Libraries and Frontiers: Historical Perspectives

I am delighted to announce the program for the LHRT Research Forum on “Libraries and Frontiers”.  Please join us for what promises to be a fascinating and enlightening conversation.
Eric Novotny, LHRT Vice-chair/Chair -Elect.

LHRT Research Forum
Libraries and Frontiers: Historical Perspectives
American Library Association Annual Conference, San Francisco
Sunday 06/28/2015,  3-4PM

MADE MARIAN: Real Librarians of the California Coast
Dr. Lisa Blank compares the “typical” librarian as portrayed in the contemporary and historical literature with the real experiences of early California librarians.  Examining the lives of the women and girls who worked in or took the library training class at the Redondo Beach Public Library between 1895 and 1924  she challenges traditional views of our profession and uncovers the real face of California librarianship before 1920.

Along the Wilderness Road: Social Libraries on the Virginia Frontier
Yvonne Carignan looks at more than fifty social libraries founded in Virginia before the Civil bookplateWar.  Her research challenges previous assumptions about social library history with findings about Virginia’s early library founders, and the role of religion and other value systems in determining the prevalence of libraries  on Virginia’s frontier compared to the established east.

 Bookplate from the Lewisburg (Greenbrier County) Circulating Library Company, founded 1824.  Presumably, this is an image of Benjamin Franklin, for whom at least two antebellum social libraries in Virginia were named.

Rural Women and the Ladies’ Library Association: Reading Culture and Peer Education in the Absence of Public Libraries Ladies Library Association, Schoolcraft, Michigan

ladies associationWhile Michigan is not traditionally thought of as the “frontier” –  in the 19th Century road and train access to some small villages was still poor.  Carole Nowicke and Sharon Carlson look at the role played by ladies’ library associations in small cities and rural villages in Michigan. They explore what needs the LLA helped rural women meet, and examines questions including; What did these women read? What were the library’s holdings? and how did LLAs in rural areas compare to the social clubs of upper middle class city women?

Our Panelists

Dr. Lisa Blank received her PhD in History from UCLA in 1982. Librarianship being famously a second career her previous work experience includes, but is not limited to, 1.5 years as a visiting assistant professor of history, 3.5 years in the US Foreign Service, six years as a contracts and computer analyst for the UCLA Medical Center, and 15 years as an independent bookkeeper. She retired at the close of 2011, and finally, after seven full years, completed her MLIS from SJSU in 2013.

Yvonne Carignan, has been head of George Mason University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives since 2011.  Previous positions have included library director and head of collections for the Kiplinger Research Library, Historical Society of Washington, DC; and head of the preservation program for the University of Maryland Libraries. Her education includes a Masters in history from GMU, a Masters in Library Science from UNC, and a BA in history from VCU.

Dr. Sharon Carlson is an Associate Professor of the University Libraries and Director of the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In addition to managing the University Archives, Dr. Carlson teaches courses in history and library science at Western Michigan University. Her research interests focus primarily on American History, including American Culture Studies, Material Culture, and Public History. Dr. Carlson’s most recent publications include “Archivists Partnering With Oral Historians:  Documenting the Experiences of African Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican Americans” and “Teaching American History: Archivists Partnering with Public Schools” both appearing in Librarians as Community Partners: An Outreach Handbook.

Dr. Carole Nowicke is a reference librarian and research associate for the Indiana Prevention Resource Center in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University. She is also employed by American Public University of Charlestown, West Virginia as a reference librarian and subject specialist in Public Health, Sports Medicine and Sports Management. She holds a Ph.D. from Indiana University in Library and Information Science and American Studies, an M.L.S. from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. from Western Michigan University.  Her dissertation “Not Built by Jack But by You and Me: The Schoolcraft Ladies’ Library Association, 1879-1920: A Study of Women’s Reading Culture in Rural Southwestern Michigan,” has been cited in such varied disciplines as library history, women’s history and agricultural history. She served as Historian of the International Tuba-Euphonium Association (ITEA) for a number of years and conducted oral histories with many of the “grand old men” of the tuba and euphonium. In such spare time as she has, she enjoys dancing with the Caravansarai Belly Dance Troupe.


2015 Phyllis Dain Library Dissertation Award Winner

Dr. Barry W. Seaver, Chair of the Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award Committee, announces Miriam Intrator as the winner of the 2015 Phyllis Dain Library Dissertation Award for her dissertation, “Books Across Borders and Between Libraries: UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945-1951.”

According to Seaver, “Intrator received her doctoral degree in 2013 from the Graduate Faculty in History of the City University of New York. She is currently the Special Collections Librarian for the Ohio University Libraries. Her dissertation focuses on the response of UNESCO’s Library Section, in cooperation with other international, national and Jewish organizations, to the cultural and intellectual destruction suffered in Europe during WWII and their plans for postwar reconstruction regarding books, libraries, and archives. The dissertation offers original insights into the recovery of cultural life in postwar and post-Holocaust Europe and highlights the individuals who formulated the argument for access to books and libraries, to knowledge and culture, as a fundamental human right within the context of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The committee reviewed five other dissertations produced during the past two years.

Derek Attig, University of Illinois. “Here Comes the Bookmoblie: Public Culture and the Shape of Belonging” (2014)

Ann Bourne, University of Alabama. “Enriching the Collective Resources: An Historical Analysis of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries, 1984-2009” (2013)

Su Kim Chung, UCLA. “We Seek to Be Patient: Jeanne Wier and the Nevada Historical Society, 1904-1950” (2014)

Elisabeth A. Jones, University of Washington. “Constructing the Universal Library” (2014)

Ellen Marie Pozzi, Rutgers University. “The Public Library in an Immigrant Neighborhood: Italian Immigrants’ Information Ecologies in Newark, NJ, 1889-1919” (2013)

Congratulations to Dr. Intrator for the award, and to the other scholars for their superb work and for adding to the body of knowledge in library history. Thank you Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award Committee for your hard work in reading through these excellent submissions and making the difficult decision of choosing a winner. Committee members include:

Barry W. Seaver (Chair, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Tanya Ducker Finchum (Member, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Tom P. Glynn (Member, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Mr. David Brett Spencer (Member, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Rudolph Rose (Staff Liaison, July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015)

The Library History Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA) sponsors the biennial Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award. The award is offered only in odd-numbered years. The award, named in honor of a library historian widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and thinker, recognizes outstanding dissertations in English in the general area of library history. Five hundred dollars and a certificate are given for a selected dissertation that embodies original research on a significant topic relating to the history of libraries during any period, in any region of the world.