LHRT Newsletter

Volume 10, Number 1 (Fall 2010)

Inside this issue:
Greetings from the Chair | Greetings from the Editor | Remembering Ed Holley | Member Spotlight: Richard LeComte | LHS Highlights | Perforating Stamp | Library Birdhouse | News from Libraries & the Cultural Record | Get Involved | Call for Nominations: Dain and Winsor Awards | Call for Papers | This Season in Library History | Request for Site Proposals: Library History Seminar XIII (2015)

== Click here for .PDF version.==

Greetings from the Chair

Caption : Melanie Kimball, current chair of LHRT. Image courtesy of Melanie Kimball.
lhrt chair melanie kimball The leaves are turning; a chill is in the air. It is the time of year when we turn to what I like to call “the season of the mind.”  My own season of the mind will be greatly enhanced by the purchases I made at the auction held at Library History Seminar XII in September.  We gathered for three wonderful days at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where a truly impressive array of papers addressed all areas of library history.  The two keynote speakers, Janice Radway and Wayne Wiegand, inspired and challenged us. 

The auction netted approximately $1200 for LHRT, and I am deeply grateful to all those who generously donated materials.  LHRT subsidized attendance at the conference for two students, Marianne Martens and Alycia Sellie, who contributed articles for this newsletter.

We pause to note the recent passing of Edward G. Holley, former Dean of the LIS program at UNC-Chapel Hill, and namesake of LHRT’s lecture fund. This issue includes several tributes to a great man who mentored many historians and librarians. The week following Library History Seminar XII, Wayne Wiegand threw down a challenge.  He offered to contribute $100 to the Edward G. Holley Lecture endowment, and urged all previous LHRT Chairs and Board members to do the same.  In less than thirty-six hours $2400 was pledged.  Ed’s son Jens was one contributor (both to the fund and to this issue). His heartfelt message of thanks for honoring his father in this way made me proud to be a member of LHRT.

The LHRT Program Committee is hard at work to bring quality sessions to our annual meeting.  We will have the Invited Speakers Panel, the Research Forum Panel, and the Holley Lecture as well as our Executive Committee Business Meeting.  We will announce the speakers and topics for these programs as soon as they are finalized.

For the first time, the LHRT Executive Committee midwinter meeting, usually held at the ALA conference, will be held virtually on January 4, 2011.  As you know, our Executive Committee meetings have always been open to LHRT members, and this meeting will be no exception.  We will very likely use Skype to hold the meeting, with reports from committees posted to ALA Connect in advance.  As we finalize details we will inform the membership as to how they may participate.

With the pleasant memories of Library History Seminar XII still in our minds, it is time to turn to finding a venue for Library History Seminar XIII (2015).  The request for proposals was originally posted to appropriate electronic lists in July, and again in early November.  It is also included in this newsletter.  I invite LHRT members to consider whether your institution might be a good site.  We are a community of people with a love for the histories of libraries, reading, print culture, and the people, places and institutions that are part of those histories.  Why not make a little bit of history yourself by hosting this wonderful conference?

In the meantime, I will “see” you virtually in January meeting in cyberspace, and see many of you in person at ALA’s annual meeting in New Orleans in June.  Have happy, healthy, and safe holidays, and a very Happy New Year. —Melanie Kimball, Simmons College

Greetings from the Editor

Caption : Bernadette A. Lear, immediate past-chair of LHRT and current LHRT Newsletter editor. Image courtesy of Bernadette A. Lear.

lhrt newsletter editor bernadette lear Many editors have described the tremulous feeling of launching a “frail little craft” upon the “sea of literature.”  Perhaps I am too optimistic, but I am thoroughly delighted to compile this new and improved version of LHRT Newsletter.  My efforts were partially inspired by discussions about “zines” at Library History Seminar. I must confess, though, that I also wish to welcome and support everyone who has an interest in the history of libraries, reading, and print culture.

I believe strongly that LHRT is a community of shared interest, and that LHRT Newsletter should reflect all the varied concerns and pursuits of our diverse membership. In the past, this publication has mainly served scholars and LHRT officers. It told of publishing opportunities, lectures, new articles and books, committee meeting dates, and official actions of the round table. Although LHRT Newsletter will continue this service, it also aims to help those who do not publish scholarly papers, and those who do not attend ALA conferences.  Library science and humanities students, library administrators and employees, retirees, trustees, and librariana collectors are interested in history, too. As several items in this issue show, many non-academics help document, preserve, and promote the unique stories of their institutions, as well as the study of reading and print culture more generally. They must do so, because the small number of authors in scholarly journalscannot tell every library’s or reader’s tale.

Another reason for expanding LHRT Newsletter is the limited venues for historical treatments of librarianship. It seems to me that most of our conferences and journals don’t give a dewey about history. It’s high time that LHRT carves out a new space. I especially hope that the accessible, brief articles in our newsletter will prompt graduate students and new practitioners to view the past as an important concern, and encourage them to start thinking and writing about it. I am thrilled that Richard LeComte, Marianne Martins, Alycia Sellie, and Julia Skinner (all students or recent graduates) have contributed material. I hope they will continue to do so. If readers find that the newsletter lacks an important feature or perspective, please do everyone a favor—send in a piece for the next issue!

Rather than taking the approach of the New York Times, “all the news that’s fit to print,” I suppose I embrace the motto of my local college newspaper: “all the news that fits, we print.”  I am much better at creating new features and encouraging authors than I am at polishing material. In time, I hope this periodical will include brief biographies, architectural histories, reviews of all kinds, and maybe even a crossword or jumble! Luckily, online publishing obviates the need to limit pages because of printing or postage costs. If an article pertains to the history of libraries, reading, or print culture; is contributed by an LHRT member; has not been published elsewhere; is well-written; and observes copyright law and journalistic ethics, you will see it here!

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this issue. I feel blessed to have you with LHRT on this adventure. —Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg


Remembering Ed Holley

Caption : Portrait of Edward G. Holley by Lee Howe, July 1981. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

ed holley Editor’s Note—In Spring 2010, LHRT learned that our esteemed colleague Dr. Edward G. Holley passed away. Ed was a former president of the American Library Association, a prolific library history scholar, and a generous friend. “For the good of the order,” Ed’s friends have contributed this biography and share their memories.

A Brief Biography

The memorial service for Dr. Edward Gailon Holley (November 26, 1927–February 18, 2010), held in Gerrard Hall on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on June 12, 2010, provided his children, friends, colleagues, and former students an opportunity to reflect on the life and character of an outstanding librarian, historian, and educator. The poignant remarks of his children, Amy, Beth, Gailon, and Jens; the anecdotes recounted by treasured associates and doctoral students; and the singing of some of Dr. Holley’s favorite hymns, including “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” placed his many important accomplishments in the context of his fundamental goodness.

