Category Archives: Library History

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, […]

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Out of the Closet & Onto the Shelves: Librarians and the Oldest Gay Professional Organization in the U.S.

June is pride month, which means that our exhibit Out of the Closet & Onto the Shelves: Librarians and the Oldest Gay Professional Organization in the U.S. is up in the Marshal Gallery at the University of Illinois Library. This exhibit documents the early history and development of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round […]

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Increasing Morale: Hospital Library Service in WWI

World War I spread tragedy and despair across the world, but the American Library Association worked to brighten the spirits of wounded soldiers. In 1917, the American Library Association provided library services to wounded soldiers and delivered books, newspapers, and magazines to more than 200 army and navy hospitals.  The ALA was able to send […]

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New Digital Exhibit: Celebrating the Organizers!

Today is the official 140th birthday of the American Library Association and we are kicking it off the with opening of our new digital exhibit Celebrating the Organizers!: 140 of Library Conference Planners in Letters and Images at the ALA Archives. A special thanks to ALA graduate assistant Salvatore De Sando for all his hard […]

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Research Strategies: The Reference Library of the ALA Archives (Bookcase Two of Two)

For specific 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. After reviewing general reference books, some queries are specifically answered with the following resources. Read on to learn even more!

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Research Strategies: The Reference Library of the ALA Archives (Bookcase One of Two)

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!

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Behind the Scenes at the Archives: Processing a Poster Series

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.

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Preserving the Nearly Immortal Life of A.A.L.S. Headquarters Tour Guide and Mascot “Prissy”.

An Image of a Gray and Black Haired Dog Looking Towards the Camera.

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”.

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Founding the ALA Archives, 1966-1973

Photograph of ALA Archives Stacks in 2015.

On November 11, 1966, Headquarters Librarian Ruth White wrote to Associate Executive Director Alphonse Trezza: The archives for ALA are now stored in many places. There has never been an established policy for retention and disposition of ALA and divisional correspondence and publications. Neither has there been a systematic program for collection of archival material. In […]

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

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