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Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups Records

Identifier: LR000229
The collection is largely correspondence, since the committee's membership has always been geographically dispersed. In addition to documenting some imaginative attempts to bring library service to labor, the collection contains letters from such well-known names in labor education as Frank Henson, who described his "Labor Great Books" program; Myles Horton who wanted to recruit volunteer librarians for the Highlander summer folk school at Monteagle, Tennessee; and Brownie Lee Jones describing the work of the Southern School for Workers. Labor contributions to the Committee's organ, Library Service to Labor, required as much persistence by its editor in 1949 as in 1966. Debate as to whether to include in Library Service to Labor a contribution from the librarian of the Jef-ferson School of Social Service accounted for considerable correspondence between labor and librarian committee members and even from members of ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee. A strike at the hotels in Miami preceding the 1959 ALA convention there, occasioned some friction between library members of the Committee, and ALA officialdom. The ALA conference at San Francisco two years later was the occasion for a tempestuous open meeting of the Committee with audience foes and friends of Right-to-Work legislation, including library trustee Mrs. William Knowland. A large section of the collection is composed of drafts of publications by the Committee, and letters to and from contributors to these publications.


  • 1946 - 1966
  • Majority of material found within 1948 - 1963


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


5 Linear Feet (10 MB)


Mostly correspondence, drafts of publications, and minutes and reports. The Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups was established in 1945 to encourage and assist public libraries to develop specialized services useful to labor. Throughout its history, the Committee has received support from the American Library Association, the AFL, the CIO, and the AFL-CIO. Subjects relate to labor education. Correspondents include Frank Henson, Myles Horton, and Brownie Lee Jones.


The Committee was established in 1945 with the objective of encouraging and assisting public libraries to develop specialized services which would be useful to labor. Throughout its history the Committee has received support from both the American Library Association and from the labor federations, the AFL and the CIO, later the merged AFL-CIO. The attached "organizational chronology" shows this relationship.


Material arranged chronologically by type.


The records of the Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups, AFL-CIO/ALA, were deposited in the Labor History Archives by its former chairman, Roberta McBride, on authorization of the Committee.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by RM in May, 1967.
Guide to the Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups Records
Processed by RM.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA