This movie poster is one of 3,000 items in the Witchcraft Collection at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Photo courtesy of Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections.

By the Numbers: Halloween

September 1, 2022

19th Century in which Halloween was popularized in the US, thanks in part to the arrival of Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic festival Samhain. 65% Percentage of US consumers who planned to celebrate Halloween in 2021, according to a National Retail Federation survey. 6 Number of live “ghostcams” … Continue reading By the Numbers: Halloween


Ladino singer-songwriter Sarah Aroeste explains how the migration of Sephardic Jews from Spain to Macedonia and Greece informed Ladino music. Aroeste performed June 27 at the Association of Jewish Libraries Conference 2022. Photo by Sally Stieglitz.

Saving Our Stories

July 1, 2022

Highlighting history In the session “Documenting History through Collections,” presenters discussed how collections tell—or exclude—stories from the past. Herb Calanes, retired director of Corpus Christi (Tex.) Public Libraries, shared his research on Sephardic Jews in northern Mexico (an area then known as Nueva España) following their 1492 expulsion from Spain. Although Sephardic families were longtime … Continue reading Saving Our Stories


A toddler at Arlington Heights (Ill.) Memorial Library (AHML) enjoys tummy time while playing with Peek-a-Boo Mirror, a sensory toy in AHML’s collection.

A Sense of Support

May 2, 2022

That experience more than 13 years ago inspired her to start BTPL’s Youth Accessibility Support Collection, a set of items designed to meet the needs of children with various types of disabilities and learning needs. Since 2009, families have been borrowing from the collection, which includes adaptive toys, sensory storytime boxes, speech therapy cards, and skills … Continue reading A Sense of Support


Bookend: Stranger than Fiction

May 2, 2022

In early 2020, University of Southern California (USC) Libraries acquired Sullivan’s personal archive of 1,200 photographs and 50 meticulously annotated case files: murders, assaults, stick-ups, forgeries, grifts, kidnappings, and other criminal acts spanning from the 1930s through the 1960s. “Given the rest of our holdings—which focus on the social and cultural history of Los Angeles … Continue reading Bookend: Stranger than Fiction



Charlie cart

By the Numbers: Food

November 1, 2021

350 Number of classes offered annually through Free Library of Philadelphia’s (FLP) Culinary Literacy Center. According to FLP, this kitchen classroom is the first of its kind created at a public library in the US. $9,000 Amount that Chattanooga (Tenn.) Public Library spent on a Charlie Cart—a mobile kitchen that includes a convection oven, an … Continue reading By the Numbers: Food


Christine Mackenzie, IFLA President 2019-2021, in the opening session

IFLA: Working Together for a Better Future

August 25, 2021

Between August 17–19, the virtual conference drew thousands of attendees from around the world to more than 150 sessions with topics that ranged from digital controlled lending to new skill sets for school librarians to climate impact on libraries. Drawing inspiration from 2019­–2021 IFLA President Christine Mackenzie’s theme “Let’s Work Together,” the 86th WLIC focused … Continue reading IFLA: Working Together for a Better Future


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


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


Lori Nyce, librarian at the National Toy Train Library in Ronks, Pennsylvania. Photo: Eric Forberger

Bookend: All Aboard

January 4, 2021

“Our focus is anything toy trains and model railroading,” says librarian Lori Nyce (pictured). “We get calls sometimes wanting us to look up information on real locomotives—we tend to have to refer them.” Nyce and Library Assistant Tyler Keck stay on track answering reference questions (mostly from TCA members, authors, and hobbyists hoping to identify … Continue reading Bookend: All Aboard



A flier from New York Public Library's Dorot Jewish Division. Photo: Dorot Jewish Division/New York Public Library

By the Numbers: Jewish American Heritage Month

May 1, 2020

2006 Year that US President George W. Bush proclaimed May Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). The month celebrates the contributions Jewish Americans have made since they first arrived in New Amsterdam in 1654. 5th and Market Intersection in Philadelphia where the National Museum of American Jewish History—since 2018, the home of JAHM—is located. JAHM events … Continue reading By the Numbers: Jewish American Heritage Month