Libraries rise to the challenge of maintaining services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos: Nicole Johnson/Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library (drive-through); Robyn Huff (reopening); Pottsboro (Tex.) Area Library (e-sports); Tina Chenoweth (Animal Crossing)

Bookend: The New Normal

July 1, 2020

Some of our favorite examples of libraries meeting this challenge in creative ways, clockwise from top left: Michelle L. Johnson, cataloging technician at Grand Rapids (Minn.) Area Library, passes books through a drive-through window. The library averaged 50 pickups per day following the expiration of state stay-at-home orders May 18. Delray Beach (Fla.) Public Library … Continue reading Bookend: The New Normal


Staffers at Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library, which closed its doors March 16 because of COVID-19, advertise the library's remote-reference services in a group Zoom call.. Photo: Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library

Bookend: Remote and Ready

June 1, 2020

Director Dana Wishnick’s first priority was setting up the phone system to forward calls to staffers working from home: “We have about 20% of our community that doesn’t have access to computers or internet connections, and we really wanted to be able to serve them during this time.” To let users know that staffers were … Continue reading Bookend: Remote and Ready




Beth M. Lander, college librarian at the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, poses with a human skull set on green velvet. (Photo: Kriston Bethel)

Bookend: Medical Marvels

January 2, 2020

“That’s an excellent example of what it is like to work here,” she says. “You never know what might happen next.” The college shares its library with the Mütter Museum, an institution known for its macabre medical materials, which span centuries. Sometimes those artifacts find their way into the hands of playful coworkers, so keeping … Continue reading Bookend: Medical Marvels


Jenn Bartlett, head of reference and adult services at Manchester (Conn.) Public Library. Photo: J. Fiereck Photography

Bookend: Gaming the (Library) System

November 1, 2019

Instead, that trip effectively kickstarted the library’s board game collection. Bartlett came home with three free games; today MPL’s cache, mostly comprising publisher and public donations, is at 275 and counting. It’s the largest library board game collection in the state, she says. Bartlett, current president of the American Library Association’s Games and Gaming Round … Continue reading Bookend: Gaming the (Library) System


School librarian and volunteer firefighter Dinah Wade

Bookend: Sparking a Love for Learning

September 3, 2019

Wade is library media specialist at Freedom Intermediate School, serving 5th- and 6th-graders in the city of Franklin, Tennessee—and a volunteer firefighter with the nearby Williamson County Rescue Squad. She started her fire training in 2007, the year she married a career police officer who also volunteers with the station. Since then, she’s partnered with … Continue reading Bookend: Sparking a Love for Learning


Photos: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries

Bookend: Exhibiting Energy

July 17, 2019

Jim Cowen, music reference librarian at University of the Arts Libraries in Philadelphia, takes the Star Wars READ Selfie Challenge. Shanna Hollich, collection management librarian at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, learns to play Illimat at the Gaming and Graphic Novel Pavilion. Carolyn Long (right), volunteer at STAR Academy Charter School in Memphis, Tennessee, poses … Continue reading Bookend: Exhibiting Energy




Jeremy Brett, curator of Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library and Archives's Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection.

Bookend: An Archive of Ice and Fire

March 1, 2019

Martin’s relationship with Texas A&M began in the 1970s, when he first visited Aggie­Con, a science fiction and fantasy convention held at the university, says Jeremy Brett (right), curator of the library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection. In 1993, Martin began shipping items to the archives, which now include more than 50,000 pieces. The … Continue reading Bookend: An Archive of Ice and Fire


Emily Cabaniss, company librarian and music assistant for the Seattle Opera. Photo: Kelly Clare Photography

Bookend: The Show Must Go On

January 2, 2019

“I hadn’t realized this kind of work was possible,” she says. “Every opera company has a person called a librarian, but they’re usually an orchestra librarian”—typically a music preparation specialist with ensemble experience who doesn’t, like Cabaniss, hold an MLIS. Hired in 2014 as the company’s first information professional, Cabaniss makes sure the artistic, music, … Continue reading Bookend: The Show Must Go On