Photo: Libraries for Syrian Refugees

Bringing Books to the Desert

July 1, 2020

Among the camp’s adult population, literacy is low: 79% of its residents are from the agricultural region of Dara’a in southern Syria, where people are typically less educated than in a metropolis like Damascus. Before the Syrian civil war, Syrian schools and universities were considered among the best in the Arab world. Resourcefulness and creativity … Continue reading Bringing Books to the Desert


Author Yaa Gyasi (Photo: Peter Hurley/Vilcek Foundation)

Newsmaker: Yaa Gyasi

July 1, 2020

One of the central themes of Transcendent Kingdom is the tension between science and faith. How did you approach the science aspect? It was really fun for me to do something so outside of my comfort zone. Talking to scientists, many of them conceptualized their work as a series of questions, as trying to get … Continue reading Newsmaker: Yaa Gyasi


Julia Alvarez Photo: Bill Eichner

Newsmaker: Julia Alvarez

May 1, 2020

What drove you to write this novel? Why now? Afterlife comes out of a feeling that it’s an elegiac time for our planet, as we watch so many species become extinct, ecosystems in danger, forests burning. It feels like a time of many endings. In our national life—our uncivil society, the divisions, the draconian immigration … Continue reading Newsmaker: Julia Alvarez




bystander training

Know Your Rights—and Theirs

January 2, 2020

Will that change? No one is certain. Though ICE’s official policy states it will avoid carrying out enforcement actions at “sensitive locations” such as daycares and places of worship, libraries are not specifically named among those locations. In this politically tense climate when immigration has been a major focus, some libraries wonder how they should … Continue reading Know Your Rights—and Theirs


From the President by Wanda Kay Brown

Welcoming New Americans

November 1, 2019

Libraries have a role to play too. From hosting programs with local legislators and teaching patrons media literacy to offering support for online census questions and assistance with government e-forms, today’s libraries are hot spots of civic engagement. Newcomers to this country, especially, see libraries as trustworthy guides on their path to integrating into their … Continue reading Welcoming New Americans


Mariana Atencio

Newsmaker: Mariana Atencio

July 26, 2019

What were you reading growing up in Venezuela? Who were your literary heroes? Isabel Allende, La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits). Growing up, her novels were like the universe. She’s from Chile originally—she escaped the dictatorship and found a home in Venezuela. There’s a character in the book called Clara because … Continue reading Newsmaker: Mariana Atencio



Perfectly Mariana Atencio

June 25, 2019

Atencio’s memoir, Perfectly You, traces her journey from coastal Venezuela—where she devoured the work of authors like Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez—to her graduate work at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York City; from Univision to the English-language market; from shy new arrival to prominent cultural ambassador. Her 2017 TEDx talk, “What makes you … Continue reading Perfectly Mariana Atencio


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


Social Unrest, Democracy, and Librarianship in the 21st Century

June 24, 2019

Diana Moronta, instruction and technology librarian at New York Institute of Technology, said that she often reminds herself to step back as an instructor and elevate the voices of her students. “I believe they are experts in their own lives,” she said. Tracy Drake, an archivist with Chicago Public Library, said she tries to let … Continue reading Social Unrest, Democracy, and Librarianship in the 21st Century