Interesting Discovery in Public Library History


Nicolette Hall has sent us an interesting paper examining how budgetary limitations, saloons, an earthquake, and a highly-skilled but volatile library director figured into the history of the San Francisco Public Library.

Of special note, Ms. Hall discovered a study conducted by the library’s early founders, who had surveyed two hundred libraries in Europe and America about their development, services, and collections.  Henry George analyzed the results, and his conclusions are quoted in Ms. Hall’s paper:

These results provide an interesting snapshot of libraries of the 1800s.

Ms. Hall is a LIS graduate student at San Jose State University. She also holds an MA in Art History from San Francisco State University, where she received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Academic Excellence for her thesis and participated in the Western Association of Graduate Schools Distinguished Master’s Thesis Competition.


Some July Posts to LHRT News and Notes

A History of Christian Publishing in Grand Rapids: How Four Families Shaped an Industry

By Erinn Huebner, Wayne State University

Summarizes the historical significance of the four great publishing houses of Grand Rapids–Kregel, Baker, Eerdmans, and Zondervan.  I found this paper fascinating because the story draws from original interviews conducted by the author with descendants of the first publishers; it chronicles a little known part of book history; and it sets the story against the backdrop of Dutch Calvinist immigration to the United States.

Available at:

A Study in Patience and Fortitude: A Brief History of the New York Public Library’s Early Decades

By Sarah Edwards Obenauf, San Jose State University

An excellent and well-illustrated account of the dawning of the nation’s largest public library, weaving together facts and stories from the Bulletin of the New York Public Library and other primary sources.  You’ll find a number of interesting, little-known NYPL anecdotes peppering her paper.

Available at:

All the Best,

“Technologies of the Book”: Abstracts from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing 2017 Conference


Abstracts of presentations from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) 2017 Conference are now available at:

Check it out–there are 166 abstracts and they are incredibly fascinating!

Topics include:

the gamification of books

publishing and catalog technologies

print cultures in various eras

pedagogy of the history of the book

historic subscription models

libraries and imperialism

reading in early modern China and India

histories of comic books and scrapbooks

and much more.



Awesome Articles on ALA Archives Blog

Hi everyone,

The American Library Association Archives Blog has published another excellent set of library history articles over the past few months!  Quoted below are the titles, authors, and authors’ introductions. Access all of the articles at

Increasing Morale: Hospital Library Service in WWI

By Madison Well, June 15, 2017, 8:00 AM
World War I spread tragedy and despair across the world, but the American Library Association worked to brighten the spirits of wounded soldiers. In 1917, the American Library Association provided library services to wounded soldiers and delivered books, newspapers, and magazines to more than 200 army and navy hospitals.
The A.L.A. and Armed Services Librarianship

By Salvatore De Sando, May 22, 2017, 4:00 AM
After the success of supporting library service for soldiers during World War One and Two, A.L.A. members have been a part of the expansion of public library services including armed services librarianship across the country and overseas. Read on to learn more about armed services librarianship!
Publications: Chinese-American and Asian Pacific American Librarian Publications

By Salvatore De Sando, May 15, 2017, 8:00 AM
Since the 1970s, Membership Directories and Newsletters of the Chinese-American Librarians Association (CALA) and Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) have provided information resources for Asian American and Pacific American professionals working in libraries. Here at the A.L.A. Archives, we want to tell you all about our holdings…
Research Strategies: Finding Asian American and Pacific Heritage Materials at the ALA Archives

By Salvatore De Sando, May 8, 2017, 8:00 AM
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and we at the ALA Archives want to help you optimize your research into Asian Pacific American history. In this month’s blog post, we’ll take a tour through ALA Archives holdings and we’ll try multiple strategies for finding information. Read on to learn more!

Nathaniel L. Goodrich Scrapbooks, 1881-1902

Publications: Library War Service Publications

By Salvatore De Sando, April 17, 2017, 8:00 AM
While the ALA War Service supplied great amounts of reading materials to soldiers abroad, a great amount of administrative reading materials were produced too. These can be found in Record Series 89/1/60, which contains promotional pamphlets and administrative reports. Read on to learn about Library War Service publications!
Commemorating the Library War Service

By Cara Bertram, April 4, 2017, 10:26 AM
With centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I coming up on April 6, the American Library Association Archives is commemorating the centennial of the Library War Service, which was formed shortly after the US entered the Great War.
The Books They Read: Library War Service in WWI

By Leanna Barcelona, March 20, 2017, 11:17 AM
During the course of U.S. involvement in World War I, the American Library Association collected $5 million in donations for the Library War Service, a service that accumulated a collection of ten million publications and established thirty-six camp libraries across the United States and Europe.
Publications: The Newsletters of Women in Libraries and Women Library Workers

Salvatore De Sando, March 1, 2017, 7:00 AM
Since 1970 the Women in Libraries Newsletter (and Women Library Workers Journal, 1975-1993) have provided information resources for women working in libraries. Older issues are still information rich for current and future readers. Read on to learn more about the art and history of Women in Libraries and Women Library Workers Newsletters!
“First Your Country, Then Your Rights”: African American Soldiers in WWI
By Sharon Pietryka, February 15, 2017, 3:00 AM
In honor of Black History Month and the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, it is only fitting to discuss the service of African Americans in the war and to highlight a few materials we have here at the archives that illustrate their contributions.


Access all of these articles at



American Public Library History News

Dr.  Wayne Wiegand’s Part of Our Lives:  A People’s History of the American Public Library (Oxford University Press, 2015) is now out in paperback (ISBN 978-0-19-066029-1).  Several vendors are selling this landmark study:

You can also watch a discussion by the author on CSPAN’s BookTV:

In addition, we have a new submission to the blog from Sarah Pultz, a student in the Master of Library and Information Science Program at San Jose State University and an elementary school library media technician as well as a Writing Coach at MiraCosta College.  Check out her interesting essay on the San Diego Public Library’s history in our Library Chronicles column.



Call for Papers–Libraries: Culture, History, and Society

Libraries: Culture, History, and Society ( is now accepting submissions for its third issue, to be published in Spring 2018, and for subsequent issues, to be published semiannually. A peer-reviewed publication of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association and the Penn State University Press, LCHS is available in print and will be available online via JSTOR and Project Muse.

The only journal in the United States devoted to library history, LCHS positions library history as its own field of scholarship, while promoting innovative cross-disciplinary research on libraries’ relationships with their unique environments. LCHS brings together scholars from many disciplines to examine the history of libraries as institutions, collections, and services, as well as the experiences of library workers and users. There are no limits of time and space, and libraries of every type are included (private, public, corporate, and academic libraries, and special collections). In addition to Library Science, the journal welcomes contributors from History, English, Literary Studies, Sociology,  Gender/Women’s Studies, Race/Ethnic Studies, Political Science, Architecture, and other disciplines.

Submissions for volume 2, issue 1, are due August 25, 2017, and the deadline for volume 2, issue 2 will be in late February. Manuscripts must be submitted electronically through LCHS’s Editorial Manager system at They must also conform to the instructions for authors at . New scholars, and authors whose work is in the “idea” stage, are welcomed to contact the editors if they would like guidance prior to submission.

For further questions, please contact the editors:

Bernadette Lear,

Eric Novotny,

Trove of Library History Books


I was recently notified via the LHRT listserv that the Colophon Book Shop has several hundred library history books for sale:

Many of the books are out-of-print and hard to acquire elsewhere.  A number of the titles came from the collection of Dr. Ken Carpenter.