Publications: Chinese-American and Asian Pacific American Librarian Publications

Since the 1970s, Membership Directories and Newsletters of the Chinese-American Librarians Association (CALA) and Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) have provided information resources for Asian American and Pacific American professionals working in libraries. Here at the A.L.A. Archives, we want to tell you all about our holdings which are information rich for current and future readers.

Read on to learn more about the art and history of CALA and APALA publications!

Chinese-American Library Association

Since 1973, the Chinese-American Library Association has produced three different publications for membership. In fact, during recent preparations for the 40th anniversary in 2013, the CALA recently  coordinated the digitization and donation of many administrative documents and publications. Now, let’s look at the many helpful CALA publications which are excited to share with you during your next visit.

Membership Directories, (1979-)

Since 1979, CALA Membership Directories have provided contact information for members and even more information over time as membership needs have increased in size and needs. The earliest issues were stapled, typed lists featuring member names, member employers, member home addresses, and member home phone numbers.

During the 1980s, Membership Directories expanded to include the CALA Constitution, member names written in Chinese, geographical statistics about current membership, and committee member lists. From 1980 until 1985, Directories printing was even supported by University Microfilms International too. By the early 1980s, membership already included librarians working in the United States and in other countries like Canada and Saudi Arabia. In 1985, a membership history section was included to list which years each member was active.

The covers of Membership Directory often featured the art of Chinese calligraphers too. The 1989 issue featured Dr. Sheng-Piao Keng, while the 1990 issue featured Mr. Yi-Zhi Huang.

During the 1990s, Membership Directories expanded to include additional information about national and international membership, advertisements, covers with colored paper or colored ink, and a history of the CALA. Also new to the 1990s was the annual inclusion of Chinese zodiac animals on each cover.

During the 2000s and 2010s, Membership Directories no longer included Chinese zodiac animals on the cover but the publication’s interior featured redesigned page layouts and strategic plans. In fact, the 2011 and 2012 directories included plastic spirals to bind the ever-increasingly large publication. In 2013, the stapled binding returned while high-resolution colors were included too.

Research Tip: Directories are great resources for following the employment history of a person or their employer. The CALA Membership Directory provides clues for where future researchers will need to search for records pertaining to historical people or places. In fact, any directories’ data could be recompiled to develop new insights into the change of membership over space or time too. The value of rereading directories should not be overlooked.

Newsletters, (1982-)

The ALA Archives holdings for CALA Newsletters begins in 1982 during the merger of the CLA and CALA,

Newsletters has included board meeting minutes, CALA presidential messages, a calendar of events, chapter news, member editorials, job announcements, photographs of members and events, and publications of interest.

During the last forty years, the CALA Newsletter has undergone significant development and expansion. The 1980s Newsletter layout included a significant amount of textual information with ornamental images atop the cover page and mid-1980s issues included red ink on the cover banner too. The 1980s issues feature reprints of meeting minutes too. During the 1990s, while Newsletter was printed on thicker, colored paper with more images in the layout, meeting minutes were no longer included. By the early 2000s, Newsletter returned to a light color paper but still rich with information on members.

Research Tip: Newsletters provide a wealth of general interest articles about current events which include publications or people of interest to readers. Researchers should be sure to review CALA Newsletters for additional information about Chinese American and other Asian American historical events and people. Often, professional newsletters can include biographical information on many members. Sometimes obituaries are written for prominent members too. (For biographers, historians, genealogists, and other researchers, biographies in professional publications have been identified as the only source of information about a person’s life.) Also, Newsletters has been home to editorials about librarianship, society, and politics. For organizations like the CALA, Newsletter and other publications are rich with information for all.

Asian American and Pacific American Association

Following the significant work of the Asian American Librarians Caucus (AALC) from 1975 through 1980, it was 1980 when the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association was established at the ALA Annual in New York. Since then, the APALA has advocated and supported the development of Asian Pacific Librarianship across the country.

Membership Directories

APALA Membership Directories provide a comprehensive survey of Asian Pacific American librarians with professional contact information included. Each member’s contact information includes a note about their expertise and interest in Asia, including indicating the country of origin of each professional–including, of course, American members interested in Asia too.

Copies Available at Your ALA Archives

Physical copies of CALA and APALA publcations are available for viewing at the ALA Archives; however, not all copies are available yet. Please view the Record Series 85/4/30 (for CALA) and 85/4/50 (for APALA), for information on which issues you can view or donate.

Got Something to Donate to the Story So Far?

There are so many great librarians doing so many great things and even the A.L.A. Archives can’t always keep-up with everyone all of the time. As Mr. Kenneth A. Yamashita’s (2000) history of the AALC and APALA observed, not all librarians save the records of their careers and this makes preserving the heritage of Asian Pacific American and other librarians difficult. Are you (or somebody you know) a member of CALA or APALA? We welcome you to share your part of ALA history in the comments or to contact us. We and our readers would like to hear from you.