Produced by the Department of Media Relations & Publications

Lehman Chief Librarian Also President of TLA

June 28, 2011

Kenneth Schlesinger

When he's not busy making sure that the Leonard Lief Library is running smoothly, Lehman Chief Librarian Kenneth Schlesinger is also president of the Theatre Library Association (TLA), which supports librarians and archivists who work with material from theatre, dance, entertainment, and television, among other media.

In a recent interview with, Professor Schlesinger revealed his passion for the ever-evolving art—or you might say, science—of libraries and the men and women who labor to keep them places of knowledge.

"The Theatre Library Association will be celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary next year," he says. "We're proud of our distinguished history, passionate about preserving documents and artifacts of live performance, and enjoy daily being part of a stimulating network of like-minded professionals."

Membership in the TLA—part of the American Library Association, the oldest and largest such association in the world—is not limited to professional librarians and archivists, however; collectors, curators, scholars, and students also belong to the organization. (You can join at

"We have recently introduced a performing arts librarianship scholarship for new student members," says Professor Schlesinger, who is also Board president of Independent Media Arts Preservation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of non-commercial electronic media.

The fall semester will be particularly busy for him and the TLA; the Association's Annual Book Awards are held in October, and the group will be planning its upcoming symposium in April.

In March, Professor Schlesinger traveled to South Africa's Eastern Cape as a Fulbright Senior Specialist. There he helped to design both a library and archive for the Steve Biko Centre—dedicated to the South African activist—in Ginsberg Township.