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California Library Hall of Fame: Huell Howser
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California Library Hall of Fame

Huell Howser (1945-2013)

Perhaps best known for his California’s Gold television series, travel-show host Huell Howser was born in Gallatin, TN, in 1945. After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and working for U.S. Senator Howard Baker, Howser began his broadcast career at WSM-TV in Nashville, where he produced a series focused on “human interest” stories. From there, he became the host of WCBS-TV’s “Real Life” news-magazine in NYC, ultimately moving to Los Angeles in 1981 to be a reporter for KCBS-TV. In 1985, he joined L.A. TV station KCET, then a PBS affiliate, as producer of Videolog, a precursor to “Visiting . . . With Huell Howser” and California’s Gold. During his many years at KCET, Howser featured libraries as the topic of several programs, including episodes about the Pomona Public Library, the State Library’s special collections, and the reopening of Los Angeles Public Library’s central library. In 1993, he spent an entire “Visiting” episode showing his viewers how county libraries had been impacted by branch closures. He also wrote an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times and appeared before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to testify on behalf of the county library. Later that year, Howser received the first ever California Library Association (CLA) President’s Award. In 1997, he was presented, at the CLA conference, with a quilt made by Families for Literacy children in recognition of his support of California Library Literacy Services (CLLS). He then, in 2004, presented the CLLS/CLA awards for the Outstanding Librarians in Support of Literacy. CLA is one of several groups that have officially endorsed California’s Gold.

Huell Howser was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2013. For more information about him, please see:

Photo credit: Huell Howser Archives, Chapman University.