Sometimes a library's role is informal, as happened after a 2012 school shooting in a small town outside Cleveland. Author Marilyn Johnson said the town library's Facebook page was the best place to find detailed breaking news on the shooting. Sometimes it's more formal, like when Weare, N.H., librarian Mike Sullivan volunteered to write a weekly newsletter after residents complained that nobody knew when local events were happening. And some libraries are partnering with established local news sources to create and distribute news.
"To be clear, libraries are no silver bullet to everything that ails local news. Sullivan's New Hampshire weekly won’t break investigations like The Washington Post," Beard writes. "Libraries, with most of their funding dependent on local officials, aren’t a natural source for government-accountability stories. But library-backed efforts can help restore the foundation and appetite for local news—the love of community, curiosity about it, confidence to participate in it."