“The Wealth of Knowledge and Words Contained Therein”

Which library offers an enormous intaglio sculpture decorated with a “panoply of picturesthat include “Egyptian hieroglyphics, Polynesian counting systems, European cave paintings, and Einsteinian mathematical equations“?  

The Inglewood Public Library.

Enjoy the story and photos in Library Chronicles courtesy of Tommy Vinh Bui.


Margaret Hung’s Library History Dissertation Wins the 2017 Dain Award

ALA News
Margaret Hung’s library history dissertation wins the 2017 Dain Award


For Immediate Release
Tue, 03/20/2018

Kathy Rosa
Program Officer
Office for Research and Evaluation (ORE)
American Library Association

CHICAGO — The Library History Round Table (LHRT) of the American Library
Association (ALA) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017
Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award. The winner is Margaret
Hung for her dissertation, “English Public Libraries, 1919-1975:
Vocation and Popularisation” (Leeds Metropolitan University, 2015).

Hung’s dissertation describes the development of English public
libraries from their sometimes rudimentary condition in the 1920s to
their “golden age” in the 1960s and 1970s in the context of social and
cultural changes. Using primary sources from numerous archives and a
creative methodology, she meticulously documents how divergent
perceptions of the mission and role of public libraries (e.g.,
enrichment versus entertainment) created tensions and conflict in both
the library work place and the public discourse. Hung’s scholarship,
presented in a lively and engaging narrative, challenges traditional
assumptions about librarians during the inter-war period by effectively
arguing that librarians were, in the main, not middle class paternalists
seeking to improve the public but working class autodidacts seeking to
share their hard-won cultural privilege with people similar to themselves.

Margaret Hung lives in London, UK, and is a practicing librarian at the
Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service.

Two Certificates of Merit were also awarded: Brenda Mitchell-Powell is
recognized for “A Seat at the Reading Table: The 1939 Alexandria,
Virginia, Public Library Sit-in Demonstration – A Study in Library
History, 1937-1941” (Simmons College, 2015), and Julia Skinner is
recognized for “Ernestine Rose and the Harlem Public Library: Theory
Testing Using Historical Sources” (Florida State University, 2015).

The 2017 Dain Award Committee Chair, Sharon McQueen, stated that the
Committee was “pleased with not only the unusually high number of
submissions but also the remarkable quality of so many. Competition was
stiff, which is an indication that the study of library history is
attracting talented doctoral students, and our field is endowed with
gifted faculty to guide them.”

The Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award is presented
biennially and is named in honor of a library historian widely known as
a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar with great
breadth of vision. The award is given for an outstanding dissertation in
English that embodies original research on a significant topic relating
to the history of libraries during any period, in any region of the world.

The ALA Library History Round Table aims to facilitate communication
among scholars and students of library history, supports research in
library history, and advocates for issues that concern library
historians, such as preservation and access. The LHRT sponsors
conferences, publishes a newsletter, and presents prizes such as the
Dain Award to promote excellence in library history research.

The 2017 Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award Committee

Sharon McQueen, Chair

Megan Browndorf

Georgetown University

J. Michael Hunter

Brigham Young University

Barry W. Seaver
Durham Technical Community College

Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum

Ms. Mae Breckenridge-Haywood, author of Black America Series: Portsmouth, VAhas submitted an excellent post to the blog about a very unique library.  How many African-American, pre-integration libraries have been preserved as museums?  The Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum is just such a place.  It is truly an amazing and inspiring library history.

This is a “must see” library for anyone interested in civil rights and library history:



Fascinating Papers on California Library History

LHRT News and Notes is delighted to share these three wonderful histories below about California library history…you can read the full posts in our Library Chronicles section


Three Women Gave Santa Barbara a Library

By Susan Miles Gulbransen, edited by Steven Gilbar

Author Bio: Susan is a popular columnist and a Santa Barbara native, writer, and book reviewer, as well as teacher of writing. Steven edited Library Book: Writer on Libraries and more than twenty other anthologies including Reading in Bed: Personal Essays on the Glories of Reading and The Open Door: When Writers First Learned to Read

The blog is honored to publish this wonderful passage from Library Book: Writer on Libraries, a recent book that celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Santa Barbara Central Library…


The Library in the Park – A Short History of the Huntington Beach, CA Central Library

By Stephanie Beverage

Author Bio: Stephanie Beverage is currently the Director of the Huntington Beach Public Library. She has overseen the 100 year centennial of the Library, and the 40th Anniversary of the Central Library in Central Park. Stephanie is a proud Native Californian and has spent her career working in Southern California Libraries. This essay on the Huntington Beach Library was a collaboration between a number of staff members over time, and Ms. Beverage was a contributor and final editor.

