In 1997, the Council on Library and Information Resources (C.L.I.R.) was created through the merger of the Council on Library Resources (C.L.R.) and the Commission on Preservation and Access (C.P.A.). The Ford Foundation established the Council on Library Resources in 1956 with a grant of $5,000,000.
The C.L.I.R. stated this was “a decade marked by explosive library growth, the emergence of new technologies, and a proliferation of individual, uncoordinated activity among academic libraries.”
Lack of coordination had resulted in duplication of activities and increased competition among libraries that some feared would threaten the well-being of scholarly collections.
One of those concerned scholar-librarians was Louis B. Wright (1899-1984). The C.L.I.R. described him as “a scholar and librarian who believed that the nascent problems could be addressed only by creating an overarching organization built on intellectual integrity and commitment to scholarship.”
Dr. Wright served as Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library from 1948 to 1968. He wrote a number of books, including The Colonial Civilization of North America, 1607-1763, published in 1949; The Cultural Life of the American Colonies, published in 1957; New Interpretations of American Colonial History, published in 1959; Shakespeare for Everyman, published in 1964; and South Carolina: A Bicentennial History, published in 1977.
Wright took it upon himself to approach the Ford Foundation, which agreed to fund a conference of scholars, publishers, and librarians who would consider what kind of a coordinating body academic libraries needed. In its official history, the C.L.I.R. stated, “Conference participants recommended forming an independent, non-membership organization of sufficient stature to address problems faced by the library community.”
In March 1956, the Ford Foundation responded with a grant. This was the inception of the C.L.R.
Gilbert Whipple Chapman I, President of the Yale & Towne Lock Company, became founding Chairman of the Board of the Council on Library Resources. He was an exponent of industrialists building libraries in their facilities for the benefit of workers.
In 1954, he had become founding Chairman of the National Book Committee. When he retired as President of the Yale & Towne Lock Company, he became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The New York Public Library.
A 1924 graduate of Yale University, he served as Chairman of the University Council’s Committee on the Library, at least in 1960. A widower, in 1950 Gilbert W. Chapman married his second wife, Elizabeth (“Bobsy”) Fuller Goodspeed (1893-1980), the widow of Ohio steel executive Charles B. Goodspeed. Gilbert and Elizabeth Chapman were patrons of both The Museum of Modern Art (M.O.M.A.) in New York City and The Art Institute of Chicago.
Verner W. Clapp (1901-1972) became the founding President of the C.L.R., a position he held until 1967. Clapp, who had been Chief Assistant Librarian of the Library of Congress, “welcomed the opportunity to develop a center of intellectual activity that would examine the role and function of the library,” according to the C.L.I.R.
In 1947, Clapp became Chairman of the U.S. Library Delegation to Japan. He helped draft the National Diet Library Law.
Due to his role in the foundation of the National Diet Library in Japan, Clapp is well-regarded by Japanese librarians. When he died, his widow donated his collection of 343 books and 256 leaflets on library matters to the National Diet Library (N.D.L.). This is the basis for the N.D.L.’s Clapp Collection.
The C.L.I.R. stated, “CLR’s early programs focused on bibliographic structure, automation of library operations, preservation, and international activities aimed at helping European libraries recover from the devastation of World War II. Among the first grants CLR made was a large award to the Barrows Laboratory, part of the State Library of Virginia, to study the causes of paper deterioration. Concern about preservation of books and journals continued through the first two decades of the council’s history, when it made many grants to help libraries develop local preservation programs.”
According to an editorial in the April, 1961 issue of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (now the Journal of the Medical Library Association), “Among the Council’s accomplishments so far are studies directed to the testing and standardizing of library materials, equipment, and systems; development of mechanical devices for book labeling and catalog reproduction; the preservation of paper and improvement of book bindings. Work is progressing on standardization of cataloging and on cataloging-in-source.”
In the early ‘60s, the Ford Foundation gave the Council on Library Resources a second large grant, this one for $8,000,000. William McPeak, Vice President of the Ford Foundation, said, “The Council is making important contributions to the arrangements by which research libraries meet the needs of their users. Results achieved so far indicate that the Foundation’s investment in the Council would be returned to society even if no further technical advances were made. Further advances, however, are expected.”
