Special thanks to Dr. Andrew B. Wertheimer for sending the blog several photos of the ALA Council meeting to apologize for segregated libraries and the Hidden Figures in American Library History: The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South program at the New Orleans Public Library.
Also check out the news coverage of these events through the links below.
If you have additional photos or news links, please send them on (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ALA Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Apologizing for Segregated Libraries
Special thanks to Lisa K. Miller for sending us this oral history, an audio file of an interview with Margie Helm available in Western Kentucky University’s TopScholar database. Ms. Helm served as the director of Western Kentucky University Libraries, participated in Bowling Green’s Inter-Racial Commission, and lead efforts to expand library services to African-American citizens. Read more about her pioneering work for equal library access on the WKU Libraries’ blog.
In the interview below, Ms. Helm discusses the rise of the Bowling Green-Warren County Library in the early 20th century. She also talks about checking out and delivering books from the first town library to African-American students in Bowling Green:
In an earlier post, the blog reported on an initiative by Shirley and Wayne Wiegand to ask the American Library Association to pass a resolution apologizing for the segregation of libraries at the summer conference. The resolution passed unanimously:
Thanks to Jenny Bossaller for sending these pictures from the ALA conference! If anyone else out there has images or reflections about the conference, please email to me (email@example.com) or add them directly to the page using the “Comments” feature.
I am pleased to share a post to kick off our new column featuring stories from the field about how libraries are celebrating their histories. You’ll find it interesting and inspiring to read how April Hernandez and her staff are planning to commemorate their library’s past:
Call for book chapters on the preservation and advancement of indigenous and marginalized communities through the creative use of digital technologies: book to be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2019
This is a call for book chapters that focus on the preservation and advancement of indigenous and marginalized communities through the creative use of digital technologies. While it is expected contributing authors will come primarily from memory institutions (archives, museums and libraries), contributors from academic and non-profit organizations are also welcome. Essay may address theoretical issues, scholarly research or case studies at the authors’ institutions.
The stories can be informal and brief (fewer than 1500 words). Stories should provide an overview of the commemoration, covering points such as what led the library to celebrate its history, how the effort was planned, the people involved, the results, and any suggestions for other libraries planning similar efforts. Photos or videos are highly encouraged.
Stories about all types of libraries are welcome!
Submissions may cover a variety of library commemoration efforts:
Exhibits or displays
“Virtual exhibits” or videos
Events, such as lectures or receptions
Formal efforts to preserve or digitize historic artifacts that document a library’s history
Campaigns to collect oral histories about a library
Articles written in the popular press celebrating your library’s history
An in-house effort to publish a commemorative book, pamphlet, or special edition newsletter about your library’s past
Creation of commemorative items such as buttons, posters, pamphlets, etc.
Architectural creations or modifications in a new library designed to maintain the memory of a previous library building
Formal celebrations of the work of a former library staff member who made historic contributions to their library
Stories accepted for publication will be showcased in a special section on the LHRT News and Notes blog. In addition, authors may be encouraged to submit proposals for juried presentations for LHRT activities at future ALA conferences.
All submissions should be emailed to the LHRT News and Notes Editor, Brett Spencer, firstname.lastname@example.org, by July 30th, 2018. Inquiries are very welcome. Please feel free to share this call widely.
We look forward to hearing about how your library has celebrated its history!
The article weaves together an array of source types—toys, games, trade articles, manuals, catalogs—into an engaging study with wide application. Going to immense lengths to gather her primary materials, she searched through multiple private and special collections for artifacts and resources. In addition, her research is firmly rooted in the literature including periodicals and other print materials essential to historical research. Her rich selection of illustrations and enchanting descriptions of the toys and games of the past, such as “magic lanterns” and “dissected maps”, are coupled with astute inferences about how these realia reflected professional debates among librarians about the nature of youth services in nascent public libraries in the late 19th and early 20th century U.S. In addition to expanding the historiography of U.S. public libraries, her research has made a notable contribution to the interdisciplinary field of childhood studies.
Most significantly, Dr. Pierce not only interpreted her sources within their historical context but discusses the ways the work of librarians in the 19th and early 20th century U.S. with toys and games can inform library practice today. She writes in her conclusion:
As twenty-first-century librarians emphasize new media and spaces suited to child and adolescent preferences, they need to know that the terrain they survey is one the profession has visited before. Present-day librarians interested in apps, computer games, and other types of atypical materials are better positioned than their predecessors to win arguments about the worth of the services they seek to provide…. This time, the bright colors, the noisy sounds, and the nontraditional material are contained within digital devices. Whether we have learned to think expansively about the possibilities of children’s services, then, is an open question. Even in the twenty-first century, children’s librarians must still work to bring about the reign of children in the services to young library users.
Dr. Pierce draws our attention again to a long-standing debate about the services and collections appropriate for a public library. With this research she contributes to our continued discussion in ways that this committee found engaging in its rigor and depth.
The Davis award is presented by the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association every even-numbered year to recognize the best article written in English in the field of United States and Canadian library history. The award honors Donald G. Davis, longtime professor at the School of Information at the University of Texas.
Dr. Pierce thanks the American Antiquarian Society, which awarded her the Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship, and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library for a Winterthur Research Fellowship. In addition to this research funding, both institutions and their superlative library and archival staff provided access to primary source materials that made this essay possible.
Please see the invitation from Bernadette Lear below…
“Hi friends —
I am unable to attend ALA’s annual conference this year. However, both Eric and I want to be accessible to potential authors and to anyone else who wishes to discuss LHRT’s journal, Libraries: Culture, History, and Society (or getting started in historical research in general).
In the past, I’ve posted my conference schedule on the LHRT listserv and welcomed anyone to schedule a breakfast, lunch, or dinner date with me. This time, I invite you to a virtual coffee using Zoom (web conferencing software) or telephone. We can do it just about anytime this summer. Just let me know some dates/times that work for you (including time zone) and I’ll check calendars!
Bernadette A. Lear
Behavioral Sciences and Education Librarian
Coordinator of Library Instruction
Co-Editor of Libraries: Culture, History, and Society
Penn State Harrisburg Library
351 Olmsted Dr., Middletown, PA 17057
Sunday, June 3, 2:00pm-3:00pm Location: Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building A (NYC) FREE with Museum Admission
Archivist and historian Bob Sink presents his research examining the sexual identity of the women working in the New York Public Library branch system in the first half of the 20th century. Using Adrienne Rich’s notion of the “lesbian continuum,” he has been documenting personal aspects of their lives to ascertain how many of the librarians would fit this description. In his own words, “I hope that this study indicates that the silence about sexual identity that existed in the period before the LGBTQ civil rights era can be breached by historians—not just for a few famous women but for rank-and-file librarians as well.”