|Baltimore Mercantile Library Association, 1864|
Monday, December 29, 2014
Saturday, December 27, 2014
The American Library Association will hold its Midwinter Meeting in Chicago in 2015 for the first time since 1991. Many aren't looking forward to a meeting in Chicago in the middle on winter. Prior to 1991 ALA midwinter meetings in Chicago were the rule, not the exception. In fact, prior to 1965, all midwinter meetings dating back to 1908 (with only 7 exceptions) were held in Chicago. Starting in 1965 midwinter meetings were also held in Washington, D.C. every four years. Midwinter meetings were held at only a few locations other than Chicago or D.C. through 1991. But after 1991, ALA said "Goodbye" to Chicago as a midwinter meeting site. The rationale was obvious. Too often terrible winter weather greeted meeting goers in Chicago. Prior to 1980 all my library jobs were in the South, and I certainly complained about the Chicago midwinter location. There are lots of tales of meeting goers arriving late or leaving late because of weather in Chicago. Of course, there were also good times at midwinter meetings in Chicago. One year a group of librarians stranded at the Palmer House in Chicago created a fake organization called the ALA Players. I personally have many fond memories of midwinter meetings in Chicago. I'm sure there will be many complaints about the return to Chicago, but lets face it you take your chances traveling anywhere in the U.S. in the middle of winter. I now live about 150 miles northwest of Chicago, and I'll be weighing the pros and cons of driving down for a day at Midwinter. The button above was distributed at the ALA midwinter meeting in Chicago in 1991.
(Source for Midwinter meeting data: http://www.ala.org/conferencesevents/past/pastmidwinters )
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
Librariana comes in multiple varieties and formats. One of the more unusual examples of librariana is the label from a can of sweet corn which is shown above. Library Brand Canned Foods was a label for the Eisner Grocery Co. of Champaign, Illinois. Eisner Food Stores was a chain of stores headquartered in Champaign, but located throughout central Illinois. The chain was acquired by the Jewel Companies in 1957. The building shown on the label is the library building of the University of Illinois completed in 1897 now known as Altgeld Hall. It now houses the Mathematics Library of the University of Illinois.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
|Exhibit at Hales Corners Public Library, 1 of 10 month long exhibits in 2014|
This holiday letter focuses on my library history promotional activities in 2014.
One of the more interesting activities for me this year was facilitating the transfer of the Daniel W. Lester Library Postcard Collection to the American Library Association Archives at the Universisty of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
A number of my activities revolved aroung the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC), a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. I am completing my sixth and final year as Chair of the Steering Committee for the WLHC. I am particularly proud of my involvement with the selection of inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame which is a project of the WLHC. This year five additional individuals were inducted.
Another project of the WLHC is the sponsorship of an exhibit of Wisconsin library memorabilia. This year my wife and I set up the exhibit at ten different libraries around the state for a one month period at each. To do this we traveled almost 3,000 miles.
The WLHC sponsored a booth in the exhibits area at the WLA Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells, and I set up and staffed the booth.
I entered exhibits related to postal librariana at stampshows in Denver, St. Louis, and Milwaukee this year. My one frame exhibit on the American Library Association in World War I won gold medals at all three. My ten frame exhibit on libraries and the mail in 20th century American won vermeil medals (the level between gold and silver) at all three stampshows.
Of course, I continued to blog on The Library History Buff Blog by posting more than 50 articles. I also continued to maintain the Library History Buff website.
All in all a good year for promoting library history.
Happy holidays to all!
Monday, December 15, 2014
Laying the corner stone is a ceremonial highlight in the building process for a new library building. This occasion for the library building in Bellows Falls, VT was captured in a photograph on October 8, 1908. The photograph was printed on the Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) which is shown above, and is part of my library postcard collection. The postcard was mailed on December 29, 1908. The library is named the Rockingham Free Public Library for the Town of Rockingham which it serves along with the Village of Bellows Falls. The library's website has a brief history of the library and includes the same image as the postcard. The building was made possible by a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. It was dedicated on November 23, 1909.
Monday, December 8, 2014
|Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine on a Winter's Eve|
Harvard Medical School
Library Staff, 1964
Painting by William Commerford
|Palmer Library, Connecticut College|
Director and staff
|Bessemer (AL) Public Library|
Holiday card and report for years (1945-1946 & 1946-1947)
|Library of Congress, Winston Tabb, Assoc. Librarian, 1999|
Detail from painting of home of Longfellow, 1904
Entire painting is shown on interior of card
And season's greetings from the Library History Buff to all my followers.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Happy birthday to Andrew Carnegie who was born on November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. In addition to grants for libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States, Carnegie gave money for public libraries in a number of other English speaking countries including six in the Caribbean. The postcard above shows the Carnegie library in Castries, St. Lucia. According to Beverly Hinds in a paper presented at IFLA 2011 in Puerto Rico, St. Lucia was offered a Carnegie grant as early as 1904, but a grant was not awarded until 1916. The library building was completed in 1924 and opened on December 1, 1924. A fire in 1948 gutted the building and destroyed 20,000 books. The building was rebuilt within the existing walls, and continues to serve as a library. The library is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. See a recent article about the library HERE. Other Carnegie libraries in the Caribbean (Barbados, Saint Vincent, and Trinidad) have been honored on postage stamps.
