The Library of American Broadcasting (LAB) was founded as the Broadcast Pioneers Library in 1972, and was originally housed at the headquarters of the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, D.C. The collection was the brainchild of William S. Hedges, a retired NBC executive, who created the Broadcasting Pioneers History Project in 1964 and began collecting historical materials related to broadcast history in the United States. The Library expanded rapidly for twenty years, but as space and funding became increasingly scarce, the Library's governing board decided to seek another setting for the collection. In October 1994, the LAB established a partnership with the University of Maryland, and moved to its current location in Hornbake Library on the College Park campus.
The National Public Broadcasting Archives (NPBA) began as a cooperative effort among several broadcasting organizations and educational institutions, including CPB, PBS, NPR and the Academy for Educational Development. The NPBA was initiated by educator and former PBS board member Donald R McNeil, who joined forces with the University of Maryland to preserve the history of public broadcasting in America. The Archives were officially dedicated on June 1, 1990.
Today, the LAB and NPBA are important components of Special Collections in Mass Media & Culture at the University of Maryland, which holds wide-ranging collections of audio and video recordings, books, pamphlets, periodicals, personal collections, oral histories, photographs, scripts and vertical files devoted exclusively to the history of both public and commercial broadcasting.
Curator of Mass Media and Culture