Announcing a New Project: “Reasons to Love Libraries”

“Reasons to Love ­Libraries” is a yearlong editorial project and campaign to engage the public in reflecting on libraries to reveal their impact on people and communities.

Got a reason to love libraries? Download your choice of “Reasons to Love ­Libraries” social assets to tell your own library story. 


In Dallas, two librarians are foregrounding d/Deaf (Deaf/Hard of Hearing) culture. Teaching American Sign Language in English and Spanish and spearheading public programs around National Deaf History Month in April are among the initiatives of Alicia Deal and ­KayCee Choi. For their work at Dallas Public Library, ­facilitating awareness and understanding in their community, the pair was named to Library Journal’s 2023 class of Movers & Shakers.

Reading up on Choi and Deal and their cohort of honorees—or just about any program we cover in our reporting, for that matter—one is likely to come to a singular conclusion: libraries and library people are pretty great.

Yet turn around, and the public discourse around these institutions is far less positive, if not downright vitriolic.

“We find ourselves confronting a loud and ­angry narrative about libraries, library workers, and, yes, our library association, that runs counter to ­reality,” writes Emily Drabinski, American Library ­Association (ALA) president, in the January edition of
American Libraries.

Indeed, libraries have been targeted for a couple of years running, corresponding with the rise in book challenges, which shows no signs of abating. As of August 2023, the number of documented ­challenges to unique titles rose by 20 percent above the previous year, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. It’s worth noting that 49 percent of documented book challenges last year occurred in public libraries, compared to 16 percent during the same period in 2022.

With that, we announce “Reasons to Love ­Libraries,” a yearlong editorial project and ­campaign to engage the public in reflecting on libraries to ­reveal their impact on people and communities. SLJ and sister publication Library Journal will dedicate reporting, sharing relevant coverage of the field.

Telling the actual story of libraries has been the business of LJ and SLJ for decades, and we strive to do so through diligent reporting. In the face of disinformation and social media hot takes targeting libraries, we will continue that work in this project and beyond.

Public participation will be an important component of “Reasons to Love Libraries,” providing an opportunity for people to consider, document, and share their experiences, expanding the perspective of the project, and enabling reflection about these institutions and their role in contemporary life.

Telling the fuller story about libraries will shed light on much more. Working to serve their communities, libraries are encountering great need, from food insecurity and mental health support to ­critical access to information and services: ­universal, human issues that should have us ­coming together to help resolve.

For further details and how you can get involved, stay tuned at Organizations interested in partnering with us can contact me at


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Kathy Ishizuka

Kathy Ishizuka is editor in chief of School Library Journal.

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