New Digital Exhibit: Celebrating the Organizers!

Celebrating the Organizers!: 140 Years of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives
Celebrating the Organizers!: 140 Years of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives

Today is the official 140th birthday of the American Library Association and we are kicking it off the with opening of our new digital exhibit Celebrating the Organizers!: 140 of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives.

A special thanks to ALA graduate assistant Salvatore De Sando for all his hard work on this exhibit! And thanks to ALA graduate students Sharon Pietryka, Leanna Barcelona, and Madison Well for their help.

 

“Beyond the Hopes or Plans”: ALA at the 1893 World’s Fair

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New York Library Club ribbon for the 1893 ALA Annual Conference. RS 5/1/15

With the approaching 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago on the horizon, Frank P. Hill addressed the American Library Association at the 1890 Annual Conference and proposed several suggestions for the ALA to showcase an exhibit at the fair. Hill proposed that for the fair, “That a model library, showing modern methods of classifying and cataloging books, be arrange in one of the room of the building.”[1] He also immediately suggested that Mary S. Cutler be put in charge, who was later placed on the planning committee with Hill himself.

The Chicago World’s Fair was an opportunity for libraries and the American Library Association to be represented on an international stage to educate visitors of the inner workings of a public library. And by holding the 1893 Annual Conference in Chicago, members were given the chance to see the World’s Columbian Exposition and observe the exhibit.

Continue reading ““Beyond the Hopes or Plans”: ALA at the 1893 World’s Fair”

“Call for a Library Conference”: The 1876 ALA Conference

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Register with the first members of the ALA listed.

Despite the relative success and enthusiastic reception of the 1853 Librarians’ Convention, it failed in its goal to establish a permanent organization of librarian professionals. The next attempt to create a permanent association occurred again in 1876.

An anonymous letter to the London publication, Academy, noted that it was strange “that no attempt should have been make to convene a Congress of librarians.”[1] The letter was then reprinted in Publishers’ Weekly by Frederick Leypoldt and mentioned again in an issue of the Nation. From there the idea picked up momentum, drawing the attention of highly regarded librarians such as Melvil Dewey. Continue reading ““Call for a Library Conference”: The 1876 ALA Conference”

Celebrating 140 Years of the ALA

ALA1876In celebration of the 140th anniversary of the American Library Association, the ALA Archives, spearheaded by Salvatore De Sando (ALA Archives Assistant), will be tweeting correspondence about the 1876 Conference. The source materials come from a scrapbook of letters and publications for the first ALA conference in 1876 in Philadelphia, October 4-6. The archives will be tweeting the written words from correspondents, such as Melvil Dewey, Justin Winsor, William Poole, and other founders of the ALA.

The tweets start on May 18th and will continue through the summer. Follow us on Twitter @ALA_Archives and our hashtag #ala1876.

The ALA Archives will be debuting a digital exhibit, Celebrating the Organizers: 140 Years of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives, on October 6th. 140 years to the day when “the register was passed around for all to sign who wished to become charter members”and the American Library Association was founded.

The ALA Archives will also be holding a small 140th birthday party on October 6. More details to come in the fall!

Clara S. Jones: “Awareness is Not Burdened with Repression; It is Liberating”

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Clara Stanton Jones

During the 1975 American Library Association Annual Conference, Clara Stanton Jones was announced as the Vice-President and President-Elect of the American Library Association. Her term as President would start during the ALA’s 1976 Centennial Conference, a fitting celebration for the first African American President of the ALA.

Her experience as Director of the Detroit Public Library and personality made her well suited for the position of ALA President. E.J. Josey noted that: “Her years of service in the trenches in Detroit before being appointed director of the library system provided her with management skills as well as a desire to love and serve her fellow human beings.”[1] Jones’ career took her all over the world, but most of her activities were community driven, working on the revitalization and cultural development of Detroit.[2] Continue reading “Clara S. Jones: “Awareness is Not Burdened with Repression; It is Liberating””

Happy Birthday, Melvil!

ALA0000303The ALA Archives staff wants to say happy birthday to Melvil Dewey, who is a mere 164 years old today!

Dewey might be most famous for his Dewey Decimal Classification system for library books, though many American libraries now use the Library of Congress classification system, the Dewey Decimal System is still being used today. Dewey was active in the library profession and was also one of the founders of the American Library Association, opened the School of Library Economy at Columbia College, called for the formation of the ALA Council, and was involved in the founding of the Spelling Reform Association. Continue reading “Happy Birthday, Melvil!”

American Archives Month: Tell Your Story

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October is American Archives Month! But what does that mean for the American Library Association? The ALA Archives staff wants to encourage all ALA offices, divisions, committees, and round tables to start a conversation with the archives about depositing your records, both physical and digital.

We especially want to hear from ALA units that haven’t transferred their records to the archives yet. New committees, task forces, round tables, and sections can start by sending us their founding documents, including bylaws, charters, correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, and even selfies of the members! Continue reading “American Archives Month: Tell Your Story”

#AskAnArchivist Day

Did you know that October is American Archives Month? It’s a time for archivists to dust off our favorite records and show them off, to put up new exhibits, give open houses and tours, and to bring greater awareness to our profession.

The month kicks off with #AskAnArchivist Day on Twitter, when archivists from around the country answer your questions! Last year the American Library Association Archives participated in this event and plans on doing so again next week Thursday, October 1. All day (at least during working hours), we will be answering your questions on Twitter. Just tag us with our Twitter handle, @ALA_Archives, and use #AskAnArchivist with your question. Continue reading “#AskAnArchivist Day”