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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Protester smoking in the President's office at Columbia University's Low Library in 1968

Student smoking President Kirk's cigar in Columbia University's Low Library during student uprising, 19681

In 1968: Boston was designated as one of nine locations for the Library of Congress's two-day institutes on the organization and use of LC MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) magnetic tapes, which became available for general distribution to libraries beginning October 1, 1968.2

TODAY: MARC 21 and has become the standard used by most library computer programs. The MARC 21 bibliographic format, as well as all official MARC 21 documentation, is maintained by the Library of Congress.3

What else happened in 1968?

  • On April 3, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his memorable "I've been on the mountaintop" speech. "We got some some difficult days ahead, but it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop…I've seen the Promised Land." The following evening, April 4, King was shot and killed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.4
  • Only two months later, Senator and presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy was assassinated. He was shot on June 5 shortly after claiming victory in California's crucial Democratic primary, and died in the early hours of April 4.5
  • The Tet Offensive became a turning point for public support  of the Vietnam War under the Johnson Administration.  “On January 31, 1968, the Vietnamese New Year, North Vietnamese forces launched an all-out invasion on nearly every major city and military base in South Vietnam. The invasion was repelled, but at a cost of lives and American belief in the war effort.”6

1. [link].
2. Bureau of Library Extension newsletter, June-July 1968.
3. [link].
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