Articles list

Alyson Hannigan Shares the Magic of Libraries

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Alyson Hannigan—iconic star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, How I Met Your Mother, and American Pie—is spreading the library love in a new PSA video.

Hannigan’s latest project is Disney+ original movie Flora & Ulysses, which is based on a John Newbery Medal-winning children’s book by Kate DiCamillo.

"You can find [DiCamillo’s book] for free at your local library, along with countless other stories for readers of all ages,” Hannigan shares in the video. “Head to your library’s website to discover something magical.”

Check out the full clip below:

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Join Educators in Supporting Transgender and Nonbinary Youth

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Later this month, readers across the country will join the annual Jazz & Friends National Day of School & Community Readings, a literary celebration of transgender and nonbinary youth.

On Thursday, February 25, libraries, schools, and households will participate in readings of three children’s books about gender identity: I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, and When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff. The event encourages communities to (virtually) come together to show support and advocate for transgender and nonbinary kids.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program organizes the annual event, alongside cosponsors the National Education Association and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL). Educators can get involved by registering at, where they can receive discussion guides, promotional tools, resources, and more.

“School librarians strive to create an inclusive environment where all students feel welcome,” AASL Kathy Carroll shared in a press release about the event. “Our goal is to provide collections and learning experiences that celebrate diversity and recognize our learners’ unique experiences.”

She continued: “School librarians also carefully curate the digital and print collection, outreach programs, and services so that all students see themselves reflected within the offerings of the school library. We hope that school librarians across the nation will join us in advocating and supporting our transgender and nonbinary learners.”

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Librarians Name Their Top LGBTQIA+ Books of the Year

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Each year, members of the American Library Association’s Rainbow Round Table compile the Over the Rainbow Book List, a selection of excellent recent titles focused on LGBTQIA+ stories.

This year’s list is out now, featuring 48 exceptional nonfiction and fiction books for adult readers. The Over the Rainbow committee’s picks include a diverse array of authors, exploring history and contemporary politics through new lenses.

Here are their top ten titles:

Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, by Angela Chen

Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, by R. Eric Thomas

A History of My Brief Body, by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Homesick: Stories, by Nino Cipri

Homie: Poems, by Danez Smith

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir, by Jenn Shapland

Plain Bad Heroines, by Emily M. Danforth

The Prettiest Star, by Carter Sickels

Real Life, by Brandon Taylor

What's Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She, by Dennis Baron

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We Love These Vintage Valentines from the New York Public Library

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Valentine’s Day is upon us—and how better to celebrate than with some vintage love postcards from the New York Public Library?

NYPL’s Holiday Postcards collection includes countless archival gems, include some amazing turn-of-the-century Valentines.

Some highlights are below; save your favorites to send to the loved ones in your life this February 14.



“With love from thy valentine” (1909)

“A valentine message” (undated)

“To my Valentine” (1903)

“To my Valentine” (undated)

“St. Valentine greeting” (undated)

“Love's message to my Valentine” (undated)

“Dear little sweetheart of my soul, for whom my songs are sung” (1908)

“A message of true love” (undated)

“My heart's best love to my Valentine” (1912)

“Train engine covered in flowers” (1900-1909)

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“Deacon King Kong” and “Fathoms” Win 2021 Carnegie Medals

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Looking for great books to add to your to-read list? Each year, librarians and booksellers come together to award the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction—and the newly-announced 2021 honorees are not to be missed.

Deacon King Kong by James McBride has won the 2021 medal for fiction. Set in 1960s Brooklyn, the novel features unlikely heroes, gripping plot twists, moments of humor, and powerful social commentary.

The 2021 award for nonfiction goes to Fathoms: The World in the Whale by Rebecca Giggs. With lyrical prose and meticulous research, Giggs explores humanity’s enduring fascination with whales, which are now acutely threatened by climate change and pollution.

The Carnegie Medals are administered by the Reference and User Services Association and Booklist, both part of the American Library Association. “It has been my great honor to work with this committee of such passionate and discerning readers,” Bill Kelly, chair of the selection committee for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence, shared in a press release.

