Oral Histories at the ALA Archives

File from the ALSC Oral History Project.

Alongside written records, photographs, and publications, the American Library Association Archives also holds over 150 interviews of individual librarians and library workers. These oral histories and interviews provide a vital resource of librarian recollections that may not be otherwise found in administrative records, photographs, and correspondence. These stories told by librarians and library workers provide context to their lives and career, how their experiences and education shaped their librarianship, and how certain events shaped their personal and professional lives.

While the ALA Archives does not currently have its own active oral history program, the Archives collects and supports projects that capture the voices of librarians and library workers as part of its mission to preserve the history of librarianship. Here is a small selection the oral history projects and interviews that the Archives holds: Continue reading “Oral Histories at the ALA Archives”

“Capturing our Stories” Librarian Oral Histories Project Added to ALA Archives’ Digital Holdings

As part of her 2007-08 presidential term, Loriene Roy initiated an oral history program for retiring librarians, “Capturing Our Stories.” So far this program, which is still on-going, has produced 35 recordings with full transcripts, which have now been added to the ALA Digital Archives and made available to researchers online.

Librarians interviewed range from school librarians to public library directors to catalogers, from California to New York. One librarian of note interviewed is Sanford Berman, author of Prejudices and Antipathies, famous criticism of the sexism and racism inherent in the Library of Congress subject headings of the 1970s. Berman’s personal papers are also held in the ALA Archives.

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Explore the full holdings of these oral histories here.

If you’re interested in helping with the “Capturing Our Stories,” you can find more information at the project website.