The Forefathers of the American Library Industry set out to develop something revolutionary - public libraries that would span the USA. But, public accessing is only as good as it's organization.
During the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, a group of prominent librarians gathered to discuss the future of American Libraries. The most famous attendees included Melvil Dewey, Professor of Library Economy at Columbia College, Justin Windsor, Library Director at Harvard University and Herbert Putnam, Library Director of Boston Public Library. Let's face it - they were the first true systems people and didn't like the lack of conformity of planning, equipment and supplies. They wanted the best access for every patron.
Thus, they formed the American Library Association, and later that year, Melvil Dewey started the Readers' and Writers' Economy Company, renamed Library Bureau in 1982, to furnish and equip libraries with furniture that conformed to the new ALA standards.
In 1927 Remington Rand acquired Library Bureau. By 1976, the Remington Rand Library Division labeled Library Bureau was publicly purchased and a former Remington Rand Branch Manager created Midwest Library Systems to continue to distribute Library Bureau and its other complimentary products to Public and Private Libraries in the Midwest.
Our rich history has played a pivotal role in continually redefining the library for Librarians, Patrons and Communities:
Card Catalog and filing methods standardized.
Single tray card catalog system with tabs standardized.
Adjustable shelving with standard heights and widths constructed in steel and wood.
Charging desk invented.
Full product lines manufactured within a single facility.
Modular furniture line concept developed, revolutionizing the industry and standardization of circulation desks, technical furniture and study. carrels.
Created the concept of full-line furniture and equipment collections designed to withstand heavy public use while providing an integrated look.
UV finish replaced older processing method, providing a stronger, scratch resistant finish.