Friday, March 31, 2006

Libraries talked about in weblogs

An interesting local weblog posting on the Madison Public Librarymakes me wonder how today's blog musings will work as the primary sources of tomorrow's library histories. For example:
At the library again. The computers are all taken up by Madison's homeless, who spend most of their time playing online video games until their two hours are up. I'm not exactly sure why the library allows this; it seems like it should be against some kind of rule. There is a small, hooded Asian kid to my right watching Wrestlemania clips, and an elderly black man to my left doing his taxes. His half-hour session is almost up, and he's not finished. Across the aisle, a stubble-cheeked guy with a stack of VHS is looking at Craigslist postings of sublets. Every so many minutes I hear a different person complaining to the young woman at the tech desk about how the computer won't let them log on, and she has to explain about the two hour limit. Again. Everyone turns around to watch because the tech desk girl is pretty. The Asian kid just got busted for using multiple cards to log in past his limit. I had no idea the library was such a hotbed of intrigue.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Public Library Inquiry

This article by Robert Leigh describes the results of a study investigating the status of public libraries in the 1950s completed by a group of social scientists. The questions below come from Molly, Alycia, and Tonia.

The social scientists who performed the inquiry into the public library system entered into their research with a set of basic assumptions and premises about the public library system based on their conceptualizations of the type of society our library system had originated from. The author outlined his six basic assumptions in regards to freedom of communication, the opportunity to learn, popular control and expert direction, special groups and mediating function, centralization and local participation, and technological change and institutional tradition. Are these issues still the six most important issues when looking at the functionality of libraries? Have the interactions between these factors changed due to changes in our legislation, level of technological advancement and popular culture?

The study also predicted that “conflicting concepts and values will appear in the description of library policy and practice,” and that many of the public library’s main problems would arise out of their attempt to reconcile those conflicts (11). Are any of the conflicts and problems later discussed in the study “new,” or are these problems that have also been coming up within the profession in library history up to this point?

What does the Leigh article, which describes the status of public libraries at the end of the 1940's tell us about who was using the library in the Barelson article? Does Leigh's article add any perspective as to why some groups would or would not appear prominently at the library, or do you think Leigh's perspective differs from librarians of this period in terms of what he thinks is valuable reading material? How do the problems or controversies regarding popular fiction (that we have discussed in the past and that are
mentioned here) inform us about who might use the library in this time period or about who might find the library the most useful?

From Christine Pawley's book we know that there were often many diverse groups of people within one geographic area served by a public library, and that within a larger community there may be smaller "imagined" communities networked through commonalities in thought or opinion. Do you feel that Leigh or Barelson are making assumptions here about who they are referring to when they talk about the "community" or were users of the library (any readers of these articles) predominantly white, middle class urban folks so that it is justified to use assumed values of the middle class in arguing against having popular culture, fiction and "trashy" or "unorthodox" materials widely available in the library? Does the dominant culture (whatever it may be within different libraries or areas) always dictate what is found in the library rather than "imagined" communities or minority groups and values? Does the Library Bill of Rights have any effect on this?

What does it mean that Leigh's study was 1. completed by sociologists
(or non-librarians) within a sociological framework 2. requested by the
ALA and 3. funded by the Carnegie Corporation, if anything at all? How
should these facts inform our reading from what we have learned of
these aspects in class thus far?

Do the social scientists’ conclusions about public libraries differ from the perceptions provided by librarians? How does their conclusion regarding library schooling that “it would seem desirable to distinguish sharply between instruction for nonprofessional technical jobs…and graduate instruction for the professional degree” compare with our knowledge of library schools and the desire of librarians to establish themselves as professionals up to this point? Consider the conflict between the status of professionals and paraprofessionals in libraries today. Has the social scientists’ recommendation for library schools been resolved?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Book for final project

I just realized I forgot to post this! Sorry! I'll be reading "Privacy in the 21st Century: Issues for Public, School, and Academic Libraries" by by Helen R. Adams, Robert F. Bocher, Carol A. Gordon, and Elizabeth Barry-Kessler. It is a brand new book that just came out about two months ago, so I'm looking forward to being on the cutting edge of relevency.

