50 Years Young

WAML 1967-2017: Some Personal Observations

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by Stanley D. Stevens
Librarian Emeritus, University of California at Santa Cruz
WAML Founding President, 1967-1968
WAML Treasurer, 1969-1989
Editor, WAML Information Bulletin, 1971-1984
Information Bulletin and Occasional Papers Production Editor, 1973-1993
WAML Representative to Cartographic Users Advisory Council, 1978-1986
Chairman of CUAC, 1982-1986

Delivered at Austin, Texas, on Thursday, November 2, 2017
at the 50th Anniversary Meeting of the Western Association of Map Libraries

You may have already read or will read, my “Personal Reflections and Perspectives” of the first twenty years of WAML, originally published in the IB, in June 1988 (19:3), and republished in the November 2017 issue (49:1). Therefore, thank you for the opportunity to add some observations.


WAML began when we met at UC Berkeley on November 12th, 1966; the dozen or so of us “present at the creation” were privileged to participate in launching what I immodestly call “the nation’s most important map librarianship organization.”

I had previous experience writing By-Laws and Constitutions for a couple of organizations, so I think I volunteered to do the same again.

I was named Chairman of an “Ad Hoc Pro Tempore Preliminary Working Group” (as Sheila Dowd put it) to draft a Constitution and call the first meeting for the then un-named organization of “West Coast Map Librarians.”

San Francisco: It was “The Summer of Love”

We next met at San Francisco State University, in June 1967. This coincided with the founding meeting of the Librarians Association of the University of California. Both were held in San Francisco during ALA’s annual conference.

My wife, Carli, and I had marched in the Anti-War Parade (against the Vietnam War) earlier, so San Francisco was familiar territory (I was also born there, although my family lived in the East Bay that year, 1933).

As Chairman of the Working Group, it was my pleasure to present a draft Constitution and By-Laws for WAML. It was adopted, I believe by a unanimous voice vote, and we marked July 1, 1967, as the Founding Date of WAML, the beginning of the first Membership Year, 1967-1968.

Membership Criteria

I recall the discussion we had at the first meeting about whether we should copy the membership criteria used by other organizations. Whether or not we should restrict membership to those with a library degree, etc.

Ed Thatcher, our Founding Father, a Quaker by religious belief, had the attitude that members of WAML should be welcomed into the organization by paying annual dues, without restriction as to whether they held a particular academic degree, represented an academic library, a company, a government institution, or a public library.

I agreed with Ed on this point, and when I drafted the Constitution and By-Laws, I included the following qualification: “Any individual interested in furthering the purpose of the Association may become a member by payment of dues ….”

Today, the WAML website uses a slightly different phrase but retains the idea that WAML is open to all: “Any person who appreciates or works with maps and cartographic information in print or digital formats is invited to join the Western Association of Map Libraries.”

Perhaps my philosophy was based on my own circumstances, but I believe the strength of WAML has always been its liberal policy toward membership, and I hope that will never change.

My Personal History

Some of you may know this; I do not have a MLS. Advancement from the para-professional ranks in the University of California system apparently had never been breached, until about 1975 when I topped-out as a Library Assistant — a non-professional status — and I decided I should apply to be appointed to the Librarian ranks. I found that the then appointment qualifications for the rank of Librarian included the phrase, “MLS or equivalent.”

“Ah ha!” I thought, well I thought I had the “equivalent.” I found that my 10-years’ experience on-the-job as the pseudo-map librarian, and my record of editing, and publishing, was greater than the cumulative record of all the professional Librarians on the UCSC library staff. My focus was on WAML and map librarianship.

In spite of the odds that I faced, I was mindful of a quote that, “As a lawyer, I do not like to have bricklayers butting in and doing the work of my craft.”

I had quite a bit of opposition during my advancement, from professional librarians. Ultimately, nevertheless, I was promoted to Assistant Librarian, starting at the bottom of the ladder. Eventually, I was appointed the Associate, and then to the top rank of Librarian.

