APRL to celebrate 50th anniversary

The American Philatelic Research Library (APRL) will celebrate 50 years of philatelic knowledge, research and resources on Nov. 2-3 at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pa., which is about a four-hour drive from the Canada-U.S. border in Fort Erie, Ont.

The event will begin with an informal meet-and-greet on Nov. 2 followed by a full day of activities on Nov. 3, when the library will host author talks; displays of rarely seen items from the APRL archives; a ceremony in recognition of past APRL librarians; and behind-the-scenes library tours, all concluding with a celebration dinner with a guest speaker.

“We look forward to sharing this special event with our members and the philatelic community, all of whom made this day possible. With the commitment of their time and the investment of their resources we can proudly look back on the last 50 years and with confidence look forward to the next 50 years and beyond,” said APRL Librarian Scott Tiffney, who co-chaired at seminar at the recent BNAPEX show in Québec.


In 1967, American Philatelic Society (APS) President Edward Willard called for the “creation of a Library Service.”

On Oct. 28 of the following year, the APRL was officially incorporated and the philatelic home for research and resources for the APS and the philatelic world was born. From its humble beginnings in State College, the APRL has grown to include a vast array of resources that spans the breadth of philatelic knowledge and research.

With the grand opening of the APRL’s new $4 million 19,000-square-foot facility at the Bellefonte Match Factory on Oct. 29, 2016, a new chapter began in the history of the APRL as the research home of America’s stamp society.

The APRL is “a gold mine of resources and references for philatelists,” according to APS member Jean Stout, 2013 American Topical Association Distinguished Topical Philatelist. “The hallmark of a good resource library is the ability to serve its patrons’ needs from the simple to the complex. The APRL meets this requirement a thousand-fold.”

With more than 85,000 volumes and nearly 6,000 periodical titles on three miles of shelving, the APRL is host to a world-class collection of resources that includes catalogs, books, journals, government documents, auction catalogs, stamp show programs and copies of exhibits. In addition, there are many specialized items in the archives such as the Daniel Hines Air Mail Collection and a 1729 postal map showing New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the oldest item in the library’s collection. With its vast philatelic holdings and resources, the APRL serves as a leader of philatelic research for not only its members but the worldwide philatelic community.

“The APRL has been a reliable source over the past number of years for all the desired information I ever need or want,” said 40-year APS member Bill Schultz. “It has made my philatelic life significantly more pleasurable.”

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