Former American Library Association (A.L.A.) President Patricia Glass Schuman received two honors at the A.L.A. Midwinter Meeting held in Philadelphia from the 24th to the 28th of January, 2014. The A.L.A. Council elected her to honorary membership in the A.L.A. The Board of United for Libraries, which is a division of the A.L.A., voted unanimously to present Ms. Schuman with life board membership in honor of her many accomplishments and contributions to libraries both nationally and internationally throughout her career.
In a press release issued today, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, the ALA explained, “Honorary Membership, ALA’s highest honor, is conferred in recognition of outstanding contributions of lasting importance to libraries and librarianship.”
Schuman was nominated in recognition of her dedication to America’s right to know and to social justice, as she repeatedly changed the culture of ALA, the perception the profession of librarianship has of itself and its communication with the people of our nation. In every aspect of her life – librarian, businesswoman, author, editor, mentor, educator, association leader, activist – Patricia Glass Schuman has made a significant impact.
Schuman was a prime mover in establishing the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) and its Task Force on Women (now the Feminist Task Force) in the early '70s. Her writings have helped library workers around the world define issues that allowed them to take greater control of their lives and profession…
A graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Ms. Schuman received an M.S. in librarianship from Columbia University. In 1976, Ms. Schuman and John Vincent Neal co-founded Neal-Schuman Publishers in New York. Ms. Schuman served as president of the company.
Neal-Schuman specialized in books, media and professional education tools for librarians, educators and information managers. In 2011, Neal-Schuman Publishers became part of ALA Publishing.
In 1984, Ms. Schuman was the first woman to be elected Treasurer of the A.L.A. Six years later, in 1990, she became the first woman to be elected to serve both as Treasurer and President.
The A.L.A. explained, “As treasurer, Schuman instituted transparency, education and policies that empowered members and helped ALA to gain a more solid financial framework. As past- treasurer, Schuman led the successful drive to endow the ALA Scholarship Fund.”
While she was A.L.A. President-Elect, Ms. Schuman worked with 1990-91 A.L.A. President Dick Dougherty to establish the Library Champions fundraising program. As 1991-92 A.L.A. President, Ms. Schuman implemented the A.L.A.’s first national news media campaign.
This included a program of media training for A.L.A. chapters and division leaders, a nationwide radio rally, and the establishment of the A.L.A.’s first Speaker’s Network.
News media coverage of libraries increased 200%. More than 500,000 Americans called a special toll-free number or signed petitions to Congress supporting full funding for libraries. Congress restored federal funding for libraries.
Following her presidency, Ms. Schuman founded the A.L.A.’s effort “Library Advocacy NOW!” This continued her national media campaign to focus attention on what the A.L.A. calls the public's “Right to Know” about library funding cuts, censorship, restricted access to government information, and the need to support libraries and librarians.
More than 30,000 librarians, trustees and supporters have been trained in advocacy since the campaign’s inception.
Ms. Schuman helped establish the Libraries Change Lives, Better Salaries for Librarians, and @ your library campaigns. Further, she served as chair of numerous A.L.A. committees, including the Legislation Committee, the International Relations Committee, and the Public Awareness Committee.
The A.L.A. and United for Libraries explained in a press release issued on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 that her official position will be Board Member at Large.
“What an honor and a thrill!” said Ms. Schuman. “I look forward to continuing to work with United for Libraries to advocate and strengthen the American public’s Right to Know. Together we can speak out, we can speak proudly – and we can and we will make a difference.”
In addition to having served as president of the A.L.A., Ms. Schuman is also a past president of the New York Metropolitan Reference and Research Council (METRO). She has served on the Boards of the American Library in Paris, the Library Management Division of the Special Libraries Association, Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (one of two organizations that merged to form United for Libraries), the Trejo Foundation, and the New York University Center for Publishing.
In 2012, the Neal-Shuman Foundation gave a grant of $75,000 to United for Libraries to support a “Citizens-Save-Libraries” program to send expert advocates to twenty locations over the course of two years to help friends of the library groups, library directors, and library trustees develop individual blueprints for advocacy campaigns to restore, increase, or save threatened library budgets.