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Preliminary Inventory to the American Library Association War Service Records, 1917-1923
73025  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Access Points

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: American Library Association War Service records,
    Date (inclusive): 1917-1923
    Collection number: 73025
    Creator: American Library Association. War Service
    Collection Size: 1 manuscript box, 33 envelopes (3.7 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: Photographs, postcards, blueprints, insignia, and reports, relating to the work of the American Library Association War Service in providing library buildings, books, and librarians, for American military servicemen in the United States and overseas during World War I.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Language: English

    Administrative Information

    Access

    Collection open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], American Library Association War Service records, [Box no.], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Historical Note

    In June 1917, shortly after the United States entered into World War I, the American Library Association (ALA) convened a War Service Committee to distribute library materials to American soldiers. This committee oversaw what was to become known as the Library War Service program. Under the leadership of Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam, the program effectively demonstrated the importance of ALA membership, while at the same time showing the value of collaboration with other military and welfare agencies, such as the YMCA, YWCA, and the Red Cross. Moreover, it successfully raised more than five million dollars in public donations, as well as securing Carnegie Corporation funds. With these funds and donations, the Library War Service program established thirty-six camp libraries, distributed approximately ten million books and magazines, and sponsored 1,100 library workers for the war effort.
    The ALA's war work had lasting legacies: the formation of the American Library in Paris, the establishment of the American Merchant Marine Library Association, the garnering of greater concern with international library development, and the assimilation of the wartime programs by the military departments and other government agencies. Additionally, the Library War Service instituted new library services, such as Braille text and books by mail.
    After World War I, the program continued to operate under the auspices of the Enlarged Program, which focused on three areas: (1) continuation of war-related activity, (2) constitutional revision, and (3) new programs, which included increased expenditures for publicity, promotion of higher salaries for librarians, initiation of special services to immigrants, and creation of a board to set standards for library schools. The Enlarged Program never fully came to fruition; however, the ALA made inroads for the library profession as a whole during this period, particularly in terms of its visibility.
    The ALA was founded in Philadelphia in 1876, and later chartered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was established to promote the profession of librarianship, to improve library and information services, and, more generally, to enhance learning and access to information for all people. The ALA is comprised of an elected council, which makes policies, and an executive board, which enforces policies. In addition, the ALA functions through a network of affiliates, chapters, and other organizations, such as the Merritt Humanitarian Fund, the National Forum on Information Literacy, and the Sister Libraries.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Photographs, postcards, blueprints, insignia, and reports, relating to the work of the American Library Association War Service in providing library buildings, books, and librarians, for American military servicemen in the United States and overseas during World War I.

    Access Points

    United States. Army. American Expeditionary Forces.
    Libraries.
    World War, 1914-1918.
    World War, 1914-1918--War work.
    World War, 1914-1918--United States.
    United States--Armed Forces.