April 21, 2018

John Cotton Dana Returns – at Newark PL

By LJ Staff

Newark Public Library (NPL), NJ, in partnership with the Newark Museum and Rutgers-Newark, is celebrating John Cotton Dana, one of America’s most influential librarians, in honor of the 150th anniversary of his birth. The library recently opened a two-month exhibit commemorating Dana, which includes his writings, photographs, and some of the acquisitions he made as director of the library and its offshoot, the Newark Museum, the first such institution in the city.

Dana implemented many innovations that comprise the foundations of modern library service to this day. As the first director of the Denver Public Library from 1880 to 1898, he pioneered open stacks, instituted localized collection development, and organized the first-ever children’s reading room. At NPL, which he directed from 1902 until his death in 1929, he established foreign language services for immigrants as well as the first special collection for the business community. He founded SLA and was its first president in 1909. He also established the Newark Museum in 1909, originally a part of NPL, and directed it until his death. As he pioneered the practice of advertising library services, the American Library Association (ALA) names its public relations award after him.