Magazine article American Libraries

President Clinton Leads Mourning for Library Advocate Bessie Moore

Magazine article American Libraries

President Clinton Leads Mourning for Library Advocate Bessie Moore

Article excerpt

"Bessie Moore was extraordinary in every way--in her intellect and energy, in her creativity and compassion, in her friendship and spirit," said President Bill Clinton upon learning of the death of educator, civic leader, and fellow Arkansan Bessie Boehm Moore. Moore, who devoted nearly seven decades to library service, died Oct. 24 in Little Rock, Arkansas, from cardiac arrest.

Although she was active in many causes, Moore was most recognized for her work with libraries. She was appointed to the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, and she was reappointed by Presidents Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan through 1988. She also served on the advisory committees of the 1979 and 1991 White House Conferences on Library and Information Services.

In 1926 Moore established the first county library in Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she was jefferson County supervisor of schools. She went on to serve for 38 years as a member (and later as chair) of the Arkansas Library Commission, under nine governors. From 1959-65 Moore was responsible for the development of school libraries at the Arkansas Department of Education.

In 1980 Moore was awarded honorary membership in the American Library Association for her "distinguished service to libraries." In 1991 she established the Bessie Boehm Moore Award, administered by ALA, which annually awards $1,000 to public libraries for outstanding services to the aging. …

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