, we can achieve great things.”...

Knowledge Quest, Aug. 31

Using EdPuzzle

Richard Byrne writes: “On August 28 I gave a couple of presentations at my school about ways to improve the chances that students actually watch the entirety of the videos that we share with them. Some of the ideas that I shared apply to videos that you make, and some of the ideas apply to videos that you find online. In total there were five key points in my presentation.”...

Free Technology for Teachers, Aug. 29

ALA news and press releases

a pile of books

Alexandra Alter writes: “This spring, when the pandemic forced bookstores across the country to close and authors to cancel their tours, many editors and publishers made a gamble. They postponed the publication of dozens of titles, betting that things would be back to normal by the fall. Now, with fall approaching, things are far from normal.”...

New York Times, Aug. 27

Flowers, shells, and insects decorate a page in Das Großes Stammbuch. (Photograph: Scriptura Limited/The Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel)

Between 1596 and 1647, art dealer and diplomat Philipp Hainhofer traveled around Europe collecting signatures in the “Große Stammbuch,” or “Album Amicorum.” Similar to an autograph book, Hainhofer’s register includes the marks of Cosimo II de Medici, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, to name a few. On August 25 —which was thought to be lost until it emerged in a London auction in 1931—for about $3.1 million....

This Is Colossal, Aug. 31

Politifact Truth-O-Meter points to true

J. Greller writes: “Today’s post is for everyone, since our political climate is currently so filled with misinformation. We all need to have factual information for the coming November election. Please share with your friends on social media. Too many people believe everything they read or see on TV. I've also attached , which you can print and post near your workspace.”...

A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet, Aug. 31; IFLA, July 10

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