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California Library Hall of Fame: Carleton B. Joeckel
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California Library Hall of Fame

Carleton B. Joeckel (1886-1960)

Dr. Carleton Bruns Joeckel received his bachelor of library science degree from the NY State Library School in 1910 and his doctorate in library science from the University of Chicago in 1934. Joeckel began his library career at the St. Louis Public Library in 1910, but quickly moved to California, where he worked for three years at the UC Berkeley library. In 1914, he was appointed director of the Berkeley Public Library, where he built three branches. He also taught public library administration at what would eventually become UC Berkeley's School of Librarianship. After serving during WWI, he advised the California Library Association (CLA) on how best to serve military personnel returning to civilian life. He himself had received a Silver Star for courage under fire during the war. Joeckel was CLA president, 1919-20. In 1927, he left Berkeley to become associate professor in the department of library science at the University of Michigan. It was here that he developed his philosophy of "larger units of service," which would radically change the trajectory of public librarianship to this day. His dissertation, which was published as The Government of the American Public Library (Univ of Chicago Press, 1935), is considered "a classic in library literature." In 1941, Joeckel was appointed by Librarian of Congress Archibald McLeish as chair of a special committee to analyze operations of the Library of Congress (LC). Joeckel's recommendations prompted a reorganization of LC that took three years to accomplish. In 1943, he spearheaded the American Library Association’s (ALA) creation of Post-War Standards for Public Libraries, which, in 1948, became the impetus for the publication of A National Plan for Public Library Service. The plan provided the rudimentary structure for what would later become known, in California, as public library systems. In 1999, ALA post-humously named Joeckel one of "100 of the Most Important Leaders We Had in the 20th Century" (American Libraries, December 1999, p. 38). 

Carleton B. Joeckel was inducted into the California Library Hall of Fame in 2015. For more information about him, please see:

  • World Encyclopedia of Library & Information Services (1993), 415-17 
  • "Carleton B. Joeckel," Wikipedia

Photo source: Michigan Alumnus (April 13, 1935):