Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First War Library Bulletin

When the War Service Committee of the American Library Association mailed out Vol. 1, No. 1 of the War Library Bulletin in August, 1917, plans for ALA's Library War Service in World War I were well underway.  A major announcement in the bulletin was ALA's intent to erect library buildings in 32 cantonments and National Guard training camps.  The buildings designed by New York architect Edward L. Tilton were to be 40 x 120 feet in size, one story high, and have the ability to house eight to ten thousand books.  They also were designed to provide living quarters for the staff.  The first War Library Bulletin was full of information targeted at libraries and their staffs about what they could do to assist in ALA's war effort. It included information on fundraising as well as a "Volunteer Responsibility Pledge".  A librarian could volunteer for a wide range of activities all the way from collecting books to actually staffing a camp library.  Men only were asked "Could you give personal service in a Camp Library for traveling expenses only?". It was stated that War Department rules prohibited women in camp libraries. Female librarians were later able to work in hospital libraries sponsored by ALA. One of the members of the War Service Committee was Matthew S. Dudgeon, Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Dudgeon later took a leave from the Commission to administer the camp library program. June 18 was the 140th anniversary of his birth. I just added this issue of the War Library Bulletin to my collection of ALA Library War Service ephemera. I previously wrote about another issue of the War Library Bulletin.  More posts related to ALA's Library War Service can be found HERE. Postcards showing some of ALA's camp libraries can be found HERE.

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