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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


The Division of Library Extension diligently monitored political activities related to libraries in both state government and in Washington. In the March 1960 newsletter, Division staff reported that in January 1960, President Eisenhower included $7.5M for LSA [Library Services Act] appropriation in his FY 1961 budget.

In the next month's newsletter, the Division happily announced that the full amount was authorized and urged librarians to thank their legislators, especially the Labor-HEW [Health, Education, and Welfare] Committee members Representative John E. Fogarty from Rhode Island and Representatives Edward P. Boland and Silvio Conte, both from Massachusetts.1

TODAY: LSA is now LSTA, the Library Services and Technology Act, and it is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. LSTA, the largest source of federal funding support for library services, is distributed annually to state library administrative agencies. LSTA's final authorization in President Obama’s FY 2015 budget was $180.9 million. In Massachusetts these funds are used to support multi-type statewide library services and to make incentive grants to libraries for projects related to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM), early literacy programs, and more.

What else happened in 1960?

  • Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, published by Random House in 1960, was an early readers' bestseller and continues to be hugely popular today. Green Eggs and Ham took on new meaning 53 years later when Texas's Tea Party Republican Senator Ted Cruz read it aloud during his 17-hour anti-Obamacare filibuster on the Senate floor in 2013.2
  • In 1960, Library Journal editor-in-chief Eric Moon shook the status quo when he addressed racial segregation in southern libraries in the pages of his magazine and took a stand for free access and integration of libraries and professional library associations. Presiding over LJ from 1959 to 1968, Eric Moon is credited with reviving the financially struggling magazine and pressing the profession to speak out on controversial social and political issues.3

Eric Moon: The Life and Library Times book cover

Eric Moon: The Life and Library Times, biography of Moon (see references list below).3

1. Division of Library Extension newsletter, January 1960.
2. [link].
3. Eric Moon: The Life and Library Times, Kenneth F. Kister. McFarland & Company, 2002.