The first of three children of Abe Brown and Maxie Elizabeth (Bass) Holley, Ed was born and raised in Pulaski, Tennessee. As a child of the Great Depression, he learned the importance of hard work and fiscal responsibility. The Holleys were devoted members of the Church of Christ, which taught Ed to respect the dignity of everyone he encountered. All of these ideals contributed to Holley’s later success as a student and professional.

After attending local public schools, Ed pursued his higher education in Nashville, Tennessee, and in Illinois. He earned a B.A. in English with highest honors from David Lipscomb College in 1949. There he met Bobbie Lee Gault, whom he later married. While working as assistant librarian at the college, Ed pursued a master’s degree in library science at the George Peabody School for Teachers, completing the program in 1951. At the University of Illinois, Ed then pursued a Ph.D. in library science while employed part-time as a librarian, but his work was interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Navy. He completed the doctorate in 1961, writing his dissertation on American librarian and bibliographer Charles Evans. The University of Illinois Press published this in 1963 as Charles Evans: American Bibliographer, a book that garnered Holley the ALA Scarecrow Press Award.

Formal training and practical experience in hand, Holley began his meteoric rise in the American library profession. At the suggestion of his dissertation advisor, Robert Bingham Downs, he moved to Texas in 1962 to direct the library of the University of Houston. There he actively promoted racial diversity among the staff. Holley appointed Charles D. Churchwell as assistant director for public services—the first African American professional employed on campus. He oversaw a major addition to the library and actively participated in state library affairs, serving as president of the Texas Library Association in 1971. During his time in Houston, Holley served the broader profession through active participation in the Association of College and Research Libraries, including several years as editor of the ACRL Publications in Librarianship.

Holley moved his family to Chapel Hill in 1972, when he was appointed dean of the School of Library Science at the University of North Carolina. He recruited outstanding faculty members, expanded the school’s master’s program to two years, and instituted a Ph.D. program while continuing to write and to serve the profession. During his tenure as president of the American Library Association (1974–75) he played a key role in stabilizing the finances of the troubled organization. He actively participated in the Library History Round Table of ALA and promoted the Library History Seminar, for which he obtained a significant NEH grant in 1985. Holley stepped down as dean that year but remained on the faculty until 1995 as William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor. In later years he conducted significant research for a history of the University of North Carolina—a reflection of his longstanding interest in all aspects of American higher education.

Those interested in learning more about this kind man, who marshaled his considerable intelligence and energy “for the good of the order,” should consult the festschrift edited by his former doctoral students and colleagues: For the Good of the Order: Essays in Honor of Edward G. Holley (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1994). James V. Carmichael, Jr.’s outstanding personal memoir and chronology of Dr. Holley provide keen insight into his character and prodigious professional contributions, and a select bibliography compiled by E. Jens Holley documents his father’s scores of books, essays, and journal articles. The Edward G. Holley Papers are preserved in the Southern Historical Collection of the Louis Round Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina. —Maurice C. York, East Carolina University

Some Memories

“Dad always incorporated the family into his professional life.  He took us with him to conferences, encouraged us to ask questions, explained what he was doing and why.  He treated our naive suggestions seriously, and let us work things out for ourselves.  A good example of this was the Librarian of Congress confirmation hearings during the mid-1970s.  Dad took several of us with him to Washington to testify on behalf of ALA that the Librarian of Congress should be a Librarian.  At the hearings, only a couple of senators showed up.  Then the room was flooded with Secret Service agents, and in came Carl Albert, Speaker of the House and next in line for the Presidency at the time.  He said, in essence, Dan Boorstin’s a good ol’ boy from Oklahoma.  My Daddy knew his Daddy, so let’s put him in.  Needless to say, Daniel Boorstin was confirmed as Librarian of Congress (where he did a very good job), and I got an excellent lesson in practical politics.  Dad knew all along that the ALA position didn’t stand a chance, but he let us figure that out, and at the same time he taught us a lesson about doing the right thing even when you knew it was doomed.“ —Jens Holley, Clemson University

”My first memory of Ed: As a student intern at the 1974 ALA conference, I was invited to the ALA President's Reception at the Hilton Penthouse.  My mentor, ALA president Jean Lowrie, graciously introduced me to her successor, incoming ALA President Ed Holley, at the time also Dean of the UNC library school and a well-known library historian.  In that very diplomatic and gracious way he had about him he asked me about my research interests.  For the next fifteen minutes—in the midst of a cacophony characteristic of an ALA president's reception--it was like I was the only person in the room he was interested in talking to.  He not only maintained that interest in my career thereafter, he read every book manuscript I published before 2000.” —Wayne A. Wiegand

“Ed Holley influenced how I practice academic librarianship more than anyone except for D.W. Krummel, my dissertation advisor.  I trailed in Holley’s footsteps, attending Lipscomb, Peabody, and Illinois, and he graciously offered doctoral advice though I had not chosen UNC.  I have read and re-read what Holley wrote about the work of the historian and the nature of the library.  In my own writing, I hope to replicate Holley’s clarity of expression and affinity for a good story.” —Mark Tucker, Abilene Christian University

“My first ALISE in January 1991, I was interviewing for jobs and had more than a reasonable number of interviews that seemed to go on and on forever. Some of the interviewers were obviously less than enthusiastic about someone with a historical bent. UNC-Chapel Hill was not, as I recall, an exception to this impression. Ed Holley, however, treated me kindly and with respect and interest. He later gave me some UNC Press books that were germane to my own research. These random acts of kindness seem to have been part and parcel of his life.” —Louise S. Robbins

“Ed Holley was a legendary mentor and leader.  When I arrived in Chapel Hill in 1998, Ed was Emeritus Professor and took me to lunch at the Carolina Coffee Shop.  As we walked back to Manning Hall, Ed asked me one of the most transforming questions of my life.  He asked:  Why are you here?  This deceptively simple question continues to give me pause and helps me to focus on what is centrally important.  That day he demonstrated that masterful mentoring is often about asking the right question at the right time.” —Gary Marchioni, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Lasting Tributes

One way to keep Dr. Holley’s spirit alive is to attend and support LHRT’s yearly Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture.  This event, held during every ALA annual conference, features distinguished researchers from outside the LIS discipline whose works provide special insight to the history of libraries, reading, or print culture. Recent invitees included Dr. Ronald Zboray and Mrs. Mary Zboray, of the University of Pittsburgh, who described their research about reading during the Civil War. The Holley Lecture is supported through the proceeds of an endowment. If you would like to make a contribution, phone ALA’s Development Office at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 3259.

