C&RL 75th Anniversary Special Issue

In preparation for the upcoming celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Association of College & Research Libraries, the editorial board of College & Research Libraries is asking you, our readers, to help us to identify seven “landmark” articles from our own history to be included in a special issue of the journal to be published in March 2015 and discussed at the ACRL 2015 Conference in Portland.

The following list of 30 “semi-finalists” represent articles selected for consideration by the C&RL readership by the current members of the editorial board as well as by former C&RL editors, including Richard M. Dougherty (1969-1974), Richard Johnson (1974-1980), Charles Martell (1984-1990), Gloriana St. Clair (1990-1996), and William Gray Potter (2002-2008). All of the nominated articles (along with every other article published in C&RL since 1939) are freely available on the C&RL website.

In addition, because we know that our readers are also among the keenest judges of the significance of the research published in C&RL for our work and our field, the editorial board will also include one “people’s choice” article in the 75th anniversary special issue.

Voting for the special issue closed on April 20, 2014.

In casting your vote for the “people’s choice,” we asked that you consider the following questions:

  • Did this article identify a critical issue that would shape the future of the field, or was representative of a critical discussion in the field at the time of publication?
  • Did this article contribute to an enduring concern in the field that is still represented in the strategic directions of the association, or did it help to launch a new strategic direction?
  • Did this article represent the level of excellence in research design or discussion that should be promoted in our journal?
  • Was this article simply important to you, a C&RL reader, in shaping your own work?

Whatever the reason, you have the opportunity to nominate one article that we “missed” in our list of semi-finalists and to provide us with a brief description of why you think this article should be included in the final collection. Please make your nomination for the “people’s choice” in the final section of the survey.

Once the articles selected for inclusion in the 75th anniversary issue of College & Research Libraries have been identified, the editorial board will solicit authors for companion essays aimed at illuminating the contemporary, and ongoing, significance of these works. These companion essays will be published alongside the original articles in this special issue of the journal.

Please vote for no more than six (6) of the articles in the list below to be featured in the 75th anniversary issue of College & Research Libraries. The articles are divided by decade for your reading convenience, but voting is not restricted by time period. You may read the full text of each article by following the link from the title.

Voting is now closed. Thank you for helping us to celebrate 75 years of scholarship in academic and research libraries, as well as the contribution that scholarship makes to our shared professional practice!

The Articles

1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s


Wilson, L. R. (1940). "The challenge of the 1930s to the 1940s." College & Research Libraries, 1 (2), 121-131.

Wilson identifies challenges and opportunities for academic libraries in the 1930s and 1940s, including greater involvement of librarians in instruction, the need for librarians to conduct research to support their professional practice, and the need to promote greater collaborative efforts among libraries, especially in the areas of cataloging and collection development and management.

Nyholm, J. (1942). "The code in the light of the critics." College & Research Libraries, 3 (2), 139-149.

Nyholm describes the conflict between “traditionalists” and “radicals” around the proposed revision of the ALA Catalog Rules, as well as the need for libraries to collaborate on cataloging efforts.

Henkle, H. H. (1943). "Principles and practice of administrative organization in the university library." College & Research Libraries, 4 (4), 277-284.

Henkle compares the emergent research libraries at Harvard, Texas, and Illinois, to explore the enduring question of the best administrative structure for such libraries, as well as the question of whether centralized or de-centralized approaches to organization are the best for the library and its users.

Swafford, L. (1947). "Mental hygiene and the college library." College & Research Libraries, 8 (2), 161-166.

Swafford applies the tenets of the contemporary mental health movement in the United States to the organizational culture of libraries in order to suggest ways in which library administrators may promote cultures supportive of library staff facing personal challenges related to the social and economic status of librarians, stereotypes of the profession, and gender stereotypes.


Bristol, R. P. (1950). "Control of subject information: Can it be mechanized?" College & Research Libraries, 11 (3), 222-227.

Bristol presents mechanical approaches to classifying and organizing materials as a way of decreasing the “drudgery of literature searching.” Bristol’s identification of several key criteria for record creation informs ongoing discussion of the best ways to process, describe, and create useful metadata for new materials.

McAnally, A. M., et al. (1953). "Library service to undergraduates: A symposium." College & Research Libraries, 14 (3), 266-275.

