Episode One: Library Outreach


This week we look at library outreach!

We started with material from the American Library Association (ALA) about outreach work. (See below for more resources from the ALA, including briefs and toolkits you can use in your library!)

Click here to listen to this episode, or download it at iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services supports library and information science workers in creating safe, responsible, and all-inclusive spaces that serve and represent the entire community. To accomplish this, we de-center power and privilege by facilitating conversations around access and identity as they impact the profession and those we serve. We use a social justice framework to inform library and information science workers’ development of resources. We strive to create an association culture where these concerns are incorporated into everybody’s everyday work.

ODLOS actively works across the ALA Organization and with membership to consult, facilitate, coordinate and train on issues of equity and inclusion as they relate to access, literacy, and diversity within membership, the field of librarianship, and our communities. It is our responsibility to serve and support the following individuals and groups:

  • Historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups
  • Those discriminated against based on gender or sexual identities and expressions
  • Those from other protected classes including: age, religion, and disability status
  • Those discriminated against based on nationality or language
  • Those who experience socio-economic barriers
  • People geographically isolated
  • People experiencing hunger, homelessness & Poverty
  • Immigrants, refugees and new Americans
  • New and non-readers”

Library News:

So many libraries are doing interesting outreach work, it was tough to narrow down only a few to share this week. These are the links to the stories we found:

Books We Read:

As library people, we like to read! This week we each shared a couple of books we are currently reading:


Stardust by Neil Gaiman: Tristran Thorn promised to bring back a fallen star. So he sets out on a journey to fulfill the request of his beloved, the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester—and stumbles into the enchanted realm that lies beyond the wall of his English country town. Rich with adventure and magic, Stardust is one of master storyteller Neil Gaiman’s most beloved tales, and the inspiration for the hit movie.

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard In this collection of short essays, Annie Dillard—the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood—illuminates the dedication, absurdity, and daring that characterize the existence of a writer. A moving account of Dillard’s own experience, The Writing Life offers deep insight into one of the most mysterious professions.


The Librarian by Larry Beinhart How on earth did nebbish university librarian David Goldberg end up on Virginia’s Ten Most Wanted Criminals list for bestiality? And how did he get ensnared in a vast right-wing conspiracy to steal the presidency? It all begins so innocently when Goldberg starts moonlighting for eccentric, conservative billionaire Alan Carston Stowe as an archivist. But Goldberg’s appointment worries a cabal of ruthless right-wingers—ostensibly allies of Stowe, whose money lubricates their zany scary conspiracies—with very close ties to the White House. They fear that Goldberg will find something in Stowe’s records that will compromise the dirty tricks involved in re-electing Augustus Winthrop Scott, the dim scion of a powerful Republican political family, for a second term. As the presidential election heads into its final stretch, the hunt is on to remove Goldberg from his position—by any means necessary. The acclaimed, Edgar-winning mystery writer Larry Beinhart returns with this timely novel. In the tradition of Carl Hiassen, Elmore Leonard, and Joe Klein, The Librarian is a frenetic, scary and hilarious thriller that goes deep into the dark heart of election year politics.

The Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important—specifically, a Christmas gift for his wife, which he realizes on the morning of December 23. Henry sets off that day in search of the perfect present for her: a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. His wife, meanwhile, unhappy in her marriage, is hiding a secret of her own. And Daisy, who has made the unsettling choice of leaving her husband to strike out on her own, finds herself questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all.

Spotlight Library of the Week

Each week we look at a library doing interesting work in our topic. (This is always fun, because we get to look at the work a lot of libraries are doing!) This week our Spotlight library is the Hennepin County Library.

This library is doing a lot of great work in their community. As with all our Spotlight Libraries, you may want to browse their offerings, and see what you can do in your library!


Bonus Content!
(We are library people – we love to share information!)

The ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and its member groups have developed a variety of resources, most of which are free to the profession.

Outreach Issues Briefs

Visit Intersections, the blog of ODLOS, for stories from our members and staff!

Resource Development Areas

Outreach Toolkits


We support libraries!