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!”
On November 11, 1966, Headquarters Librarian Ruth White wrote to Associate Executive Director Alphonse Trezza:
The archives for ALA are now stored in many places. There has never been an established policy for retention and disposition of ALA and divisional correspondence and publications. Neither has there been a systematic program for collection of archival material. In 1949 the Committee on A.L.A. Archival and Library Materials made a detailed report, but there is no record of action being taken on the report. Certainly the recommendations have been carried out only spasmodically, if at all. As stated at the beginning, the result is that many divisions have their own archives, some archival material is in Central Files, some if in the library, and some is in the hands of officers, past officers and past headquarters…
Sometimes in the archives you look for one thing and find something completely different, but wonderfully fascinating. A letter for the Harvey Dunn Poster Campaign is one of those great and random finds in the archives. The letter, dated June 26, 1923, was a call for librarians to hang up a poster of a man reading a book in a factory, the image of the poster was originally from a painting by Harvey Dunn. Carl Milam, then Secretary of the ALA, stated that the, “Harvey Dunn poster … speaks directly to the people who need to learn of the hidden treasures which are theirs for the asking.” Continue reading ““Develop the Power that is Within You”: The Harvey Dunn Poster Campaign”
A relatively new addition to National Library Week, the first National Bookmobile Day was celebrated in 2010, to recognize over one hundred years of service that bookmobiles and direct-delivery outreach services have contributed to bringing information, technology, and resources to all readers.
Today is National Library Workers Day, part of National Book Week. It’s a day to recognize the contributions made by library workers and all they do to keep libraries and library programs running. During the last few weeks, the ALA Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) has been promoting National Library Workers Day (NLWD) by providing a space to recognize stellar library workers, providing NLWD merchandise, giving suggestions for celebrations, and going on a social media blitz with photographs from the ALA Archives of library workers. Continue reading “National Library Workers Day: “Libraries Work Because We Do!””
This “Traveling” Souvenir is sent to a few friends, and I hope it may give enough pleasure to offset cost of postage. (Preface, 1897 Photo Album)
As described in an earlier blog post: Frederick Winthrop Faxon (1866-1936) was the early bard of the American Library Association. Although he was not a librarian, he was memorialized as someone who “for almost forty years,[…] devoted himself to serving librarians and promoting the library idea.” Attending 43 annual conferences throughout his lifetime, Faxon’s humorous reports enliven several years of the American Library Association Papers and Proceedings. Continue reading “Faxon’s Traveling Conference Albums”
The ALA Archives staff found a picture of Leonard Nimoy (March 26, 1931 – February 27, 2015) in our Record Series 13/5/15. ALA conferences have a long tradition of distinguished guests and author signings, and Nimoy was at the 1976 ALA Annual Conference, signing pictures for his newly released memoir I am Not Spock. Apparently he got tired of smiling for the camera.
This picture, and a write up of the event, was featured in American Libraries Vol. 7, No. 7 (Jul. – Aug., 1976), p. 473. Copyright of this image is currently unknown and is provided in low resolution.
In November the ALA Archives received a very generous donation of over 6,000 library postcards from Daniel Lester, now called the Daniel W. Lester Library Postcard Collection. The postcards made a cross country journey, courtesy of Larry Nix, from Mr. Lester’s home to the ALA Archives where they are now open for researchers to access. Continue reading “Daniel W. Lester Library Postcard Collection”
The ALA Archives is always pleased when our records are used in publishing new historical research, and today is the official release date for the book When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Manning, which includes research from records held at the ALA Archives. The book tells the story of the revival of mass-organized library services for the armed forces, which had been premiered during World War I but fallen into neglect during peacetime. The Victory Book Campaign was a joint effort from librarians, booksellers, publishers, and the US armed forces to not just rekindle the library program, but to greatly expand it. Librarians focused their efforts on organizing book donation drives, as demonstrated with this poster to the right.
Ms. Manning used the papers of Althea B. Warren, ALA President 1943-44, when researching this book. The ALA Archives holds additional records related to its work in the Victory Book Campaign, including reports, correspondence, and scrapbooks.
The American Library Association Annual Conference is often a much anticipated event for librarians. In 1876, 103 people attended the first conference in Philadelphia; last year alone over 26,000 people attended the Annual Conference in Chicago. Needless to say, the conference has grown a bit.
Amongst all of the exhibits, sessions, speakers, and free swag, there is one item that is essential to get around any conference: the program. The program is the guide that allows people to navigate the conference, select which events to go to, which speakers to listen to, and where to obtain a free lunch. Throughout the years, the Annual Conference Program has become thicker as the conference has expanded, and it has changed its appearance. Early conference programs continue to be a valuable resource to the archives, but they were not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the ones the ALA produces today. Continue reading “Ode to the Conference Program”