National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Records, 1966-1995 (majority within 1979-1989)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
- Materials relating to the work of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science and the 1979 and 1991 White House Conferences on Libraries and Information Services. Includes correspondence, committee files, clippings and subject files.
69 linear feet
Photographs located in Boxes 22, 47, 52, 55, and 69.
Visual Material located in Boxes 23, 30, and 53.
Audio Material located in Boxes 4-5, 7-9, 19-20, 22-24, 26-30, 43-45, 50-53, 55, 61-52, 64, and 68-69.
- Collection processed and finding aid prepared by Marilyn M. McNitt, 1996 and Adriane Hanson, 2005
- Biographical / Historical:
The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS)
The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) is an independent and permanent agency within the executive branch of the Federal government. Created in 1970 by Public Law 91-345, NCLIS replaced the National Advisory Commission on Libraries appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. NCLIS is intended to be an impartial and objective advisor on library and information policy to both the executive and legislative branches of the Federal government, to bring together agencies in both branches to focus on problems of common interest, to serve as a forum for both the public and private sectors of the library/information community, and to act as a catalyst to help get programs implemented.
Meeting four times annually, the Commission is composed of the Librarian of Congress as an ex-officio member and fourteen other members appointed for five year terms by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The terms are staggered so that two to three appointments expire each year. According to law, five members of NCLIS must be professional librarians or information specialists. The remainder should be knowledgeable regarding the technological aspects of library and information sciences, as well as having a special interest in the needs of the American society in regard to library and information services. In addition, at least one member must be knowledgeable regarding the needs of the elderly. The President designates the Commission chair from among the fourteen commissioners.
In its early years, NCLIS held a series of hearings, meetings, and conferences throughout the nation, in order to lay the foundation for an effective and practical library and information service program. NCLIS laid out its official program in 1975 in the document Toward a National Program for Library and Information Services: Goals for Action.
Two major objectives were:
- To strengthen human and material resources to support high quality library and information services.
- To create a national network of libraries and information facilities by developing uniform standards, a common organization, and shared communications.
In order to focus its long-range activities, NCLIS adopted the goal to "...provide every individual in the United States with equal opportunity of access to that part of the total information resource which will satisfy the individual's education, working, cultural and leisure-time needs and interests, regardless of the individual's location, social or physical condition or level of intellectual achievement." In attempting to fulfil these goals, NCLIS has funded research studies and organized task forces to find creative solutions to diverse problems, and sponsored White House Conferences on Libraries and Information Services in 1979 and 1991. NCLIS maintains a cooperative relationship with the diverse components of an information-hungry nation--the library and information science community, commercial and non-profit organizations, and local, state, and federal government agencies involved in library and information science activities.
NCLIS experienced budget cuts and staff reductions, and the continuation of the commission was in question in 2002. The commission was returned to full strength in 2004, with three major objects:
- To appraise library and information services provided to the American people.
- To strengthen the relevance of libraries and information science in the lives of the American people.
- To promote research and development for extending and improving library and information services for the American people.
Additional information can be found at the NCLIS website, http://www.nclis.gov/index.cfm
Date Event 1971-1974 Charles H. Stevens 1974-1980 Alphonse F. Trezza 1980-1985 Toni Carbo Bearman 1986 Vivian J. Aterbery 1988-1990 Susan K. Martin 1990-1997 Peter R. Young 1998-2004 Robert S. Willard 2004- Trudi Bellardo Hahn Date Event 1971-1978 Frederick Burkhardt 1978-1982 Charles Benton 1982-1986 Elinor M. Hashim 1986-1987 Kenneth Y. Tomlinson 1987-1990 Jerald C. Newman 1990-1992 Charles E. Reid 1992-1993 J. Michael Farrell 1993-2000 Jeanne Hurley Simon 2000-2003 Martha B. Gould 2003-2004 Joan R. Challinor 2004- Beth Fitzsimmons
The White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services was one of the primary activities aimed at fulfilling the goals of the NCLIS. Channing Bete, a library trustee from Greenfield, Massachusetts, had originally suggested the idea of such a conference in 1957 at a meeting of the American Library Trustee Association. The American Library Association endorsed the proposal and urged Congress to pass legislation to authorize the conference. Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford all supported the concept.
After extensive hearings, Congress authorized the conference. President Gerald Ford signed the bill into law on December 31, 1974. In January 1977, he appointed fifteen individuals to the White House Conference Advisory Committee. In addition, five persons each were selected by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, and three by the Chair of NCLIS.
