Meet the ACRL Presidents: Charles M. Adams

Over the course of ACRL’s 75th anniversary celebration, we’ll highlight the association’s history by profiling our past presidents.Adams

Charles M. Adams (1907-1990) was the 13th president of ACRL, serving from 1950-1951. While under his leadership as president, ACRL passed motions to survey small liberal arts colleges, increase funding to the Committee on Publications, and create an Audio-Visual Committee.

Adams received his A.B. degree from Amherst College in 1931, his B.S. from the Columbia School of Library Service in 1933 and in 1942 he completed work on a M.A. in English.

In 1978, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro awarded him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters. Adams worked at the New York Public Library from 1934-1938, leaving to take a position as assistant to the director and librarian in charge of special collections at Columbia University. Adams left Columbia University in 1945 to become library director at the Women’s College which would become the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He served as the library director until 1969. During his tenure there he ordered that African-American students be allowed to use the library’s front entrance. He then served as the director of the undergraduate library at the University of Hawaii where he retired in 1973.

Adams published many articles on library building design. He had a large collection of papers related to writers of the Southern Appalachia , including the poet Randall Jarrell, which he donated to Amherst College Library.  In 1958, he published Randall Jerrell: A Bibliography.