According to the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association, “The new grant was given for research into improved library methods with emphasis on ways of storing and finding information in the ‘library of the future.’ The Council will use part of the new grant to set up a laboratory to study photographic and electronic techniques designed to cope with the deluge of publications resulting from the accelerated rate of research. The laboratory will also attempt to develop pilot models to improve methods of storing and retrieving information, particularly in large research libraries.”
In 1978, Warren J. Hass became President of the C.L.R. He had been University Librarian of Columbia University.
The C.L.I.R. stated, “In his previous post… he had seen firsthand that large portions of Columbia’s nineteenth-century collection had become embrittled. Recognizing that national leadership was needed to address this widespread problem, Haas established a joint task force with the Association of American Universities. The task force later became a special committee of scholars and librarians charged with studying the problem of decaying scholarly materials in the nation’s libraries and developing a national plan for collective action. In 1985, the committee recommended the formation of a specialized, highly focused organization to address the issues. In 1986, the Commission on Preservation and Access (CPA) was established. Patricia Battin, who had succeeded Haas as head librarian at Columbia, was named CPA’s first president.”
Working hand-in-glove with the National Endowment for the Humanities (N.E.H.), the C.P.A. developed a national strategy to undertake large-scale microfilming projects in the biggest research libraries. The commission established a technical advisory committee to make recommendations on appropriate technologies and an advisory committee of preservation administrators. The C.P.A. established targets for microfilming production and made annual reports to the U.S. Senate oversight committee responsible for the N.E.H. budget.
During the period from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, the C.P.A. began to recognize the changes that would result from the emergence of digital technology. A group of librarians who worked on projects to test the feasibility of using digital technology for preservation urged the C.P.A. to coordinate activities of a small but growing group of libraries that shared digital interests.
The Digital Library Federation (D.L.F.) grew out of informal discussions among eight academic librarians who represented Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Tennessee, Pennsylvania State, Princeton, Southern California, and Stanford (called the LaGuardia eight in honor of the meeting site—LaGuardia Airport). The group soon grew to include twelve institutions that were committed to looking at the broader implications of digital technology.
In 1994, the group called for a planning strategy for the development of digital libraries and began to organize themselves to continue local efforts while also sharing their findings. At about the same time, the Library of Congress announced its intention to create a national digital library.
To ensure that their activities would be compatible with those of Library of Congress, the consortium asked Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration to join in a new effort, originally called the National Digital Library Federation, and later called the Digital Library Federation. Today, more than fifty institutions are members of the D.L.F.
In 1995, the boards of C.L.R. and C.P.A. appointed Deanna B. Marcum president of both organizations, a preliminary step toward consolidation. The decision of the two boards to merge was based on their common belief that a single organization would better serve the mission and goals of the existent organizations, but was also financial because the C.L.I.R. now cites consolidation of the two staffs as “better use of funds.” The merger was completed in 1997, with the creation of C.L.I.R.
Ms. Marcum is now Association Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress. In 2011, the A.L.A. awarded her the Melvil Dewey Medal. “The 2011 Melvil Dewey Medal Award Jury is pleased to honor Deanna Marcum for her many accomplishments during a long, varied and distinguished career in American librarianship,” said Chair Winston Tabb. “Among those achievements noted by the Dewey jury and Marcum’s colleagues who wrote in support of this award were her ‘transformational leadership in cataloging and classification, most notably the creation of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control, whose recommendations are being widely implemented; her high order of creative leadership as president of the Council on Library and Information Resources, uniting librarians, scholars and publishers to focus on the most pressing challenges of the digital age; and her vision of libraries as part of an international, inter-connected, inter-dependent web of cultural heritage organizations.’”
 Under the Meiji Constitution, the Japanese legislature was called the Imperial Diet (in English) like the legislature of the Holy Roman Empire. After the Japanese adopted a new constitution in 1947 under the direction of General Douglas MacArthur, the House of Councillors replaced the House of Peers and the legislature became known as the National Diet of Japan.