Where Did We Come From?
By Trudy Brown
On a Wednesday afternoon during the fall of 1971, several children’s librarians who worked in Suffolk County public libraries met for lunch. This was hardly the first time we had been together but this time was special. All of us felt a need to communicate with each other, to share problems, to ask advice and to discuss general working conditions. We began to realize that too little of this kind of exchange had been taking place and we decided to do something about it. The first step we took was to circulate a questionnaire which was written by Barbara Flescher. It was sent to every library addressed “to the person working with children.” We did this so that we would receive responses from those libraries which did not have professional children’s librarians as well as those which did. The questions were very specific in nature. Information was requested on hours worked per week, Saturdays worked per year, salaries, number of story hours offered per week, number of children’s librarians employed in each library, etc. The last part of the questionnaire asked whether the person answering would be interested in joining an organization of professional children’s librarians. The response to the questionnaire was fantastic.
The Constitution and By-laws were written. The Constitution described our purpose and goals. It stated “The Purpose of the Association shall be to provide leadership in public library service to children through a professional organization of children’s; to promote the interests of children’s librarians and public library service to children in Suffolk County; to elevate the status of children’s librarianship; to foster a wholesome professional relationship among its members with administrators, library boards of trustees, and local communities; to provide a forum for open communication among children’s librarians in Suffolk County.”
An executive board was formed. At the first general meeting of the organization, in November of 1971, officers were chosen. They were: Barbara Flescher, President; Trudy Brown, Vice-President; Fran Rosen, Secretary; Kathy Lundberg, Treasurer; Marilyn Jawed, Sandy Feinberg, and Helena Albright, Members-at-Large.
We met after the Book Review meetings which were held monthly at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System. We had lunch before the business part of the meeting began. We all looked forward to these lunches since it was the only time during the month that we could talk with so many of our peers at one time. At our meetings we discussed topics such as State and Federal legislations which affect libraries, cooperation between public libraries and school libraries, censorship, open access for children, and Newbery Awards. Much of our meeting time was enlarged, committees were formed and dissolved as needed, and changes continued to keep the Association truly representative of its members…
These names were on the directory 4/2010