Member Spotlight: Richard LeComte

Caption: Richard LeComte, journalist, MLIS Student, and 2009 Winner of LHRT’s Justin Winsor Prize. Image courtesy of Richard LeComte.

richard lecomte Editor’s Note: The “Member Spotlight” section provides interviews with talented but perhaps not so well-known members of LHRT. This semester, we feature Richard LeComte, the winner of LHRT’s 2009 Justin Winsor Prize. LeComte’s winning essay, “Writers Blocked: The Debate over Public Lending Right in the United States during the 1980s” examined an effort of the Authors Guild to gain compensation for writers whose books are borrowed from libraries.

BAL: Tell us a little bit about yourself: your town/state, your occupation, your educational background, and other things to introduce yourself.

RL: I grew up in Garden City on Long Island. In high school, I concentrated on theater, English, and history, and I graduated with a degree in English from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. There followed a sojourn in New York City, where I worked for a theater service organization called New Dramatists. In 1986, I left NYC for the University of Missouri, where I pursued a master’s in journalism. There I met my wife, Jennifer, and since 1989 I’ve worked in a variety of newspaper positions, including arts editor in Lawrence, Kansas, and assistant features editor in Reno, Nevada. In 2007, we moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala., where my wife is chair of the journalism department at the University of Alabama. I work as a communication specialist in the media relations department. Here I met Dr. Elizabeth Aversa, head of the university’s School of Library and Information Studies, and she encouraged me to pursue an MLIS. I’m set to graduate in December 2010. I have three daughters.

BAL: Please share a fond, early memory of reading books/magazines or using libraries.

RL: Our house was full of books. Both my parents read to me; I’ll never forget my dad, in his Brooklyn accent, reading Go Dog Go and Ten Apples Up on Top. I also have clear memories of my mother taking me to the local library, which for years was in a converted municipal building near the train station in Garden City. In the 1970s, the village built a new library that was much more conducive to reading and study, and we used it often.

BAL: How and why did you get involved with libraries? If you are a library employee or retiree, where have you worked and what positions have you held over the course of your career?

RL: While we were living in Reno, I took my kids to the branches of the Washoe County Library; it was a family outing we all enjoyed. The Northwest Reno branch was especially friendly, open and fun. I recommended a lot of books to the library for purchase, being too cheap to buy them on my own, and eventually I donated many books and DVDS to the library’s collection. The positive vibes I got from the Washoe County libraries inspired me to pursue my degree.

BAL: How did you become interested in the history of libraries? What areas of library history interest you most? What topics? Which time-periods? Any specific places?

RL: A doctoral-level class was offered in the SLIS program by Dr. Margaret Dalton. My main interest is in the history of intellectual property in the 20th century, especially copyright and its discontents, and the history of the free flow of information and how it influenced literature and the public discourse. I’m particularly interested in the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

BAL: Have you ever published an article, book, web site, or other publication about library history? If so, what was that experience like for you? What words of advice would you give to novice researchers?

RL: My paper, “Writers Blocked: The Debate over Public Lending Right in the United States during the 1980s,” was written under Dr. Dalton’s supervision in the history of libraries class and published in Libraries & the Cultural Record. My advice is to go to sources directly for material. Two librarians who were active in the campaign for PLR sent me information and granted me materials, and an intern at the Authors Guild scanned about 25 articles from the guild’s newsletter about the group’s push for PLR. I also found staff members at the American Library Association archives at the University of Illinois most helpful in finding and mailing documents from the collection.

BAL: If you could chat with one famous librarian or literary figure from the past, who would it be and why?

RL: For librarians, I choose Callimachus of Cyrene—the cataloger of the Library of Alexandria. I want to find out if he used GECR2—Greco-Egyptian Cataloging Rules 2.

BAL: Someday, when a historian sits down to write an article about libraries in the first years of the 21st century, what do you think he or she will emphasize? Why?

RL: I think this era will be known as a renaissance period for libraries, which, despite enormous political and economic challenges, improved access to their collections through Web access to the OPAC; expanded services to people of all ethnicities; enabled a flowering of reading among Millennials through story times, attractive children’s areas and up-to-date collections; and stood up for the free flow of information.


Library History Seminar Highlights

Editor’s Note: Marianne Martens and Alycia Sellie received LHRT travel grants to attend Library History Seminar. Marianne enjoyed a successful career in children’s publishing (Bloomsbury) and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Rutgers. Alycia recently received her MLS from the University Wisconsin-Madison is pursuing a graduate degree in American Studies while working full-time at Brooklyn College Library. Below they describe the experience of attending a special conference for the first time.

A Bibliophile’s Buffet

Caption: Marianne Martens, reporting lakeside from Library History Seminar in Madison, Wisconsin. Image courtesy of Ellen Pozzi.

marianne martens I was the happy recipient of an ALA grant to attend the September 2010 Library History Seminar (LHS) XII conference in Madison. As soon as I opened the program, I was overwhelmed by an amazing array of presentations. So many of the sessions spoke to my own interests—how would I choose between two concurrent sessions? In addition to providing rich presentations, the best conferences present opportunities for collaboration and brainstorming, and LHS XII was no exception. A conversation with Sharon Domier about manga-reading teens raised ideas about a possible co-authored article. An inspiring discussion with Janice Radway produced much internal debate about girls and creativity. A chat with the sizeable Graduate School of Library & Information Science (GSLIS) contingent, including Christine Jenkins, Cindy Welch, and Loretta Gaffney, led to new ideas about researching teen librarians of the 1970s and other possible collaborations. Alas time flew by. There were people I never got to meet and others with whom I longed to catch up. Sadly, we will have to wait five years for Library History Seminar XIII.

Janice Radway and Wayne Wiegand delivered keynotes. Radway’s presentation on girls and zines had me mulling over “empowerment,” “agency,” and “authenticity,” and on the zinester community of practice. And Wiegand’s intriguing lecture about his “Main Street” project included an early retirement tribute—a presentation of the “Wayne Wiegand Librarian Collector Card.” Wiegand debuted as #64 of a list of 100 “Famous Librarian Trading Cards,” which included “Party Girl” Parker Posey (#32), and Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey (#100).

A few other personal highlights included:

  • Christine Jenkins and Mikki Smith presented disturbing depictions of race in early 20th century children’s literature, which key librarians such as Charla Mae Rollins fought with recommended lists of literature; and Melanie Kimball presented didactic American-authored children’s books from the same era about “foreign” cultures. While these well-meaning books were intended to be enlightening and educational, they were really best at reinforcing cultural stereotypes.
  • Ellen Pozzi’s research on “foreigners” on our shores reveals how the Newark Public Library rose to become a part of immigrants’ “information neighborhood” at the turn of the 20th century.
  • Ross Harvey’s aptly-named presentation, “Story Develops Badly Could Not Finish,” centered on the Boston Athenaeum’s member-based book reviews. Written on slips of paper glued inside book covers, in five words or less, this marginalia presents a rich tool for studying readers and cultural sensibilities, as well as an interesting precedent for online peer-to-peer reviewing.
  • Also about reviewing, DeNel Rehberg Sedo raised questions of “trust” in book reviews, and explored the cultural impact of “high culture” colliding with “low culture” in televised book clubs such as Oprah, or Richard and Judy.
  • Apropos book clubs, who knew that Sears had one in the 1940s? While “The People’s Book Club” could never compete with the omnipotent Book-of-the-Month Club, Christine D’Arpa’s talk provided a remarkable look at the dissemination of cultural hegemony via America’s largest retailer.
  • Looking to the future, Jessica Lingel’s creative presentation on alternative libraries dished up a serving of library optimism in our current climate of doom, starting with a refreshing take on discarded collections.

