In 2014, CBHL is celebrating its 45th anniversary.

At various times during its history, members have written retrospective papers about the organization and its impact and potential. Several such papers are reproduced here,  in part or in entirety. These provide interesting perspectives on CBHL, reflecting  changing times and a remarkably unchanging view of what CBHL means to its members and for  the user community served by botanical and horticultural libraries.

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History of CBHL *

The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL) was formed to initiate and improve  communication between persons and institutions concerned with libraries of botanical and horticultural  literature. Membership of CBHL is not limited to librarians but is open to interested persons from the horticultural and botanical professions and others. The group is proud to have librarians,  book collectors, book dealers, print dealers, botanists and historians among its members. The origin of CBHL can be traced to a meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in November 1969, when the Massachusetts Horticultural Society issued invitations to a “first conference of horticultural  and botanical libraries.” Forty delegates representing more than 20 institutions from the eastern  part of the United States attended.

The four invited speakers, John F. Reed, Curator of the New York Botanical Garden Library; Dr.  George H. M. Lawrence, Director of the Hunt Botanical Library; Dr. Gordon P. DeWolf, Jr.,  Horticultural Taxonomist of the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard University; and Mr. Gordon W. Dillon,  Executive Secretary of the American Orchid Society, reportedly “set the tone of the Conference  as a highly professional one and emphasized the research resources of libraries and their roles  as repositories of valuable historic and archival material.” In John Reed’s talk, entitled “Problems of Horticultural and Botanical Libraries”  (later published in Arnoldia, January 1970), he stated “The collections in these  libraries are, in truth, national resources. It is important that we who are concerned  with these libraries recognize that our responsibilities exceed the bounds of our individual  institutions. The greatest problem facing any group of libraries today, be they related  geographically or by their subject specialization, is their willingness to investigate, identify,  and implement programs that lead to standardization, cooperation, and shared utilization of  their resources and activities.” His recommendations included coordinated approaches to preservation of  books in general and of ephemera such as seed catalogs in particular; collection development; new  catalog records and retrospective cataloging; literature exchanges; and interlibrary loan functions.  He also urged increased production and use of microforms and the development of union lists of  periodicals held. The organization that grew from this first meeting has tried to maintain this  cooperative focus. Many of the joint projects envisioned in Mr. Reed’s prophetic speech have since  come about.

The group considering these weighty matters was far from dull. The first Secretary,  Marjorie Dickinson, has stated, “At this first meeting it quickly became evident that  in spite of the differences in size, organization, and personality of the various libraries  represented, we librarians shared many of the same problems and could find some answers by coming  together. It was also a marvelously congenial group from the very beginning.” CBHL has grown to a 1987 membership of about 140 personal members and 61 institutional members,  representing most states of the United States and 11 other countries, from Australia to the  U.S.S.R. Some of the major long-time members are The New York Botanical Garden, Massachusetts  Horticultural Society, USDA’s National Agricultural Library, Harvard University, British Museum  (Natural History), the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, Edinburgh, and Hamilton (Ontario), Hunt  Institute, and Missouri Botanical Gardens. The Annual Meetings and other communications have made valuable contributions to the members  of the organization. The meetings hae retained the informal, helpful spirit of the early years.  At the same time, members have learned much about botanical and horticultural literature, have  acquired new library applications and procedures to use in their own institutions, and have visited  and learned about many varied botanical/horticultural institutions and their libraries. One of the  most valued assets has been the network of professional contacts built up through the interactions  of this organization. CBHL has brought many specialized libraries and their librarians scattered  over the broad expanse of the North American continent into close contact. It has allowed them to  cooperate and focus on mutual concerns and projects. For many botanical and horticultural librarians  it has become a trusted vital resource.

In 1987, CBHL had grown to a membership of about 140 personal members and more than 60 institutional members, representing most states of the United States, major gardens in Canada, and 11 other countries, from Australia to the U.S.S.R. Some of the major long-time members are The New York Botanical Garden, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, USDA’s  National Agricultural Library, Harvard University, British Museum (Natural History), the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew, Edinburgh, and Hamilton (Ontario), Hunt Institute,  and Missouri Botanical Gardens.

At the turn of the 21st century, CBHL had continued to fulfill its stated intentions,  but also has grown in diversity and in collective technological expertise, among other ways.  CBHL lead the way in promoting the development of its European counterpart, the European Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Group, for which the is a joint associate membership.

The Annual Meetings and other communications have made valuable contributions  to the members of the organization. The meetings have retained the informal, helpful spirit  of the early years. At the same time, members have learned much about botanical and horticultural  literature, have acquired new library applications and procedures to use in their own institutions,  and have visited and learned about many varied botanical/horticultural institutions and their  libraries. One of the most valued assets has been the network of professional contacts built up  through the interactions of this organization. CBHL has brought many specialized libraries and their  librarians scattered over the broad expanse of the North American continent into close contact. It  has allowed them to cooperate and focus on mutual concerns and projects. For many botanical and  horticultural librarians it has become a trusted vital resource.

We hope that our  organization will continue to thrive and to provide the kinds of cooperation, collaboration and  mutual benefits to its members that have characterized CBHL to date.

Note: The text is reprinted here with is reproduced with minor modifications from a paper distribbuted at the International Botanical Congress in 1987and witten by Richard Isaacson and Gerry Kaye, with an addition by Charlotte T. Tancin in 1998.

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See also: Charles Robert Long Award recipients and list of past meetings.

For CBHL Archives:  Consult the Finding Guide for the Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries (CBHL) Records – compiled by The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden

Read also :

 

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Schwarz, retiring librarian, Atlanta Botanical Garden " ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["ping_status"]=> string(6) "closed" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(61) "lu-anne-w-schwarz-retiring-librarian-atlanta-botanical-garden" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2014-05-12 16:14:05" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-05-12 21:14:05" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> array(0) { } ["guid"]=> string(54) "http://www.cbhl.net/?post_type=testimonials&p=548" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(12) "testimonials" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["id"]=> int(548) } [448]=> array(24) { ["ID"]=> int(448) ["post_author"]=> array(0) { } ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2014-04-29 10:34:55" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2014-04-29 15:34:55" ["post_content"]=> string(593) "I  have been a member of CBHL since 2001 when I joined the staff of the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle. That same year,  I  attended my first annual meeting at the Denver Botanical Garden hosted by the Helen Fowler Library. I was so amazed to learn that there was an organization comprised of plant librarians!After the Miller Library hosted the annual meeting in 2010, I was asked to join the Board. I wanted to serve CBHL because I had gained so much from meeting fellow horticultural librarians and visiting other garden libraries." ["post_title"]=> string(91) "Tracy L. 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As my involvement, I attended 22 annual meetings, hosting two of them, I served on the board and was part of many committees. CBHL provided me with shared expertise and a great network of colleagues all across North America." 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Why I am a CBHL member