Berelson, "Who Uses the Public Library?" II

"By and large, the older the people, the less they use the public library." (p. 23)

Berelson uses a good deal of his article to discuss age as a determinative factor of who uses the public library. Through several figures, he rigorously illustrates that in 1949, a large proportion of library users were school-age youths, between the ages of 5 and 15. He states one possible reason for this could be the physical ailments associated with age, i.e., lessened energy or "eyestrain." I wasn't really buying that reasoning.

Yet, he makes a much more compelling argument when he links age and education. He states that increasingly, younger adults have had more formal education than their elders and therefore more experience with written material in general, and the public library specifically. He even speculated that as the number of people exposed to formal education increased, the age of patrons would correspondingly rise. I am curious about the progression from Berelson's observations in 1949 on age, education level, and the public library to age and education level in the public library today. Do school-aged youths still make up a higher proportion of public library patronage today? If Berelson's predictions have turned out correct (and I think it seems that they have at least in part) is it solely due to the proliferation of formal education in our society? Is this a strictly linear progression or have other factors played a role in raising the age of patrons?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Nuns vs. Librarians

The today show did a segment about a week ago on a spelling bee between a group of nuns and librarians. It's pretty entertaining and the clip itself is only 2 minutes long. To see it, go to, click on video highlights, and where it says "MSN Video Search," replace with "nuns". The video is titled "Spelling nuns get the buzz for bees again". Click and enjoy.

"Who Uses the Public Library?"

"It is also relevant, and perhaps more important, to inquire into the relationship of the occupational composition of the public library's clientele to that of the population as a whole. Is the library's clientele a representative sample of the total adult population by occupation? Again the answer is "No." Professional and managerial people, students, and white-collar workers make greater use of the public library, relatively speaking, than do the other occupational groups." (pp.33-34)

"The young use the library more than the old, the better-educated more than the lesser educated and women more than, and differently from, men. The public library serves the middle class, defined either by occupation or by economic status, more than either the upper or lower classes."

Good social progressives that most librarians are, it is taken a priori that the number of working-class and poor people who use the library should be increased. But working people, as a single homogenous group, generally do not go to libraries. The homeless go there; some immigrants go there; and often the children of the poor (especially the children of recent immigrants) go there. But the people librarians most desperately want to reach out to--working-class adults--never do.

Is that a problem? Are we wasting our time, having been chasing these people now for almost a century?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Discussion on Libraries & War

In class on 3/23, we will be giving you some time for small group discussions on one or both of the following questions. We would like you to start thinking about these issues, but please do NOT post anything about it here to the weblog until after class.

Question 1: How does the ALA response to censorship, loyalty investigations and other privacy issues from 1930-1950 as discussed in this week’s readings compare and contrast to what you know of the ALA’s response to the current Iraq war and specifically the Patriot Act?

Question 2: The weblog discussion of our last reading (Pawley’s book) raised the question of how future historians can do research on patrons’ reading habits given the lack of current library records that link an item to a patron’s record. How do you think we can balance patrons’ privacy concerns in the 21st century (particularly in the current climate with the Patriot Act laws) and the desire of future library and print culture historians to study reading trends for our time?

book review part deux

On the other hand, I may just look at Unprofessional behavior : confessions of a public librarian by Will Manley. It sounds pretty interesting and I'm sure there may be some insightful reflections on the trials and tribulations of a public librarian. So yeah, maybe that's the way to go...

book review

I think I will most likely look at portions of "Patience and Fortitude: Wherein a Colorful Cast of Determined Book Collectors, Dealers, and Librarians Go About the Quixotic Task of Preserving a Legacy." I would like to look at the library's role in preservation of information in contrast to access of information. Does that make sense?

Book Review

I keep changing my mind, but I think that I am going to read Defining Print Culture for Youth edited by Lundin and Wiegand. We have touched on this subject a little bit with previous readings, but I thought it would be interesting to read more about children's lit in depth.

Library Bill of Rights

I'm just throwing this out there, but it sounds like the Library Bill of Rights is similar to a kind of legislation or constitution of some sort. Is there any sort of punishment though if libraries don't uphold these rights? It seems like there is a problem with the actual following through of ideas and organizations, despite the fact that they are "official" or in print. Their reality isn't always as effective as their ideals. Should their be some sort of accountability for libraries nationwide? or is this ridiculous?