“As we collectively read and discussed scores of incredible books this last year, a year of extraordinary challenges, we discovered a renewed appreciation for the power of literature,” he continued. “More than ever we need books that nourish the mind and heart alike. Our two winners are exemplars of this power and it is our privilege to award them this honor.”

For even more great book recommendations, check out this year’s Carnegie Medals longlist.

These Animated Librarians Have Big Hearts and Big Heads

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by Burkely Hermann

Animated series such as Hilda, Cleopatra in Space, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power have portrayed libraries in a positive light; Too Loud, a 16-episode, two-season animated comedy web series on YouTube, is another great example of libraries in animation. Created by Nico Colaleo, the series focuses on two clumsy and loud volunteers at the Chestertown Public Library somewhere in the Western United States: Sara (voiced by Kelsey Abbott) and Jeffrey (voiced by Colaleo), with abnormally large heads, have fun even while they do their jobs. The show has already garnered a wiki, fan art, and a loyal group of fans. While the show is geared toward children, viewers of all ages can enjoy its message about the value of libraries.

In the first two episodes of season one, the so-called “loud mouth librarians,” Sara, and her brother, Jeffrey, help patrons: Sara uses her huge cranium to find a book on an obscure topic, while Jeffrey licks a library card to discern whether a book is overdue. Both explain the personal importance of helping library patrons, saying it brightens their day. In the second episode, both work together to save the library from being shut down by the town’s mayor. In later episodes, they meet friends in the library, with Jeffrey using the size of head to give a sci-fi author an idea for a new book, breaking his writer’s block, and a new librarian named Sarah is introduced.

Although the library is not shown as many times in the second season, the show emphasizes the library’s value to the community over and over again. In the third episode of the season, Sara is overwhelmed with her library duties and joins a group of “bad girls.” But when they approach the library and prepare to egg it, she remembers the positive memories and experiences she had there and tells the girls to leave. Afterward, Jeffrey and the head librarian, Mrs. Mildred Abbott, thank Sara for her hard work, saying they appreciate her efforts. In the fifth episode of the season, on the 100th anniversary of the library, Mildred’s twin and the chancellor of the libraries, Muriel, declares that the library will be sold off so the area can become a parking lot, all due to a long-standing grudge against her sister. The usual patrons are horrified by this, as are Jeffrey and Sara. Just in time, they help bring the two sisters together, and they reconcile, saving the library from destruction.

Other episodes highlight the importance of libraries and proper organization. In one episode in particular, the story centers on the Jeffrey and Sara picking up overdue library books and punishing those responsible is emphasized.  They convince a skeptical Sarah, a fellow librarian, to help them break into someone’s house to get an overdue book, but in truth Jeffrey had the book the whole time, for over eight years, and had forgotten to re-shelve it. After the person’s house collapses when they grab the book, all three of them learn that being punitive with those who have overdue books is not worth it.

The same can be said for an episode where Jeffrey and Sara travel deep into the library’s stacks to search for their friend, Molly, and find their long-lost cousin, Steven, who had been stranded there. In this abandoned part of the library, which has not been touched since the 1980s, there is even a VHS rental section!

Due to their role in the library, Sara and Jeffrey, along with their new colleague Sarah, are valued by those in the community. For example, in one episode, after Sara and Jeffrey get head reduction surgery, they have trouble doing their jobs, and ordinary patrons miss the usual banter of Sara and Jeffrey. It turns out this is a nightmare and both vow to never change the size of their “big, glorious heads” for anyone.

Even Mildred, the head librarian, bucks librarian stereotypes in several ways. At first, viewers may see the older white woman with glasses as dotty and clueless. For instance, she buys a burned sign for $100 dollars to eat in one episode, and is unsure how to answer reference calls from patrons. However, she has institutional knowledge dating back to the founding of the library, which her father built and founded. She helps Jeffrey, Sara, and Sarah with their duties from time to time and values their work at the library. Since the series is focused on Jeffrey and Sara and those who interact with them, she does not appear as much, but she adds an interesting dimension to the series.

