Today marks the 138th anniversary of the founding of the American Library Association. The founding took place on October 6, 1876 at a conference of librarians at the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia. The events leading up to the conference are documented in the book Raking The Historic Coals, The A.L.A. Scrapbook of 1876 by Edward G. Holley (Beta Phi Mu, 1967). Although Melvil Dewey received much of the credit for the call for the conference, others including Richard Rodgers Bowker and Frederick Leypoldt played important roles. Of the 103 people who attended the conference 90 were men and 13 were women. At the end of the conference attendees who wanted to form the new association signed a register. Melvil Dewey signed as "Number one". By the end of 1876, 43 individuals had joined the association. On the evening of October 6 there was a social reception. A replica of the invitation to that affair is shown above. This anniversary of the founding of ALA highlights the fact that in two years, it will celebrate its 140th anniversary, an occasion worthy of celebration. In 2026, only twelve years away, ALA will celebrate its 150th anniversary, a major milestone for any organization.
As a Museum Studies Graduate student I was happy to take on an exhibit project when asked by my boss here at Gleeson. It would be a great opportunity to practice my curatorial skills.
The exhibit, titled “Beyond the Mask: Beauty Revealed,” is the result of GLIDE’s Women’s Center workshop led by poet, GLIDE co-founder, and USF’s Diversity Scholar & Visiting Professor Janice Mirikitani. The workshop was an exercise in self-reflection, encouraging women to write a poem about how they see themselves. These twelve courageous women also wrote poems about how they see one another. The juxtaposition of the poems reveal the power of the word; these women do not write about themselves as victims of domestic violence but as survivors who have transformed their lives, inspiring us to persevere.
Be sure to hear Mirikitani speak at Diversity Talks: The Power of Human Connection on October 7th.
The exhibit is on display in the north stairwell between the first and second floors of Gleeson Library.
A couple weeks ago I shared what some of the students workers in the library read over the summer. Here is the next batch to inspire some extracurricular reading for you as well!
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, reviewed by Hannah Bunting
The Orphan Master’s Son, reviewed by Grace Amburgey
The Orphan Master’s Son, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Adam Johnson, is the daring and extraordinary fictional story of a young boy’s journey to adulthood in one of the most enigmatic, dangerous nations in the world, North Korea. Pak Jun Do, the protagonist of the novel, is born into extreme famine, a mysteriously missing mother, and a man so abusive and cruel he can hardly be called a father. The novel follows Jun Do through his arduous childhood, into his conscription into the military, and on his many adventures including kidnapping, secret identities, torture, and even love and sacrifice. The novel offers an excellent insight into what it is truly like to be a citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. To hear the incessant propaganda played over the loudspeakers every moment of the day, to exist in a near constant state of anxiety and uncertainty, and to live in a country so cut-off and controlled that truth is an impossibility and lies are a way of life. This novel challenged my very own notions of the true meanings of freedom and oppression, and left me feeling more uncertain and confused than when I started, an indicator of a truly thought-provoking and excellent novel.
Friday Saturday and Sunday 9/26, 9/27 and 9/28 2014 Special Alumni Events will be hosted in the Gleeson Library’s William J. Monihan Atrium: the African American Alumni Reception, the Asian Pacific Islander Alumni Reception and the Latino Alumni Reception.
The Atrium will be closed and there will be no overnight access Friday 9/26 8:00 am through Monday 9/29 12:00 noon.
We thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.
I published a previous post about the "Free for All: Inside the Public Library film project which will feature public libraries across America today and provide historical background about the public library movement in the United States. The project is now at a critical filming stage and a fundraising effort has been launched to pay for this phase. They have more information and a nice video about the project on their home page. It also includes information about donating to the project which I highly endorse.