Final Book Review

I'm going to read An active instrument for propaganda" : the American public library during World War I by Wayne Wiegand. I'm an advertising major so propaganda really interests me. I'm thinking this book is going to be great and, you've gotta support Wayne :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

book for final report

For the final book report, I intend to read Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. I think Putnam's book will be a good match to what we have read in class in general and Pawley specifically and I will consider what role libraries and print culture have had in light of the arguments Putman makes. I also think that Putnam can provide some valuable insight into the roles of libraries in the future, as growth of technology creates a society that is interlinked even more, but paradoxically feels more physically isolating.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Book selection: Running a Message Parlor

I've selected Gordon McShean's Running a Message Parlor: A Librarian's Medium-rare Memoir about Censorship because it reminds me of the "Radical Librarian" articles and it presents a librarian's view of the Swinging '60s/'70s and his struggle against the unhip censors from the DAR and John Birch Society.

This is probably also the only book about librarianship with a cartoon of a naked man on the cover.

final paper book selection

I have chosen A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World by Nicholas A. Basbanes for my final paper. I chose this book because I am interested in archives, preservation, and book collecting. I'm hoping to be able to draw parallels between A Splendor of Letters, Double Fold, and possibly Reading on the Middle Border.

final paper

For my final paper I'm looking at reading Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller by Micheal Korda. I'm interested in looking closely into why people read what they do, and how current events affects people's choices- or, if it is more closely linked to longevity of popular authors, or popular series (ie: Grisham, Steele, etc). A common thread in our readings so far this semester is our excitement over what people considered "good" and "bad" reading, as we've looked over books that were considered risque at some point, or in some locations. I think Korda's book is going to be interesting in that regards, to show how what might be considered controversial might still be popular. I think libraries really need to be in touch with what people are interested in, and alot of times I think they rely on the bestseller lists to show them what to order- Korda uses the Bookman lists and Pub. Weekly, so it might also be interesting to find circulation records on those books deemed popular in a year, as well as to examine if some genres are represented more often than others, if there are "male" and "female" books still today, and overall, how today's society, and past societies have shaped and reflected (or not) what people read.

Final Book Review

I will be reviewing Reading Sites: Social Difference and Reader Response, ed. by Partocinio Schweikart and Elizabeth Flynn. I chose this book because I am very interested in the issues of reading practices and gender, race, ethnicity, class and other "social categories" as they relate to librarianship and the history of libraries and librarianship. This book "examines a host of genres, from nineteenth-century working-class autobiographies and twentieth-century women's confessional magazines to detective fiction and book-club selections, to question how various groups of readers and authors identify with competing social hierarchies." I think it will be very interesting to apply the theories and issues discussed in this book to library history and the themes we have examined in this class.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Final Book Review

For the final paper I will be reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. As I am sure most people are aware, this book discusses the 'flattening' of the world that is occuring with the internet spreading information more quickly that ever before. I'm not completely familiar with Friedman's entire thesis, but I believe he proposes that information is now spread by multinational corporations rather than countries. Due to economics, political/government control over the spread of information is weakening, while the internet and corporations are spreading information faster than ever.

I'm interested in exploring how the spead of information and the multinational corporation's control over information is affecting libraries and patrons. Additionally, I would like to explore how users interpret a library's function/usefulness in light of the internet and economic influences on information.

Final Book Review

I chose Censorship and the American Library: The American Library Association's Response to Threats to Intellectual Freedom 1939-1969 by Louise Robbins for the final review. In this book Louise Robbins examines how the ALA addressed censorship and challenges to intellectual freedom, but she also traces how the profession developed as it responded to these issues. I wanted to read this because these issues are so fundamental to library and U.S. history. In addition, library science and history are still very new to me and I wanted to read a book a could provide a good foundation.

