#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. Read More »

Posted in Current Events | Tagged , , , | Read and Comment

“The First Convention of the Kind”: The 1853 Librarians’ Convention

Letter of support for the convention.

Before the first American Library Association Conference in 1876, there was the 1853 Librarians’ Convention. The idea was first presented in 1852, in Charles Norton’s Norton’s Literary Gazette and Publisher’s Circular, though it would take another year for the idea to take root. After much correspondence a group of librarians put out an official proposal for a convention in May of 1853. The proposal, “Call for a Convention of Librarians”, was published in Norton’s Literary Gazette, stating: Read More »

Posted in Library History | Tagged , , , | Read and Comment

“Develop the Power that is Within You”: The Harvey Dunn Poster Campaign


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.”[1] Read More »

Posted in ALA History, Found in the Archives | Tagged , , , | Read and Comment

Tour of the ALA to the Pacific Coast


Sketch of S. S. Green from the Los Angeles Times, Oct 24, 1891.

In October 12-16 of 1891, the first ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco was held. It was the first conference to be held on the Pacific Coast and 83 people were in attendance, with Samuel Swett Green presiding as president. Even after over a hundred years, some of the topics discussed during the sessions would not be out of place at the 2015 Annual Conference. ALA members talked about library architecture, library administration, the use of libraries in schools, library legislation, and public support for public libraries. Read More »

Posted in ALA History | Tagged , | Read and Comment

Celebrating National Bookmobile Day at the ALA Archives

Fraser Valley Union Library Bookmobile. ALA0002246. Found in record series 18/1/57, Box 5, Folder: Bookmobile - Outside Shelving, 1939-1976

Fraser Valley Union Library Bookmobile. Found in record series 18/1/57, Box 5, Folder: Bookmobile – Outside Shelving, 1939-1976

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.[1]

Read More »

Posted in ALA History, Current Events, Found in the Archives, Library History | Tagged , , | Read and Comment

National Library Workers Day: “Libraries Work Because We Do!”

nlwd_15 apa homepage image

Courtesy of ALA Allied Professional Association

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. Read More »

Posted in Current Events, Found in the Archives | Tagged , , | Read and Comment

National Library Week: “For a Better-Read, Better-Informed America”

National Library Week 1958 letterhead

National Library Week 1958 letterhead

Sponsored by the National Book Committee, Inc., and in cooperation with the American Library Association, the first National Library Week was launched on March 16-22, 1958.  Citing a 1957 survey showing that only 17% of Americans polled were reading a book, the inaugural National Library Week slogan was “Wake Up and Read!”  The National Library Week initiative was the first nationwide effort to promote literacy for personal and national improvement, to celebrate the role of libraries in making reading materials accessible to everyone, and to highlight the varied career opportunities available within the library profession.[1]

Read More »

Posted in ALA History, Current Events, Library History | Tagged , , , , | Read and Comment

Faxon’s Traveling Conference Albums

Faxon cover

1897 Photo Album

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)


“To say that Mr. James lost his head would seem no more than the truth if we look at the picture, where he sits back to us in the foreground. He only removed it for a moment however in order to allow Miss Rathbone’s countenance to be seen.” (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.”[1] Attending 43 annual conferences throughout his lifetime, Faxon’s humorous reports enliven several years of the American Library Association Papers and Proceedings. Read More »

Posted in Found in the Archives | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Read and Comment

Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015): Live Long and Prosper

Leonard Nimoy, 1976The 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.

Posted in Found in the Archives | Tagged , , , | Read and Comment
  • Search Holdings

Staff Resources | Log in