A Firmer Foundation-The 1950's
Tennessee was the birthplace of SELA, but Georgia made it a legal corporation on March 13, 1950, to allow the association to enter into legal contracts. Dorothy M. Crosland, librarian at Georgia Institute of Technology, became the first Acting Executive Secretary and the headquarters office was established at Georgia Tech, where it remained for twenty years.
In Atlanta in October 1950, the new constitution was ready and the Liaison Committee had a contract with TVA ready for signatures. The constitution would be final when ratified by five states; Georgia and South Carolina approved it at the Conference, and were quickly followed by Virginia and Mississippi. Kentucky's ratification made the adoption final on November 4, 1950.
The first issue of The Southeastern Librarian was published in the spring of 1951. First issued semi-annually, it has been a quarterly since 1953. The first three issues were edited by W. Stanley Hoole of the University of Alabama.
President Louis Shores appointed the first Southern Books Competition Committee in 1952. With awards made through a jury system, this remains a major project of SELA. The same year saw a regional survey of cataloging practices in small public libraries, the results of which were reported by Clyde E. Pettus at the 1952 Atlanta conference. This meeting concluded the first biennium as an incorporated organization with a headquarters, a paid secretary, a journal, income from paid membership dues, and a completed contract. The Korean War ended all non-essential TVA contracts, and the contract with SELA was canceled on June 1, 1951.
In 1956 President Nancy Jane Day persuaded the Southern States Work Conference, sponsored by fourteen departments of education and their state educational associations, to take school libraries as one of its study projects. This significantly enhanced the visibility of school libraries.
At the 1956 Roanoke conference, the Trustees and Friends of the Library, an expansion of the Trustees group formed in 1946, met officially as a section of the Association. Upon the recommendation of the Activities Committee a workshop for new officers and committee chairmen was called for February 1958, the beginning of a practice still in operation.
"Regionalism," the theme of the Louisville Conference in 1958, was explored in an effort to strengthen the relationship between the nine state associations and the regional association.