Final Book Review

For my final book review, I will be reading Carnegie Denied: Communities Rejecting Carnegie Library Construction Grants 1898-1925 edit by Robert Sidney Martin. This is a collection of seven stories of communities that rejected Carnegie funding for their public libraries. The communities discussed in this compellation include a wide geographic scope and encompass a range of reasons for rejecting Carnegie's money. I am particularly interested in the communities where unionized labor was vocal is the rejection of this money after the Homestead strike of 1892.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Book choice

I will be reading The Gutenberg Elegies: the fate of reading in an electronic age by Sven Birkerts for my final book review. I think this book will be interesting in comparison to Pawley's history of print culture in terms of how it might be affected by the electronic age. I am also interested to see what Birkerts has to say about the impact technology has on literary culture, particularly as it relates to some of the library trends exposed in Double Fold.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Final Book Review

I will be reading A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel for my final book review. I chose this book because of our recent discussions regarding the history of print culture and how libraries fit into that history. I think that this history of the transitions of written word will also provide insight to the changing ways that people read over time. It will be interesting to see how changing ways of reading corresspond to the changes in libraries over time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

book review

I have chosen to read the Professor and the madman, a tale of murder, insanity, and the making of the oxford english dictionary: by Simon Winchester.I am choosing this book because of my interest in the title of the book, and the fact that I was supposed to read it for another class that I dropped for this one (I really wanted to read it.) I'm very facinated with the notion of where we draw the line between brillance and madness and the title eludes that this book will be dealing with insanity. There are some very interesting ideas that are thrown around when talking about Melville Dewey and his obsessive compulsive issues and how this most likely shaped many of the ideas of how the library greatly shifted from a place for the upper class to work and play to a place for everyone; the public domain.

Final Book Review

For my final book review, I am choosing to read Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles, a rare book librarian at Harvard. The book discusses the social meaning of the library and how that shifts over time throughout the world. Battles discusses library buildings and burnings (both books and buildings) and specifically recounts the book burning done in Nazi Germany during WWII (a subject of particular interest to me). According to Publishers Weekly (courtesy of, Battles' theme is "despite the rule of barbarians or megalomaniacal kings, angry mobs and natural disasters, people's hunger for books has ensured the library's survival." And if that's not a hopeful thought for spring, I don't know what is....

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Final book review

For the final review I plan to read The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System by Siva Vaidhyanathan. I want to read this book because I like the title.

I also want to read this book because it looks pretty interesting. Per a Publisher's Weekly blurb on, the book is a follow-up to Vaidhyanathan's Copyrights and Copywrongs and covers contemporary issues of information and technology in society while framing those issues in a historical context.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Final Book Review

I'm reading "Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World," by Nicholas Basbanes. The author looks at how we learn about historical figures based on what we know of what they read and how such figures as diverse as John Milton, Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, the Marquis de Sade, and even Hitler were shaped by what texts they perused and found of worth. Basbanes also looks at "some of the most articulate readers of our time," in an effort to explore the importance of this type of historical research. Basically, he claims that by looking at what has been read throughout history, we can get a much broader understanding of the societal beliefs and views of a particular time in history, which is what we have been discussing in class, especially in relation to Pawley's book and what those library records tell us about the Osage community at the turn of the century.

Final Book Selection

I have chosen to write my final book review on Evelyn Geller's "Forbidden Books in American Public Libraries, 1876-1939." After reading next week's readings on censorship and librarianship, I realize that this book is probably old hat to seasoned veterans of SLIS. Yet, as a student new to the study of librarianship in general, I've found one of the most fascinating historical tensions we've studied so far is the question of "right" vs. "wrong" kinds of reading. I certainly never realized this was still such an issue in librarianship today. I'd like to read Geller's book because it seems to offer an in-depth look at censorship as a reaction to changing American politics, economics, and social norms in the late 19th and early 20th century. Though the readings for next week go into some detail, I'd like to look even more deeply into just what kinds of literature were considered dangerous, and why.

Monday, March 13, 2006

"In Service to the State: Wisconsin Public Libraries During WWI": The upside of "Bowling Alone"?

Ignoring the section on censorship and fervent, frankly toadying desire of librarians to be seen as "patriotic", even the first part of this article on libraries' efforts to support the war effort serves as a cautionary note for those who claim that a robust civil society is an unalloyed good. Someone should send a copy of this to Robert Putnam. The slavish obedience with which libraries and "150 other organizations" mentioned in this article offered to the federal government to support the war demonstrates a kind of cheerful insanity.