McAnally, et al., explore the need for library services targeted to the needs of undergraduates in discussions that helped to lay the foundation for the rise of the “undergraduate library” and that provide historical context for contemporary studies of undergraduate student use of libraries and the need to re-evaluate the library services and spaces designed to meet their needs.

Schorer, M. (1959). "The harassed humanities." College & Research Libraries, 20 (2), 101-110.

Schorer employs parable to explore the value of the humanities and the future of a world that doesn’t value the humanities. Given current questioning of the value of humanities education, as well as the challenges of allocating library resources across the humanities and the sciences, Schorer demonstrates the enduring nature of a contemporary concern.


Thompson, L. S. (1960). "The dogma of book selection in university libraries." College & Research Libraries, 21 (6), 441-445.

Thompson presents an early discussion of the user’s role in the selection of library materials that resonates in the contemporary era of decreased support for monographic acquisitions, demand-driven acquisitions, etc.

Knapp, P. B. (1961). "The Monteith Library Project: An experiment in library-college relationship." College & Research Libraries, 22 (4), 256-284.

Knapp’s Monteith Library Project may be said to have launched the modern information literacy movement with its cohesive and structured program of deliberately constructing connections between library services and students within the context of specific classes.

Bergen, D. (1966). "Implications of general systems theory for librarianship and higher education." College & Research Libraries, 27 (5), 358-388.

Bergen’s introduction of General Systems Theory and its implications for organization of knowledge in an undergraduate curriculum and in libraries demonstrates that interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, and the rapid increase in recorded knowledge are not new challenges for higher education or academic libraries.

Kilgour, F. G. (1969). "The economic goal of library automation." College & Research Libraries, 30 (4), 307-311.

Kilgour explores the ways in which automation can increase cataloging productivity and decrease costs at a time when the cost of higher education was growing more quickly than the general economy. Kilgour’s conclusions regarding the need to invest in information technology proved prescient and his arguments regarding the need to consider the broader economics of higher education are remain familiar 45 years later.


McAnally, A. M., & Downs, R. B. (1973). "The changing role of directors of academic libraries." College & Research Libraries, 34 (2), 103-125.

McAnally and Downs discuss the challenges facing the library director in an era of change and present the foundation for future studies of a role whose responsibilities and qualifications continue to evolve.

Kilgour, F. G. (1973). "Computer-based systems: A new dimension to library cooperation." College & Research Libraries, 34 (2), 137-143.

Kilgour identifies the benefits of interlibrary cooperation as illustrated by the OCLC’s shared cataloging project and argues (correctly) that computers may not only allow librarians to conduct traditional work more efficiently, but will allow them to aspire to new goals for library collaboration that were simply not possible prior to the widespread use of computers in libraries.

DeFichy, W. (1973). "Affirmative Action: Equal opportunity for women in library management." College & Research Libraries, 34 (3), 195-201.

DeFichy, writing just a year after the passage of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, presents steps to help libraries achieve greater gender equality in library management position and reminds us that, as recently as 40 years ago, gender discrimination in library employment was “widespread and well documented.

Lancaster, F. W. (1978). "Whither libraries? Or, wither libraries?" College & Research Libraries, 39 (5), 345-357.

Lancaster presents one of the most prescient essays written in the 1970s (or since) on the future of libraries during the transition from print to digital forms of information.


Stoan, S. K. (1984). "Research and library skills: An analysis and interpretation." College & Research Libraries, 45 (2), 99-109.

Stoan examines the source of misunderstandings between librarians and teaching faculty over the concepts of library use and of research, concluding that library skills and research skills, being predicated on divergent philosophies of information seeking, are essentially different things that can be, and usually are, learned in isolation from each other.

Mellon, C. A. (1986). "Library anxiety: A grounded theory and its development." College & Research Libraries, 47 (2), 160-165.

Mellon explored the feelings of students about using the library for research through the analysis of student writing and found that the majority of students studied described their initial response to library research in terms of fear. Mellon presents not only a theory with enduring impact on library practice, but provided critical support for the adoption of qualitative research methods in Library and Information Science.

Lewis, D. W. (1988). "Inventing the electronic university." College & Research Libraries, 49 (4), 291-304.

Lewis argues that the rapid evolution of information technology employed in teaching, learning, and research presages a “fundamental change” in higher education that will require academic libraries to be less concerned with “the automation of old systems” and more concerned with the “restructuring of institutions.”

Wiberly, S. E., Jr., & Jones, W. G. (1989). "Patterns of information seeking in the humanities." College & Research Libraries, 50 (6), 638-645.

