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California Library Hall of Fame: Lawrence Clark Powell
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photo of Lawrence Powell

Lawrence Clark Powell (1906-2001)

A legendary librarian and “bookman,” Lawrence Clark Powell was not only the founding dean of UCLA’s School of Library Science in 1960, he also directed UCLA’s libraries (1944-1961), where he nearly quadrupled the size of the collection to over 1.5 million volumes. Thanks to Powell, UCLA libraries went from a regional resource to a magnet for scholars nationwide.

Equally famous as a writer, Powell penned hundreds of books, articles, and speeches about librarianship, California personalities and books, travel, music, and his own life story. He retired from UCLA in 1966, but continued to teach at Wesleyan and Simmons. He became professor-in-residence at the University of Arizona’s library school in 1971.

Powell was president of the California Library Association in 1949/50 and the Bibliographical Society of America in 1954/55. The American Library Association made him an honorary member in 1981. Lawrence Clark Powell was, according to one biographer, “a veritable Renaissance man.”

For more information on Lawrence Clark Powell, please see:

  • William R. Eshelman, “Powell, Lawrence Clark,” in ALA World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services, 2d. ed (ALA, 1986), page 656-7.
  • Myrna Oliver, “Lawrence Clark Powell; Lifted UCLA Library to Prominence,” Los Angeles Times (March 20, 2001).
  • Lawrence Clark Powell, Life Goes On: Twenty More Years of Friends and Fortune (Scarecrow Press, 1986).

Photo: Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA