Cover image of Call Number with American Libraries Podcast

Call Number with American Libraries Podcast

Call Number is the popular podcast series from American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association. Each month, your host and American Libraries Associate Editor Diana Panuncial will be your guide to conversations with librarians, authors, thinkers, and scholars about topics from the library world and beyond.

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Episode 16: "Fighting Fake News"

In Episode 16 of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries magazine looks at the "fake news" phenomenon—its history, how we become susceptible to it, and how we can fight it.Host and AL Associate Editor Phil Morehart talks with Joanna Burkhardt, fake news expert, professor and director of the University of Rhode Island branch libraries, and author of Teaching Information Literacy Reframed: 50+ Framework-Based Exercises for Creating Information-Literate Learners, about the history of fake news and how and its pernicious presence in today's media landscape.Next, Dewey Decibel Senior Game Show Correspondent and AL Associate Editor Terra Dankowski quizzes librarians on fake news headlines and talks with them about news literacy at their libraries.Finally, Morehart talks with Marnie Shure, managing editor of The Onion, about the satirical newspaper's very specific brand of fake news, the role of comedy in truth telling, and how current US politics affects its work.


1 Aug 2017

Rank #1

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Episode 43: It's a Mystery

Everyone loves a good mystery, especially during the Halloween season. In Episode 43, Dewey Decibel talks with library workers who were involved in three very different cases. First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Rebekah Heath, a research librarian and amateur sleuth who helped uncover the identities of the victims of the Bear Brook Murders in Allenstown, New Hampshire. Next, American Libraries Managing Editor Terra Dankowski and Sarah Ostman, communications manager in the American Library Association's Public Programs Office, talk with library workers from La Porte County (Ind.) Public Library and Derry (N.H.) Public Library about two unsolved mysteries that listeners can help unravel.


25 Oct 2019

Rank #2

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Episode 36: Spring Cleaning: Weeding Your Collections

Weeding is an essential but controversial task. Removing outdated, unused, or deteriorating books ensures that a library's collections remain fresh and relevant, but some critics consider the library to be a repository for all materials, regardless of content or physical condition.In Episode 36, two librarians discuss different aspects of the weeding process. "American Libraries" Senior Editor and "Dewey Decibel" host Phil Morehart speaks with Rebecca Vnuk, executive director of LibraryReads and author of "The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-By Shelf Guide" (ALA Editions, 2015) about why weeding is necessary, how to get started, and what to say to naysayers about its importance. Next, Morehart talks with Brian Greene, a librarian at Columbia College in Sonora, California, who cowrote an article in the October 2018 issue of "C&RL News" on large-scale ebook weeding undertaken by the Community College Library Consortium in California. Greene discusses what he learned from the project and offer tips for completing such an endeavor.


29 Mar 2019

Rank #3

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Episode 29: New Library Design

In Episode 29, American Libraries Associate Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart talks with two architects whose work with libraries was featured in American Libraries’ 2018 Library Design Showcase. We get behind-the-scenes perspectives on the buildings’ designs, construction, and effect on their communities.[/lead]First, Morehart speaks with Jim Stufflebeam from SAAP Design Architects about the new library in Joplin, Missouri, which has become a symbol of rebirth for the town after it was devastated by a tornado in 2011.Next, Derek Jones from the architecture firm Perkins + Will talks about the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center in New Castle County, Delaware—a unique facility built to alleviate an information desert in the area.


31 Aug 2018

Rank #4

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Episode 13: "Into the Future"

In episode 13 of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries looks into the future of libraries. Host Phil Morehart talks to Miguel Figueroa, director of the American Library Association's Center for the Future of Libraries, about the center's work tracking future trends important to the library world.Next, Phil talks to Kimber Fender, director of the Public Library of Cincinnati (Ohio) and Hamilton County, about the library's move to a fully-mobile service model.Finally, Terra Dankowski sits down with author and urban planner Ryan Gravel to discuss his book, Where We Want to Live: Reclaiming Infrastructure for a New Generation of Cities (St. Martin's Press, 2016), and the future of urban environments and libraries.


