Magazine article American Libraries

107 Years Ago

Magazine article American Libraries

107 Years Ago

Article excerpt

MANY ALA MEMBERS were en route to the Association's first conference in the Windy City. They had reason to be excited. The conference itself had been deliberately scheduled for Chicago so that Association members could visit the highly profiled 1893 World's Columbian Exposition and see the exhibits ALA had put together for display during the fair while it was open to the public.

The Model Library

Among exhibits ALA was especially proud of was its "Model Library," a 5,000-volume collection of the "best books" (all donated by publishers) that ALA recommended for every public library. The Model Library was located in the easily accessible northwest quadrant of the Government Building's rotunda, in space allocated to the U.S. Bureau of Education (with whom ALA had partnered for the exhibit).

The collection itself was housed on six types of the newest book stacks, all donated by library suppliers. One half of the collection was classified by Dewey, the other by Cutter's Expansive, and separating them were the fiction and biography sections. To control them bibliographically , all titles in the collection were documented in a publicly accessible dictionary card catalog governed by rules adopted at earlier ALA conferences. And because the Bureau of Education promised to publish a catalog of the contents of the collections (awkwardly titled "Catalog of 'A.L.A.' Library") as a government document after the exposition closed, librarians across the country would easily be able to obtain a free copy from their senators or representatives. …

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