From different periods to different places, all connected by the “Main Street” theme, this conference provided an all-you-can-eat buffet of topics, researchers, and ideas. Many thanks to Bernadette Lear and LHRT for this opportunity. —Marianne Martens, Rutgers University


A Return to Madison through Print

Caption: Alycia Sellie, another recipient of LHRT’s travel grant. Image courtesy of Alycia Sellie.

alycia sellie I was very happy to return to my alma mater this September for the Library History Seminar XII: “Libraries in the History of Print Culture” conference of the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America. I appreciated this conference very much as a new(er) librarian just beginning to publish and pursue print culture studies. I found a delightful mix of topics and time periods covered throughout the conference. The organizers and participants were supportive, helpful and inviting throughout the weekend. It was a really wonderful experience for me; one that you hope every academic conference will be—intriguing presentations by thoughtful scholars combined with useful feedback and discussion. I even brought home a book, Collecting Librariana, from the LHS silent auction. This was a fitting title for this conference, for on Saturday evening, after the plenary, all participants were given their own Wayne Wiegand librarian trading card; in celebration of the CHPCMA co-founder (and also, I believe, in celebration of library ephemera and “librariana”).

The highlight of the conference for me was hearing Janice A. Radway speak at Friday’s plenary, where she presented "Can the Underground be Saved?: Girl Zines, the Librarians Who Love Them, and the Reconfiguration of the Literary Sphere." Much of my own work has centered upon zines and alternative materials, and thus I was very excited to hear this talk. I was impressed with what I heard. Radway’s research departs from a study of zines as material artifact and instead follows the networks that zine materials pass through. She is interested in what zines represent as they travel through spaces and between people. She rejects the idea that zines—and especially girl zines—are created within a pure, authentic underground, and furthermore, that there even is an above/below dichotomy. Radway is also interested in libraries as one nexus in the world of a zine; how libraries are one site of zine circulation and reception. Or one point on a larger map, located within a terrain of power, position, perspective and location. Radway is also following how these zines are preserved and used within library spaces, perhaps according to each curator's own perspectives of girls and feminism. She delighted many with her thoughts about the varying milieu that these objects move through and the communities that circle around them. What Radway would like to do (as her work continues) is interview those who enter into the life of a girl zine. I am very excited to see this work explored further.

Other presentations of note for me were Andrew L. Knighton’s beautiful paper on the architecture of libraries in postwar Los Angeles, Melissa Adler’s work deconstructing Library of Congress subject headings and “paraphilias,” Emily Knox’s theological take on contemporary book challenges in West Bend, Wisconsin and Emily Drabinski’s continuing and detailed examination of classification “universes” in which we fix identity. I am thankful for this dedicated time that I got to spend in Madison, thinking and reflecting as I often did when I lived there, about the history of books, print, libraries and library activism, and where all of this is headed in the future. —Alycia Sellie, Brooklyn College


Web Site Review: The Word on the Street

Caption : Detail of “Sale of a Wife” broadside from The Word on the Street.  Image by permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland.

sale of wife detail National Library of Scotland, “The Word on the Street,” http://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/ (accessed November 1, 2010).

I first ran across The Word on the Street about a year ago through a Google search. The website is a digital collection of about 1,800 broadsides housed in the National Library of Scotland, and created between 1650 and 1910. Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, with announcements, songs, news, and stories. They were much cheaper than newspapers and could be hung in public spaces, making them accessible to the lower classes. Each broadside on the site comes with historical commentary. Most include a transcription of the text, and a downloadable PDF version.

What I love about The Word on the Street is that the creators of the site put a lot of work into making a resource that is accessible to those without much of a background in the subject. This makes it valuable for students or for those just looking to learn a bit more about print culture. Of particular value to students are the pages covering historical background. In addition, the “resources” page gives a thorough (although not exhaustive) list of links and citations for relevant printed texts.

Searching and browsing are intuitive. The “search and browse” page allows users to search broadsides by keywords and/or year, or to browse titles alphabetically. Browsing by subject is perhaps the most rewarding, where one can peruse titles under subject headings like “body-snatching,” “cholera,” and “apparitions,” along with many others!

Most importantly, browsing through these different subjects gives one a sense of daily life in times past. Under “clothing and dress,” for example, we get to learn about what clothing was appropriate for Edinburgh citizens to wear when meeting royalty. There are a good number of non-fiction broadsides on the site, but many are also stories and ballads that might have been shared by singing or reading aloud. Keywords such as “transvestites,” “shoemakers,” and “highlanders” give us a sense for how different groups were treated in fiction and in biography.

The search page offers a subject list, with the number of items next to each subject (ballads are by far the most numerous). By clicking on a letter of the alphabet, one can also browse by title. The search function allows one to specify keywords and/or the year a broadside was produced.

Since the website is a part of the National Library of Scotland’s site, it isn’t riddled with advertisements. More importantly, it uses digitized documents from a collection that can be cited in classroom papers. The only shortcoming I noticed was that the pages giving a historical overview (“background,” “illustrations,” and “distribution”) were a bit shorter than I would have liked, particularly for a site that might be used as a student resource. Additionally, the citations under “resources” include a number of useful readings, but focus on older scholarship. If the site is used in the classroom, it might be helpful to supplement it with more recent titles. All in all, an enjoyable and informative site, and one I would recommend for personal or classroom use. —Julia Skinner, University of Iowa


Book Review: The Library: An Illustrated History

Stuart A. P. Murray, The Library: An Illustrated History (Chicago, IL: Skyhorse Publishing, ALA Editions, 2009), ISBN 978-1-60239-706-4.

As historians of American libraries and librarianship, we probably think we have a pretty good sense of the general outline of library history.  And we probably do.  Nevertheless, it does us no harm to consult every now and then a well-written historical narrative of the origins of that remarkable human agency within which most of us work in some way or another, and all of us study. 

