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


Clockwise from top right: Pen Pictures, a book of channeled poetry by Robert Burns published in Lily Dale in 1900; the signature pink bookplate of Skidmore’s original library, the Cassadaga Lakes Freethought Association Library; memento mori hair bracelet found inside an 1882 channeled Spiritualist text titled Oahspe; Amanda Shepp examines The Sunflower, a Spiritualist journal published in Lily Dale, 1898–1909. (Photos: Brittany Ford)

A Librarian with Spirit(s)

December 27, 2018

Shepp was hired in 2014 as the facility’s first professional librarian and has been busily cataloging its more than 10,000 books, rearranging them into 28 thematic collections and seeing that its rare newspapers and pamphlets are digitized. “In addition to multiple collections that focus on aspects of Spiritualism, others cover the suffrage and freethought movements,” … Continue reading A Librarian with Spirit(s)


Mark Procknik (Photo: K&A Photography LLC)

A Whale of an Archive

December 27, 2018

It holds an immersive array of whaling-related materials: more than 18,000 books on US and international whaling history and New England regional history, 750,000 photographs, a 700-piece cartographic collection, 2,400 log books and journals—the largest collection in the world—and three first editions of Moby-Dick (Herman Melville worked in New Bedford as a whaler and used … Continue reading A Whale of an Archive


Maureen Brunsdale (Photo: Lyndsie Schlink)

Not Clowning Around

December 27, 2018

Don’t ask Brunsdale to name a favorite item; instead, “it’s the stories that draw me in,” she says, such as the contents of a 1907 letter from circus magnate Otto Ringling to his brothers, suggesting that they purchase the rival outfit of Barnum & Bailey. Among other highlights of the collection: an elephant harness and … Continue reading Not Clowning Around


Librarian Tara Murray (right) with Victorian-era stamp cases, stamps of the Duchy of Oldenburg from an 1863 album, and books from the American Philatelic Research Library collection. (Photos: Abby Drey)

Philatelic Relics

December 27, 2018

For the most part, APRL does not include stamps in its collection, “but they are occasionally included as collateral material. For example, the library owns two examples of the famous 1918 ‘Inverted Jenny’ error stamp, one of which was just recovered in June 2016 after being stolen from a stamp show in 1955. The first … Continue reading Philatelic Relics


Attendees at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago. (Photos: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries and Cognotes)

Conference Candids

December 27, 2018

Attendees captured on camera, counterclockwise from top: Chelsea Johnson, librarian at Marshall (Mich.) District Library, tries her hand at steering a drone through an obstacle course. Jos Holman, county librarian at Tippecanoe County (Ind.) Public Library, reads from The Inner City Mother Goose at Stand for the Banned, a banned books readout. Alison Griffin (left), … Continue reading Conference Candids


Christopher Goodbeer (Photo: Ann Schertz)

Feeling the Music

December 26, 2018

Goodbeer—a 2007 graduate of Indiana University’s master’s programs in music and library and information science—is a Braille music transcriber. According to the Library of Congress, which certifies music transcription in Braille, fewer than 100 people are listed as having such a skill. “It was an uphill climb at first,” Goodbeer says of learning the work, … Continue reading Feeling the Music


Miriam Tuliao (Photo: Todd Boebel)

Making a Splash

December 26, 2018

On August 6, Tuliao competed at New York’s Rockaway Beach, where she helped raise more than $1,400 for the American Library Association’s Spectrum Scholarship program, which helps promote diversity in the library profession. “Going to library school meant a lot to me,” Tuliao says. “And those scholarship monies are not always there, so it’s an … Continue reading Making a Splash


Clifford Anderson, associate university librarian for research and learning, at the Vanderbilt Television News Archive.

News to Peruse

December 18, 2018

This year the archive of more than 1.1 million abstracted segments—including the only known coverage of its kind of the Vietnam War, the Apollo spaceflight program, and Watergate—celebrates its 50th anniversary. “We want people to have an objective record of what has been broadcast,” says Clifford Anderson (pictured), associate university librarian for research and learning, … Continue reading News to Peruse


Liz Quakenbush and students at Orchard Park Elementary School in Indianapolis pose in the library.

Shaking up Book Sales

December 18, 2018

For nearly 20 years, she held yearly used book sales at Orchard Park Elementary School in Indianapolis, where she is the media specialist. As her community grew more economically diverse, she wanted to help children add to their home libraries year-round, and she turned to her students for ideas. They wrote a business plan, set … Continue reading Shaking up Book Sales


Midday Masquerade

December 18, 2018

Bethany Mitchell, technology assistant at Vestavia Hills (Ala.) Library in the Forest, peers through a jester cutout. From left: Aisha Conner-Gaten (instructional design librarian at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles), Tracy Drake (archivist at Chicago Public Library), and Aurelia Mandani (technology services librarian at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Boulder Labs Library in … Continue reading Midday Masquerade


Left: Christina Bryant holds an invitation from the Mistick Krewe of Comus (1900); top left: a dance card issued by the Twelfth Night Revelers (1899); bottom left: a costume design from the Léda Hincks Plauché Collection. (Photos: Susan Poag (Bryant, butterfly); New Orleans Public Library (costumes))

Conservator of Carnival

December 18, 2018

“The invitations are definitely one of the highlights,” notes Christina Bryant, department head of the library’s Louisiana Division/City Archives and Special Collections. “They are each a miniature work of art and sometimes engineering,” she says of the elaborately paneled and intricately drawn creations. Other standouts in the Carnival collection, dating back to the 1860s, include … Continue reading Conservator of Carnival