I will always remember the first time, in 1976, that I met Angus Taylor (1911-1999), third Chancellor of UCSC, he had been system-wide Vice President of Academic Affairs. He had presided over the establishment of the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC). Co-incidentally, its founding date was June 27, 1967, at the same time as WAML.1

I complimented Dr. Taylor, and thanked him for making the appointment qualifications for Librarians broad enough to include those who had equivalent skills and experience. He replied, in essence, “I insisted on it! You wouldn’t want the University to deny the appointment of the world’s expert on Mark Twain as a Librarian at the Bancroft Library.”

Today’s PROCEDURES FOR APPOINTMENT, PROMOTION, ADVANCEMENT AND CAREER STATUS ACTIONS, LIBRARIAN SERIES  (PAPA/LS) continues to express the criteria for appointment as: “a person with other appropriate degree(s) or equivalent experience in one or more fields relevant to library services may also be appointed to this series.”2

I had some outstanding support from colleagues for my promotion. University Librarian Emeritus Donald T. Clark, wrote, in part: “In my view the absence of a MLS degree is a significant obstacle, but it seems to me that the facts say he has more than matched the criteria mentioned in” the appointment procedure. He noted at he was “breaking [his] four year self-imposed silence on University Library matters” (since his retirement), and doing so “bespeaks the importance I attach to such an appointment.”

Professional cartographer Joseph Denis Harrington, from whom I took a class in cartography, wrote his opinion that “The enrollment total[ing] perhaps a hundred students, mainly graduates and young working professionals in urban planning, earth science, and education. Within this population, Mr. Stevens was clearly superior – in his knowledge of map history and traditions, in his detailed hold on map literature, and in the quality and maturity of his class paper (a very interesting blend of historical research and the application of map analysis to the resolution of an urban land use conflict). … I have come to respect his dedication to the world of map scholarship. I do hope that his dedication can be recognized by appointment to the Librarian Series.”

Walter W. Ristow, Chief of the Geography and Map Division, The Library of Congress, wrote that he “was delighted to learn … that you have been promoted to Assistant Librarian, in the Librarian Series. My warmest congratulations, and I am pleased if my support was of assistance.”

Other letters of favorable recommendation were submitted by:


  • ROY V. BOSWELL, Curator, Collection for the History of Cartography, Special Collections Department, California State University, Fullerton
  • RITA BOTTOMS, Associate Librarian; Head, Special Collections, University Library, UCSC
  • DONALD T, CLARK, University Librarian Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • RAY T. COLLETT, Associate Professor of Geography; Crown College, UCSC
  • JOHN DIZIKES, Associate Professor of History; Cowell College, UCSC
  • RALPH E. EHRENBERG, Director, Cartographic Archives Division, National Archives
  • BRYAN H. FARRELL, Professor of Geography; Director, Center for South Pacific Studies; Merrill College, UCSC
  • GARY GRIGGS, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences; College Eight, UCSC
  • CARLOS B. HAGEN, Director, UCLA Map Library, University of California, Los Angeles
  • JOSEPH D. HARRINGTON, Professional Cartographer; Cartographic Consultant; Teacher, University Extension, University of California; Senior Executive, cartographic publishing companies (retired).
  • WILLIAM R. HITCHCOCK, Professor of History; Crown College, UCSC
  • PHILIP HOEHN, Head, Map and Atlas Division, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
  • MARTIN KANES, Professor of French and Comparative Literature; Stevenson College, UCSC
  • BETTY KIDD, Chief, National Map Collection, Public Archives of Canada
  • NOEL Q. KING, Professor of History and Comparative Religion; Merrill College, UCSC
  • JOHN A. MARCUM, Professor of Politics; Provost of Merrill College, UCSC
  • WALTER W. RISTOW, Chief, Geography and Map Division, The Library of Congress
  • MANFRED SHAFFER, Lecturer in Geography; University Community Planner, UCSC
  • LEONARD A. SMITH, Librarian; Science Bibliographer, University Library, UCSC
  • EDWARD P. THATCHER, Associate Professor of Library Science; Map Librarian, Map Library, University of Oregon

My Success is 100% Due to my Participation in WAML

Eventually, after an eight-months review period that traveled all the way to the University President’s Office, I was appointed Assistant Librarian, with Potential Career Status, effective September 1, 1977.

