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Eli M Oboler: Who was Eli M. Oboler?

Why was the Library Named After Him?

Eli M. Oboler


Eli Martin Oboler (1915-1983) came to Idaho State College (now Idaho State University) to be the head librarian in 1949, where he remained until his retirement in 1980. He was very active in many library organizations, including the Idaho Library Association, which he helped organize, the Pacific Northwest Library Association, and the American Library Association. During his illustrious career, his was a strong voice speaking out against censorship, so much so that the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Round Table posthumously created an award in his honor.

During his time as ISU's head librarian (the position eventually became "University Librarian and Dean") he planned two library buildings. The current home of the library was completed in 1977 and named in his honor shortly before his death in 1983.

Eli Oboler was a prolific writer and editor; a selected bibliography of his works spans 1939-1983. A complete bibliography would include over 200 books, essays, articles, columns, letters, poems, and miscellanea, plus over 500 reviews! He still lives on in the words he left behind. He inscribed several of his books for the library, and we've selected a few quotations from his work for your perusal. A lengthier biography is also available.

We hope you will contact a librarian at the Eli M. Oboler Library of Idaho State University if you would like more information regarding one of the most influential librarians of the 20th Century.

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