Author Megan McDonald (far left) reads to kids during a School Library Month event.

Newsmaker: Megan McDonald

April 18, 2016

How did you become this year’s spokesperson for School Library Month?  MEGAN McDONALD: It’s been amazing. I didn’t even really grasp what was being asked of me, but the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) came to Candlewick Press, my publisher, and asked if I’d be the spokesperson for School Library Month. I feel so … Continue reading Newsmaker: Megan McDonald


Joshua Hammer, author of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts.

Newsmaker: Joshua Hammer

March 24, 2016

When reading your book, I didn’t know whether to be scared out of my mind about the jihadists or think it’s the greatest thing that these librarians were able to get the manuscripts out of danger. JOSHUA HAMMER: I think both reactions would be appropriate. Fearing for more than 350,000 medieval manuscripts in the city, … Continue reading Newsmaker: Joshua Hammer


Nathalia Holt, author of Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars.

Newsmaker: Nathalia Holt

March 1, 2016

Nathalia Holt gives a voice to the seldom-recognized female mathematicians and scientists who shaped NASA in its earliest years and beyond, in her new book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars (Little, Brown & Company, April 2016). American Libraries recently spoke with Holt, herself … Continue reading Newsmaker: Nathalia Holt


Kathryn Matthew is the new director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Newsmaker: Kathryn Matthew

January 4, 2016

What do you see as the key issues facing libraries right now? I think nonprofits, and particularly libraries, are stepping back and examining how we become community anchors and develop meaningful, deep, and sustained partnerships with other players in the community, rather than acting as a single entity trying to reach target populations. Balancing digital … Continue reading Newsmaker: Kathryn Matthew



Sarah Vowell. Photo: Bennett Miller

On the Road with Lafayette

October 29, 2015

The Marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat who fought for the US in the American Revolutionary War, is a ubiquitous but overlooked character in American history. He touched many significant events, people, and places: the Revolution, Herman Melville, Marie Antoinette, and also our modern parks, cities, and roads. The name “Lafayette” is everywhere in the US, … Continue reading On the Road with Lafayette


Columbia University History Professor Eric Foner. Photo by Daniela Zalcman.

Newsmaker: Eric Foner

October 27, 2015

Your most recent book is a fascinating look at the Underground Railroad and antislavery networks of pre–Civil War New York City. Explain how you came across the document that shed new light on these events. ERIC FONER: It was totally accidental. Madeline Lewis, an undergraduate history major at Columbia who also worked for my family … Continue reading Newsmaker: Eric Foner



Sonia Manzano played Mariam on Sesame Street for nearly 45 years. (Photo: Edward Pagan)

Newsmaker: Sonia Manzano

September 9, 2015

You once mentioned the importance of seeing West Side Story as a child. Could you talk about what it was like seeing representations of yourself in entertainment and what that meant to you? SONIA MANZANO: When I was a kid, there were no people of color on television or in books. And so I grew … Continue reading Newsmaker: Sonia Manzano


James Patterson

Newsmaker: James Patterson

June 4, 2015

American Libraries: You made headlines last year by giving $1 million dollars in small grants to independent bookstores, and now you’re doing the same for school libraries. The problems bookstores are facing are well known, but school libraries haven’t received as much national attention. Why did you decide to focus on school libraries? That’s exactly … Continue reading Newsmaker: James Patterson


Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson named Young People’s Poet Laureate

June 3, 2015

The role of the young people’s poet laureate is to raise awareness that young people have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them. The $25,000 laureate title is given to a living writer in recognition of a career devoted to writing exceptional poetry for … Continue reading Jacqueline Woodson named Young People’s Poet Laureate


Steve Potash, founder and CEO of OverDrive.

Newsmaker: Steve Potash

March 27, 2015

Presumably the acquisition of OverDrive by Rakuten will strengthen OverDrive. How will that lead to a better experience for libraries as OverDrive customers and for their users? Steve Potash: The first and the most obvious win for our library and school partners is going to be more content. Because Kobo has been operating globally, we … Continue reading Newsmaker: Steve Potash