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By the Numbers: Toys

A catalog from the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play in Rochester, New York. 230,000Number of volumes available at the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, located at Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. The museum is also home to the National Toy Hall of Fame. The library houses books, […]

Keep the Peace

World War I–era peace pins housed at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives at Stanford (Calif.) University. The pins belonged to pacifist and feminist activist Alice Park. Photos: Hoover Institution Library and Archives On a winter Chicago afternoon, near the end of her life, renowned social worker and activist Jane Addams started to burn her […]

Bookend: A Library of Laughs

Jenny Robb at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University in Columbus. Photo: Stephen Takacs Jenny Robb says we are living in the golden age of cartoons and comics. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have graphic novels for a children’s audience,” says Robb, head curator of the Billy Ireland […]

By the Numbers: Halloween

This movie poster is one of 3,000 items in the Witchcraft Collection at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Photo: Cornell University Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections 19thCentury in which Halloween was popularized in the US, thanks in part to the arrival of Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween has its roots in the […]

A Sense of Support

When her son brought home speech cards from elementary school to help him better learn and articulate words, Jen Taggart could barely see what the cards depicted. The cards had been duplicated and the images were blurry, says Taggart, head of youth services at Bloomfield Township (Mich.) Public Library (BTPL). That experience more than 13 years […]

Bookend: Stranger than Fiction

Suzanne Noruschat, Southern California studies specialist for USC Libraries Special Collections. Photo: Anne-Marie Maxwell Long before the popularity of true-crime podcasts, there was True Detective, a pulp magazine published from 1924 to 1995 that, at its peak, chronicled real-life crimes for millions of readers. Edward S. Sullivan, an editor for The Los Angeles Examiner and […]

By the Numbers: Food

A Charlie Cart mobile kitchen. Illustration: The Charlie Cart Project 350Number of classes offered annually through Free Library of Philadelphia’s (FLP) Culinary Literacy Center. According to FLP, this kitchen classroom is the first of its kind created at a public library in the US. $9,000Amount that Chattanooga (Tenn.) Public Library spent on a Charlie Cart—a […]

Bookend: Archiving the Afterma1

Ellen Keith, director of the Chicago History Museum Library, displays items related to the Great Chicago Fire. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries Nearly 150 years after it leveled 18,000 buildings and killed 300 people, the Great Chicago Fire (October 8–10, 1871) lives on—in the city’s tourist attractions, sports team names, and soon in a Chicago History […]

Responsive and Responsible

A drawing of Iroquois games and dances by Jesse Cornplanter resides in Amherst (Mass.) College’s collection of Indigenous materials. Photo: Amherst College Archives and Special Collections It’s not news that libraries and museums have a long and problematic history of mishandling Indigenous materials. From exhibiting culturally sensitive items to retaining materials that were unlawfully seized, […]

Bookend: Conjuring a Collectio1

Amy Schindler, director of archives and special collections at University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Libraries, holds a magic book from the Omaha (Neb.) Magical Society collection. Photo: University of Nebraska at Omaha One day, the magic collection vanished—and then reappeared. That is, the Omaha (Neb.) Magical Society moved its 1,200 magic-related books and materials […]

By the Numbers: Jewish America1

A flier from New York Public Library’s Dorot Jewish Division. Photo: Dorot Jewish Division/New York Public Library 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 MarketIntersection in Philadelphia […]