history

The Southern California Chapter of SLA was born when the first meeting was held on March 6, 1922 at the Realty Board Headquarters on South Spring Street with about 20 people in attendance. In response to the chapter’s request, affiliation with the National SLA was granted in 1927.

The annual membership dues were $1 and regular dinner meetings were about 35 cents. One case indicated a member sent $2.00 and there were multiple letters mailed to finally resolve that the extra dollar would be credited to the next year’s membership dues.

As we moved through the years, we saw the fashions change, the hairstyles evolve and the interest in the chapter activities grow.

In April 1934 a meeting was held at Fox Film Studio. In attendance was Charles Farrell, who transitioned into film and later starred in Seventh Heaven and as the father in the sitcom “My Little Margie”

Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, was the scene in 1936 for the 41st annual meeting of the California Library Association and a joint meeting of SCC and the San Francisco Bay chapter and The California County Librarians. Topics included:
“Cooperation among Special Libraries”,
“Regional Library Service – What does it offer the Special Librarian”
and Employment. Do those topics sound familiar?

There was much talk about the exhibit which SCC displayed at the National Conference in Baltimore in 1939. The exhibit featured the work of the Warner Brothers Studio research library for the film Juarez and traveled to be exhibited to those who were unable to attend.

The Southern California Chapter can take pride in its own contribution to the cultural history of the 1930’s, one of the most creative and vibrant periods in the history of American thought and ideas. With financial assistance from the Works Progress Administration, more commonly known as the WPA, and co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Public Library, the chapter compiled and published the third edition of the Union List of Periodicals in Libraries of Southern California as part of the WPA’s Statewide Library Project.

A Western Union Telegram delivered on June 19 1941, announced that LA was the chosen site for the 1942 annual conference. Unfortunately, the conference was cancelled due to reasons related to the War.

1949 brought the 40th Anniversary Special Train and DeLuxe Tour to LA and the annual convention. Along the way, the train stopped for a tour of the Grand Canyon, among other stops. After the conference, the train carried attendees to San Francisco, Canada and home again.

Can you imagine what a great trip that was, and for as little as $350.

1950s
Annual membership was $5.00 for an associate member, $10 for an active member and librarian of a technical library could earn as much as $10,000 per year. Business librarians and catalogers could earn $4,000 to $5,000 per year!!!

The chapter continued to play a strong role in job placement and career counseling and was awarded the H. W.Wilson Company Chapter Award for outstanding contributions in the field of recruitment.

1960s
The Queen Mary was the site of the January 11, 1968 chapter meeting where the guest speaker was Melvin Weinstock, Senior Analyst and Staff Member of the National Academy of Science Task Group for Interchange of Scientific & Technical Information in machine language. The topic was “Specifications for efficient exchange of bibliographic records between computerized data files — appropriately labeled “Computer Files: Can Macy’s tell Gimbel’s?”

And those problems are all solved, right?

1968, the chapter again sponsored the annual conference, the 59th.

1970s
The 70s brought us the floppy disk but it also brought us Proposition 13 which impacted budgets and libraries throughout the state. Discussions which focused on how to do more with less were prominent and fiscal limitations rippled through public academic and corporate libraries.

A photo taken in the early seventies shows librarians gathered around a terminal for a DIALOG demonstration held at what we believe was the Hughes library.

1980s
The eighties brought more technology, more efforts to do more with less and brought the annual conference to Anaheim.

1990s and 2000s
The field of special librarianship has offered librarians, catalogers, information specialists and webmasters ample opportunities to utilize their skills in a variety of environments with continuous advancement in technology.

As the chapter has reached its 80th anniversary, join us in celebrating our rich history and the positive influence our chapter provides on the careers and lives of many special librarians.