While showrunner Nico Colaleo has proposed ideas for a third season, the season has been on an extended hiatus since November 2019—but viewers are still discovering the show and enjoying its depiction of libraries to this day. Even as the library’s size and layout differs from episode to episode, Colaleo has shared designs of the library on his Twitter account, including new angles of the library and the rainy day version of the library’s exterior, and a poster of a pop star promoting literacy displayed in one of the episodes. Hopefully, the series will be renewed, as having a show centered around libraries, like this one, would be a boon for representation of libraries and librarians in animation.

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Readers Share Their Most Cherished Library Memories

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We love hearing people’s favorite memories about using the library, so we’ve asked our readers and the American Library Association’s social media followers to share their experiences with us.

Here are a few highlights:

“My best memory of the library was when my twin boys found the nonfiction section. They were around three years old and obsessed with dinosaurs and sharks. The squeals and excitement that came from them that day is etched in my brain. You would have thought they hit the jackpot!”—Bridget K.

“My grandmother founded her town's library and then was head librarian for many years. I would often spend the night at her house as a child, and would go to the library with her after hours while she caught up on paperwork. There was something so magical about being free to explore that wonderful place on my own in the dim light, with no chairs scraping, doors opening, or voices murmuring. The wonderful scent of paper and ink...I felt like it was my own special world. I have always found great comfort in books and in libraries, and it was no great surprise to anyone when I grew up and became a school librarian!”—Laurie T.

“Watching the light bulb moment when my oldest son realized how the library worked. From then on, every trip to the library he tried to stump the librarians with a question and come up with a word that wasn't in their unabridged dictionary.”—Lydia T.

“Sitting for hours at age five, on the floor cross-legged, surrounded by a pile of picture books I had pulled from the shelves, and being granted all the time in the world by the librarian to read each one through to the end. When I finished, she helped me to carry the books to the desk so that I could check them out to take home with my mom and read them again. When we returned them, the librarian held a solemn conversation with my five-year-old self on the merits of each and every one! Her genuine love of reading mirrored my own; and, on a more permanent level, instilled in me a desire to encourage that love in everyone with whom I come in contact.”—Anita B

“My parents took me and my brothers to the library every Saturday morning—before we could even read—and checked out books for all five of us. This was our tradition for years, and I both love to read and to visit libraries. My husband and I are retired and travel a lot. We visit a library in every city we visit.”—Marge H.

“My favorite library memory is from childhood. After participating in the summer reading program and completing the required number of books to read, I was invited to a celebration party with all of the other kids who had completed the challenge. There were treats and a drawing. My name was drawn for one of the prizes: a cellophane wrapped package of special Spanish peanuts that were sold under a heat lamp with other types of nuts from the Rexall drug store around the corner. I was so happy to have won— it was the first time I had ever won something, and also so happy to be surrounded by people who loved books as much as I did, in a place that I treasured visiting whenever I could.”—Karen B.

“I always went to the library with my mother. Our home library was always full of soft whispers and the smell of hundreds of books! The library had a Stereopticon viewer and a big box of picture cards. It was very old and heavy to a four-year-old and I absolutely LOVED it! I was fascinated by all those cards and I spent my entire time looking at the pictures while my mother browsed and visited with the librarians.”—Suzanne J.

“The winter of 1984, I took my almost one-year-old son to the library in town and a librarian suggested Richard Scarry’s book Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. She said that on each of the two-page spreads there was a little gold bug to search for. That book was a major hit with my son as well as the other siblings that came along. This book has been a go-to baby gift and every little person I have shared it with has loved looking for the gold bug. This librarian gave us a real gift way back when.”—Diane P.

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30+ Librarian-Recommended Sci-Fi Books for Youth

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Core, a division of the American Library Association, just announced their 2021 Excellence in Children’s and Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Lists. Their selections include a diverse mix of engaging sci-fi reads for kids and teens.

