Monday, April 27, 2009

Happy 150th Alice Tyler

Today we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of one of the library profession's outstanding former leaders. Alice Sarah Tyler (1859-1944) was one of the library pioneers who helped define state level public library development in the twentieth century. Tyler served as President of the American Library Association in 1920-21, the third woman to do so. Tyler was a graduate of the first class of the Library School of the Armour Institute of Chicago which was the predecessor of the University of Illinois Library School. She was the first Secretary of the Iowa State Library Commission in 1900, a position she held for thirteen years. She served as president of the League of Library Commissions in 1906-1907. Tyler became director of the Library School at Western Reserve University in 1913 where she served until her retirement in 1929. She held numerous leadership positions in a variety of library organizations. Tyler was one of the forty library leaders selected by the Library Journal to be included in "A Library Hall of Fame" in 1951. Tyler's philosophy of librarianship is reflected in a quote from a 1927 talk: "The ultimate goal in library work is after all elusive... Certainly our real goal is not toward an external end; it must be in the realm of mind and spirit. If one can phrase a practical end for the elusive quest, it might be: Helping people to use their minds; Stimulating people to think!" Tyler is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography, and I'm indebted to Helen M. Focke who wrote the entry for Tyler for much of the information in this post.

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