CHICAGO — Patricia Glass Schuman was elected to honorary membership in the American Library Association (ALA) in action taken by the ALA Council at the 2014 Midwinter Meeting, held Jan. 24 to 28 in Philadelphia. Honorary Membership, ALA’s highest honor, is conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions of lasting importance to libraries and librarianship.
Schuman was nominated in recognition of her dedication to America’s right to know and to social justice, as she repeatedly changed the culture of ALA, the perception the profession of librarianship has of itself and its communication with the people of our nation. In every aspect of her life – librarian, businesswoman, author, editor, mentor, educator, association leader, activist – Patricia Glass Schuman has made a significant impact.
Schuman was a prime mover in establishing the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) and its Task Force on Women (now the Feminist Task Force) in the early '70s. Her writings have helped library workers around the world define issues that allowed them to take greater control of their lives and profession. In 1984, Schuman was the first woman elected treasurer of the American Library Association. In 1990, she became the first woman elected to serve both as treasurer and president. As treasurer, Schuman instituted transparency, education and policies that empowered members and helped ALA to gain a more solid financial framework. As past- treasurer, Schuman led the successful drive to endow the ALA Scholarship Fund.
While president-elect, she worked with 1990-91 President Dick Dougherty to establish the Library Champions fundraising program. As president (1991-92), Schuman launched ALA’s first nationwide media campaign, including media training for ALA and chapter leaders and a nationwide radio rally. Media coverage rose by more than 200 percent, and more than 500,000 Americans called a special toll-free number or signed petitions to Congress supporting America’s right to know and full funding for libraries. That year Congress restored all federal funding.
Following her presidency, Schuman founded ALA’s “Library Advocacy NOW!” effort and helped to establish the Libraries Change Lives, Better Salaries for Librarians and @ your library campaigns. She has chaired numerous ALA committees and served on the boards of other national and international organizations. The author/editor of six books and more than 100 papers and articles, Schuman has testified before the U.S. Congress and been published nationally and internationally.
As co-founder (1976) and president of Neal-Schuman Publishers, which merged with ALA in 2011, Schuman encouraged scores of authors to produce more than 300 professional books and periodicals, including numerous award-winning tools and texts. With John Vincent Neal she established the Neal-Schuman Foundation (2000-2011), to support research, advocacy and education.
Schuman will receive an honorary membership plaque in June during the Opening General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.