Wiberly and Jones studied the information-seeking approaches of humanities scholars to identify ways in which increasing access to “machine-readable data” might be changing traditional patterns of information seeking and use.


Hardesty, Larry. (1991). "The Bottomless pit revisited." College & Research Libraries, 52(3), 219-230.

Hardesty revisited a classic study by Robert H. Munn (1968) to explore changes in academic administrators’ views of the library. Contrary to the earlier study, Hardesty found that most academic deans recognized both the practical utility and symbolic value of the library and were willing to apportion a significant amount of the budget to it.

Behrens, S. J. (1994). "A conceptual analysis and historical overview of information literacy." College & Research Libraries, 55 (4), 309-322.

Behrens traces the development of the term “information literacy” from the 1970s through the early 1990s and notes its alignment with educational reform initiatives focused on building research and technology skills. Behrens provides historical context for information literacy educators and reminds us that arguments over the meaning of information literacy tend to be most pointed during times of change and uncertainty in academia.

Stoffle, C. J., Renaud, R., & Veldof, J. R. (1996). "Choosing our futures." College & Research Libraries, 57 (3), 213-225.

Stoffle, et al., present a powerful and influential argument for “revolutionary changes” in academic library administration required to address the transformations taking place in the technological and educational landscape at the time, and concluded that unless a “fundamental and irreversible” break is made from established practice academic libraries would be unlikely to survive.

Winston, M. D. (1998). "The role of recruitment in achieving goals related to diversity." College & Research Libraries, 59 (3), 240-247.

Winston explores factors related to recruitment for diversity in the academic library professions and provides an important foundation for ongoing concerns in the field regarding diversity and recruitment and retention of library professionals.


Quinn, B. (2000). "The McDonaldization of academic libraries." College & Research Libraries, 61 (3), 248-261.

Quinn employs the sociological theory of “McDonaldization” to explore how this broader trend in organizational development may be influencing the future of academic libraries.

Hernon, P., Powell, R. R., & Young, A. P. (2001). "University library directors in the Association of Research Libraries: The next generation, part one." College & Research Libraries, 62 (2), 116-146. and Hernon, P., Powell, R. R., & Young, A. P. (2002). "University library directors in the Association of Research Libraries: The next generation, part two." College & Research Libraries, 63 (1), 73-90.

Hernon, et al., employ a mixed-methods approach to identify skills, competencies, and personal attributes necessary for success as a library leader at large research libraries, and provides an important foundation for ongoing concerns related to library leadership and succession planning to academic libraries.

Kuh, G. D., & Gonyea, R. M. (2003). "The role of the academic library in promoting student engagement in learning." College & Research Libraries, 64 (4), 256-282.

Kuh and Gonyea draw on national data reflecting the student experience to consider the ways in which the academic library contributes to campus-wide efforts to promote student engagement in learning, and pave the way for efforts that would eventually lead to the inclusion of information literacy instruction as a component of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).

Lynch, B. P., et al. (2007). "Attitudes of presidents and provosts on the university library." College & Research Libraries, 68 (3), 213-227.

Lynch, et. al, interviewed campus leaders on the role of the library in the academic enterprise and the ways in which these roles had changed over the previous decade and identify new competencies, skills, and areas of expertise required for library leaders to be successful in a changing higher education environment.


Malenfant, K. J. (2010). "Leading change in the system of scholarly communication: A case study of engaging liaison librarians for outreach to faculty." College & Research Libraries, 71 (1), 63-76.

Malenfant presents a case study in change management, human resource management, and strategic planning in academic libraries that, while focused on a specific area of need – scholarly communications – is relevant to a variety of similar areas in academic librarianship.

McCoy, M. (2010). "The manuscript as question: Teaching primary sources in the archives – the China Missions Project." College & Research Libraries, 71 (1), 49-62.

McCoy presents a case study in instructional collaboration with faculty members that explores the role of distinctive, special collections in undergraduate education, as well as an exploration of the value of special collections in the institutional context.

Coker, C., vanDuinkerken, W., & Bales, S. (2010). "Seeking full citizenship: A defense of tenure faculty status for librarians." College & Research Libraries, 71 (5), 406-420.

Coker, et al., articulate a number of arguments in favor of faculty status worthy of review in the current academic environment given the enduring nature of the question of faculty status for librarians, as well as the broader challenges to the academic professions today.