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Publications: Booklist Books, 1919-1940

From 1919 through 1940, during the period between both World Wars, the American Library Association and librarians produced an annual series of resources to support library collection development known as Booklist Books. Each publication is a helpful overview of suitable books for general library communities published each year. Read on to learn more about Booklist Books!

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50 Years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

Glyndon Greer giving a speech at the Coretta Scott King Award breakfast in 1974.

2019 marks the 50 year anniversary of the founding of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. This book award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood. The award is given out every year to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.(1)

It was founded by librarians Glyndon Flynt Greer and Mable McKissick, and publisher John Carroll during the 1969 American Library Association Annual Conference in Atlantic City. According to McKissick, “We [her and Greer] met at the booth of John Carroll. Since it was the day before the Newbery/Caldecott awards, the discussion turned to Black authors …”(2) and their lack of representation. It is reported that Carroll overhead the conversation and asked, “Then why don’t you ladies establish your own award?”(3) Read More »

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Publications: Library Handbooks, 1908-1921

From 1908 until 1921, the American Library Association produced a series of publications about library administration known as Library Handbooks. Each installment is rich in the experienced perspectives of library leaders of its time. Read on to learn more about Library Handbooks!

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Publications: Library Tracts, 1900-1910

From 1900 until 1910, the American Library Association produced a series of publications about general issues in library administration known as Library Tracts. Each installment is rich in the experienced perspectives of library leaders of its time. Read on to learn more about Library Tracts!

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Ghosts of Disasters Past: Floods, Hurricanes, and Earthquakes of American Library History

Libraries of all kinds have suffered damages and loss due to environmental disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. As hurricane season comes to a close (officially June 1 to November 30), it’s a good time to reflect on disaster planning. Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused significant damage in the United States this year, and Puerto Rico is still rebuilding following last year’s Hurricane Maria.

The ALA Archives holds many photographs and records documenting past disasters. Here is a look at a few of them. If these photos scare you, be sure to check out ALA’s Disaster Preparedness and Recovery resources to make sure your library is ready with a disaster plan. We hope you won’t need it! Read More »

Posted in Found in the Archives, Just for Fun, Library History | Read and Comment

Publications: Library Extension Board Publications

Following World War One and A.L.A. War Service program, the American Library Association’ Committee on Library Extension (later Library Extension Board) produced a great many publications supporting the work of county, district, regional, and rural librarians as well as their peers across the United States. Some of these publications can be found in Record Series 29/5/11, which contain brochures, pamphlets, and administrative reports, as well as a few surprises too.

Read on to learn about Library Extension Board publications!

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

Research Strategies: Finding Hispanic Heritage Materials at the ALA Archives

From September 15 to October 15, it is Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States and we at the ALA Archives want to help you optimize your research into Hispanic American heritage and history. In this month’s blog post, we’ll take a tour through ALA Archives holdings and we’ll use multiple strategies for finding information.

Read on to learn more about locating Hispanic American history materials at an archives!

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Posted in Found in the Archives, Research Strategies, What Archivists Do | Read and Comment

Publications: Newsletters of the Office of Federal Relations and Washington Office

Since 1946, Federal Relation News (1946-1949), Washington Newsletter, and Washington News have provided information resources about libraries and legislation across the nation. In fact, older issues are still information rich for current and future readers.

Read on to learn more about the art and history of Federal Relations News and Washington Newsletters!

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Just for Fun: 22 Steps to Build Your Own Public Library

Although a significant amount of an archivist’s work is spent communicating with donors and researchers, in addition to arranging and conserving or preserving a continuous influx of documents, there is always time for a little fun too.

Archives are not exclusively repositories for records of historic value; but, they are also home to a great variety of documented human wisdom! Don’t believe us? Then read on about starting your own library in the A.L.A. Archives!

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Posted in ALA Publications, Found in the Archives, Just for Fun | Read and Comment

Library Life: The Arthur Plotnik Photographs

Arthur Plotnik (second to the left) and other members of American Libraries editorial staff.

This spring, the American Library Association Archives acquired a generous donation of photographs from Arthur Plotnik, a photographer, journalist, writer, and librarian. Plotnik is the former editor of ALA’s flagship magazine, American Libraries, and his career with the American Library Association spanned over twenty years. Before coming to ALA, Plotnik worked at the H.W. Wilson Company, the Library of Congress, was a staff writer and reviewer at Albany’s Times-Union, and served in the US Army reserve. He is married to artist, Mary Phelan, who has claim to University of Illinois Library fame for her portraits of University Librarians Hugh Atkinson and Robert Downs. Read More »

Posted in Found in the Archives, Librarian Spotlight | Read and Comment
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