Anna Kresmer, holding a title from the B&O Railroad Museum research library, poses in front of a 19th century locomotive.

Bookend: Keeping Track

January 2, 2024

“It really [was] a seismic culture shift,” Kresmer says. “We call it the moonshot. We liken it to the internet, how it had that kind of change on people.” Kresmer analyzes and catalogs materials, supports exhibit development, and oversees BORM’s research library, home to more than 5,000 titles. Locomotives aside, BORM’s collection—including its archives, library, … Continue reading Bookend: Keeping Track


A catalog from the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play

By the Numbers: Toys

November 1, 2023

230,000 Number of volumes available at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, located at Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The museum is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame. The library houses books, catalogs, personal papers, design documents, oral history projects, and other research material relating to … Continue reading By the Numbers: Toys


World War I–era peace pins housed at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford (Calif.) University. The pins belonged to pacifist and feminist activist Alice Park.

Keep the Peace

September 1, 2023

Lucy Biddle Lewis, a fellow peace activist, walked in on this happening. Lewis told her contemporaries that she saw Addams and begged her to stop because scholars could learn from her life and work. There’s no record of when this interaction took place, but in 1930, Addams began donating her materials to Swarthmore (Pa.) College, … Continue reading Keep the Peace


Call Number Episode 85: The Colorful World of Comics

Call Number Podcast: The Colorful World of Comics

July 17, 2023

First, American Libraries Associate Editor Megan Bennett speaks with Jenny Robb, head curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University in Columbus, which houses the world’s largest collection of print cartoon art. Then, American Libraries Associate Editor and Call Number host Diana Panuncial hits the halls of ALA’s 2023 Annual … Continue reading Call Number Podcast: The Colorful World of Comics


Bookend: At the Heart of Medical History

June 1, 2023

“It’s not a traditional library,” says Michelle Rinard, referring to the museum’s Thorek Manuscripts and Rare Books Collection. As curator and manager of exhibitions and development, Rinard stewards the library—home to more than 1,000 volumes of medical books, journals, illustrations, letters, and manuscripts dating from the 16th century to the present. Among the collection’s rare … Continue reading Bookend: At the Heart of Medical History


Head curator Jenny Robb poses with collection items from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

Bookend: A Library of Laughs

May 1, 2023

“When I was growing up, we didn’t have graphic novels for a children’s audience,” says Robb, head curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum (BICLM) at Ohio State University in Columbus. “But now we have all kinds of stories,” she says. “Autobiographical, fantasy, adventure, you name it. It’s incredible to see this explosion … Continue reading Bookend: A Library of Laughs


Pieces from Library of Congress' Bob Hope Collection

By the Numbers: Humor

March 1, 2023

1976 Year that author Larry Wilde founded National Humor Month, held annually in April. 70 Number of oral history interviews available online through the American Comedy Archives, housed at Iwasaki Library at Emerson College in Boston. Interview participants include Margaret Cho, Dick Van Dyke, Betty White, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. 628,300 Number of print materials … Continue reading By the Numbers: Humor


Javier Barrios, Hilary Swett, Lauren O’Connor at the Writers Guild Foundation’s Shavelson-Webb Library in Los Angeles

Bookend: Flipping the Script

March 1, 2023

The library’s ephemera provides an illuminating look at Tinseltown and a record of the guild and its members: a Cold War–era FBI file on blacklisted screenwriting couple Hugo Butler and Jean Rouverol, two lifetime achievement awards given to seven-time Oscar recipient Billy Wilder, and screenwriter Linda Woolverton’s correspondence related to the development of Disney’s animated … Continue reading Bookend: Flipping the Script


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