Saturday, January 28, 2006
Rural Public lib.- week 1
Rather than re-cap what we discussed in class about this article (D. Marcum, "The rural public library..."), I thought I'd use this space to raise a broad theoretical issue. We talked about how the voices of the actual rural patrons who used the Hagerstown, MD, library and/or bookmobile in the early 1900's were very difficult to find. To me, a connected issue to this is, how do we find the voices of non-readers or writers in a history of libraries? In other words, we are doing a history of reading, so how can this history include people who are not literate, or are from oral cultures (either older cultures such as Am. Indian or current cultures like the Hmong)? I think this is an important part of history, and can be very difficult to find. By definition, a culture or people who are oral, or for whom a written language is very new, are going to be hard to include in histories which rely on the written word. But I think it is very important for historians and librarians to seek out these voices. One way libraries can do this now is to seek out elders in cultures such as the Hmong and record oral histories, folk tales, stories, etc. and thus include their voices in the current record. Any other thoughts on this?