Virtual Tours of Historic Libraries

Due to COVID many of us are unable to travel physically. However, we can travel online to many of the world’s historic libraries thanks to the rising number of free virtual tours! Here’s a News & Notes compilation of many of those tours:

Relax in New York Public, stroll through the José María Lafragua in Mexico, marvel at the wonders of the Mafra Palace Library of Portugal…

Some of these tours use standard video technology, while others use 360 degree platforms through Google Arts & Culture.

Do you know of other virtual tours of historic libraries? Please email additions to us at We need virtual tours that help us celebrate the rich library traditions in all of the world’s civilizations!

A Tribute To Representative John Lewis

Representative John Lewis, known as the Conscience of Congress, helped break down segregation in the United States–including segregation in libraries. Refused a library card by the whites-only public library in his hometown of Troy, Alabama, Lewis later won the National Book Award for graphic novels about civil rights marches (the video of his award ceremony from CSPAN’s Book TV below is deeply moving). Read more about his civil rights work, including his quest for a library card, through the links below:

An Introduction to John Lewis (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee Digital Gateway)

Obituary: John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80 (New York Times)

Bloody Sunday | Rep. John Lewis Remembers the Fateful Day in Selma Video (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

A New Library Card for Rep. John Lewis: Picture of the Week (School Library Journal)

ALA 2013: The Day Congressman John Lewis Got his Library Card (Publishers Weekly)

John Lewis Graphic Novels & Memoirs (Amazon)

Celebrating John Lewis: Books & Resources for All Ages (New York Public Library)

2016 National Book Award Winner: Rep. John Lewis (Young People’s Literature) C-SPAN2 BOOKTV

CFP: Black Women Librarians

In Spring 2022, the Library History Round Table will devote volume 6, number 1 of  Libraries: Culture, History, and Society, and significant space in  LHRT News and Notes, to scholarship, book reviews, and blog posts on Black women librarians. This issue will be guest edited by Dr. Nicole A. Cooke, the Augusta Baker Endowed Chair and Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina…

Read the full CFP at!:

Article Alert: An Ethical Quandary (Alex H. Poole)

Another exceptional article by Dr. Poole!:

Alex H. Poole. “An Ethical Quandary that Dare Not Speak its Name: Archival Privacy and Access to Queer Erotica,” Library & Information Science Research 42, no. 2 (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.lisr.2020.101020

Available open access through Research Gate:

CFP: Libraries: Culture, History, and Society

Libraries: Culture, History, and Society (LCHS) is now accepting submissions for volume 5, number 1, to be published Spring 2021, and for subsequent issues to be published semiannually. A peer-reviewed publication of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association and the Penn State University Press, LCHS is available in print and online via JSTOR and Project Muse.

The only journal in the United States devoted to library history, LCHS positions library history as its own field of scholarship, while bringing together scholars from many disciplines to examine the history of libraries as institutions, collections, and services, as well as the experiences of library employees and users. There are no limits of time period or geography, and libraries of every type are included (private, public, corporate, academic, and school libraries, and special collections). In addition to Library Science, the journal welcomes contributors from History, English, Literary Studies, Education, Sociology,  Gender/Women’s Studies, Race/Ethnic Studies, Political Science, Architecture, and other disciplines.

Submissions for volume 5, issue 1, are due August 28th, 2020, and the deadline for volume 5, issue 2 will be in late February. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through LCHS’s Editorial Manager system at . They must also conform to the instructions for authors at

New scholars, and authors whose work is in the “idea” stage, are welcomed to contact the editors if they would like guidance prior to submission.    

For further questions, please contact the editors:
Bernadette Lear,
Eric Novotny,

LHRT announces the winner of the 2020 Justin Winsor Library History Essay

The announcement below comes from the ALA web site:

For Immediate Release
Tue, 06/30/2020


Danielle Ponton

Program Manager for Round Tables



CHICAGO — The Library History Round Table (LHRT) is pleased to announce that this year’s Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award winner is Dr. Julie Park for her paper, entitled “Infrastructure Story: The Los Angeles Central Library’s Architectural History.”

Park is assistant curator and faculty fellow at the Special Collections Center, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library in New York, New York. Her essay uses written contracts, board meeting minutes, floor plans and renovation reports to show “how, as infrastructure, the library’s architecture and its spatial priorities were deeply ‘relational’ [which] required adaptation to changing contingencies over time, despite features that seemed permanent and immovable.” In particular, the essay pits the beautiful, but compartmentalized, architecture of the library’s original 1926 design against the building’s severely over-crowded interior in 1978. Ultimately, Park shows how preserving the building’s “historic and aesthetic significance” was irreconcilable with the changes needed to make the Central Library more functional.

Though the essay coincidentally overlaps with the history presented by bestselling author Susan Orlean’s work “The Library Book” (2019), the Justin Winsor selection committee found Park’s research to be original in its interdisciplinary use of infrastructure theory. Photos and maps of the library add to the discussion. The selection committee also appreciated Park’s excellent use of primary sources, one of the main award requirements. The essay presents a nice complement to Orlean’s book, which goes beyond 1978 to cover the 1986 fire that almost destroyed the Central Library. Park has been invited to submit her essay for possible publication in the official LHRT journal Libraries, Culture, History, and Society.

The Justin Winsor award is named in honor of the distinguished 19th-century librarian, historian and bibliographer who was also ALA’s first president. To be considered, essays must embody original, previously-unpublished historical research on a significant topic in library history, be based on primary sources, and use good English composition and superior style. The winner is awarded a certificate and $500 cash prize.

LHRT Endorses ALA Resolution for a More Equitable Association

On Friday 26 June, during its Virtual conference, and in acknowledgement of its role in upholding unjust systems of racism and discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color within the association and the profession, the American Library Association Executive Board issued the statement entitled “ALA takes responsibility for past racism, pledges a more equitable association”

In response, the Executive Committee of the Library History Round Table, on Sunday 28 June, voted unanimously to endorse the statement.