26 Apr 2017

Rank #5

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Episode 42: Libraries of All Shapes and Sizes

In Episode 42, Dewey Decibel looks at new and renovated libraries featured in American Libraries’ September/October 2019 library design and architecture issue.First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Gretchen Caserotti, director of Meridian (Idaho) Library District, about its 320-square-foot Tiny Library.Next, American Libraries Managing Editor Terra Dankowski discusses the construction of Austin (Texas) Public Library’s $125 million Central Library with its project manager, Cynthia Jordan.Finally, Morehart speaks with Rachel Schipper, director of the Gioconda and Joseph King Library at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida, about the artistic renovations completed on the library’s 80-year-old exterior murals.


30 Sep 2019

Rank #6

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Episode Five: "Library Design: If You Build It, They Will Come"

Episode Five tackles a topic close to host Phil Morehart's heart: library architecture and design. As editor of American Libraries Magazine's annual Library Design Showcase, Morehart was primed and perfectly suited to talk to this episode's three guests:Brian Lee from Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, the chief architect behind Chicago Public Library's new, award-winning Chinatown branch. Lee and Morehart discuss the new Chinatown library and importance of a library integrating itself and reflecting the community in which it serves.Kimberly Bolan, the library consultant behind Kimberly Bolan and Associates and author of "Teen Spaces: The Step-by-Step Library Makeover." Bolan and Morehart talk about the importance of teen spaces in libraries.Fred Schlipf, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana. Schlipf and Morehart take off the gloves to talk about bad library design and how libraries can prevent it.


30 Aug 2016

Rank #7

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Episode 32: Get a Job!

Looking for a job can be arduous and anxiety-inducing. It's not surprising: The end results can be life changing. And organizations looking to hire new employees face challenges, as finding the right candidate for a job can be difficult if the search isn’t conducted correctly. What can job seekers and employers do to improve the process to everyone’s benefit? In Episode 32, we find out.First, ALA Editions acquisitions editor and Dewey Decibel contributor Jamie Santoro speaks with Caitlin Williams, author of Be Opportunity-Minded: Start Growing Your Career Now (ALA Editions, 2019), about tips for those on the job hunt and job market trends.Next, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries associate editor Phil Morehart talks with David Connolly, recruitment ad sales manager for the American Library Association’s JobLIST, about what job hunters should be doing to find the right fit and what employers should be doing to find the right candidates.


27 Nov 2018

Rank #8

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Episode Six: "It Could Happen to You: Banned Books"

To coincide with the conclusion of Banned Books Week, Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart looks at book banning, challenges, and censorship with three individuals at the forefront of the conversation:James LaRue, director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom and the executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation. James and Phil talk about the difference between a challenge and a banning, the reasons behind books bannings in the US, and more.Sara Stevenson, a librarian at O. Henry Middle School in Austin, Texas, who recently experienced a book challenge situation at her school. She relives the experience and offers tips to librarians facing similar books challenges or bannings.Marjane Satrapi, the author of the award-winning graphic novel, Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, and director of the Oscar-nominated film adaptation. Satrapi's book was briefly banned in a high school in Chicago in 2013. Phil spoke with Marjane from Paris about her work, the situation in Chicago, the nature of censorship, and more.


2 Oct 2016

Rank #9

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Episode 19: The A1 Mystery of Avon Lake

In early 2017, A1 Steak Sauce bottles began mysteriously appearing in the stacks at Avon Lake (Ohio) Public Library. How did they get there? Who would do such a thing? And why? In this special Halloween episode of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries associate editor Terra Dankowski attempts to answer those questions and more as we investigate The A1 Mystery of Avon Lake.


25 Oct 2017

Rank #10

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Episode 22: Diversifying Comics

In Episode 22, Dewey Decibel features two people who are helping to bring more diverse voices and representation to the comic book world and libraries.First, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries Associate Editor Phil Morehart talks to G. Willow Wilson, the writer of the Ms. Marvel comic book. They discuss the inspiration behind the character Kamala Khan, the first Muslim-American superhero at Marvel to have her own comic, and why diverse comics are essential to creating a true representation of the world.Next, American Libraries Associate Editor Terra Dankowski speaks with Mara Thacker, a librarian at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) who curates the library's collection of South Asian comic books. They discuss the UIUC comics and tips librarians can use to diversify their own collections.


