PSLA History


Leadership: Board of Directors and Committee Chairs

PSLA has a rich history of dedicated active members who have volunteered their time as board members and committee chairs. Taking on one of these positions is a selfless act in which fulfilling association business and representing the members of the association is of great importance.

PSLA Board and Committee Chair History:  PSLA Board and Committee Chair History


 A Little Piece of PSLA History: The Beginning

Read the Learning & Media 15th Anniversary Edition which is filled with memories of the past.


 Brief Timeline of Early History

Late 1940s

Millersville State Teachers College and Kutztown State Teachers College started holding library conference.

1950s

Clarion State College hosted the first library conference

1960s

Shippensburg State College hosted the first library conference

1957

Pennsylvania School Librarians Association was organized as a Section of the Department of Supervision and Curriculum Development (PSCD) of the Pennsylvania School Education Association (PSEA)

1958

Ruth Foy becomes first President of the School Librarians Section of PSCD

April 1972

Shippensburg state library conference – Celeste DiCarlo Nalwasky made the motion to form a separate organization which was passed by a large vote. Gwendolyn Brown was elected interim president.

April 1972

Dr. Frances Henne of Columbia University, speaker at the 1972 state conference, donated speaker honorarium to the new independent group to start their treasury.

April 27-28, 1973

Ad hoc committee presents constitution to members at Spring Conference, Kutztown State College

April 19-20, 1974

Constitution adopted at the first annual all-state Conference held at Host Inn in Harrisburg, PA

 

The first PSEA Round Table that concerned school libraries in Pennsylvania was held in 1917 according to available records. Millersville State Teachers College, Kutztown State Teachers College (1940s), Clarion State College (1950s) and Shippensburg State College (1960s) began hosting library conferences for school librarians. 

In 1956, a group of school librarians petitioned PSEA to form a separate department.  While PSEA did not allow the group to form a Department of School Libraries, they did allow them in 1957 to organize a Section of the Pennsylvania Department of Supervision and Curriculum Development. That year they became the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Section of PSCD. There were 7 presidents who served from 1958 – 1972 with 3 state aims:

  1. To have a school library supervisor at the state level;
  2. To have more elementary libraries to meet curriculum needs;
  3. To have all libraries meet DPI Standards

As early as 1963, John Rowell, the newly appointed state school library supervisor began requesting that the association become independent. Exploration of becoming a separate association continued to be explored until 1972.

In April 1972, at the Shippensburg State College spring conference, the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Section voted to become an independent organization. The new PSLA was dedicated to “improvement of the status and standards of school library media services in Pennsylvania” (Hoffman, 1988).

Pending ratification of the constitution, an ad hoc committee was formed with the following officers: Gwendolyn Brown, President; Jack Luskay, Vice-president; Dorothy Lawley, Secretary-Treasurer; Marion Saul, Membership Chairman. Alice Bartz and Elizabeth Hoffman were named advisory consultants. Other members were invited to committee meetings as needed. Gwendolyn Brown is known as the “founding mother” of PSLA.

The constitution was presented to members at the Spring Conference held at Shippensburg State College, April 27-28, 1973.  This was the last conference that the four state colleges planned and henceforth was the responsibility of PSLA.  The first annual PSLA conference was held April 19-20, 1974 at the Host Inn in Harrisburg, PA. Over 230 school districts were represented with 682 attendees.

During the 1974 conference, the major topic of the business meeting was, “The Report of the Citizen’s Commission on Basic Education.” This report supported cooperative programming between school and public libraries including the sharing of facilities and the use of paraprofessionals and support staff in school libraries during non-instructional time.  At the business meeting, PSLA adopted their constitution as well as a resolution opposing the commission’s proposals. At the end of the meeting, PSLA was officially activated as an organization.

In 1974, Jack Luskay became the first elected President of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association to almost 1,000 members by 1975. School librarians “were asked to ‘Speak With One Voice’” (Hoffman, 1988).  During his presidency PSLA promoted the new AASL-AECT National Standards, a new dues structure as implemented, a legislative network was started and 027.8 began publication.

For more details about the first 15 years of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, please read:

Hoffman, Elizabeth P. “Memories of Celebrations Past.” Learning and Media, vol. 16, no. 1, Winter 1988, pp. 10-25.

 

MEMBERSHIP STATISTICS

*based on the minutes of the Board of Directors meeting in April or May of the year cited.

YEAR

MEMBERS

YEAR

MEMBERS

1966

281

1978

1192

1967

357

1979

1245

1968

375

1980

1205

1970

383

1984

1049

1973

420

1985

1076

1974

710

1986

1209

1975

974

1987

1263

1976

1306

1988

1263

 
 

Annual Conference History

The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Annual Conference began in 1974 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

PSLA Annual Conference History: PSLA Annual Conference History