American Archives Month 2017

Photograph of ALA Archives Stacks in 2015.
A view of ALA Archives stacks, taken by ALA Archives staff in October 2015.

American Archives Month is upon us again, which mean it’s time to celebrate all things archives! At the American Library Association Archives, we’re celebrating by doing what we do best, working with archival collections! We’re busy processing new accessions that have come into the archives, such as the ALA Executive Director’s papers and materials on Banned Books Week. We’re also in the middle of a project to digitize large portions of the GLBT Round Table archives. And we’re always in the process of answering your questions that have come in via email, phone, and in person.

Join in on American Archives Month by asking a reference question at a local archives or archival repository, browse the National Archives website, follow an archives on social media (we have all the best photos!), or join us for #AskAnArchivist Day on Twitter! Continue reading “American Archives Month 2017”

35 Years of Banned Books Week

From Books Challenged or Banned 2014-2015

This year marks the 35th year of Banned Books Week! The week was inspired by the success of the Banned Books Exhibit at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) convention, which prompted the ABA to work with the American Library Association and the National Association of College Stores for the first Banned Books Week in August of 1982. More information on the founding of Banned Book Week can be found in this previous blog post.

The American Library Association and other Banned Books Week sponsors have continued to provide a number of resources to educate people on books that continue to be banned and challenged in schools and libraries. The American Library Association provides press kits, free image downloads for social media, Q&As, banned and challenged book listings, events, and evening a form for people to use to report challenges. Continue reading “35 Years of Banned Books Week”

Commemorating the Library War Service

With centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I coming up on April 6, the American Library Association Archives is commemorating the centennial of the Library War Service, which was formed shortly after the US entered the Great War. Keep an eye on our blog, social media, and our site for the different ways that we’re remembering the Library War Service! Continue reading “Commemorating the Library War Service”

The ALA Mexican Border Traveling Library Service

While most of the American Library Association Library War Service’s efforts were concentrated in camps and hospitals in the United States and Europe, there was also a need for books for the soldiers stationed along the Mexican border. Chalmers Hadley, the librarian of the Denver Public Library, surveyed the desire for books among soldiers at the border and found them wanting.

In early 1918, Hadley observed that, “It is vastly different to find thousands of men requesting books, and hanging on a promise of some … It will be a great misfortune to the men and a lost opportunity to the A.L.A. if the traveling libraries are not provided.” [1] To satisfy the demand for books, two traveling libraries were established by the ALA and headquartered in the San Antonio Carnegie Library and at the El Paso Public Library in Texas.

Continue reading “The ALA Mexican Border Traveling Library Service”

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

Ribbon1893
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

Accession Logbook
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”

ALA0002856
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””