The Internet Archive’s Understanding 9/11 video archive features footage from 20 news outlets spanning the period from the morning of September 11 to September 17, 2001.

Archives of an Attack

September 1, 2021

One explanation for the staying power of these memories is that we witnessed them in real time, on television. New York City–based morning programs like NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America and local news channels broadcast the attacks to the country as they unfolded, giving viewers direct access to the raw tragedy and sensory … Continue reading Archives of an Attack


Photo of patrons at Tulsa (Okla.) City–County Library view an immersive exhibit on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre in spring 2021.

Confronting History

September 1, 2021

In the years after World War I, an affluent African-American community flourished in the Greenwood district of oil-rich Tulsa, Oklahoma, an area that came to be known as Black Wall Street. Then, in late May and early June 1921, racial tensions erupted and violent white mobs—spurred by a murky allegation of sexual assault—destroyed thousands of … Continue reading Confronting History


Isabel Wilkerson

History, Race, and Caste

June 27, 2021

Jefferson spoke of the “twin pandemics” that have marked his tenure as president—COVID-19 and systemic racism—and pointed out that only the virus seems to be reaching resolution. “Isabel Wilkerson and her book Caste help explain why,” he said. Simone Stone, an MSLIS student at the School of Information Services at the University of Illinois at … Continue reading History, Race, and Caste


Charles Person

A Seat on the Bus

June 25, 2021

“All our lives are compilations of stories,” he said. “As members of the American Library Association, you put stories into the hands of people in your community to help them learn, and grow, and expand their worlds.” At 78, Person noted, he has finally realized his decades-old dream of writing a book and telling his … Continue reading A Seat on the Bus


The reader's road trip. Illustration by Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries and Anastasia Krasavina/Adobe Stock

The Reader’s Road Trip

June 1, 2021

“A Literary Landmark is a source of pride for the community,” says Beth Nawalinski, director of United for Libraries, the American Library Association division that now oversees the program. Often the collaboration of Friends groups, community leaders, and literary organizations, these landmarks “demonstrate the power and synergy of those who support the library and literacy … Continue reading The Reader’s Road Trip


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


Items from the Greenpoint collection, including a newspaper, a photo of an implosion of natural gas storage tanks, and an award presented to Greenpoint Against Smell and Pollution. (Photos: Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library, Brooklyn Collection)

A Movement Grows in Brooklyn

March 1, 2021

Greenpoint, New York, a historically working-class Polish immigrant community, sits at the confluence of the East River and Newtown Creek, at the northwest edge of Brooklyn. This neighborhood of more than 34,000 has also been home to decades of industrial pollution. The Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center, a branch of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library … Continue reading A Movement Grows in Brooklyn


400 Years of Black American Life

January 23, 2021

Speaking January 23 at the Opening Session of ALA Midwinter Virtual 2021, the pair described both the significance of the volume and the process of compiling it. It features the work of 90 Black writers—novelists, journalists, poets, historians, and philosophers—on different eras of the Black American experience. “We brought together a community of Black writers … Continue reading 400 Years of Black American Life


A Lakota camp in 1891. During his presidency, Harrison forced the Sioux Nation to divide among separate reservations in the Dakotas and sent the military to Wounded Knee. Photo composite: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (Harrison, Lakota, tipis)

Tarnished Legacies

January 4, 2021

It also has led to repercussions at Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia. When, in 2015, Princeton students staged a 32-hour sit-in demanding that the school remove Wilson’s name, “we had a huge drop in funding,” says Robin van Seldeneck, the Virginia library and museum’s president and CEO. “We had people saying, … Continue reading Tarnished Legacies


A drawing of Iroquois games and dances by Jesse Cornplanter resides in Amherst (Mass.) College’s collection of Indigenous materials.

Responsive and Responsible

January 4, 2021

Various efforts—including Northern Arizona University’s 2007 “Protocols for Native American Archival Materials,”  which was endorsed by the Society of American Archivists in 2018—have sought to remedy this. Still, appropriate handling of Indigenous collections remains sporadic. As a result, institutional claims of ownership and principles of access are sometimes jeopardized. In response, a burgeoning number of … Continue reading Responsive and Responsible


Carrie C. Robinson

Separate—and Unequal

October 6, 2020

Born in Mississippi in 1906, Robinson began her career as a librarian serving Black schools in South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana before settling in Alabama, where she initially worked for Alabama State College as an assistant professor of library education. In 1947, she helped organize a librarian section of the Alabama State Teachers Association, a … Continue reading Separate—and Unequal