Check out the full list:

Books for Kids Ages 6 and Under:

The Barnabus Project, by Terry Fan, Eric Fan, and Devin Fan

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep, by John Hare

A Jedi You Will Be, written by Preeti Chhibber and illustrated by Mike Deas

Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse, written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Heather Fox

Mara the Space Traveler, by An Leysen

Mars' First Friends: Come on Over, Rovers!, written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Robobaby, by David Wiesner

The Stray, by Molly Ruttan

Books for Kids Ages 7 to 11:

Alien Nate, by Dave Whamond

Bloom, by Kenneth Oppel

Cleo Porter and the Body Electric, by Jake Burt

Dragon Ops, by Mari Mancusi

Finn and the Intergalactic Lunchbox, by Michael Buckley

GenPet, by Damian Campanario, Mike Kennedy, and Alex Fuentes

Glitch, by Laura Martin

In the Red, by Christopher Swiedler

Jinxed, by Amy McCulloch

Last Pick, by Jason Walz

Mega-Dogs of New Kansas, by Dan Jolley and Jacques Khouri

Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez

Books for Kids Ages 12 to 18:

Catfishing on Catnet, by Naomi Kritzer

The Cloven Book One, by Garth Stein and Matthew Southworth

Crown Chasers, by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Devastation Class, by Glen Zipper and Elaine Mongeon

Girl of Flesh and Metal, by Alicia Ellis

Hard Wired, by Len Vlahos

The Loop, by Ben Oliver

Malice, by Pintip Dunn

School for Extraterrestrial Girls #1: Girl on Fire, by Jeremy Whitley and Jamie Noguchi

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything, by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

The Sound of Stars, by Alechia Dow

Swamp Thing: Twin Branches, by Maggie Stiefvater and Morgan Beem

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Why First Lady Jill Biden Loves Libraries

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At the American Library Association’s virtual Midwinter Meeting, First Lady Jill Biden joined ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. for a conversation about libraries, learning, and literacy.

Dr. Biden shared childhood memories of walking to her local library every two weeks and taking home as many books as she could carry. In college, she met young students who couldn’t read, which inspired her to become a teacher.

“Loving to read means loving to learn,” she explained. “And learning is how we grow into the people we want to become.”

As a community college professor, Dr. Biden always sends her students to the library when she assigns papers. “That's where they learn to research,” she said. “In a world where there is so much information to wade through, [librarians] help students develop their critical thinking skills.

“In big cities and small towns, libraries fulfill a purpose that almost nothing else does,” she continued. “They're a place of information for all. A place where people can come together as a community.”

Dr. Biden’s remarks included an inspiring message to library workers about the difference they make every day. “Never forget that what you're doing matters. Right now, someone out there is a better thinker because of you,” she shared. “Someone is standing a little taller because you helped them find the confidence they need. Someone is working a little harder because you pushed them to try. And someone is kinder because you showed them what that meant.”

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Proceeds from this Retro Muppets Tee Support Libraries

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For more than 40 years, beloved actors, musicians, and fictional characters have championed literacy by starring in American Library Association (ALA) READ® posters. Thanks to a collaboration between ALA and Out of Print, you can now sport a t-shirt adorned with one of the first-ever READ® poster designs, featuring Muppets Kermit and Miss Piggy.

The tee is available in both a unisex crewneck cut and a relaxed fit women’s style. Both shirt are 20% off through January 31—as is the rest of Out of Print’s READ® collection, which includes everything from Star Wars socks to Elephant & Piggie tote bags.

Shopping Out of Print’s READ® merchandise is a great way to do good. A portion of the proceeds supports the ALA’s work to keep libraries strong, from promoting technology and internet access for those in need to fighting censorship and book banning. 

Need more READ® in your life? The series is still going strong, with recent posters featuring stars like Misty Copeland, Milo Ventimiglia, and even The Mandalorian fan favorite The Child (AKA Baby Yoda or Grogu). Check out the full selection at the ALA Store.

Head to the Out of Print website to get your very own Muppet READ® tee.