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!
Attending the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida? Take a moment to recreate some ALA Annual Conference moments and Tweet it to the ALA Archives!
- Choose one of the following photographs below
- Strike a pose and take a picture!
- Tweet your photo to @ALA_Archives with #LifeImitatingArchives
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.” 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. Read More
In 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 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!
Every archivist has encountered a collection that has given them a hard time or left them with a puzzled look on their face as they ponder where to start. As an archivist, preserving materials is one of the most important tasks that we face in our jobs. Here at the ALA Archives, we receive collections with materials that range from oversized posters, 100 year old documents, and pictures, and it is our job to keep these historic materials in the best shape as possible.
While working on reprocessing a collection that included Executive Board minutes from ALA meetings, I encountered an interesting situation. The documents were all bound together by different materials, some screwed together with metal, some with plastic, and it was my job to get the potential paper damager out.
Libraries around the world have progressively become more aware of the services they provide for users with disabilities. According to the ALA, they “recognize that people with disabilities are a large and neglected minority in the community and are severely underrepresented in the library profession.” Read More
A.L.A President (2013-14) Barbara Stripling’s Presidential Initiative Libraries Change Lives produced a great amount of posters from libraries across the country that have recently arrived at the A.L.A. Archives.
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.” 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. Read More
It was a gray spring day in 1983 on Park Lane and although she didn’t know it yet, Association of American Library Schools (now the Association for Library and Information Science Education) Executive Secretary Janet Phillips had immortalized Tour Guide and Mascot “Prissy”.
To continue our blog series highlighting pioneering women librarians, this next post will focus on Mary Wright Plummer (1856-1916). A member of Melvil Dewey’s first class in librarianship at Columbia College, Plummer went on to establish an impressive career in librarian education, children’s librarianship, and international librarianship, and served as the ALA’s 2nd female president from 1915-1916.
Born to a Quaker family, Plummer attended Wellesley College from 1881-1882, studying languages and creative writing. Her librarianship career began when she enrolled at the age of 30 in “the first class in library science on the planet”, Melvil Dewey’s 1887 class in the School of Library Economy at Columbia College. Distinguishing herself immediately in her studies, she was selected to present her experience in library school at the American Library Association’s 1887 meeting (“The Columbia College School of Library Economy from a Student’s Standpoint,” printed in Library Journal, September-December 1887). Read More