Tenzin Kalsang, children's librarian at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library's Williamsburg branch, performs Tibetan storytimes for users around the world. Photo by Todd Boebel.

Bookend: Beyond Words

July 8, 2021

But her program garnered tens of thousands of viewers, from patrons in her neighborhood to students attending a Tibetan school in Australia to monks living in Nepal. “I did not expect it would go that viral,” says Kalsang. “I’m a really camera-shy person.” Once or twice a month, Kalsang reads three picture books (past titles … Continue reading Bookend: Beyond Words


Ellen Keith, director of the Chicago History Museum Library, displays items related to the Great Chicago Fire. Photo by Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries

Bookend: Archiving the Aftermath

June 1, 2021

“It’s just amazing how much the aftermath was documented,” says Ellen Keith, director of the museum library. The library’s holdings include period maps and stereographs (an early form of three-dimensional photographs popular in the 19th century) depicting the burned areas of the city, transcripts of the 1871 fire department hearings, a 1997 mayoral resolution exonerating … Continue reading Bookend: Archiving the Aftermath


Monique Sugimoto, librarian and archivist for Palos Verdes Library District's Local History Center, points out over the coast. Photo: Erik Jay

Bookend: History Rolls On

May 3, 2021

Monique Sugimoto, an avid bicycle commuter—and archivist and librarian for Palos Verdes Library District’s (PVLD) Local History Center—enjoys pairing her expertise in the region’s past with her rides to work. “I’d give myself these little tours and thought it would be cool if we did an introduction to the peninsula.” Thus, Pedal PV—a series of … Continue reading Bookend: History Rolls On


Laura Braunstein, digital humanities librarian at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, completes a crossword on her tablet. (Photo: Eli Burakian/Dartmouth College)

Bookend: Clues You Can Use

March 1, 2021

Braunstein, digital humanities librarian at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and co-lead of Digital by Dartmouth Library, wants to help both crossword puzzles and libraries shed their reputations for stuffy elitism and exclusion. Braunstein started doing crosswords as a child with her grandfather, who emigrated from Moldova; the games were his way of learning … Continue reading Bookend: Clues You Can Use


Lori Nyce, librarian at the National Toy Train Library in Ronks, Pennsylvania. Photo: Eric Forberger

Bookend: All Aboard

January 4, 2021

“Our focus is anything toy trains and model railroading,” says librarian Lori Nyce (pictured). “We get calls sometimes wanting us to look up information on real locomotives—we tend to have to refer them.” Nyce and Library Assistant Tyler Keck stay on track answering reference questions (mostly from TCA members, authors, and hobbyists hoping to identify … Continue reading Bookend: All Aboard



Top: Puppeteer Morgan Matens (left) and Children's Librarian Greg Hall pose with puppets from Nashville Public Library's in-house troupe, Wishing Chair Productions. Below: Scenes from their viral Facebook video "Curbside Baby." Photo: Samantha Saldana/Nashville Public Library (Matens and Hall)

Bookend: The World on a String

September 1, 2020

Wishing Chair Productions draws on the legacy of the prolific puppeteer Tom Tichenor, who worked in the library in the 1930s. After his death in 1992, NPL established a program in his honor that grew from small, single-performer storytimes to full-blown productions staffed by a team of 10 professional puppeteers. With marionettes, juggling, magic tricks, … Continue reading Bookend: The World on a String


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


Ameet Doshi (left), director of innovation and program design and subject librarian at Georgia Tech’s (GT) School of Public Policy and Law, and Charlie Bennett, public engagement librarian and subject librarian for GT’s School of Economics, in GT’s campus radio station. (Photo: Allison Carter/Georgia Institute of Technology)

Bookend: Libraries over the Airwaves

May 1, 2020

Lost in the Stacks: The Research Library Rock ’n Roll Radio Show, broadcast every Friday from Georgia Tech’s (GT) campus station, blends music with discussions of library topics. The brainchild of Charlie Bennett, public engagement librarian and subject librarian for GT’s School of Economics, and Ameet Doshi, director of innovation and program design and subject … Continue reading Bookend: Libraries over the Airwaves



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