History of the College and University Section of NJLA

Originally founded as the College and University Library Section (CULS) of the New Jersey Library Association, the CULS constitution was signed in March 1947, but due to "inclement weather" that fall, 1948 was the first year of meetings and activities for the section.
ACRL-NJ 60th Anniversary Montclair State College Library Photo

The flood of soldiers into American campuses after the G.I. bill opened the doors to higher education started a major growth in college libraries, especially in the state of New Jersey. To better serve the unprecedented growth of libraries on college campuses, librarians wanted a forum for organized resource sharing and establishing a state-wide interlibrary loan system between colleges.

One of the original founders of the CULS was Mary Gaver of Trenton State Teachers College (now The College of New Jersey). She was elected president of the CULS in 1949-50. She went on to serve as President of the New Jersey Library Association from 1954-55 and President of the American Library Association 1966-67. It was Ms. Gaver who suggested that closer ties to ACRL would boost the membership. In 1951, with Ms. Gaver leading the way, CULS became the first state chapter of the ACRL. According to the records, dues-paying membership jumped from 14 to 72 in that year. There was a hiatus of ACRL membership from the early 1950s to 1979, when the NJLA College and University Libraries Section again established chapter status with the ACRL.

In addition to producing a biannual newsletter, the CULS produced one of the first collection analysis statements of New Jersey college libraries in the 1960s and a directory of New Jersey Academic Libraries. The CULS also sponsored programs on accreditation, bibliographic instruction, and library management and technical services. One of the most active subcommittees in the 70s and 80s through to today is the Technology Committee.

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