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Librarian networks are trying to get books in the hands of people locked away in prisons and jails

Photo illustration; source: Paul Bersebach/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The Way We Work Now is a series chronicling how people’s lives and careers have fundamentally changed because of the pandemic.

Mia Bruner is a 29-year-old librarian and founder of the Prison Library Support Network (PLSN). She spoke with Mai Tran about the difficulties of providing resources to incarcerated people during a pandemic.

Prison Library Support Network was founded in 2016, after Donald Trump was elected. …

These venerable institutions are far more than a musty collection of books — they’re now everything from recording studios to nightlife hotspots

An exterior shot of the Seattle public library building.
The Seattle Public Library. Photo: N i c o l a via flickr/CC BY 2.0

Some may be tempted to think the humble public library is going extinct. I beg to differ. Throughout history, this incredible institution has constantly evolved to keep up with the times. Before they were public, they were exclusively membership-based. Before there were online catalogs, there were card catalogs. Before there were free streaming services, there were (and still are) physical movies and audiobooks.

Now, our libraries are doing even more. They’re shifting from information centers to community social hubs. Think cafés and bars. Think loaning out ski and snowshoe equipment. Think providing services for the homeless. …

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