To me it seemed that mere jingoism and hysteria isn't enough to explain to ardour with which librarians went about this awful work. It seems more that they wanted so badly to be seen as real "professionals"--and particularly, to convince, "Young men that library work is a profession." (emphasis mine)--that ethics fell by the wayside. You could even see this as a miniature parable of modernism or of the First World War itself: A desire to be "modern" and "useful" that blinded people to the idiotic consequences of their actions.

Final Book Choice

For my final book review, I am reading Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century by Rebecca Knuth, a professor of the University of Hawaii's Library and Information Studies department. At first glance, this does not seem a likely book for a class titled "History of American Librarianship." However, Knuth discusses the cultural processes regarding book burning and library looting/destruction and I feel this has relevancy to America's history of censoring books and libraries, intellectual freedom and access to information issues, and how culturally significant libraries are as well as their place in societies, all topics we will have discussed by the end of this class. I am especially interested in how Knuth will construct an argument for the reasons people "consider the destruction of books a positive process" since it still happens today even in the U.S., in addition to her final conclusion that libricide destroys not only books and libraries but the "common cultural heritage of the world" since that places libraries in societies and history as particularly special cultural agents (which we as a class would all agree upon but not necessarily other entities). And I am really intrigued by the concept of "libricide."

Final Book Review

For my final book review, I have chosen to read Genevieve M. Casey's "Library Services for the Aging." I want to read this book because I am interested in working with elderly individuals after I earn a degree in Social Work and I feel this book will allow me to analyze the library resources available to that population. This issue is also highly relevant because the growing elderly population will heavily impact multiple aspects of American culture, including the public library.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Final Book Choice

For our final assignment, I have chosen to review Revolting Librarians Redux, a sequel to the book Revolting Librarians from the 70's. Redux was edited by Katia (K.R.) Roberto and Jessamyn West in 2003. I am interested in this work because it contains the thoughts and feelings of a collection librarians first hand, and it presents a picture of active librarians speaking out fairly recently. I am also interested in comparing this work to its earlier predecessor and also in looking at this work in terms of the historic yet lingering struggles of librarians that we have covered in class (feminization, pay, etc.).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Final Book Choice

For the final review, I plan on reading Cultural Crusaders: Women Librarians in the American West 1900-1917 by Joanne E. Passet. I chose this book because I am interested in women's roles in the early formation of libraries, and I also think it will be a nice compliment to some of the other things we have read in class. It will provide another perspective since most of what we have read so far has been centered on the East coast and Midwest. Also, I liked Passet's writing style in her article we read for class.
For the book report I had orginally planned on reading Forbidden Books in American Public Libraries 1876-1939 as I am interested in the changing role of censorship in our society but I just foundNicholas Basbanes Patience and Fortitude which is a romp through the history of books, collections of books, and their collectors. I am intereseted in this book as it was well reviewed and seems to cover a number of interesting subjects related to the history of books and book collections and the importance they have to society.

"Out of the Flames"

For my book report, I plan to read "Out of the Flames" by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. The book is about a 16th century Spanish scholar, Miguel Servetus, who was put to death for heresy for his book "Christianisimi Restitutio," which laid out the foundations of Unitarianism. Servetus was burned at the stake along with--so it was believed--every existing copy of his book. It turns out that three copies survived and over the next four centuries, passed through a huge number of different hands, handled by many later-famous people, surviving revolutions, wars and book burnings, ending up in France, Britain, and the United States. I'm interested in the book because its sort of represents the "perfect storm" of censorship: A book that simply could not be done away with, despite the best and most vicious efforts to do so.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Final Book Review Choice

I thought I would get this out of the way before springbreak. The book that I have chosen to read for the final book review is Lives of Women Public Schoolteachers. This book looks at the lives of various women schoolteachers from different regions of the United States during the late 19th and early 20th century. I am interested in comparing the feminization of schoolteachers with the feminization of libraries.

Availability of popular Sage Library books

A quick follow-up on my comment about in class today (because I'm a bookselling geek, not because I don't think Amazon is a good proxy for current "cultural profile" of books). Of the four titles listed as "unavailable" from Amazon, all can be found at Warner's books appear to be scarce on the market, the single copy of Clay's title probably more indicative of the large number of titles she published. Note- the market for forgotten 19th century novelists is extremely small, so it is likely that many copies are uncatalogued, sitting lonely and dusty in boxes or on bargain shelves of used bookstores and resale shops. These sorts of books often come to booksellers in boxes from "grandpa's attic," along with old encyclopedias and Reader's Digest condensed books. Consequently, they are often rejected for purchase or warehoused.