During my career, I served as Chairman of the Librarians Association of UCSC, and I received a UC University-wide Research Grant of $3,182.81 in the 1981-1982 grant cycle for my “Catalog of Aerial Photos by Fairchild Aerial Surveys at UCLA.” Another grant for myself and others, during the 1984-1985 for $3,000 was for a “Survey of Map Libraries to Determine the Feasibility for Inclusion of ….”; and another in 1987-1988 for $1,300 to create a “Monterey County, California: A Carto Bibliography.”

I make a note of the fact that during the first twenty-five years, I don’t think that I had ever missed a meeting. I learned something useful at every meeting. When I retired in November 1993, I didn’t lose interest in WAML, but I shifted my focus to local history. I was the Editor of Publications for the Historical Trust for 20-years.

My wife, Carli, and I were married 57 years ago in September 1960. We were both students at San Jose State College (SJS); she was a sociology major, graduating in 1960, and I was a political science-international relations graduate in 1959. I was working at the SJS College Library as a student assistant. My graduate studies were satisfactory, but there was confusion among the political science faculty about what direction its newly-minted Master’s Degree program would take. I got little encouragement to study and write a thesis about the emerging “political power of the Secretary-General of the U.N.” I had been fortunate to land a temporary job at the U.N. in 1959, and served during the 14th General Assembly as the Conference Officer of the Political and Security Committee. It was there that I saw Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in action, as I ushered foreign ministers and other high-ranking diplomats into his office, adjacent to my committee’s meeting room.

I was active in club activities: Mid-Day Parliamentarians, Gavel & Rostrum, International Students Organization, Model U.N., and I was elected to the Student Council as a Graduate Representative and also served as Vice Chairman. I was also honored to be the first student to present a speech on behalf of the campus Lecture Committee.

When we decided to move to Santa Cruz, neither Cabrillo College, nor UCSC, were known to us as institutions that would be established here. To our good fortune, we are the beneficiaries of both.

One day, Carli brought to my attention a Santa Cruz Sentinel interview of Donald T. Clark, the new UCSC University Librarian. He had just been hired by Dean McHenry, luring him away from his Head Librarian position at the Baker School of Business at Harvard. She urged me to seek an interview with Clark, whose temporary office was at Cabrillo College. Don was charming and greeted me as if I was qualified for any job he might have. He said that if I had a Master’s Degree in Library Science, perhaps a second degree in a related subject, and read Swahili, he might have a job for me. I had none of the above, only my love of libraries and my hope to work in one again, rather than sell bricks and sheetrock. As I left the interview, he invited me to take an application, which his secretary, Aileen Sanders, cheerfully handed me on the way out the door. Discouraged, I went home and threw the application in a desk drawer, never to see it again.

Soon afterward, I saw Don Clark again. He came to the Central Supply office shopping for materials for his new home under construction in Scotts Valley. I guess he remembered me from the interview? (I envisioned my name on a slip of paper in his personal file of potential employees.) Several months later, out-of-the-blue, a letter of inquiry came in the mail from Don’s assistant head librarian, Wendell Simons. “About that interview you had some time ago,” if you are still interested, please call for an appointment.” Of course I called.

I was interviewed by Simons and Donald Black, head of Technical Processing. Their offices were in the Central Services building (now known as Hahn Building), one of the temporary locations before McHenry Library was built. The interview lasted less than an hour, and they hired me “on the spot,” a procedure that could not occur in today’s competitive processes. That was in August 1965, just before the first class of students would arrive at Cowell College. My business experience is what they needed.

My first assignment was to process invoices for the purchased books, order books and other materials requested by librarians and new faculty. Because the staff was small, I had about six different jobs during the first three years. Other assignments included tracking publication exchanges that had been established by Lick Observatory, and developing a map collection. The latter assignment started when, one day not too long after I began, Don Black called me into his office and asked me “How do you like maps?” Wow, did I love maps. I explained my college courses, which emphasized geography and international relations, and how I learned to read maps while serving in the Army for two years. “Good,” he said, “we’re going to make you our Map Librarian.” But, that’s another story. I retired in 1993, as Librarian Emeritus, after nearly thirty years as head of the map collection.

