Reading at War: Books and Libraries in World War 2

ALA Annual Conference, Orlando, Florida
Sunday, June 27, 2004. 1:30-3:30
Orange County Convention Center, 231C (please check the program book for last-minute changes in location)

"Creating Libraries Without Money: WRA work with the ALA, State Librarians, the U.S. Office of Education 1942-43."

Andrew Wertheimer. Assistant Professor, Library & Information Science Program, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

During World War II, 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent from their homes in the West Coast to 10 concentration camps run by a civilian agency, the War Relocation Authority. New Dealers, pragmatists, and also anti-Japanese individuals staffed the WRA. The WRA worked with Progressive educators to establish schools in the camps, but libraries received less assistance. WRA officials worked with the ALA, state librarians, the U.S. Office of Education and VBC in order to acquire free books for its fledging libraries.

"Give the Books You Want to Keep: The Victory Book Campaigns of World War II."

Patti Becker. Coordinator of Reference/Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

World War II librarians cooperated with ALA, the American Red Cross, and the USO to collect books from home front Americans to supplement armed services collections. Initially conceived with great enthusiasm, the VBCs challenged librarians who coped with wartime staffing shortages, worked under rationing restrictions, and bore the brunt of the difficult job of handling the books. Although the total collected was almost 20 million, the VBCs were a mixed success. However, the campaigns provided librarians with a tangible way to contribute to the war effort and constituted a mostly positive public relations activity.

"American Library Policy during the Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-1952: An Overview."

Taro Miura. Research Associate Gradaute School of Education, University of Tokyo.

During the occupation period, Japanese librarianship was reformed under the great influence of America. In the first stage, 1945-1947, Philip O. Keeney, the first library officer, made a plan to reconstruct library system based on California, though not realized. In the middle stage, 1947-1949, ALA seletced library officers and library mission to establish National Diet Library. Verner W. Clapp, Charles H. Brown and Robert B. Downs gave advice to Japanese librarianship. In the final stage, 1949-1952, library policy shifted from reformation as a whole to specification to library training, which resulted in foundation of Japan Library School directed by Robert L. Gitler.

Direct questions to: Joy Kingsolver, LHRT Chair.