This post focuses on the history of a very unique and architecturally significant library building…


A History of the Monterey Public Library

By Jeanne McCombs

Author Bio: Jeanne McCombs retired from the Monterey Public Library in 2017 after 35 years of service. Through the decades, she developed, promoted, and presented many hundreds of community cultural, literary, and musical programs for residents and visitors. Her award-winning adult storytelling program, Stories for Adults, is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States. Her work as the Library’s Public Relations Specialist has told our story and raised community awareness of the vital importance of libraries.

Here is an example of a great web page about a library’s history…


Please consider submitting your library history (or a bio of a historical librarian)!

Best Wishes,
Brett Spencer
Editor, LHRT News and Notes
Reference and Instruction Librarian
Office 108
P.O. Box 7009
Thun Library and the Boscov-Lakin Information Commons
Penn State Berks
Reading, PA 19610
Phone: (610) 396-6261
Email: dbs21@psu.edu

A Beautifully-Crafted Library History!

This magnificent essay, originally a series of newspaper articles, is easily one of the most beautifully-crafted library histories I’ve ever read!!  It reads like an exciting short story, a flowing work of literature, as Mike Selby deploys his amazing command of language and literary devices to build suspense, create texture, and weave vivid scenes from the chronicles of the Cranbrook Public Library…read the full story in our Library Chronicles section.

CFP: National Library Week 2018

Hi everyone,

National Library Week is coming up on April 8-14, 2018!

Why not celebrate this special time for libraries by writing a short piece about the history of your library?

I’m eager to publish informal essays (even just a few hundred words) about histories of specific libraries. Perhaps you might even have a brief history already created for another purpose that you could refine for the blog?

Essays can offer a general history–or focus on one particularly interesting chapter from your library‘s chronicles.

Images and primary source excerpts are very welcome too.

Hoping to learn more about your library‘s history soon!


Brett Spencer

Editor, LHRT News and Notes

Native American Librarianship, Searching ALA Archives, and Library History Humor

Check out the latest blog posts on the ALA Archives Blog:

  • Cara Bertram recounts the inspiring story of Dr. Lotsee Patterson, a member of the Comanche nation and a leader in expanding library services for Native Americans.
  • Salvatore De Sando offers very helpful strategies on searching the ALA Archives using keywords!
  •  Sarah Brewer writes a great post that showcases Richard Lee’s funny cartoons about library life in the late 20th century.



Hidden Figures in American Library History–New Orleans Program

Wonderful news–the New Orleans Public Library will be hosting, Hidden Figures in American Library History:  The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South, on June 24, 2018, 2-4 p.m.

The panel of presenters features Drs. Wayne and Shirley Wiegand, who will discuss their new book The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism (LSU Press, 2018), as well as four “hidden figures” who protested the segregation of public libraries all over the Deep South.

This program will be a milestone event in the historiography of both libraries and civil rights!  Hope everyone can attend.

Please see the Hidden Figures flier for more details…and please circulate the flier widely!



CFP: American Library Association Conference 2019

It’s time to start planning for programs and workshops for ALA 2019! Individuals and groups can submit proposals for one-hour programs beginning April 17, 2018. The deadline to submit proposals is August 19, 2018. Other dates and deadlines are below:

2019 Annual Conference

Program Proposal Submissions

Dates and Deadlines*

Submission Site Opens: April 17, 2018

Reviewer information sent to Alee: July 20, 2018

Submission Site Closes: August 19, 2018

Unit Reviews Open: August 27, 2018

Unit Reviews Close: October 5, 2018

Final Selection sent to Conference Services: October 12, 2018

Conference Committee Reviews Programs and Revises Schedule: October 19-20, 2018

Schedule sent to Staff to review for conflicts: October 23, 2018

Final Decisions Announced: November 9, 2018

2019 Annual Conference Preliminary Scheduler Opens: December 5, 2018

2019 Annual Conference Full Scheduler Opens: April 11, 2019

*Dates are subject to change
These are juried proposals and will be evaluated for their appeal to the general ALA membership. This is an opportunity for LHRT members to demonstrate that library history is not just for academics.

A few suggestions off the top of my head for proposals from LHRT members that would be of general interest are :

–How to write/promote/celebrate your library’s history

–Preservation on a shoestring

–How to salvage flood-damaged books, documents, and photographs

I know that our members have even better, more exciting and interesting, topics to share. Start thinking now about your successful projects and programs and presentations, then meet and discuss them in New Orleans in June.

Suzanne M. Stauffer, PhD
Associate Professor
School of Library and Information Science
Louisiana State University
270 Coates Hall, Baton Rouge, LA  70803
office 225-578-1461 | fax 225-578-4581
stauffer@lsu.eduhttps://twitter.com/DrStauffer1 | lsu.eduhttp://www.lsu.edu/chse/slis/