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Maryland Library Association records

 Collection 0048-MDHC

The Maryland Library Association was founded in 1923 to promote library interests and development, as well as the profession of librarianship in the state of Maryland. The collection contains the operating records of the Association, including records of special programs and activities. The records also document the Association's relationship with the American Library Association, its efforts to fight censorship, and its celebrations of National Library Week.


  • 1923-2019
  • Majority of material found within 1970-2006

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

This collection contains restricted material, please check the series and folder listings for additional information.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


64.00 Linear Feet

654 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The records of the Maryland Library Association span the period 1923 to 2016. The bulk of the material dates between 1970 and 2006. The collection consists of minutes; correspondence; publications; committee files; conference proceedings; and surveys. Major topics represented include National Library Week; educational television; the quality of library service; and censorship.

Administrative History

The Maryland Library Association (MLA) was founded in 1923 by a group of dedicated librarians hoping to form a collective voice of representation to further the interests of libraries within the state of Maryland. Charlotte Newell (Mrs. M. A. Newell), Secretary and Treasurer of the Maryland Public Library Advisory Commission, drafted letters to a number of Maryland librarians inviting them to attend a discussion concerning the possibility of initiating a state library association. The informal meeting was held on June 8, 1923, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. At that time, the group appointed a committee to draft a constitution for the proposed library association. The group organized a second organizational meeting on November 14, 1923, where the present persons elected to organize the Maryland Library Association, thereby adopting the constitution and electing officers, including the first president, Mr. Louis H. Dielman, Executive Secretary of the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. The stated objective of the early MLA was "to promote library interests in the state of Maryland." The first fifty years remained dedicated to this goal, and the MLA was instrumental in such tasks as the development of the graduate school of library science at the University of Maryland, College Park, which began accepting students in 1965. In 1975, the original goal was modified to permit the MLA to "promote and develop library interest and development and the profession of librarianship in the state of Maryland." Today, in addition to providing numerous professional development opportunities for its members, the MLA continues to actively serve the library interests of Maryland through the monitoring of and participation in legislative activities and public policy.

The governing body of the MLA, the Executive Board, consists of the following: six elected officers, three appointed officers, division presidents, and one American Library Association (ALA) Chapter Councilor. Since 1974, when the MLA filed for articles of incorporation, the executive board members have also been recognized as directors of a non-profit organization. The magnitude of responsibility wielded by the Executive Board requires they meet bi-monthly in order to discuss such issues as policy and finances.

The operating units of the MLA include divisions and round tables, advisory panels, standing committees, and temporary task forces. Divisions are long-standing groups that "represent broad based areas of concern that are stable but flexible" for the library community at large. Divisions regularly host programs and, at times, work in conjunction with other divisions to meet the needs of MLA members. Among the largest of the existing divisions are Academic and Research Libraries, Children's Services, and Technical Services. Advisory panels are relatively few in number but are very important in the creation of policy for MLA "within specific areas of jurisdiction," mainly Intellectual Freedom, Legislative, and Professional Development. Each of these panels is presided over by an appointed officer, who is also required to serve as a member of the Executive Board. The Advisory Panel of the Executive Board is responsible for filtering issues to be presented and discussed at Board meetings. The duty of the various standing committees is to undertake and carry out regular business of the MLA. Committees may change according to the evolving needs of the association and direct such tasks as marketing; binding; exhibits; nominations and elections; and awards. Finally, task forces are formed at the discretion of the MLA to research specific considerations. Subjects addressed by former task forces include finance and the Leadership Training Institute.

Information regarding the current functioning of the Maryland Library Association can be found in the official quarterly publication, The Crab, and the monthly publication Happenings, which outlines upcoming events. The MLA website is also a useful resource and can be accessed at


The collection is organized as twelve series:

Series 1
Executive Board & Annual Business Meeting Minutes
Series 2
Committees, Task Forces, and Interest Groups
Series 3
Series 4
Advisory Panels
Series 5
Administrative Files
Series 6
National Library Week
Series 7
Financial Records
Series 8
American Library Association
Series 9
Series 10
Series 11
Visual Materials
Series 12

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Dallas Shaffer, president of the Maryland Library Association, donated the archives to the University of Maryland Libraries in 1980. Officers, members, and the MLA Archivist donated subsequent materials.

Processing Information

Eight series were originally created from the records of the Maryland Library Association. The tenth series, Conferences, was added when the donation from Lance Finney was assimilated into the collection; the eleventh and twelfth series were added in 1997. Series IV: Advisory Panels was added in 2004. Series XIII: Memorabilia was added in 2016. All paper clips were removed and replaced by plastic clips over strips of permanent and durable paper. The records were then placed in acid free folders in acid free boxes. All duplicates were discarded and all audio and visual materials were transferred to their appropriate holding areas within the Archives and Manuscripts Department.

Guide to the Maryland Library Association records
Bill Gibson, August 1986. Revised by: Diana Shenk, June 1987; Anne Turkos, January 1990; Sharon Vicoli, November 1991; Michelle DeMartino, Phyllis Waters, and Anne Turkos, January 1997; Janna Robinson, November 2004 and November 2005; Stephen Bookman, July 2006; Amy French, March 2009; Tyler Stump, 2014; Eric Stoykovich, October 2016.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742