The Sphere, a sculpture by Fritz Koenig, survived the collapse of the Twin Towers partially intact. The unrestored sculpture now sits in New York City's Liberty Park near the National September 11 Memorial Museum. (Photo: Michael Rieger/FEMA)

What Was Lost

September 1, 2021

Kathleen D. Roe, chief of archival services at New York State Archives in Albany at the time and now retired, says her team was prepared to deal with wet or dusty records or damaged collections. “We pretty quickly found out that either collections were pretty much okay because they were in a safe building that … Continue reading What Was Lost



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


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




Partial government shutdown

Librarian Shutdown Stories

January 23, 2019

Virginia Sanchez, librarian at Yosemite National Park in California, has spent four years working to modernize the park’s research library. Now she’s applying for unemployment. A Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan and still serves in the Navy Reserve, Sanchez says she has to start getting income soon to make a mortgage payment she says … Continue reading Librarian Shutdown Stories


Emily Cabaniss, company librarian and music assistant for the Seattle Opera. Photo: Kelly Clare Photography

Bookend: The Show Must Go On

January 2, 2019

“I hadn’t realized this kind of work was possible,” she says. “Every opera company has a person called a librarian, but they’re usually an orchestra librarian”—typically a music preparation specialist with ensemble experience who doesn’t, like Cabaniss, hold an MLIS. Hired in 2014 as the company’s first information professional, Cabaniss makes sure the artistic, music, … Continue reading Bookend: The Show Must Go On


Librarian Tara Murray (right) with Victorian-era stamp cases, stamps of the Duchy of Oldenburg from an 1863 album, and books from the American Philatelic Research Library collection. (Photos: Abby Drey)

Bookend: Philatelic Relics

June 1, 2017

For the most part, APRL does not include stamps in its collection, “but they are occasionally included as collateral material. For example, the library owns two examples of the famous 1918 ‘Inverted Jenny’ error stamp, one of which was just recovered in June 2016 after being stolen from a stamp show in 1955. The first … Continue reading Bookend: Philatelic Relics


Mark Procknik (Photo: K&A Photography LLC)

Bookend: A Whale of an Archive

March 1, 2017

It holds an immersive array of whaling-related materials: more than 18,000 books on US and international whaling history and New England regional history, 750,000 photographs, a 700-piece cartographic collection, 2,400 log books and journals—the largest collection in the world—and three first editions of Moby-Dick (Herman Melville worked in New Bedford as a whaler and used … Continue reading Bookend: A Whale of an Archive


Clockwise from top right: Pen Pictures, a book of channeled poetry by Robert Burns published in Lily Dale in 1900; the signature pink bookplate of Skidmore’s original library, the Cassadaga Lakes Freethought Association Library; memento mori hair bracelet found inside an 1882 channeled Spiritualist text titled Oahspe; Amanda Shepp examines The Sunflower, a Spiritualist journal published in Lily Dale, 1898–1909. (Photos: Brittany Ford)

Bookend: A Librarian with Spirit(s)

January 3, 2017

Shepp was hired in 2014 as the facility’s first professional librarian and has been busily cataloging its more than 10,000 books, rearranging them into 28 thematic collections and seeing that its rare newspapers and pamphlets are digitized. “In addition to multiple collections that focus on aspects of Spiritualism, others cover the suffrage and freethought movements,” … Continue reading Bookend: A Librarian with Spirit(s)