Wednesday, October 21, 2009
American Library Association Archives
As previously noted, October is American Archives Month. Archives are an essential component of doing good library history research. We library history buffs are grateful to the library history scholars who have managed to locate and mine these treasures. Unfortunately, many valuable library history related archival documents have been lost forever. One of the most valuable collections of library history archives is the American Library Association Archives located at the University of Illinois - Champaign Urbana. A portion of the ALA Archives are located in the basement of the University of Illinois Library which is shown on the postcard above. The University of Illinois Archives maintains the ALA Archives under a contract with ALA. The website for the ALA Archives serves as a guide to what is in the archives, but an actual visit is required to take advantage of this valuable resource. There are some efforts to digitize photographs and postcards at the archives. Unfortunately, staffing is inadequate and much more could be done to make the archives more widely available. The ALA Archives has the potential for serving as the core of a National Library Heritage Center (library history museum) housing both archival materials and three dimensional artifacts. I've been able to make one visit to the ALA Archives but hope to visit more often. It is only about a 4 1/2 hour drive away. Happy American Archives Month ALA Archives!