5 Feb 2018

Rank #11

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Episode 20: Escape Rooms and the AASL Standards

The recent American Association of School Librarians (AASL) national conference in Phoenix served as the launch site for the updated National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries—a fascinating matrix of shared foundations and competencies that allows librarians and educators to address and meet the needs of 21st-century learners. The Standards were the talk of the conference. They even infiltrated it in an unlikely place—an escape room. The escape room at the AASL conference found participants using elements of the Standards to solve clues: collaboration, investigation, exploration, engaging with others, sharing, and so on.In Episode 20, we explore the intersection between the Standards and escape rooms. First, host Phil Morehart speaks with Marcia Mardis, associate professor and assistant dean of interdisciplinary research and education in the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University and chair of the Standards editorial board, about the Standards, why they were updated, and what’s in the new edition.Then we report from Phoenix where ALA Editions editor Jamie Santoro talks to former AASL president Terri Grief about the escape room before joining a team of librarians from Oklahoma as they tackle the AASL escape room.Finally, Santoro talks with Patty Jimenez, a teacher-librarian at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, about an escape room that she set up for her students in the library.


9 Dec 2017

Rank #12

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Episode Four: "Annual Recap: 16,000 Librarians Can't Be Wrong"

For Episode Four of the Dewey Decibel podcast, host Phil Morehart and a staff of reporters recap the American Library Association's (ALA) 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, highlighting the celebrity interviews, staff and member conversations, and exhibit hall action for those librarians who attended, those who could not, and any listeners who may have wondered what kinds of programming and people you'll find at Annual.Sociology professor, author, and political analyst Michael Eric Dyson sits down with American Libraries Senior Editor George Eberhart for an energetic, poetic interview about discovering literature, hip-hop, the Obama presidency, gun control, and “reaching young people where they are.”The Pulse nightclub shooting, which happened two weeks before Annual, was much on the minds of organizers and attendees. ALA's then-chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table Peter Coyl speaks to AL Senior Editor Amy Carlton about how the Saturday morning memorial came together, the importance of remembering victims as individuals, and how civil rights pioneer US Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) came to participate.ALA Editions Marketing Coordinator Rob Christopher reveals to Samantha Imburgia, ALA Publishing’s associate editor for e-learning solutions, what really goes on at the ALA Store, from bestselling books to setup and tear-down to author signings.Plus, AL Associate Editor Terra Dankowski provides roving dispatches from the convention center.


26 Jul 2016

Rank #13

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Episode 44: Advocacy: Anyone Can Do It

In Episode 44, Dewey Decibel looks at the importance of library advocacy and offers tips on how to get involved.First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Denis Cotter, chair of Loudon County (Va.) Public Library Board of Trustees, about how the board successfully lobbied the county board of supervisors for the elimination of fines at the library. Next, American Libraries Associate Editor Sallyann Price talks to John Windmueller, work organizational training manager at Washington Improv Theater in Washington, D.C., about how learning improv comedy skills can help you become better at advocacy.


22 Nov 2019

Rank #14

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Episode 26: Becoming a Library Advocate

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Policy Corps is an initiative that aims to develop advocates for conveying the importance of libraries and librarians to politicians at the local and national level. On Episode 26 of the Dewey Decibel podcast, host Phil Morehart speaks with four members of the Policy Corp group—Lisa Varga, executive director of the Virginia Library Association; Qiana Johnson, collection and organizational data analysis librarian at Northwestern University Libraries; Larry Neal, Director, Clinton-Macomb (Mich.) Public Library, who is the ALA Policy Corp Fellow; and Deborah Rinio, secretary of the Alaska Association of School Librarians—about their Policy Corps experiences, why librarians are the best advocates for the profession, and more.


