Ask the ALA Library

Longevity record?

Q. I was just reading Theodore Jones' "Carnegie Libraries Across America" (Wiley, 1997) and saw a reference to Gladys Powers who served as the librarian in the Shelbina Carnegie Public Library for 67 years (from 1921 to 1988).  Is that a record?

Storm Center

Q. I saw this week's article at the Huffington Post website about movie librarians, Librarians Save The Day! 11 Great Movies In Which They Star. I was very surprised to see a film there starring one of my favorite actresses, Bette Davis, that I never heard of! By any chance, can ALA tell me anything about Storm Center (1956)? I'm hoping to add it to my list of requested films from that online DVD rental service.

Author Events

Q. I'm an events coordinator for an independent book store.  We try to do author events frequently, often in collaboration with our town's library.  The librarian suggested I look into the resources from ALA.  What do you have?


National Library Symbol

Q. I've seen the web page on the National Library Symbol, ALA Library Fact Sheet 30 - National Library Symbol/Library Symbol Highway Sign. But you only have a small jpg file there. Do you have any large, high-resolution image files of the National Library Symbol that my library can download and use in our promotional materials and on our website?

Volunteers in Libraries

Q. We have demand for new programming, but there isn't new funding in sight, so we're thinking about expanding our volunteer program beyond helping with the annual book sale. Do you have any resources that might help us manage our library volunteer program better?

Library Branch in the Mall

Q. We’re renovating one of our branches and have been offered space in a mall as a temporary home.  Have other libraries done this?

How many closings?

Q. I keep reading about recent closings of public libraries or proposed closings of branches in some larger cities, and I recall that others, such as in Salinas, CA, closed but re-opened.  How many libraries have, in fact, been closed?  I hope it isn't many, as I've also been reading about increased library usage, and I would hate to see cutting libraries viewed as a tool for dealing with strained budgets.

Evaluating your reference collection

Question: Due to budget cuts, my library is looking closely at the reference collection.  Are there any policies or guidelines for evaluating reference collections, especially in light of print and paid database resources?

Answer: While ALA does not have a collection development (or evaluation) policy for the reference collection, we do have various guidelines to help you create your own policy.  The ALA Library has gathered some resources on our Professional Tips Wiki:

Do bus fumes damage books?

Bus with exhaust

Q. Do diesel fumes, like from a bus, damage books? A request was made to the city bus transit offices to move a bus stop based on the argument that bus fumes damage books.

Summer Reading Lists

"What should my kids read over the summer?" is a common question at this time of year.  With school letting out for the summer break, teachers and parents alike are searching for reputable lists of books for their students and children.  First, check with your local public library, which often has a summer reading program.


Subscribe to Ask the ALA Library