Author Archive: Leonard Kniffel

American soldiers in Paris just after the armistice of World War I. The American Library in Paris was a continuation of the work of the Library War Service, which ALA created in 1917 to supply reading materials to US servicemembers stationed in Europe during the war.

We’ll Always Have the American Library in Paris

May 1, 2020

Founded in 1920, the American Library in Paris is the largest English-language lending library in continental Europe. Burton Stevenson, the library’s founder and first director, was well known for assisting the American Library Association (ALA) as it established army libraries abroad during the First World War. He wanted to continue the work of the Library … Continue reading We’ll Always Have the American Library in Paris


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A Country of Hope and Promise

February 18, 2014

Cafés, bars, souvenir vendors, and street artists line the narrow and densely populated promenades in the old colonial center of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where hawkers lure customers with promises of bargain prices. At night, throngs of young people stroll the oceanside of the Malecón, eating sweets and listening to street musicians, while the museums … Continue reading A Country of Hope and Promise


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Disaster Relief … with Books

July 16, 2013

The activists behind Libraries Without Borders (Bibliothèques Sans Frontières) understand that priority must be given to food, water, shelter, and medicine. They also recognize that little attention is paid to another basic human necessity: the knowledge resources needed to cope with catastrophe. Founded in Paris in 2007, Libraries Without Borders (LWB) provides targeted books and … Continue reading Disaster Relief … with Books


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Terror Has Not Withdrawn: Daily Life for Librarians in Iraq

November 28, 2012

“We forgot a long time ago what situation constitutes normal and what situation does not,” said Saad Eskander, director of the Iraq National Library and Archives, after almost a decade of war that followed the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Since the American troop withdrawal last year, “life has not changed for the overwhelming majority … Continue reading Terror Has Not Withdrawn: Daily Life for Librarians in Iraq



Leonard Kniffel

Banning and Burning

October 1, 2010

I have never been prouder to be a part of this profession than I was on September 11 this year, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, at the entrance to ALA headquarters here in Chicago, making a simple statement of opposition to book burning. At our sides were Gerald … Continue reading Banning and Burning