Andrew AlbaneseWhat’s surprising about public libraries today is that they are more about offering access than acting as archives. In the US, too, the public library is increasingly a community’s home away from home.

Ahead of the biannual Public Library Association Conference, coming to Denver, April 59, Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, learned about the sweeping new roles libraries play in their communities from Felton Thomas, director of the Cleveland Public Library and incoming PLA president.

“Yes, he told me, books and resources are still expected, and they are big parts of the job. But last year, for example, the Cleveland Public Library also served over 150,000 free meals to kids,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“In some parts of his city, Thomas said, half the community has no Internet access. So Cleveland libraries organized a record number of computer sessions for adults, who come to fill out job applications.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.


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