8 Jun 2018

Rank #15

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Episode 11: "Love Connections: Finding Love in the Library World"

In the new episode of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries goes looking for love ... and finds it in the most unexpected placesDewey Decibel senior love correspondent Terra Dankowski talks to three librarian couples—Elizabeth Westenburg and Evan Williamson; Amy Call and Ellen MacInnis; and Annie and Dan Bostrom—who found each other thanks to the American Library Association (ALA). Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart looks at ALA's I Love My Librarian Award, with interviews with Sari Feldman, ALA immediate past president and chair of this year's award selection committee, and Andrea Bernard, one of the 2016 award winners.


10 Mar 2017

Rank #16

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Episode 31: The Haunting of Peoria Public Library

Books flying off the shelves. Shadowy figures roaming the hallways. Unexplained sounds.What’s going on at Peoria (Ill.) Public Library? Is the building possessed by spirits hovering above cursed ground? Or are these apparitions just a sign that librarians have been spending too much time in the stacks?Do not attempt to adjust your audio. In Episode 31, “The Haunting of Peoria Public Library”—our special Halloween episode sponsored by Gale, a Cengage Company—Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart road-trips to Central Illinois to get to the bottom of these strange happenings.Along the way, he enlists the advice of professionals—including award-winning nonfiction author and well-known debunker Mary Roach (Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife) and paranormal writer and speaker John B. Kachuba (Ghosthunting Illinois)—and interviews staffers at Peoria Public Library and Bradley University Library about their otherworldly encounters.


26 Oct 2018

Rank #17

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Episode 14: "Protecting Our Privacy"

In Episode 14 of the Dewey Decibel podcast, American Libraries examines a multi-faceted issue: privacy, both inside and outside the library.AL Associate Editor and host Phil Morehart talks with Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Freedom to Read Foundation, about privacy concerns that affect libraries.Next, Phil discusses the right to be forgotten—legislation that forces online search engines to remove information flagged as inaccurate or irrelevant by petitioners—with Jim Neal, university librarian emeritus at Columbia University and ALA president-elect.Finally, AL Editor-at-Large Anne Ford speaks with Alison Macrina, director and founder of the Library Freedom Project, about the organization’s mission to help libraries secure patrons’ privacy.If you have feedback for the Dewey Decibel team, email us at deweydecibel@ala.org. Tell us what you like, what you don’t like, or what you’d like to see us cover. Follow us on Twitter and leave us a review on iTunes.


31 May 2017

Rank #18

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Episode Three: "Celebrating the Carnegie Medals"

American Libraries magazine is back with another installment of the Dewey Decibel podcast, and this time host Phil Morehart is taking on the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction.Episode Three features interviews with Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Carnegie Medal– and Pulitizer Prize–winning novel "The Sympathizer," and Nancy Pearl, renowned librarian, literary critic, and Carnegie Medals committee chair. The awards, cosponsored by Booklist and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Reference and User Services Association, were announced in January. Carnegie Medal winners Nguyen and Sally Mann (for the nonfiction book "Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs") will be honored at ALA’s 2016 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, on Saturday, June 25.Viet Thanh Nguyen, whose confessional thriller is set in the years following the Vietnam War, talks to Phil about why he chose to tell his story as a spy novel and how he conceived his main character (“I thought of him like a bad James Bond”). He shares how growing up as a refugee in San José, California, influenced the book, and why, in researching his novel, he wanted to learn as much as he could about the making of the film "Apocalypse Now."Nancy Pearl, chair of the Carnegie Medals nominating committee, explains who makes up the committee, how the nomination process works (“it’s not that formal”), and which lists are consulted for finalists. She talks about the difference between an enjoyable book and an important book—and what made "The Sympathizer" and "Hold Still" stand out.


24 Jun 2016

Rank #19

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Episode 23: Saving Lost Cinema

In Episode 23, Dewey Decibel looks at two organizations working to preserve films and other moving-image media in an effort to better understand the history of both cinema and the United States.First, Steve Zalusky, manager of communications for the American Library Association's Public Awareness Office, reports from the 6th annual Mostly Lost film workshop at the Library of Congress's Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia.Next, Phil Morehart, Dewey Decibel host and associate editor of American Libraries Magazine, talks to AJ Lawrence, media conservation and digitization assistant at the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian, about the Great Migration Home Movie Project, a program that digitizes home movies documenting the African American experience.


4 Mar 2018

Rank #20