Spooky Stacks: Viewing Haunted Libraries of the Midwest through Library Postcards

According to a scientific survey by Chapman University, a little more than half of all Americans believe that places can be haunted by spirits, with three in four believing in some kind of paranormal phenomenon [9]. The history of ghosts in America is a storied one and can generally be charted as first being thought of as “agents of God, then the devil, and now are seen as entertainment, to a large extent”, according to Tamara Hunt, a History professor at University of Southern Indiana and collector of ghost stories. Generally speaking, the way ghosts are seen in culture and society reflect the temperature of the era. Those in the 18th century viewed ghosts as the spirits of the dead who had unfinished business on Earth. Later on, ghosts helped people deal with the rapid changes of the 19th century, and when seances and Ouija boards rose in popularity, so did the belief that people could communicate with any spirit – not just a loved one. Throughout all time, ghosts provided a link between the present and the past, and the living and the dead – a connection that brings comfort and peace of mind during turbulent times. Some of the most haunted libraries in the Midwest can be viewed – from a safe distance – through the American Library Association Archives’ extensive postcard collection. More information about haunted libraries throughout the United States can be found through the Haunted Libraries LibGuide, courtesy of the University of Illinois Library. Continue reading “Spooky Stacks: Viewing Haunted Libraries of the Midwest through Library Postcards”

Just for Fun: Librarianship Theater

Although a significant amount of an archivist’s work is spent communicating with donors and researchers, in addition to arranging and conserving or preserving a continuous influx of documents, there is always time for a little fun too.

Archives are not exclusively repositories for records of historic value; but, they are also home to a great variety of documented human experience! Don’t believe us? Then read on about early theater and librarianship connections!

Continue reading “Just for Fun: Librarianship Theater”

Ghosts of Disasters Past: Floods, Hurricanes, and Earthquakes of American Library History

Libraries of all kinds have suffered damages and loss due to environmental disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. As hurricane season comes to a close (officially June 1 to November 30), it’s a good time to reflect on disaster planning. Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused significant damage in the United States this year, and Puerto Rico is still rebuilding following last year’s Hurricane Maria.

The ALA Archives holds many photographs and records documenting past disasters. Here is a look at a few of them. If these photos scare you, be sure to check out ALA’s Disaster Preparedness and Recovery resources to make sure your library is ready with a disaster plan. We hope you won’t need it! Continue reading “Ghosts of Disasters Past: Floods, Hurricanes, and Earthquakes of American Library History”

Just for Fun: 22 Steps to Build Your Own Public Library

Although a significant amount of an archivist’s work is spent communicating with donors and researchers, in addition to arranging and conserving or preserving a continuous influx of documents, there is always time for a little fun too.

Archives are not exclusively repositories for records of historic value; but, they are also home to a great variety of documented human wisdom! Don’t believe us? Then read on about starting your own library in the A.L.A. Archives!

Continue reading “Just for Fun: 22 Steps to Build Your Own Public Library”

Just for Fun: Finding Love in the A.L.A. Archives and Conceptual Keyword Research Strategies

Although a significant amount of an archivist’s work is spent communicating with donors and researchers, in addition to arranging and conserving or preserving a continuous influx of documents, there is always time for a little fun too.

Archives are not exclusively repositories for records of historic value; but, they are also home to a great variety of documented human experience! Don’t believe us? Then read on about finding love in the A.L.A. Archives!
Continue reading “Just for Fun: Finding Love in the A.L.A. Archives and Conceptual Keyword Research Strategies”