“The paradox of the library in our time is that it aspires to be vast but is also selective and bounded – a tiny droplet of material in a seemingly limitless sea of content.”
Life in the Stacks: A Love Letter to Browsing
“Algorithms are integral to how we find and consume art. But old-fashioned browsing still has its benefits.”
How to Burn a Book
In an excerpt from “The Library Book” — inspired by a historic California library fire — Susan Orlean challenges her respect for the printed word with a match and a copy of ‘Fahrenheit 451.’
Did You Happen to See the Most Interesting Man in the World? (He’s In Room 328)
Libraries contain more than books — they have archives, and the archivists want to help you explore them.
Keepers of the Secrets
Who are the most interesting women and men in the world? The archivists, guardians of our forgotten stories.
Mosul’s Library Without Books
How the Mosul University Library — once home to books and documents dating to antiquity and destroyed by ISIS militants — is becoming the epicenter of Iraq’s cultural rebirth as the homemade mines are removed, Mosul University is rebuilt, and the book drives begin.
Thomas Cook and the Stack Pirates
Boredom and an enterprising Brit gave birth to the modern tourism industry, and we’re still trying to make sense of it all.
Jerry Falwell, Judith Krug, and the Origins of ‘Banned Books Week’
America, 1981: Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president, MTV aired its first video, and the culture wars were on. That January, the Rev. Jerry Falwell—a televangelist-turned-political-kingmaker who essentially invented the religious right as we know it today—had sent a massive direct mailing to his Moral Majority constituency, urging readers to examine their school libraries […]
How Young Adult Literature Won Over Librarians
Though young adult literature has arguably existed since at least Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series, which was published in the 1930s, teachers and librarians were slow to accept books for teenagers as a genre. “Today, many librarians are acting like frightened ostriches,” Mary Kingsbury complained in 1971. Afraid of parental criticism and the threat of concerned administrators, she […]
‘The Library Is One of the Few Civic Spaces We Have Left’
I have a dear friend who’s working at the library in Chattanooga, which is one of the rare states where the budget is increasing, and she’s doing all of this neat stuff with technology: bringing in 3-D printers, teaching web-use skills, all of these public services that are really necessary beyond making books available for […]