Author Archive: George M. Eberhart

Columbia University History Professor Eric Foner. Photo by Daniela Zalcman.

Slavery’s Hidden History

October 27, 2015

Your most recent book is a fascinating look at the Underground Railroad and antislavery networks of pre–Civil War New York City. Explain how you came across the document that shed new light on these events. ERIC FONER: It was totally accidental. Madeline Lewis, an undergraduate history major at Columbia who also worked for my family … Continue reading Slavery’s Hidden History


Books challenged or banned in 2015

Banned Books Week Roundup 2015

September 29, 2015

Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, says that librarians and teachers often feel frustrated by these efforts to restrict the scope of reading. “More and more, they are reaching out to our office for support because they’re feeling silenced by their administrations,” she says. “While the fear of … Continue reading Banned Books Week Roundup 2015


The Mzansi Youth Choir of Soweto performs at the opening session of the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town. Photo: George M. Eberhart

Strong Libraries, Heritage, and Crises: IFLA in Africa

September 23, 2015

The opening session on August 16 began with a dynamic performance by South African actor, poet, and author Gcina Mhlophe, one of the few women storytellers in the country. Against a backdrop of images of African scenery and wildlife, Mhlophe described how creativity and musical rhythm were born long ago on the continent, and people … Continue reading Strong Libraries, Heritage, and Crises: IFLA in Africa


IFLA President Sinikka Sipilä, secretary general of the Finnish Library Association, at the closing session of IFLA's 2015 World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

Rewarding the Past and Looking to the Future

August 21, 2015

Awards at the closing session included naming IFLA Past President Ingrid Parent, university librarian at the University of British Columbia, as Honorary Fellow, IFLA’s highest award. The award noted her “landmark work” in producing the 2013 IFLA Trend Report, which identified five high-level trends that are shaping the information society. Among other awards, the IFLA … Continue reading Rewarding the Past and Looking to the Future


Image of damaged pages from a manuscript in Timbuktu showing the effects of chipping. (Photo: Alexio Motsi and Mary Minicka for the Timbuktu Manuscripts Project.)

Preserving Africa’s Heritage

August 21, 2015

Musa Wakhungu Olaka, African global and international studies librarian at the University of Kansas, described the collaboration between the University of Southern Florida (USF) and Ibuka, an umbrella organization of various groups representing survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. “The Rwandan genocide was a major tragedy to Rwanda and humanity,” Olaka said, “that resulted in … Continue reading Preserving Africa’s Heritage




Julia Brungs, IFLA policy and projects officer

Libraries in Times of Crisis

August 20, 2015

Simon Edwards, director of professional services for CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in the UK, said the scope of potential crises that librarians face worldwide is vast, ranging from personal crises to community, national, and global crises that threaten the entire species. “Government agencies also classify crises as sudden (with an … Continue reading Libraries in Times of Crisis


Cape Town singing group 3 Tons of Fun perform at IFLA's World Library and Information Congress, August 18, 2015.

IFLA Cultural Evening Provides 3 Tons of Fun

August 20, 2015

The musical highlight was a powerful performance by 3 Tons of Fun, Cape Town’s most popular all-female group, who belted out American soul classics as well as South African pop tunes. Troupes of African drummers and traditional dancers entertained the strolling delegates sipping regional South African wines, while stilt walkers posing as giraffes and other … Continue reading IFLA Cultural Evening Provides 3 Tons of Fun



(left to right) Sthembile Mkhize (NWPLS), Anele Moko (head librarian, Tswaing Local Municipality), Ian Segone (NWPLS), Desiree Mtshweni (NWPLS), Michael Dowling (director, ALA International Relations Office), Senovia Welman (in Paul’s former hat), Paul Hover (in his new South African hat), Ernest Bampoe (treasurer, LIASA North West Branch), Joanne Arendse (Cape Peninsula University of Technology and visiting librarian, Virginia Tech).

Fifty Pounds of Books, Paper, and Toys Delivered to South African Preschoolers

August 19, 2015

Paul Hover, assistant director for international outreach initiatives at Virginia Tech’s Newman Library, told American Libraries the story: At the end of May 2015, the Rainbow Riders Childcare Center in Blacksburg, Virginia, was visited by a longtime teaching friend, Andrea Dixon, who was getting ready to travel to South Africa to visit a new school. The … Continue reading Fifty Pounds of Books, Paper, and Toys Delivered to South African Preschoolers


Alinah Kelo Segobye, former deputy executive director of the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa, speaking at IFLA's World Library and Information Congress in Cape Town, August 18, 2015.

Why 2030 Matters: Libraries and South Africa’s Future

August 19, 2015

“The library gave us little orange cards assuring that we were diligent members,” Segobye said, “and taught us how to access knowledge resources.” A teacher had urged her to get a card and expand her horizons because the “high illiteracy rates throughout the continent especially affect the prospects for girls and women.” Segobye said that … Continue reading Why 2030 Matters: Libraries and South Africa’s Future