Of course, we already have a number of recently published surveys that span the history of libraries: Fred Lerner’s Story of Libraries 2nd ed. (New York: Continuum, 2009); Matthew Battles’ rather interestingly constructed Library: An Unquiet History (New York, W.W. Norton, 2003); and, of course, Konstantinos Staikos’ magisterial History of the Library in Western Civilization (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books), which began in 2004 with four volumes out so far.  Murray’s history does not pretend to have the erudition of Staikos, or the cleverness of Battle, but nevertheless his book can be recommended as an accessible and skillfully presented history of libraries, not only in our well-known European setting, but throughout the world.  And this is where Murray’s contribution is especially valuable.  We are all quite conversant with the history of libraries in the western world (even though Staikos’ monumental history will more than likely enhance the knowledge of even the most venerable library historian), but Murray spends a great deal of time disclosing the background to major libraries in the Asian and Islamic worlds of past centuries. He fleshes out and improves upon our meager general understanding of how these non-Western parts of our planet built their storehouses of knowledge.

Murray, who has spent most of his professional career writing on military history topics, seems quite comfortable with the world of books and libraries.  His volume is filled with wonderful photographs and illustrations. His reading list is solid, though rather brief.  The book’s last section is a collection of short factual summaries on the world’s major libraries ranging from the national libraries of France, Great Britain, Russia, and India, to the Huntington and Newberry libraries in the United States, and all points in between.
For anyone interested in obtaining a well-written treatment on our favorite subject, Murray’s moderately priced book is a good place to start. —Ed Goedeken, Iowa State University


Primary Source Spotlight: The ALA Catalog

Caption: Cover of the third ALA Catalog, published by the American Library Association in 1923. Image courtesy of Bernadette A. Lear.

third ala catalog When I was chair of LHRT, graduate students and new professionals would sometimes seek my advice on “getting started” in library history research.  A frequent question was, “what primary sources are out there?—which ones do I really need to know about?”  Of course there are many! Since I am a 19th- and early 20th-century enthusiast, the ALA Catalog, a bibliography published every few years between 1893 and 1952, is definitely among my favorites.

The prefaces of each Catalog provide important clues about the publication’s history. Three years after the founding of the American Library Association, Melvil Dewey proposed that ALA publish a list of recommended books to assist communities in establishing new libraries. As he envisioned it, the ALA Catalog would have several goals: to guide book purchasers and readers in selecting appropriate materials; provide the cost, publisher’s address, and other ordering details; include Dewey Decimal Classification, Cutter numbers, and other cataloging timesavers; and obviate the need for libraries to compile and print their own holdings lists. Despite the ALA executive board’s approval of the project, Dewey postponed the effort “owing to a lack of means.”  Finally, in 1893, ALA developed a “model library” as part of the U.S. Bureau of Education’s exhibit at the World Columbia Exposition. A book selection committee sorted through recommendations provided by more than 75 librarians throughout the country. Mary Salome Cutler, then the “Vice-Director” of the library school Dewey had established in Albany, directed students in preparing a printed catalog to accompany the display. Their efforts, which resulted in classified and dictionary lists, totaling about 600 pages, were published and distributed by the U.S. Bureau of Education as the first Catalog of the A.L.A Library.

In the decade that followed, staff at the New York State Library continued to collect listings and notes about new books. They distributed several lists for mark-up by more than 250 “collaborators and critics” across the nation. The Library of Congress agreed to print and distribute the new Catalog in time for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. The 1904 catalog included more than 7,500 titles, most new to that edition.  After 1904, ALA rather than federal agencies published the supplements. Elva Bascom, the editor of Booklist, then a new periodical for librarians, took charge of the 3rd edition (1904–11), and added subject headings for each book—another important aid for catalogers. Subsequent editors of the catalog began their work by consulting Booklist, and then queried a large number of librarians and academic specialists in their respective fields. New volumes appeared in 1923 (covering 1912–21), 1926 (1922–25), 1933 (1926–31), 1938 (1932–36), 1943 (1937–41), and 1952 (1942–49).

I am lucky to own nearly every edition in print, but you can find some online through Google Books Search ( http://books.google.com). What a treasure-trove for anyone interested in the contents of public libraries, as well as the canon-making and canon-using activities of librarians. Several of my copies bear the pencil marks of a person who checked-off each volume available at his or her institution. Interestingly, the early volumes include statistics on the number and percentage of volumes in each Dewey classification. One evident trend is a decrease in books on natural science and an increase in works on the “useful arts”—part and parcel of an industrializing society.  Over time, the catalog’s listings for history also decreased while those for sociology increased, perhaps an indication that individual events and persons of the past where losing importance within a modern world of clashing social forces. 

Although scholars have focused on early librarians’ role as censors, another way to think about the matter is to consider the dialogic nature of libraries, authorship, publishing, and reading. While librarians were creating informational and literary landscapes for their patrons, available materials were shaping everyone’s understanding of the world around them. It seems to me that researchers are only beginning to explore the features of that interactive terrain. The ALA Catalog provides us a sense of how people of the era discussed, and how librarians categorized, their experiences. When I looked up Dewey 371.9 (Special Education), a topic near to my heart, I found Leonard Porter Ayres’ Laggards in Our Schools (New York: Russell Sage, 1909), Henry Herbert Goddard’s School Training of Defective Children (New York: World Book, 1914), John Bentley’s Problem Children (New York: Norton, 1935), and Harry Jay Baker’s Introduction to Exceptional Children (New York: Macmillan, 1944). These were the best books available in their day, and each in turn shaped a generation of readers.

I haven’t yet figured out why ALA discontinued publication of its catalog. My best guess is that similar resources existed. Since the early 1900s, H.W. Wilson Company had been printing catalogs for fiction (1908), children’s literature (1909), high school libraries (1928), and public libraries (1930 or earlier). In 1930, Charles B. Shaw and William Warner Bishop compiled A List of Books for College Libraries (Chicago: ALA). They continued this effort with a supplement in 1940. A generation later, collection development efforts at the University of California led to a similar publication (after several editions, it is now called Resources for College Libraries). Or perhaps the professional consensus that had sustained the catalog began to fray? At any rate, the ALA Catalog deserves study if someone hasn’t gotten to it already. It is one of the important landmarks of early 20th-century librarianship .—Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg



Perforating Stamp—What Is It?

Caption : Perforating stamp sold by the Library Bureau. Detail from Classified Illustrated Catalog of the Library Department of Library Bureau (Boston: Library Bureau, 1900), pg. 71. Image courtesy of Bernadette A. Lear.

perforating stamp Several years ago, I was working in the Business, Science, and Technology Department of Enoch Pratt Free Library. Since “the Pratt” is one of Maryland’s oldest and best-known libraries, I frequently retrieved old items from its subterranean stacks. Municipal frugality had turned parts of the lowest level into a warehouse of obsolete technology. As I flew down an aisle one morning, my sweater caught on something and yanked it to the cement floor with a crash. Oh nuts!

