University of Pittsburgh
March 18, 2004

University of Pittsburgh to Honor First African American Librarian In Plaque Dedication Ceremony April 2

American Library Association President Carla Hayden will deliver a by-invitation-only lecture questioning the PATRIOT Act following the ceremony

PITTSBURGH— The University of Pittsburgh will honor Virginia Proctor Powell Florence, the first African American woman in the United States to earn a degree in library science, in a public plaque dedication ceremony at 1:30 p.m. April 2 in the Information Sciences Building lobby, 135 N. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. Florence earned the degree in 1923 from the Carnegie Library School, which later became part of the University of Pittsburgh. The plaque was commissioned by Pitt's Minority Concerns Council for the School of Information Sciences (SIS).

Following the dedication, Carla Hayden, president of the American Library Association (ALA), will deliver a by-invitation-only lecture exploring how recent restrictions on access and privacy inhibit equality in the electronic age. The lecture, "Equality and Liberty in Libraries," is hosted by SIS, the Minority Concerns Council, and Pitt's Student Chapter of the ALA.

Hayden spoke out in 2003 against remarks by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft calling librarians and other PATRIOT Act opponents "hysteric." Librarians play a key role in the defense of civil liberties, according to Hayden, who represents 64,000 ALA members. The ALA supports amendment of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which gives the FBI full access to bookstore and library records.

"On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the historic Brown versus the Board of Education, are citizens able to receive equity in their information seeking, particularly in library settings?" asks Hayden.

Director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Md., Hayden also has served as chief librarian at the Chicago Public Library and chair of ALA's Spectrum Initiative and Committee on Accreditation, which encourages minorities to pursue careers in library science. After receiving the Ph.D. degree from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago, Hayden became assistant professor in SIS from 1987 to 1991 and serves on its Board of Visitors. She was named one of

Ms. Magazine's Women of the Year in 2003 and Library Journal's Librarian of the Year in 1995.