by Lisa Lindsay, courtesy of Zocalo Public Square

Several years ago, when I first began working as a librarian at the Central Library in downtown Fresno, I escorted a daily customer named James toward the door at closing time. He usually came when we opened and left when we closed. He seemed to know everyone at the library, so most of his time was spent visiting with friends. He’d borrow a magnifying glass since he didn’t have glasses, and use it to peruse the local newspaper. As we parted ways one day, I recall saying: “Okay, James, it’s time to go home.”

Shortly after, I learned how presumptive that statement was. James slept in...


It was just a snapshot. But it provided a window into a day in the life of an Alabama public library. That glimpse was enough to help convince county officials to reverse the decision to zero fund the library for 2014 and restore full funding.

This is not to say the Lawrence County Public Library is completely out of woods, since it awaits another crucial budget decision. The library was among the public libraries across the state taking part in "Snapshot Day: One Day in the Life of Alabama Public Libraries," on Sept. 25, 2013. A project of the Alabama Public Library Service, its goal was to show how important public libraries and library systems are to the state of Alabama - and, by doing so, to prod its community into thinking...


By Ed Karvoski, Jr., courtesy of Community Advocate

Some Indian residents of Shrewsbury (MA) accepted the challenge of planning fundraisers when they learned about an opportunity to name a room in the town’s remodeled public library in exchange for a donation of at least $10,000.  Among the team of fundraisers was Arumugham Raghunathan.  “There was the sense of community by wanting to set a goal together,” he said. “And it gave us a good sense of accomplishment that we achieved it.”

Also on the team was Vinay Vyas.  “Education is very important from the Indian standpoint and the library plays a big role,” he said. “For many of us, libraries were a scarce resource where we...


Mansfield Public Library in Mansfield, Texas, was designated a Literary Landmark in recognition of the contributions of John Howard Griffin, author of Black Like Me. More than 300 attended the dedication.

Former First Lady Laura W. Bush was a special guest at the ceremony at the library. She called Griffin “one of the strongest white voices for civil rights.” Griffin darkened his skin in the fall of 1959 and lived as a black man for seven weeks while traveling through Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama. The resulting book, Black Like Me, has never been out of print in the 50 years since it was published. It has been translated into 14 languages and sold more than 10 million copies. It still sells about 50,000...

School Libaries Make the Difference

Review of the Day

Rader-Day, Lori (author).
July 2015. 284p. Prometheus/Seventh Street, paperback, $15.95 (9781633880047).
REVIEW. First published May 1, 2015 (Booklist).

The last thing Juliet Townsend expects to see as she checks her road-weary family into the budget-friendly Mid-Night Inn is Madeleine Bell, her high-school best friend. OK, her only best friend throughout her life. They haven’t spoken in 10 years, since star runner Madeleine’s last-minute withdrawal from the state track meet ruined Juliet’s chance to win a scholarship that would have meant a different life. Juliet is still bitter, and it doesn’t help that Maddy looks fantastic and is clearly wealthy, while Juliet lives at home caring...