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Title: Preserving the History of the Oldest Library Association: A Report from the American Library Association Archives
Authors: Bertram, Cara S.
Keywords: Subject::Archives
Subject::Library associations
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2023
Publisher: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
Series/Report no.: 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam;Satellite Meeting: Preserving our origins: Approaches to the organization, curation, and historiography of the record of national and international organizations in libraries, information, and documentation.;
Abstract: The American Library Association Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the official repository of the American Library Association (ALA), the world’s oldest and largest national library association. Established in 1973 at the University of Illinois by then University Archivist Maynard Brichford, the Archives now holds over a terabyte of digital content and nearly 4,000 cubic feet of official records, personal papers, and publications created by or relating to the ALA, its members, and the history of librarianship. The collection spans from a scrapbook on the 1853 Librarians Convention to born digital documents produced by ALA members today. The Archives supports the research of ALA staff and members, along with an increasing number of scholars, students, and the public from across the United States and around the world. Beyond the ALA, the Archives stewards and is adjacent to other collections relating to the history of librarianship and library organizations. As a program of the University of Illinois Archives, the ALA archival collection is close to rich primary source materials relating to library history from the University of Illinois. Including the historical records of the University of Illinois Library, iSchool, and personal papers of alumni who became librarians. The Archives also holds materials on related library associations, both created and collected by ALA or deposited by the associations. This includes the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, Art Libraries Society of North America, two divisions of the Special Libraries Association, and the National Associations of Librarians of Color. On the strength of its collection and affiliation with the University Archives, the ALA Archives serves as a major research center on the history of the association and librarianship. As the ALA sesquicentennial approaches in 2026, the Archives is taking a critical look at the strengths of its holdings and gaps in the historical record. This report will reflect on the history of the archives, now fifty years old, and its efforts in the preservation of ALA’s history. It will discuss the current state of the ALA Archives collection, including a robust catalog of series descriptions, digitally available materials, sources relating to other library associations, and its physical backlog. The report will also cover past digitization practices and current efforts to select papers for digitization, considering the research needs of patrons, preparation for the ALA sesquicentennial, and supporting librarian organizations in their work and celebrations. Keywords: archives, library history, library associations, American Library Association
Appears in Collections:World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) Materials

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