I knelt down to examine the victim. I had never seen anything like it. The thing was made entirely of metal and resembled a heavy-duty stapler. It had a sturdy arm which pushed some kind of die down into a punch-plate. Odd. I picked up a dusty piece of scrap from the floor, slid it under the die, slowly pulled the arm, and watched closely. Dozens of tiny pins descended and drilled a design into the paper—ENOCH PRATT FREE LIBRARY. Since I had to run back to the reference desk, I quickly jotted down an engraving on the machine—“L.B. Perforating Stamp.”

At the time, I didn’t have the motivation to learn more about this weird little item. In fact, I completely forgot about it until a couple of months ago, when a colleague sent me some “old junk” that her library was weeding from its shelves. She knew of my interest in library history and mailed me three beat-up product catalogs from the Library Bureau company. As I thumbed through the 1900 edition, I experienced the shock of recognition. There it was, on pg. 71—the “Library Bureau Perforating Stamp.”

What fun filler for LHRT Newsletter, I thought. So I began to research further. It turns out information is difficult to find. I tried Cannon’s Bibliography of Library Economy, the New York Times Historical database (full-text of the paper back to 1851), American Periodicals Series online, Google Books Search, and a variety of article databases. Gosh, Wikipedia didn’t even have anything! 

Judging from United States patent indexes, it appears that the earliest perforating stamps were designed in the late 1860s–late 1870s by men who sought better ways to cancel postage (see patent #89213 by J.C. Gaston; #180309 by Charles Armstrong; #185285 by Charles V. Brinkerhoff; #194884 by George F. Almy; and #217173 by John L. Tucker).  Yet these stamps were all held in hand and scarcely resemble the Library Bureau machine. In 1879, Ferdinand C. Roberts and Byron A. Hathaway of Chicago patented an “adjustable perforating-stamp” which they claimed combined a stand, lever, arm, heads, plates, and adjustable punches for the first time (see patent #217640). Back then, they envisioned that the device would be helpful for ticketing rail passengers. In the 1880s and 1890s, Christian C. Hill, John Stenwall, and others made improvements to Roberts’ and Hathaway’s designs (see patents #409324, #433003, and #486906).

By the early 20th century, librarians were using perforating stamps to mark ownership of their books. They typically punched the endpapers, title page, or a leaf of the text, and sometimes prominent illustrations, too. They probably did so to discourage theft. To advertise its new product, the Library Bureau lined up endorsements from “the most important libraries of the country.” In its 1900 catalog, H.L. Elmendorff of the Buffalo testified, “I believe perforation to be the best and safest marking.” Zella Dixon of the University of Chicago felt that the Library Bureau’s perforator was “the quickest, most durable, and accurate machine … with which I am acquainted.”

I do not know how the Library Bureau learned about perforating stamps or decided they could be adapted for library use. But it’s interesting to contemplate the different professional standards held by librarians of yesteryear. Today, most preservationists would swoon if a colleague suggested that they punch holes through a valuable book or drawing. Yet in its day, the perforating stamp was seen as a great improvement over messy ink pads, or embossers that crimped the pages. As George T. Clark of San Francisco Public Library noted at the time, the perforating stamp ensured “permanence without objectionable disfiguration.” He would certainly be surprised that most of today’s libraries have returned to the dreadful ink stamp.

I also wonder how librarians of a century ago would feel about how we mark our books these days. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for staff to glue a book review or a clipping from the dust jacket into a book, pencil-in the vendor, price, accession number, and make countless other markings. Librarians hardly do that anymore. Another thought that comes to mind is our profession’s early adoption of new technology. Although our predecessors might be awestruck by online gaming, Facebook, MP3 players, and other electronica that we take for granted, they certainly shared our technological curiosity and our hope of serving the public more effectively.

Having resigned from the Pratt years ago, I sometimes wish I had grabbed that perforating stamp before I left. Who knows where it is today? If you own a stamp, bring it to an ALA meeting. I’d love to play with it!— Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg


Just in Time for the Holidays—A Carnegie Library Birdhouse!

Caption : Public Library Birdhouse, for sale through Home Bazaar of Bethpage, NY. Image  courtesy of Home Bazaar.

library birdhouse Are you seeking the perfect gift for your library, yourself, or a special library-buff?  You can’t beat this—a birdhouse modeled on a Carnegie library!  

The Public Library Birdhouse is the “brainchild” of Wayne Wiegand, author of Irrepressible Reformer (Chicago: ALA, 1996, the seminal biography of Melvil Dewey) and the forthcoming Main Street Public Library: Community Places and Reading Spaces in the Rural Heartland by University of Iowa Press.  Wiegand dreamed up the idea when visiting the Osage, Iowa Carnegie Library, one of the institutions studied in his book. The birdhouses are being sold as a fundraiser for the American Library Association and Florida State University.

If you purchase one of these lovely items, you will not only shelter wildlife through the frigid winter months, but you will also benefit the ALA’s Cultural Communities Fund. The CCF is an endowment that builds capacity in libraries for public programming. It funds professional development and a variety of event planning and presentation resources for community libraries. Proceeds also benefit FSU’s Jean E. Lowrie Endowment, named after Wiegand’s mentor, which provides scholarships to school library media students. Although the birdhouse’s regular price is $150, ALA members and Florida State alumni can obtain one for $99 plus $10 shipping.

Home Bazaar, a premier manufacturer of architectural birdfeeders, is offering them for sale. Each fully-functional birdhouse has three nest boxes, and is sturdily constructed of exterior grade plywood.  Although modeled on the Osage, Iowa library, it resembles hundreds of Carnegie buildings throughout the United States. What a cute decoration for your library or backyard! For more details, see Home Bazaar’s web site, http://www.hbbirdhouse.com/hb-9066_.271_.fj10.htm .— Wayne A. Wiegand, Florida State University, and Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg

News from Libraries & the Cultural Record

Editor’s note: LHRT has a longstanding relationship with Libraries & the Cultural Record, a peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Texas Press. L&CR “explores the creation, organization, preservation, and utilization of collections in libraries, archives, and museums in the context of cultural and social history, unlimited as to time and place,” making it a vital resource for library historians. L&CR has been ranked among the top 20 percent of journals in its field by the Australian Research Council, one of few organizations in the English-speaking world that has attempted to rank the quality of scholarly journals.

Libraries & the Cultural Record continues to develop thought-provoking issues. A special issue on libraries and librarians during the Great Depression, guest-edited by Jim Carmichael, will be going to press soon and is scheduled to arrive in subscribers' hands next August. Larry N. White, Assistant Professor of Library Science at East Carolina University, is preparing a call for papers for another special issue focused on “valuing the library”—a topic of perennial importance to library administrators and others who seek measurements of libraries’ impact upon individuals and society. This interesting topic grew out of the Library Research Round Table’s recent seminar at the University of Maryland’s iSchool.

