University of Alabama
School of Library and
This year, 2006, marks the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Library Services Act (LSA); and the 10th anniversary of its successor program, LSTA: LSA was signed into law by President Eisenhower, 19 June 1956; and LSTA was signed into law by President Clinton, 30 September 1996.
Two Alabama legislators, Congressman Carl Elliott and Senator Lister Hill, sponsored the bill that became the Library Services Act (LSA)—the first US federal funding legislation for libraries. In addition to LSA, Carl Elliott and Lister Hill also sponsored the National Defense Education Act (NDEA); two programs that helped many people complete programs in higher education.
Carl Elliott was also an eloquent champion of civil rights and a staunch supporter of programs to assist those in-need. Carl Elliott was a legislator and statesman we can justly celebrate. For more on Carl Elliott’s life see David Vest, “Carl Elliott's last stand,” http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv/carlelliott.htm; for books about Carl Elliott see http://webpages.charter.net/carlaelliottbooks/index.html
The University of Alabama, School of Library and Information Studies (UA/SLIS), and The University Libraries will mark the anniversary of the enactment of the LSA, and will honor congressman Elliott and Senator Hill for their contributions to education and libraries in Alabama and the nation during the University's Honors Week—which is also National Library Week. SLIS and the University Libraries will sponsor a program, 6 & 7 April 2006, that includes a reception, distinguished speakers and awards for student projects related to LSA and federal funding for libraries (program).
The Library Services Act was initially designed to support rural library services. It was extended in 1964 as the Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA), which included support for all public libraries, and funded construction as well as services. Among the early programs that LSCA funded were various outreach initiatives. One of these was a program administered by the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). One of the principals who worked on this program was a young librarian, Major R. Owens. As a consequence of his involvement in BPL’s community outreach program Major Owens was inspired to seek a larger platform for his activism. He ran for the New York State Legislature, and was elected. In 1982 he ran for, and was elected to, the US House of Representatives.
Congressman Major R. Owens represents New York’s 11th Congressional District. For six years, he chaired the Subcommittee on Select Education and Civil Rights. Congressman Owens played a critical role in the establishment of libraries as equal recipients of the discounts for telecommunications services, the E-rate. Currently, he is the Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee for Workforce Protections. He is the only librarian in the US Congress. Congressman Owens will be the program's featured speaker.
Carl Elliott’s former legislative assistant, Mary Jolley, who did much of the work drafting the House version of the legislation still lives in Alabama, and has agreed to share her recollections of Carl Elliott and the events surrounding the drafting and passage of this historic legislation.
Special Library Legislation Commemorative Awards will be presented to students for the best paper or the best Web site on topics related to LSA, federal funding for libraries, or related topics. Lenora Elliott Cannon, Congressman Elliott’s daughter, herself a school media specialist, will present the awards to the winners.
Other prominent librarians and scholars, including Rebecca Mitchell, Director the Alabama Public Library Service; E.Culpepper Clark, Dean, UA, College of Communication and Information Sciences; Louis Pitschmann, UA, Dean of University Libraries; and Dr. Elizabeth Aversa, Director, UA, School of Library and Information Studies; will also participate in this historic event.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For additional information call or write, Ms. Cherry Quinn, 205-348-5015,