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An Ad Lib on Ad Libs

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, October 2021; written by Pat Tully


Ketchikan Public Library staff members have been writing articles for the Ketchikan Daily News since 1974, when the Library Log became a regular column in the newspaper. The current iteration of the column, called Ad Lib, began sometime before 2006. Ad Lib is published weekly in the Daily News with information about Library materials, services, and programs.


A few years ago June Dahl, then-President of the Friends and a stalwart Library supporter, suggested that we make available the Ad Libs we have written for the Daily News. I checked with the newspaper and they very kindly agreed to this. We had just begun designing the Ad Lib blog when …


… the pandemic hit. In all the opening, closing, curbside service, online programming, and general upheaval, the Ad Lib blog was put on hold.


The pandemic is still with us, but the Ad Lib blog is now available! There are currently more than a hundred Ad Libs on the site, searchable by staff member, year or keyword.


Why would you want to read an old Ad Lib? Many Ad Libs contain short reviews of books, DVDs, music and audiobooks, written by a Library staff member that you know and trust. This is from a Lisa Pearson column published in June 2010:

“Ian Samson’s Mobile Library series is very similar to the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series written by Alexander McCall Smith, in that it is really a story about characters rather than events. There are no dead bodies or violent assaults, no drive-by shootings or missing jewels. Rather, there is an out-of-place librarian trying to deal with lousy weather, isolation, small-town life and the reality of operating a mobile library (the British version of a bookmobile).”

Services, programs and events get their fair share of coverage, as do our invaluable Friends of the Library, as evidenced by this 2017 Ad Lib:


“There was talk of starting a Friends group as early as 1967, but the Friends were finally established as a non-profit organization in 1985, led by Jim Lutz. They held their first book sale that summer and made $1,200 to support library services. Since then, the Friends have partnered with the Library and other organizations to raise funds, lobby for Library budget measures and support major projects such as the construction of the new Library building.”

There are also Ad Libs featuring the UAS Ketchikan Campus Library, including this one by Michelle Lampton:

“The last days of August have arrived, and a good sign that 2020 hasn’t defeated us is that University of Alaska classes have resumed with gusto. With that, the UAS Ketchikan Campus Library once again has its doors open. Your campus library staff couldn’t be happier to see you in person again.”

Check out the new Ad Lib blog for reviews, information and Library history. The blog is available from the Ketchikan Public Library website. Just go to the About Us section, then click Ad Lib Blog.


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