The editors welcome Heather Graham as L&CR’s new Managing Editor. Mrs. Graham joined the staff on October 19, 2010. Mrs. Graham has more than 10 years’ experience as a professional editor, writer and marketing consultant. She has worked with clients from diverse fields, including research, government, law, and education. Prior to joining the journal, Mrs. Graham launched a Brooklyn, NY-based marketing and copywriting firm. Mrs. Graham holds a B.A. in English from Texas A&M University, with an emphasis on technical writing and a history minor. She completed the intensive Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) in New York City, for which she later became an instructor in the marketing section. Heather Graham may be reached for journal matters at (512) 471-5268 or hgraham@ischool.utexas.edu.

David Hovde ( hovde@purdue.edu) continues as the LHRT representative on the L&CR board, and is joined by Charles Dollar, the new representative of the Archival History Roundtable of the SAA. LHRT members who have comments, concerns, or ideas about the journal should contact Mr. Hovde, or Dr. David Gracy ( gracy@ischool.utexas.edu), the editor of Libraries & the Cultural Record. —David B. Gracy, University of Texas at Austin.


Get Involved with LHRT!

LHRT is seeking nominees for several positions on its Executive Committee. ALA elections take place in the spring, and new officers will begin their terms immediately following the annual conference. All nominees for office must be current members of ALA and LHRT. If you are interested in running for office, please read the position descriptions below. You may also consult current Executive Committee members, as well as LHRT’s bylaws (see http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/lhrt/governance/lhrtbylaws/lhrtbylaws.cfm). To nominate yourself or another member for office, contact Bernadette A. Lear ( BAL19@psu.edu). 


LHRT has two members-at-large, elected at staggered terms so that there is one new member-at-large each year. Members-at-large may be called to serve on the Membership and Outreach Committee, Program Committee, or Research Committee, or assist with other activities at the chair’s discretion. They may also serves as “greeters” or otherwise help with logistics at LHRT’s conference programs. Throughout their two years of service, the members-at-large are expected to attend meetings, participate in decision-making, and contribute to other efforts of the round table. This position is ideal for LHRT members who wish to “get their feet wet.” They are conscientious and enthusiastic volunteers who give their best efforts for a variety of tasks.


The secretary-treasurer position is a three-year commitment. In the first year, the secretary-treasurer-elect heads LHRT’s Membership and Outreach Committee. In this role, he or she is responsible for recruiting and retaining members. The secretary-treasurer-elect also attends all LHRT executive committee meetings, is ready to take notes in the secretary-treasurer’s absence, and attends trainings provided by ALA’s Budget Analysis and Review Committee. The second year, the secretary-treasurer-elect becomes a “full” officer, responsible for recordkeeping and monitoring the finances of the round table. Working with the chair and ALA staff liaison, the secretary-treasurer also develops LHRT’s budget for the following year.  The third year, as past secretary-treasurer, he or she will ensure that copies of key round table documents are passed to new officers and archived at ALA’s headquarters. Throughout his or her three years of service, the candidate is expected to attend meetings, participate in decision-making, and contribute to other efforts of the round table. The ideal secretary-treasurer is a detail-oriented person who has already served LHRT in other capacities, and is comfortable with (or is eager to learn about) organizational budgeting and financial monitoring.


The vice-chair/chair-elect position is a three-year commitment. The vice-chair of LHRT leads the Research Committee and is responsible for appointing members to LHRT’s various awards committees. The vice-chair also organizes LHRT’s Research Forum, a scholarly program held at ALA’s annual conference.  The following year, the vice-chair becomes chair of LHRT. The chair sets the agendas of LHRT’s executive committee meetings, facilitates decision-making processes, appoints committees, orients new officers, and delegates and monitors the work of the round table. The chair also represents LHRT at ALA’s Round Table Coordinating Assembly, Planning and Budget Assembly, and other venues.  The chair organizes LHRT’s programs for the annual meeting, including the Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture and the Invited Speakers Program. The third year, the chair becomes immediate past-chair. The immediate past-chair serves on LHRT’s Nominating and Elections committee, as well as the Membership and Outreach Committee. The past-chair also updates LHRT’s Officer Handbook and other important documents. Throughout his or her three years of service, the candidate is expected to attend meetings, participate in decision-making, and contribute to other efforts of the Round Table. The ideal vice-chair/chair-elect is a person who has successfully held office in LHRT or a similar ALA unit, and has outstanding communication and management skills. —Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg

Call for Nominations: Dain and Winsor Awards

LHRT will be awarding two prestigious prizes in 2011: the Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award, and the Justin Winsor Essay Prize.

The Dain Award is given in “odd” years, and recognizes outstanding original research on a significant topic in the history of books, libraries, librarianship, or information science. Dissertations completed and accepted in the preceding two academic years (2008–2009 and 2009–2010) are eligible. The award is $500, a citation, and brief recognition during the LHRT research forum.

The Justin Winsor Essay Prize recognizes the best unpublished essay written in English on the history of libraries, librarianship, or book culture. The Winsor Prize is given annually, and the award includes $100, a citation, brief recognition during the LHRT research forum, and an invitation to have the winner’s paper considered for publication in Libraries & the Cultural Record.

The deadline for nominations is January 15, 2011 and LHRT’s Research Committee will formally announce the winners in the spring. You may self-nominate. For more information, see LHRT’s awards page ( http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/lhrt/popularresources/awards/awards.cfm). Please direct further inquiries to Tom Glynn ( glynn@rci.rutgers.edu), chair of the committee. —Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg Library


Call for Papers: Library History Round Table Research Forum, New Orleans, June 2011

History of Library Services and Collections for Business, Industry, Labor, and Artisans

The Library History Round Table (LHRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) seeks papers for its Research Forum at the ALA Annual Meeting in New Orleans, June 23–28, 2011. The theme of the forum will be the history of library services and collections for business, industry, labor, and artisans. We hope to present a range of papers that examine a variety of types of libraries and historical periods. The theme should be interpreted broadly. Possible topics might include mechanics and mercantile libraries in the nineteenth century, special libraries in the twentieth century, or public library service to unions or entrepreneurs. Presenters should place their topic within larger social, cultural, and political contexts. They should consider the various motives and values that influenced the users of the libraries as well as the librarian providing services and collections.

LHRT welcomes submissions from researchers of all backgrounds, including students, faculty, and practitioners. Each proposal must give the paper title, an abstract (up to 500 words), and the scholar’s one-page vita. Also, please indicate whether the research is in-progress or completed. It is recommended that the abstract include a problem or thesis, as well as a statement of significance, objectives, methods/primary sources used for the research, and conclusions (or tentative conclusions for works in progress).