President Jimmy Carter signed the appropriations bill providing $3.5 million to NCLIS to develop and carry out the White House Conference on May 4, 1977. The Commission hired a small consulting staff in September 1977. This staff was directed by NCLIS executive director Alphonse F. Trezza. Marilyn Killebrew Gell was appointed Director of the Conference in February 1979.
The staff helped organize a series of state pre-conferences that began in Georgia in October 1977. By April 1979, forty-nine states--the exception was South Dakota-- the District of Columbia, six United States territories, and Native Americans living on or near reservations had all held pre-Conferences to define issues, vote on approximately 3000 resolutions and recommendations, and elect 568 delegates and 238 alternates to the White House Conference.
The Conference staff also organized five theme conferences to generate additional ideas and issues. These conferences dealt with:
- Federal funding alternatives
- Structure and governance of library networks
- Libraries and literacy
- International information exchange
- New communication and information technology
The staff commissioned King Research, Inc. to analyze the more than 3000 resolutions and recommendation from all the pre-Conference meetings. They issued a report entitled Issues and Recommendations: A Summary of Pre-Conference Activities. Five user-oriented theme areas emerged as a structure for the White House Conference. They included library and information services for:
- Lifelong learning
- Meeting personal needs
- Organizations and the profession
- Governing our society
- International cooperation and understanding
Computer-conferencing was employed by the White House Conference Information Community Advisory Committee to enable members, scattered over a wide geographical area, to keep in touch with each other and the Conference staff and to exchange information. It also eliminated the need for several face-to-face meetings. This was the first time that computer-conferencing was used to plan a White House Conference, and demonstrated how people would communicate in the future.
Congress made it clear that the White House Conference should not be just another professional meeting. Therefore, NCLIS established the one-third professional and two-thirds library user rule with delegates coming from diverse backgrounds and representing a cross-section of American society.
The ranks of the 911 delegates, delegates-at-large, and alternates swelled to over 3500 total participants, with the attendance of 2600 public and private sector representatives, prominent private citizens, foreign dignitaries, and the media. The White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services became the largest attended White House Conference in history.
After the completion of the Conference, the staff compiled the recommendations and began the effort to implement them. NCLIS continued this effort over the years. In 1991, NCLIS staged a second White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services.
- Acquisition Information:
- Donated 1992-. Additions are anticipated.
- Processing information:
Collection processed and finding aid prepared by Marilyn M. McNitt, 1996 and Adriane Hanson, 2005.
The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science records are divided into three subgroups: National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Files; White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services Files, 1979; and White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services Files, 1991. Because NCLIS is a federal agency, the National Archives and Records Administration has the main holdings of the organization. The records held by the University of Michigan are items not retained by NARA during its records appraisal process. These records are largely composed of correspondence and drafts of reports.Summary Contents List
- National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Files
- Correspondence -- Boxes 1-3
- Commission Meetings -- Boxes 3-9
- Task Forces -- Boxes 9-12
- Document Files -- Boxes 12-19
- Related Agencies/Organizations -- Boxes 19-21
- Subject Files -- Boxes 21-32
- UNESCO -- Boxes 32-36
- White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services Files, 1979
- Outgoing Correspondence Chronological File -- Boxes 36-38
- Outgoing Correspondence Alphabetical File -- Box 38-39
- State Pre-Conferences Files -- Boxes 39-46
- Advisory Committee Files -- Boxes 46-47
- Delegate Certification Files -- Box 47-48
- Subject Files -- Boxes 48-67
- Clippings File -- Boxes 67-68
- White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services Files, 1991
- Box 68-69
- National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Files
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Unesco. General Information Programme.
Community information services.
Information services--International cooperation.
Libraries--Government policy--United States.
Libraries and community--United States--Congresses.
Library information networks--Congresses.
Minorities--Information services--United States.
White House Conference on Library and Information Services, (1979 : Washington, D.C.)
White House Conference on Library and Information Services, (2nd: 1991 : Washington, D.C.)
Library of Congress.
Akeroyd, Richard D.
Bearman, Toni Carbo.
Benton, Charles W.
Burkhardt, Frederick, 1912-
Bush, Barbara, 1925-
Hashim, Elinor M.
Mason, Marilyn Gell.
Nicoll, Heather Lynn.
Reszetar, Mary Alice Hedge.
South, Jeanne Anne.
Stevens, Charles H.
Trezza, Alphonse F.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).
- PREFERRED CITATION:
National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Records, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center)