1. A Brave Lady by "Miss Mulock"- 12 copies currently for sale, at reasonable prices.

2. For Another's Sin by Bertha M. Clay- none listed under pen-name Clay, one listed for $16.50 under author's real surname Braeme. Hundreds of copies of other titles by Clay are listed, 18 of them containing the word "Sin" or "Sins" in the title.

3. Diana by Susan Warner- 3 copies for sale, for $35, $45, and $150.

4. The Letter of Credit by Susan Warner- 3 copies for sale, for $100, $132, and $356.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

On pages 180 and 181 of Reading on the Middle Border, Pawley discusses the role of the newspaper as a community advocate while telling the story of the death of Price V. Evans. The headline about his death said that he committed suicide but the article goes on to question the plausibility of the act. While creating speculation throughout the community, the paper is quick to point out that the Evans family is well educated and from a “highly respectable background.” Earlier in the chapter, Pawley claims that the press was a vehicle to perpetuate the prejudices of white, Protestant Anglophones, which is evident in questioning of Price Evan’s act of suicide. Similarly to the Mitchell County Press in 1895, this week’s edition of Newsweek perpetuates national prejudices through its representation of Hurricane Katrina evacuees living in Houston, TX. The two images used in this article show two extremes of citizens forced to relocate. First there is a photo of a black women being arrested after a “domestic fracas” and second there is a white man in a wheelchair with his few possessions in a sad looking hotel room. How do these images perpetuate the racial stereotypes that are present in our country? Was the Mitchell County Press as obvious in their perpetuation when denying the plausibility of the suicide of a boy from a good family?

Library Records: the future of our history

In addition to your personal library habits, I would like to discuss the practice of maintaining library records for historical research. Pawley was able to access records that indicated which books a patron checked out and how often a patron visited the library. Libraries today take very serious measures to make sure those exact records are not accessible, and in many cases, do not exist. Do you believe that this practice will have an affect on the quality of library history that is written in the future? If so, how do we strike a balance between protecting personal information and providing a true historical record?

Library practices in Osage vs your family

In Pawley’s chapter on the Sage Library, she discusses the reading and library use patterns of many families, from their similarities in material selection, to the number of books that a family member would have checked out at one time. One example is the John L. Whitney household. From their library records Pawley demonstrates a pattern of weekly charges to each of the children until they were approximately seventeen or eighteen, when she predicts that they left for college. She also discusses the possibility of a number of family members reading a book that was checked out on a single account. She acknowledges that this would affect the reading statistics of Osage but that it also affects the consumption of print culture within a family.

I am interested to know if anyone can recall any print consumption patterns from their own childhood. Did you take weekly trips to the library with a particular family member? Was there a limit to the number of books you were allowed to check out on those visits? Was there a specific time of day when newspapers filled your dinning room table or when you recall you family reading?

To you get you thinking...

Population Overview: Osage, IA

Population Overview: Madison, WI

Religious Affiliation: Mitchell County, IA

Religious Affiliation: Dane County, WI

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Capital Times article on UW-Madison libraries

Let's think about this weekend's Capital Times article on UW-Madison libraries as an historical document. For example, think of all the claims and assumptions in this short excerpt:

The cafe is one of several changes UW-Madison library officials have taken in recent years to keep the libraries relevant, enticing and cost-effective.

Many stodgy, book-heavy university libraries have used business models to retool their product for a new, technologically savvy generation. Although libraries do not have to make a profit, they do need to justify their existence to state policymakers, campus administration and, increasingly, private donors. And that means bringing people in the doors.

Libraries, once bastions of silence, are quickly becoming the academic equivalent of the student union.

Those of you who have worked and/or studied in our Memorial and College libraries might want to give the full article a read and comment below as both historical voices and historical analysts ...

Statistics from Class Activity

The following are the statistics we used during the class activity.

During the nineties, 9 out of 10 public, academic and school librarians were white.

