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Innovation and Solidification-The 1970's

The '70's were years of change for SELA. At the Atlanta Conference (1970) two new Sections were approved: Special Libraries and Library Education; and a completely rewritten constitution provided for an elected secretary in addition to the paid executive secretary.

A second comprehensive survey of libraries in the South was initiated in March 1971 when a committee was appointed to plan for systematically updating and supplementing the original survey done twenty-five years earlier. Funding for the project came from the state associations, the nine state library agencies and SELA. TVA agreed to furnish computer and statistical services, and Dr. Mary Edna Anders of Georgia Tech's Industrial Development Division was appointed director. The results, compiled by Dr. Anders, were published in 1976 by the University of Alabama Press, Libraries and Library Services in the Southeast, 1972-1974.

The second joint conference with the Southwestern Library Association took place in New Orleans in 1972. Upon the resignation of Dorothy Ryan, incoming Vice-President Cecil Beach became the President, and the Executive Board appointed a replacement Vice-President/President-Elect.

West Virginia became the tenth state affiliate at the 1974 Richmond conference. During this administration--in 1975--two goals were attained: publication of the survey and the arrival of the first SOLINET terminal at Emory on January 2.

To implement the recommendations of the survey, the Board asked Dr. Anders to serve as part-time interim Executive Director of SELA. During her six-month tenure, much of the detailed planning for the office, including funding, was accomplished. In August, 1976, TVA granted $100,000 to assist in the support of the office as a demonstration project in regional development during the next four years.

The Association's first permanent award was established in January 1976 through a bequest of $10,000 from the estate of Mary Utopia Rothrock to provide a biennial award to a Southeastern librarian "for exceptional contribution to library development" in the region. This award was made for the first time to Mary Edna Anders at the 1976 conference in Knoxville, Miss Rothrock's home town.

On January 3, 1977, Johnnie Givens, former librarian at Austin Peay State University, became the first full-time Executive Director. Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a Solar Technology Transfer Program were secured.

Two publications, prepared simultaneously in 1977 by separate committees, were issued by the Association in 1978. The Southeastern Bibliographic Instruction Directory: Academic Libraries was compiled by James E. Ward and the Library Orientation Committee. Special Collections in Libraries of the Southeast, with an introduction by Frances Neel Cheney and a comprehensive index by G. Sheppeard Hicks, was compiled by a special committee and edited by J. B. Howell.

Of the Association's three prestigious awards, two were presented for the first time at the third Joint Conference with Southwestern in New Orleans in 1978. In recognition of an outstanding children's program, the first activity award went to the Greenville (SC) County Library, and Eudora Welty, Pulitzer Prize winning Mississippian, received the first Outstanding Author Award. Co-recipients of the Rothrock Award were John Gribbin and Kenneth E. Toombs, founders of SOLINET.

In the Fall of 1978 a newly organized Junior Members Round Table (JMRT) began to function informally, an earlier Round Table formed as "Junior Librarians" in 1934 having been disbanded in the '50's. A constitutional revision to permit Round Tables was necessary for them to be accepted formally as the first in the Association.

Rather than approve a deficit budget, the Executive Board discontinued the position of Executive Director on July 1, 1979. In the best fiscal interests of the Association it was decided to staff the headquarters office again with a part-time Executive Secretary with the addition of a full-time Office Manager. Ann W. Morton returned to the part-time post in September, 1979.

The Southeastern Librarian and editor Leland Park received special recognition at ALA in June, 1979 when it was awarded the H. W. Wilson Award for the most outstanding library periodical of the preceding year.

In observance of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Southern Books Competition, the Association published a list of the award winners from 1952-1977 with an introduction by John David Marshall of Middle Tennessee State University.

The headquarters itself contributed to the changes of the '70's. It was moved three times in ten years: from Georgia Tech to the home of the Executive Secretary in 1970, to an office suite in Tucker in 1974, and finally to a more appropriate suite in a new office complex in northeast Tucker in 1979.

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