Author Archives: Lydia Tang

Mary Wright Plummer

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 […]

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Celebrating National Bookmobile Day at the ALA Archives

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]

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

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 […]

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Faxon’s Traveling Conference Albums

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 […]

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

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 […]

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Snowed in at Midwinter: the ALA Players

A recent acquisition to the archives is a small packet containing the bylaws and related documents of the ALA Players (“ALAP”).  As described in the ALA Archives transmittal form, the ALAP was established when a huge snowstorm descended during the Midwinter conference of 1978, causing the group to be snowed in and looking for ways […]

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Library Service for the Blind

“[T]he blind soldier is the spirit of war, of the battlefront, of France,” said Jerry O’Connor, a blinded Cantigny veteran from World War I, during his award-winning speech titled The Duty of the Blind Soldier to the Blind Civilian at the Red Cross Institute for the Blind’s Public Speaking Contest in 1920.  “We have the […]

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Burton E. Stevenson: ALA Representative in Europe

Burton Egbert Stevenson (1872-1962) was surprised to find himself named the foremost ALA representative in Europe for the Library War Services campaign during the first World War.  A college dropout from Princeton University and aspiring novelist, he fell into the library profession after marrying Chillicothe Public Librarian, Elisabeth Shephard Butler and accepting a librarian position […]

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Library Service to Prisoners, 1936-39

In the mid-1930s, the American Library Association formed a Committee on the Libraries of the American Prison Association.  Found in Record Series 23/40/5, this collection contains the Committee’s surveys[1] from 1936-38 of prison libraries across the nation; reports on prison librarianship which include historical information on recommended book titles and magazine subscriptions, cataloging, circulation protocols, […]

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Audiovisual Collections at the ALA Archives

Often when we think of archives, we automatically think of the paper items which document the decisions and actions of an organization or individual; be they correspondence, agendas, or photographs.  But the ALA Archives also contains audiovisual materials, which can bring can bring a living action to past events. Within the ALA Archives, we have many […]

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