The LHRT Research Committee will select a number of authors to present their completed work at the Forum. The program will be publicized in January 2011. So that the forum’s facilitator may introduce and react to each author, completed papers are due June 12, 2011. The Research Forum will most likely take place on Sunday, June 26, 2011. All presenters must register to attend the conference. For registration options, see the ALA conference page at: http://ala.org/ala/conferencesevents/upcoming/annual/index.cfm.


December 15, 2010

June 12, 2011

Please submit proposals and direct inquiries to:

Tom Glynn
LHRT Vice-Chair/Research Committee Chair
Alexander Library, Rutgers University Libraries
169 College Ave.
New Brunswick, NJ 08904
Telephone: (732) 932-7129, ext. 128
E-mail: glynn@rci.rutgers.edu

This Season in Library History

August 4th, 2010: 275th anniversary of the trial of John Peter Zenger, editor of the New York Weekly Journal who had been jailed for publishing criticisms of Governor William Crosby. Though Zenger’s acquittal did not change existing libel laws, it did show that American juries supported freedom of speech, and asserted that they would return verdicts that ignored evidence and the letter of the law.  For digitized primary sources, see The Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, The Trail of John Peter Zenger, http://www.courts.state.ny.us/history/zenger.htm (accessed November 16, 2010).

January 5th, 2011: 125th anniversary of the opening of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore (Maryland). For a chronology, see Enoch Pratt Free Library, Highlights of Pratt Library’s History, http://www.prattlibrary.org/about/index.aspx?id=1604 (accessed November 16, 2010).

March 4th, 2011: 150th anniversary of the opening of the Government Printing Office.  For a detailed history, see 100 GPO Years, 1861–1961: A History of United States Public Printing (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1961. Available online at http://www.gpo.gov/pdfs/about/GPO_100Years.pdf). —Bernadette A. Lear, Penn State Harrisburg

Request for Site Proposals: Library History Seminar XIII (2015)

The Library History Round Table of the American Library Association (LHRT) is issuing this request for proposals for an institutional host for Library History Seminar XIII to take place in the year 2015.

History and Overview

The Library History Seminar (LHS) was established in 1961 and has become the most prestigious international conference dedicated to the study of the history of librarianship. LHS takes place every five years. The Library of Congress and major research libraries and schools of library and in-formation studies, most recently at the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Center for Print Culture, have been LHS hosts.  The conference often attracts over 100 scholars from across the United States and abroad. Papers from past conferences have been published as a special issue of the journals Libraries and Culture and Library Trends, and also in monograph form.

The Selection Process

The LHRT Executive Committee is charged with selecting a site in the same year that the LHS is held. This allows time for the host to gather funding, co-sponsors, and complete a proposal. In order to facilitate that decision the LHRT Ad-Hoc Committee on Library History Seminar XIII created this request for proposal document to guide potential hosts.  LHRT’s Executive Committee will make the final decision at the ALA midwinter meeting in January 2011. Executive committee members will select a site primarily based on written proposals received by the deadline.

The host institution finances the Library History Seminar using grants, gifts, internal budget allocations and registration fees. Previous conferences featured a limited number of scholarships for graduate students. LHRT may also provide a small grant for scholarships. It is imperative that proposals include information on budgeting the conference, and potential sources of funding to make the seminar possible.

LHRT decided at the 2002 annual and midwinter meetings to select the institutional host on factors besides the conference theme, so this section is optional. The Ad-Hoc Committee recommends that hosts select a theme, but emphasizes that this is an important scholarly forum that should provide ample opportunities for historical research presentations on other aspects of library history in its widest scope, and encourage diversity of speakers in terms of geography, ethnicity, gender and subject specialty while also maintaining LHS’s high standards for historical research.

Please send your proposal by December 31, 2010 in electronic form (as either MS Word attachment or as plain e-mail text) to Melanie Kimball at melanie.kimball@simmons.edu.

The document should be 2 to 5 pages long.  Proposals will be sent to all members of the LHRT Executive Committee. Please e-mail any questions to Dr. Kimball at the above e-mail address or call (617) 521-2795.

Information on past Library History Seminars is available in Edward Goedeken’s “The Library Historian’s Field of Dreams: A Profile of the First Nine Seminars,” in Library History Research in America, edited by Andrew B. Wertheimer and Donald G. Davis, Jr. (Washington, DC: Center for the Book, 2000), 161-172, which also appeared in Libraries and Culture 35 (Winter 2000): 161-172. 

Application Outline

Proposal to Host Library History Seminar XIII (2015)

Committee Chair:






Committee Members:

Institutional Sponsor:

Potential Co-sponsors:

Planned number of days:

Proposed dates:

Conference Location:
[Please provide specific details, including whether the conference facility would be a private or public space. How many meeting rooms will be available for the LHS and specify fees. Please also briefly address transportation issues relating to the location (i.e., what is the closest major airport and how does one get to/from there and the conference location).]

[Please specify what hotel/dormitory facilities are available within walking range of the conference location.]

Financial and Institutional Support:
This section will understandably be rough and tentative, but the committee wants to see that the host will be able to arrange clerical support to take care of publicity and handle reservations. Please also propose an estimated registration fee.

The committee also encourages the host to look for internal/external grants to support the seminar. The host will be responsible for securing these grants. Grants make it possible to keep registration fees affordable, and bring graduate students and keynote speakers. Please list possible sources of grants or other income you might approach in order to finance the seminar.

Please submit proposals and direct inquiries to:

Melanie A. Kimball
LHRT Chair
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Simmons College
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA  02115
Telephone: (617) 521-2795
E-mail: melanie.kimball@simmons.edu

Your Comments and Submissions Welcomed!

Caption : Detail of “library hand” copy card. From the 1902 Library Bureau product catalog, pg. 202. Image courtesy of Bernadette A. Lear.

library hand The LHRT Newsletter editor welcomes comments and submissions. Please limit comments to 100 words and direct them to Bernadette A. Lear ( BAL19@psu.edu). Authors should anticipate that their comments will be published in the next issue.

We hope LHRT Newsletter will develop into a magazine which publishes a variety of material. Possibilities include brief biographies of pathbreaking librarians; short architectural histories of notable library buildings; interviews with “movers and shakers” in LHRT; book and web site reviews; descriptions of important or unusual primary sources; and much more. Other than items that pertain to LHRT business, all submissions should be 300–2000 words. Prospective authors are encouraged to contact Bernadette A. Lear ( BAL19@psu.edu) prior to submission. Rough guidelines are available online at http://www.personal.psu.edu/bal19/LHRTnewslettereditorialguidelines.pdf. You don’t need to write in “library hand”—just submit your article within the body of an e-mail, or attach a file in Microsoft Word.

We hope to hear from you soon!