American Libraries
Printing for a Cause | American Libraries Magazine
A Houston-area girl gets a new prosthetic limb thanks to a library makerspace, 3D printing technology, and a community of designers and volunteers.

Apparently, one of the cool things you can do in your public library is literally give a kid a hand. And the reason I’m talking about it here instead of on my other blog is that some of the designs for “e-NABLE hands” are licensed under Creative Commons or GNU, so they’re available for free if someone wants to take them and print out their own parts for a prosthetic. Pretty cool!

Perrero, M. (2016, August 9). Printing for a Cause. American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved from


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

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? 

Happy Birthday Felicia Weathers! (born 13 August 1937) 

African-American opera and concert singer (soprano).

Portrait of soprano Felicia Weathers. Printed on front: “Louis Melancon. Metropolitan Opera House, New York City.” Stamped on back: “The use of this photograph is granted with the understanding that it is for your publication only, and will not be syndicated, rented, loaned, or used for advertising purposes without written permission. When published, the customary credit line will be appreciated with the name in full: Louis Melancon. Louis Melancon, New York, N.Y.” Label on back: “Metropolitan Opera Assn., Inc. Press Dept. Felicia Weathers, soprano." 

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
Um ... about that American Libraries article we wrote
As a professional rule, I try to keep things positive. I like to be a cheerleader for all the great people out there and avoid boosting the signal on a bunch of negativity. However, situations comp...

The article in question can be found here.

TL;DR: Patricia Hswe and I wrote an article for American Libraries and the editors added some quotes from a vendor talking about their products without telling us. We asked them to fix it and they said no.


We feel used; like our article was turned into a vehicle for a commercial message and that we were deceived into signing off on it. We are also personally and professionally embarrassed that thousands of readers will see the article but never find this blog post. What will they think of our ethics? Whose side will they think we are on? [emphasis added]

I’m so frustrated by this development because librarians trust the publications of the ALA.  When American Libraries (published by the ALA) begins to favor vendor intervention and input, especially in a profession where libraries’ and librarians’ interests conflict more and more with that of content providers…well, it’s disappointing.
The Stereotype Stereotype | American Libraries Magazine
Why are we interested in, invested in, and driven to change librarian stereotypes, especially concerning fashion, sexuality, and subcultural membership?

American Libraries featured an excerpt from The Stereotype Stereotype: Our Obsession with Librarian Representation by Gretchen Keer and Andrew Carlos (full chapter found in The Librarian Stereotype)!  

American libraries are buffeted by cross currents. Citizens believe that libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities. Yet, even as the public expresses interest in additional library services, there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend. (via Libraries at the Crossroads | Pew Research Center)

From barn to bibliothek, a library emerges from history

By LibraryLab at 1:49 pm Monday, Mar 26

Most libraries aren’t found in barns, butJackson (N.H.) Public Library happily makes its new home in one. It’s not just any barn, either. Built in 1858 as part of the town’s first inn, the barn was dismantled and stored away in 2008. At about the same time, the library was looking to open a new facility. As the recession made following through on an architect’s design fiscally impossible, the library partnered with the Jackson Historical Society, itself looking for a way to re-erect the barn.

Jackson Public Library is one of several recent libraries to adapt existing non-library buildings (including a factory, a roller rink, and a department store) as new homes. In addition to generally costing less than a new building, and the potential historic value, the practice helps rejuvenate neighborhoods. See the library in a roller rink (and more) atReused Libraries Rejuvenate Communities []

— posted by Greg Landgraf, American Libraries

The tweet announcing the formation of the campaign came a day earlier than its founder and executive director John Chrastka had intended, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Within four hours of Kate Tkacik’s post to Tumblr, donors had contributed $400 toward EveryLibrary’s goal of raising $50,000 by November 7 with the interests of helping public, school, and academic libraries get ballot initiatives passed in 2013 and beyond.

Beverly Goldberg, American Libraries | The Campaign is on to Form the Nation’s First Library PAC

(Tumblr’s own Lifeguard Librarian [Kate Tkacik] flexes her muscles, and the internet takes notice. Tumblr’s influence has grown while the adults weren’t looking.)

Happy Birthday Diana Sands! (August 22, 1934 – September 21, 1973) 

American actress, perhaps most famous for her portrayal of Beneatha Younger, the sister of Sidney Poitier’s character in the original stage and film versions of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1961). (Wikipedia)

Portrait of actress Diana Sands, in a scene from the play, “A raisin in the sun.” Handwritten on back: “Diana Sands in ‘A raisin in the sun.’" 

  • Courtesy of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection of African Americans in the Performing Arts, Detroit Public Library
American Libraries: Persepolis was banned briefly in 2013 at a high school in Chicago. It was removed from the library because of panels that depict torture. What are your thoughts on that situation?
Marjane Satrapi: It was very bizarre because it came from Chicago. Chicago is not like some place in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was completely stupid. It’s not like I made a porn magazine or something. I was very happy, though, because I saw these children, they were protesting. The good thing is that these people who ban things, it’s like they are completely unaware of what a human being is. If you want to make adolescents read a book, ban it! And then they all want to read it. Why not just explain it? It’s not like kids are dumb.
—  American Libraries Magazine, September/October 2014

Celebrate the founding of the American Library Association with some great library images of book-lovers through the decades. These photos are courtesy of North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

1. A librarian seated at the desk of the Asheville Negro Library, North Carolina

2. A librarian reads to a group of children, 1959.

3. A librarian shows children books from the bookmobile, 1953

4. A little boy leaves a bookmobile with stack of checked-out books, 1949

5. Children lined up to check out books from the librarian at the bookmobile, 1920. 

We’re kicking off a new series over on our other blog, featuring the work of students in Dr. Juliette Paul’s English 4300 class and their research on an early American manuscript entitled The Lucubrator

This post (a Tumblr exclusive!) is by Meghan Cox.

Tumblr as Commonplace Book

The Lucubrator looks very much like a commonplace book. The pages of the manuscript are filled with essays, letters, and epigraphs expressing ideas that the author wished himself or herself, and possibly others, to remember. Commonplace books are repositories of knowledge often used for didactic purposes. Their pages are filled with ideas, observations, letters, quotations, tables, and drawings.

 The Lucubrator and the genre of the commonplace book can be compared to our modern day Tumblr. Tumblr enables us to create original content that is useful for personal and educational reasons. If you want to find Tumblr-like writing before websites were created, or perhaps even a history of the modern Tumblr, the commonplace book is one genre to which you would turn.  

 Technology has influenced the way we now collect knowledge and information, however we still can see parallels between genres of the past and present. Despite being developed in different time periods, both the Tumblr and the commonplace book are used for similar purposes, offering places for one to keep their thoughts, fascinations, and inspirations.  

Happy Birthday Vivian Weaver! (b. August 18, 1918)

View of Vivian Weaver playing the harp. Autographed on front: “To the Hackley Memorial Collection with sincere good wishes, Vivian L. Weaver.” Stamped on back: “Photograph by Kedroff, please credit.” Handwritten on back: “Vivian Weaver." 

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