When some researchers want to know about life at the A.L.A. Headquarters, then I recommend reading the Headquarters Staff Association Files (Record Series 2/4/80) and Headquarters Newsletters, (Record Series 2/4/10). In particular, like other previously highlighted publications, there is much creative expression and good will to be found at the A.L.A. and in the archives.
Read on to learn more about the art and history of A.L.A. Headquarters Staff publications!
We have recently processed the materials of a particularly interesting record series, The Nathaniel L. Goodrich Scrapbooks, 1881-1902 (97/1/77). Born in 1880, Nathaniel L. Goodrich was the Librarian at Dartmouth University for 38 years—from 1912 until he retired in 1950—and was granted full professorship in 1943. He passed away on April 30, 1957, exactly 60 years ago. The record series includes four scrapbooks dating back to the early twentieth century, which had been discarded from the Dartmouth College Library in Hanover, New Hampshire. In the scrapbooks, Goodrich had collected and arranged an assortment of materials relating to library buildings.
During the course of U.S. involvement in World War I, the American Library Association collected $5 million in donations for the Library War Service, a service that accumulated a collection of ten million publications and established thirty-six camp libraries across the United States and Europe. It was the ALA Library War Service’s mission to provide “a book for every man.”
The Library War Service accomplished a great deal in a short time. According to the June 1918 War Library Bulletin, there were 385,310 books shipped overseas. At that time, there were also 237 small military camps and posts equipped with book collections and 249 naval and marine stations and vessels supplied with libraries.  The books were well-received by soldiers and sailors alike, and unmistakably utilized widely. Vice-Admiral Albert Gleaves of the US Navy wrote:
“Do the sailors read very much? Do the soldiers read very much? I know from personal observation that the books were in constant demand, and that they were in constant circulation. They were placed as a rule near the troop compartments for the soldiers, and for the sailors they were placed in their compartments. The books were allotted to them and they would draw these books; they were not responsible in any way for their condition or what became of them. If the books were lost, that was profit and loss to the A. L. A., and didn’t concern the sailor man. There was no compulsion, no restraint; they had free access to these books.”  Continue reading “The Books They Read: Library War Service in WWI”→
This holiday season is a great chance to consider the many historic professional gifts of A.L.A. members to colleagues past, present, and future: professional publications rich with information for all. However, there is so much A.L.A. produced literature that it may not be possible for one to read everything in a lifetime. So this ALA Archives gift to you is a strategy (or two) for navigating the many different historic publications of the A.L.A.
One method for searching an institutional or organizational archives is through a review of publications about the organization. Some external publications capture ephemeral information about an organization and complement other archival information. Such formal or informal publications can be produced by the organization, by institutions, by groups, or by people. Read on to see some examples of what an archives may hold in a Record Group 0!
Now that we can locate record series, we can learn how understanding and searching record series descriptions are important tools for research. Let’s appreciate the anatomy and physiology of these database records and supplemental resources.
One method for searching the holdings of an institutional or organizational archives (like the ALA Archives) is through a review of the record series structure. Like a library’s classification system, a record series structure is developed to help conceptualize where archivists may file documents or records. In addition to keyword searches, a review of how archivists file donations is a helpful strategy for locating items. Read on to learn how to search an archives without using a keyword search!
For specific inquiries about ALA members and history, a review of our reference library is due. The ALA Archives library is an easily over-looked resource rich with data and research strategies. After reviewing general reference books, some queries are specifically answered with the following resources. Read on to learn even more!
For general inquiries about ALA members and history, a review of our reference library is due. The ALA Archives library is an easily over-looked resource rich with data and research strategies. Before beginning archival research, some queries are efficiently answered with the following resources. Read on to learn more!