American Libraries


James Montgomery Flagg (June 18, 1877 – May 27, 1960) 

American artist and illustrator. He worked in media ranging from fine art painting to cartooning, but is best remembered for his political posters.

He created his most famous work in 1917, a poster to encourage recruitment in the United States Army during World War I. It showed Uncle Sam pointing at the viewer (inspired by a British recruitment poster showing Lord Kitchener in a similar pose) with the caption “I Want YOU for U.S. Army”. Over four million copies of the poster were printed during World War I, and it was revived for World War II. Flagg used his own face for that of Uncle Sam (adding age and the white goatee), he said later, simply to avoid the trouble of arranging for a model. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt praised his resourcefulness for using his own face as the model. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: 1.-3. Illustrations from The Thirteenth Commandment. A Novel by Rupert Hughes. With Illustrations by James Montgomery Flagg. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1916.  4.-8. Illustrations from Mr. Bingle by George Barr McCutcheon. With Illustrations by James Montgomery Flagg. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915.

The next few years are going to be tough on education, and as many have said, we need to support our teachers.


Libraries provide many valuable educational opportunities for kids and adults alike, and with the impetus of the responsibility of education shifting from public schools to the public itself, they are perhaps more vital and more important than they have ever been in our nation’s history. Make sure they have the resources they need to keep fighting for our children and their futures.

Librarians may not be able to change Google or Facebook, but we can educate our patrons and support the development of the critical-thinking skills they need to navigate an often-biased online world. We can empower our patrons when we help them critically evaluate information and teach them about bias in search engines, social media, and publishing. Libraries that have created research guides for Black Lives Matter and other social justice topics are helping to curate information and points-of-view that might not be traditionally published.
We are not doing our job if we remain neutral when it comes to library technologies. Accepting many of the technologies available to support our missions means accepting technologies that are biased, not accessible, not protective of the privacy of our users, and not easily usable by some of our patrons. A commitment to social justice is a commitment to equal access, which is at the heart of our professional values. We are not being neutral when we advocate for our patrons, but we are being good librarians.
—  Meredith Farkas, “Never Neutral” (American Libraries, Jan/Feb. 2017)

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) 

American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Dust jacket front and back from Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie. The Poetry of Maya Angelou. New York: Random House, 1971.


One of 20th Century America’s greatest literary voices, James Baldwin and his work are garnering renewed interest, thanks in part to the Oscar®-nominated documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, which should be opening at a cinema near you soon (if it hasn’t already). The trailer is below a companion volume for the film is now available fom Vintage Books, home to much of the author’s backlist, including Go Tell It on the Mountain, Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, and The Fire Next Time. Baldwin’s literary work has also been issued by the prestigious Library of America in three essential volumes.

Happy Birthday Marian Anderson! (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993)

View of contralto Marian Anderson. Printed on front: “Delar, N.Y.” Handwritten on front: “Marian Anderson.” Stamped on back: “Marian Anderson.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

Friday plans include a cold beverage? Meet the beer fridge of 1899.

It’s from a catalog of by L. H. Mace & Co. of New York, now in our @smithsonianlibraries. Early refrigerators used insulation (with an inch between two sets of walls) and circulation to move cool air from the ice chamber throughout the space.

Inside this refrigerator, there were places for kegs to rest and shelves in the lower part of the refrigerator could be removed, making it possible to chill two more kegs.

Portrait of soprano Veronica Tyler. Printed on front: “James J. Kriegsmann, N.Y.” Stamped on back: “Veronica Tyler, soprano.”

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library

Are you going to C2E2 this weekend? Wanna find some cool new queer comics?

Visit me at the pop-up library in Booth 853, right in front of The Block at 2pm on Saturday!  I’ll be talking up some of my favorite LGBTQ comics and giving personalized recommendations to help you find the bestest, coolest, and queerest choices for you!  Think of me like your personal comics concierge.   See you there!
Librarians Across America Are Using Their Powers For Political Good
Whether it’s community organizing or battling untruth, they do far more than just shelve books.

Libraries are often community centers offering support to underrepresented communities, social services, classes, internet access and more. 

How does your library use their superpowers?