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California Library Hall of Fame: Betty J. Blackman
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California Library Hall of Fame

Betty J. Blackman


Hailing from Yellow Springs, Ohio, Betty Blackman found her calling as a librarian while working at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base library, just 10 miles from home. After acquiring a master’s degree in library science from Western Michigan University, she came to California in 1965 to work at the California State University (CSU) Long Beach library, where she stayed for 12 years. In 1979, Blackman was hired by Loyola Marymount University and was appointed university librarian. Seven years later, she moved to CSU Dominguez Hills, where she became the first African-American dean of libraries in the CSU system. Her dedication to the library profession is legendary, serving on numerous committees and inspiring young librarians of all races and backgrounds. In 1974, she was chair of the Academic and Research Libraries chapter of the California Library Association (CLA) and was elected CLA councilmember, 1974-1976. From 1988 until 1991, she represented CLA on the American Library Association (ALA) council. Blackman was also very involved in ALA’s Black Caucus and, in 1994, was given its Leadership Award. Although Blackman retired from CSU Dominguez Hills in 1999, she retains an active interest in the profession and is mentor to many librarians. In 2014, she was one of only a handful of librarians to be interviewed as part of the California Library Leader Memory Project.


  Betty J. Blackman was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2018. For more information, please see:

  • California Library Leader Memory Project: Betty Blackman (video). https://vimeo.com/112835223

  • Binnie Tate Wilkin, African American Librarians in the Far West: Pioneers and Trailblazer. Latham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006.