Monday, November 24, 2014
|Everett, MA Public Library on postcard mailed May 12, 1916|
|Sanatorium Library, Saranac, Adirondack Mts., 1905|
|Library of Congress on postcard mailed on Sept. 1, 1909|
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
|Detail of postcard showing library|
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
|Dan on the left, me on the right|
|Lester library postcard collection sorted by state & community ready to load up for the trip to Urbana.|
|Loaded & ready for delivery.|
|Archives Research Center at the Univ. of Illinois, new home to the Lester library postcard collection.|
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
To celebrate Veterans Day I'm posting some postcards showing soldiers and sailors in front of American Library Association Library War Service camp libraries during WWI.
|Camp Gordon, GA|
|Camp Greene, NC|
|Camp Lee, VA|
|Pelham Bay Park, NY|
|Camp Doniphan, OK|
Monday, November 10, 2014
One of my most rewarding activities as Chair of the Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is participating in the selection of inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame. Five individuals were inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6 at the Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells. The Library Hall of Fame is a program of the WLA Foundation and the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. The inductees are:
Gilbert Harry Doane (1897-1980) served as Director of the University of Wisconsin – Madison General Library (1937-1943 & 1945-1956) and as Director of the UW-Madison Library School (1938-1941). He was head of the UW-Madison Archives program (1956-1962). He served in the U.S. Army’s World War II Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (“Monuments Men”) Project (1943-1945).
Wilbur Lyle Eberhart (1922-2010) was the first administrator of the Division for Library Services in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction after the Wisconsin Free Library Commission was abolished. He served in this capacity from 1965 to 1981 which included the period when Wisconsin’s public library system legislation was passed and implemented.
Peter G. Hamon (1945- ) served as Director of the South Central Library System (1981-2005). He was active in promoting statewide library legislation and funding, and served as President (1991) and as Legislative Advocate for the Wisconsin Library Association. He was honored as WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year in 2004.
Nolan I. Neds (1921-2006) served as Supervisor of Neighborhood Libraries and Extension and as Deputy City Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library (1965-1982). He was a champion of library service to the underserved in Milwaukee County, the State, and the nation. He was active in the Wisconsin Library Association and served as President (1970-1971).
Gertrude Thurow (1906-1993) served as Director of the La Crosse Public Library (1953-1975) and was instrumental in establishing the predecessors of the Winding Rivers Library System (1965-1975). She served as President of the Wisconsin Library (1955-56). Thurow was honored as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1959, and received WLA’s Special Service Award in1975.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Today marks the 138th anniversary of the founding of the American Library Association. The founding took place on October 6, 1876 at a conference of librarians at the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia. The events leading up to the conference are documented in the book Raking The Historic Coals, The A.L.A. Scrapbook of 1876 by Edward G. Holley (Beta Phi Mu, 1967). Although Melvil Dewey received much of the credit for the call for the conference, others including Richard Rodgers Bowker and Frederick Leypoldt played important roles. Of the 103 people who attended the conference 90 were men and 13 were women. At the end of the conference attendees who wanted to form the new association signed a register. Melvil Dewey signed as "Number one". By the end of 1876, 43 individuals had joined the association. On the evening of October 6 there was a social reception. A replica of the invitation to that affair is shown above. This anniversary of the founding of ALA highlights the fact that in two years, it will celebrate its 140th anniversary, an occasion worthy of celebration. In 2026, only twelve years away, ALA will celebrate its 150th anniversary, a major milestone for any organization.
Friday, September 19, 2014
I published a previous post about the "Free for All: Inside the Public Library film project which will feature public libraries across America today and provide historical background about the public library movement in the United States. The project is now at a critical filming stage and a fundraising effort has been launched to pay for this phase. They have more information and a nice video about the project on their home page. It also includes information about donating to the project which I highly endorse.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
When Andrew Carnegie gave a grant of $26,000 to Guthrie, Oklahoma on October 17, 1901 for a public library building it was the capital of the Oklahoma Territory. The library building was completed in 1902 and in 1906 it served as the backdrop for the inauguration of Frank Frantz, Oklahoma's last territorial governor. That event is depicted on the postcard above. Guthrie lost out to Oklahoma City as the permanent State Capital. The Carnegie building ceased to house the public library in 1972 when a new public library building was completed. According to the website of the Oklahoma Territorial Museum, the Carnegie building barely escaped destruction due to the generosity of a benefactor who also donated a museum building to the City. The very elaborate building which was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1971 is now part of the museum complex. Information about Oklahoma's other Carnegie libraries can be found HERE.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
In 1927 the Committee on Library Extension of the American Library Association published a small brochure (see above) that described the inequality of access to public library service in the nation and advanced the goal of "Adequate public library service within easy reach of every one". It then offered some strategies for achieving that goal. A chart in the brochure (at left) showed that more than 50 million Americans were without library service, mostly in rural areas. Elsewhere in the brochure it was pointed out that out of 3,065 counties the United States 1,235 had no public libraries within their boundaries. Strategies included leadership from state library agencies and county libraries. It was not until the passage of the Federal Library Services Act in 1956 that that the extension of public library service became a national priority. As a result of federal and state library funding programs enormous progress has been made toward achieving the goal of adequate public library service within easy reach of everyone. However, there are still millions of Americans without public library service or without adequate public library service.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
|Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), ALA Leader & President Lake Placid Club|
|Herbert Putnam (1861-1955), 8th Librarian of Congress|
|Susan Grey Akers (1889-1984), Library School Dean|
|Ainsworth Spofford (1835-1908), 6th Librarian of Congress|
|Justin Winsor (1831-1897), ALA's First President|
|Norman D. Stevens, Molesworth Institute Director Emeritus|
|George M. Eberhart, American Libraries Direct Editor|