Service to WAML

I have been honored by several organizations, not the least of which is WAML. These awards have been achieved, I believe because I have relied upon these basic principles:

  1. I believe there is a solemn obligation to devote the time that is required for any membership. No matter how short, or how extended that time may be, one gains more from that time than one puts into it.
  2. Long ago I adopted the philosophy that one should, anytime one shares an idea by making a contribution in the IB or elsewhere that you should not only get credit, but you should take responsibility for putting that idea in print by tagging your name to it. Then, if a reader wants some more information, he or she will know a resource person with whom to make contact.

WAML has produced some of the finest people in our profession, among them:

Mary Larsgaard, author of the only textbook on map librarianship ever written, had been President of all three American map librarianship organizations: WAML, SLA G&M Division, and MAGERT. No other map librarian has achieved so much and contributed so much to our profession. And to think that she started here with WAML!

There are others among us who have contributed greatly, not least of whom are the authors of each and every one of WAML’s Occasional Papers;

Larry Cruse — He was President 1979-1980; An author of at least six essays for the I.B.; Hammond/MAGERT Award recipient in 1987: Larry Cruse. for his “MIMI, the Map and Information Index to Major Microform Sets.” Microform Review 14, no. 4 (1986): 224-227; he was a compiler of a regular I.B. feature: MicroCartography. His columns are found in issues 11:2; 12:1 through 13:1; 13:3-19:2; 19:4; 20:3; 21:1; 21:3; 22:2 [volumes 11 thru 22]; He was editor of Information Bulletin from 1984-1989, and 1994-1998; see his “Observations and Recommendations” (Cruse), 19:4:197; He was a reviewer of at least 13 books and reports.

I regret that WAML has overlooked Larry Cruse for his contributions.

Ken Rockwell has devoted more than twenty years compiling “New Mapping of Western North America” for the IB. His example of dedication is to be commended, and I applaud him for all he has done for WAML.

Kathy Rankin has done a great job on biographies for this 50th Anniversary; she has served as WAML President, and been a dedicated member.

Kathy’s husband, John Stevens (no direct relation to me) has audited WAML financial records, and given sage advice on Incorporation and other Constitutional issues.


At the Spring 1999 WAML Meeting (Linda Zellmer, President), a report from Larry Cruse and Richard Soares was discussed by the Executive Committee. They had been charged in 1997 to examine and make recommendations for a “WAML Awards Program.” Among the several awards that they proposed was the Map Librarianship Publication Award/Publishing Award–for the best, published article or book on map librarianship.

They Nominated Mary Larsgaard for her book, Map Librarianship. They proposed naming the Award “the Mary Larsgaard Award.”

If I am not mistaken, that was never done. I hope that the Executive Committee would return to that Report and consider the Recommendations, so that Mary Larsgaard will be suitably Honored.

I am not interested for myself, I have been honored more than adequately.

WAML Projects

I see a project that would be great contributions to WAML, and one or two volunteers could gain a perpetual place in the History of WAML by accomplishing these projects.

The Back Issues of the Information Bulletin — Volumes 30 to 45 have been digitized in PDF format — they are online at the WAML website.

Volumes 1 thru 29 should be scanned, and PDFs created so that anyone who chooses to write about WAML will have access to all IB issues. [Editor’s note: these volumes have been scanned, and PDFs have been created. These are in the process of being put on our Back Issues page.]

I urge your continued participation and support of WAML for the next 50!

I am proud to have been honored by WAML with an Honorary Lifetime Membership. I treasure it and my association with such fine people.

Thank you for your attention, and with the great respect that I have received at this meeting. I have great confidence that WAML, under your leadership will live another 50 years. 

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[1] “The Pre-history” https://lauc.ucop.edu/sites/default/files/attached-files/25yrs-lauc.pdf

[2] PAPA/LS- APPOINTMENT TO THE LIBRARIAN SERIES, Section B.1: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ysywG1E2Vbu7Pybu15tUgqbbqK1TumRQObOsoYEc_Gs/edit