Photojournalist Diana Davies documented the activism spurred by the Stonewall raids. Her photographs, along with those of Kay Tobin Lahusen, are part of New York Public Library's exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Photo courtesy of NYPL.

Collecting Pride

June 27, 2019

“Love and Resistance: Stonewall 50,” through July 13 New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwartzman Building “Many people think of Stonewall as the start of the LGBTQ activist movement,” says Jason Baumann, assistant director for collection development at NYPL and coordinator of the library’s LGBTQ initiative, who curated the exhibit. “We wanted to show how … Continue reading Collecting Pride


Journalist and author Mo Rocca speaks at the Closing Session at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on June 25.

The Onus of Obituary

June 25, 2019

Which is why it’s no surprise that the CBS Sunday Morning correspondent’s forthcoming book, Mobituaries: Great Lives Worth Reliving (November, Simon & Schuster), and podcast of the same name, commemorates people and things—from the station wagon to Neanderthals to Thomas Paine’s legacy—where the common thread is that they’re overlooked and no longer with us. Oh, and there’s another overlap: … Continue reading The Onus of Obituary


History Repeats Itself

June 24, 2019

“I feel like I’m at a Star Trek convention,” he said in his trademark baritone, before laughing heartily. Takei’s tone changed, however, as he began to describe a childhood spent in internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II—an experience that he details in his new YA graphic novel, They Called Us Enemy. With a … Continue reading History Repeats Itself


Julia Billet and her translator, Wilfrid Lupano, Ezra Claytan Daniels, and Amy Chu

The Words Behind the Images

June 23, 2019

Moderator Heidi MacDonald, editor-in-chief of comic industry blog The Beat, began by asking the panelists to describe the inspirations behind their most well-known works. Speaking through a translator, French writer Julia Billet said that the story detailed in her graphic novel Catherine’s War, which follows a young Jewish girl during WWII as she journeys across France … Continue reading The Words Behind the Images


Authors Gennifer Choldenko and Varian Johnson

The Urgency of History

June 22, 2019

All six panelists admitted that they had not read history when they were kids. But they were inspired to write historical fiction or nonfiction when they encountered something special—comic books, family oral histories, or primary sources in college. Varian Johnson, author of the Coretta Scott King honor book The Parker Inheritance (2018), said that the common … Continue reading The Urgency of History



Columns Society members at University of Mississippi tell visitors about the Committee on History and Context plaque placed at Barnard Observatory.

What’s in a Building Name?

March 1, 2019

With the goal of reconciliation and justice, institutions across the US are increasingly undertaking formal measures to review who they’ve memorialized—evaluating names of buildings and monuments to determine connections to white supremacy and other forms of discrimination. Unsurprisingly, university librarians and archivists are finding a role in these discussions, providing historical materials on the buildings … Continue reading What’s in a Building Name?


Judith A. Downie poses with growlers from CSUSM Library’s Brewchive. Photo: Brandon Van Zanten (Brewchive)

Tapping into Beer History

November 1, 2018

“Who’s collecting San Diego’s beer history?” This question—asked by Char Booth, California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) Library associate dean, during a brewing science certificate proposal review in 2016—launched what would become the Brewchive at CSUSM Library. In 2018, the archive received the American Library Association’s John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award. With the … Continue reading Tapping into Beer History


Tom Bober

The Power of Primary Sources

September 4, 2018

My 1st-grade students recently prepared for a trip to the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis by analyzing photographs and films of streetcars to better understand the part they played in our city. Inspired to share their learning, students wrote about streetcars and built their own with simple tools like paper, scissors, tape, and … Continue reading The Power of Primary Sources


To Preserve and Protect

March 1, 2018

As we observe Preservation Week (April 22–26), keep in mind that even our youngest students are eager to hear about cultural and historic preservation from the people most invested in it. Our learners realize that everybody has a story and that these stories make a difference. My own preservation journey with 3rd graders at Pilot … Continue reading To Preserve and Protect


Jessie Carney Smith in 1965, her first year as a university librarian at Fisk University in Nashville.

Blazing Trails

January 2, 2018

American Libraries spoke with five leading African-American librarians about their careers, the changes they have witnessed over the decades, and the current issues in librarianship. While no two people have the same story, all five interviewees note inclusivity as an important theme. They discuss libraries as safe havens, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the … Continue reading Blazing Trails


Walkers participate in “Let’s Book,” a reading and exercise program offered by Ligonier Valley (Pa.) Library. Photo: Ligionier Valley (Pa.) Library.

Walking History

September 1, 2017

“Besides the entertainment value, we also wanted to impart some history—it’s not fake news; it’s reliable news,” says Anita Doering, archives manager at LCPL. LCPL—which also offers the by-demand Footsteps of La Crosse historic walking tour—is not the only library to recognize that sightseeing ventures are the perfect vehicle to get employees outside the building and … Continue reading Walking History