American Libraries

Life Advice from Harper Lee 

From Letters of Note

A young fan of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ named Jeremy wrote to Harper Lee in 2006, and asked for a signed photo. He didn’t get one, but instead received this lovely piece of advice from the author that is far more precious. 

Harper Lee announced today - on her 88th birthday – that 'To Kill A Mockingbird’ will now be released as an audiobook and e-book. 

Happy Birthday, Harper! 

A library should be a way for a child—for anybody—to get the sort of reading that he or she wants, and hopefully that will benefit them. Not all stories in comic books are great; some may seem silly or ridiculous or a waste of time. But the youngster has to be able to read the book. And for that reason, comic books should be in every library.
—  Stan Lee, interview
American Libraries, May 2014

We are celebrating National Bookmobile Day, part of this year’s National Library Week, with some really cool images of libraries on the road (and, in one case, the beach)! 

Source images (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) from the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

Ask yourself if your community can see itself reflected in your library. And if you don’t work in a particularly diverse community, you should still feature a wide range of books. Especially in places where kids don’t often have the chance to meet and interact with children who are different from them, books can offer a special opportunity to expose children to cultures and lives that are different from their own.
—  Abby Johnson, children’s services/outreach manager at New Albany–Floyd County (Ind.) Public Library, in her article Diversity on My Mind

From Delta State University’s Paxton Papers Collection, Series 2. A photograph of a indigenous Filipino man (?) and soldier that are both enlisted in Company “A” of the 45th Infantry at Camp John Hay.


It’s so funny when publishers feel that they need to make these changes for countries that speak very nearly the exact same language

I mean, it’s OK, I can understand American

You didn’t have to translate it into British for me

17 Creative Children's Libraries

Libraries are like a playground for your mind, and sometimes, children’s libraries can even look like playgrounds. We love it when a library is as imaginative and creative as the stories that fill them.

To celebrate the magic of children’s libraries we found some of the most creative children’s libraries around the world:

Brentwood Children’s Library in TN

Photo via Kyle Dreier Photography and Pinterest

Cerritos Millennium Library in Cerritos, CA 

Photo via Victor Rocha Photo via Victorrochajr on Flickr

Franklin Lakes, NJ Public Library

Photo via American Libraries Magazine

Central Library in Kansas City, MO 

Photo via Kansas City Public Library

Plainfield, NJ Public Library

Photo via American Libraries Magazine

Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in Memphis, TN 

Photo via Urbanart73

Camarillo Public Library in Camarillo, CA 

Photo via Gbucknor

Fairfield Public Children’s Library in CT 

Photo via

Bridge City Elementary School Library in TX

Photo via American Libraries Magazine

Children’s Library at Keller Public Library in TX

Photo via Pinterest

The Library of Muyinga in Burundi, Africa

Photo via Dezeen

Levi Yitzchak Children’s Library, Cedarhurst, NY

Photo via American Libraries Magazine

Minneapolis Central Library in MN 

Photo via Earthworm

Cliffside Park Public Library in Cliffside Park, NJ 

Photo via

Clinton-Macomb Public Library in Macomb, MI 

Photo via PrettyEmmy

ImaginOn Children’s Theater and Public Library in Charlotte, NC 

Photo via

High Bridge Library in the Bronx, NY

Photo via Flickr MBDT

Which library would you love to visit with your little one? 


These are five of the seven pictures Dorothea Lange took of Florence Thompson in Nipomo, Calif. in February, 1936. Thompson was a pea-picker and mother of seven children. Ever since Lange took her iconic photograph of Thompson – shown above in the best-known form, and at bottom in un-modified form (note the thumb in the lower right) – she’s been known as the Migrant Mother. These are five of the seven known Lange photographs of Thompson. Each is in the collection of the Library of Congress. 

Tonight most PBS stations will premiere an “American Masters” documentary on the life and work of Dorothea Lange. Titled “Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning,” the film looks at Lange’s life from her upbringing outside New York City, to her emergence as a major American photographer. Lange is best-known for her work chronicling the Dust Bowl era, but her oeuvre includes much more, including pictures of Depression-era labor strife, the internment of Japanese-Americans and early environmentalist documentary photography. Such was Lange’s stature that just after she died in 1966 the Museum of Modern Art devoted just its sixth retrospective of a photographer’s career to her work. 

Taylor was the lead guest on last week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast. She and host Tyler Green discussed the documentary and Lange’s life and work.

How to listen to this week’s show: Listen to or download this week’s program on SoundCloud, via direct-link mp3, or subscribe to The MAN Podcast (for free) at:


For those living in the Chicago area, I have an exhibition at the Harold Washington library up until March. My comic Love Me Forever! Oh! Oh! Oh! was originally published by 2DCloud and then again in The Best American Comics 2013 and is now online three years after I made it. There are of course things I would change if I could but here is how it’ll stay, direct from my 23 year old brain. 

Recently a friend joked that with the summer I just had I could make a sequel to this comic and hardly change a thing. My little brother got married back in June in a barn on a goat farm in Virginia and three months later a friend from High School also got married in a barn on a goat farm in Virginia. I went stag to both. Three years later and marriage still feels like an impossibility and I’m still not very good at dating. 

But, then again, if in 2014 I’m brave enough to ask a guy out who just happened to be sitting alone in a park on a Friday afternoon then that is more than enough proof that I’m not that same overwhelmed 23 year old in Chicago working in a grocery store juicing oranges for nine hours a day. A distinction that I all too often forget. And definitely one I couldn’t possibly imagine as that 23 year old, slogging past the Harold Washington library in the snow.

(Also, shout out to Marnie Galloway for being my photographer! )