8.61% of 1995-96 MLS graduates considered themselves non-white.

13% of 2001 MLS graduates considered themselves non-white.

7-10% of librarians today are gay.

62% of gay men have disclosed their sexual orientation in the workplace.

33% of lesbians have disclosed their sexual orientation in the workplace.

In 2002, 5.75% of full time library science faculty were African American.

In 2002, 9.49% of full time library science faculty were Asian American/Pacific Islander.


Adkins, Denise and Espinal, Isabel. “The Diversity Mandate.” Library Journal 129(7):

Cooke, James C. “Gay and Lesbian Librarians and the ‘Need’ for GLBT Library
Organizations: Ethical Questions, Professional Challenges and Personal
Dilemmas In and ‘Out’ of the Workplace.” Journal of Information Ethics 14(2):

Grady, Jenifer and Hall, Tracie. “The World is Changing: Why Aren’t We?” Library
Worklife 1(4)

Lynch (1998) Racial and Ethnic Diversity Among Librarians: A Status Report

Thursday, March 02, 2006

US race and religion statistics

Since we talked about this in class today, I pulled up the census figures for race. (See

White -- 75.1%
Black/African-American -- 12.3%
American Indian or Alaskan Native -- .9%
Asian -- 3.6%
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander -- .1%
Other race -- 5.5%
Two or more races (multiracial) -- 2.4%

"Hispanic Origin" is a seperate census category, with 12.5% of people identifying as Hispanic or Latino.

The US census does not ask about religion, but the Purdue Association of Religion Data Archive (see lists the following as the largest religious groups in the US:

Christian -- 84.12%
Jewish -- 1.92%
Muslim -- 1.55%
Buddhist -- .91%

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Gays and the Oklahoma library

I came across this today on some of the LGBT blogs and thought people might want to know about it, since it kinda ties into the article about gays and libraries.

Officials To Segregate Controversial Children's Books

The Metropolitan Library Commission voted on Thursday to add a special parenting section to libraries across Oklahoma City.

The book "King and King" left some parents calling for a change to where certain books were placed in the library.The commission's plan will move books from 12 recommended topics, including homosexuality, child abuse and drug abuse, to the new parenting section.

The article is short, but you can also see some video footage here:

Wiki update

The wiki is filling with some very interesting content. I have two requests as people post their tidbits of library history:

(1) Please leave "backlinks" at the top and bottom of each of your individual entries, corresponding to the areas of the wiki that your entry is connected to. For example, "Back to 1850s" and/or "Back to race/ethnicity issues in librarianship"

(2) Please add your name to the bottom of the front page of the wiki as an "author" so the whole world wide web can congratulate you.

Libraries to the People!

Sanford Berman, can you dig him? In Libraries to the People, Berman, clearly identifying with some part of the revolutionary movement, tells us what exactly is wrong with libraries. I'm not going to do alot of summary- the article was short and I think one of the more engaging ones we've read. So, published in 1972 by the Bootlegger Press, Berman's style is extraordinarily different from anything we've read this semester. Take a minute to glance over it again (its short) and first, for class tommorow jot in the margins some ways this style is different then, quickly, take a highlighter, and mark phrases or words within the piece that serve to mark his style. Berman writes that the library is sorely lacking in its promise to provide materials for everyone. (Though the article was written in 72, let's be thinking of the ways this perhaps, holds true today). Freely offering ideas of magazines and journals that could be added to balance out the library collection, Berman sees some hope in the state of libraries as they were. However, even if each patron made a wish list for their library, and this list was implemented, would that be enough? Or, is it the library always inherently going to fall short of pleasing every patron. Berman concludes with commentary about the card catalogue.-" chances are overwhelming that it contains an unbelievable pile of crap" Berman touches on what we discussed a few weeks ago, regarding the inadequacies of the card catalogue, just a little more forcefully than in previous weks. So, what do we think of Berman? Is he saying what we're all thinking? How do we view this article in relation to being a part of Library History? To play devil's advocate, is Berman only preaching to the choir in this article? Or, is the library not as useful to certain groups of people? Who is supposed to care after reading this? Would a more "professional" piece (what does that mean, anyway) speak louder to librarians, or are they already on the same page as Berman? Is there a widening gap in patronage today- the "straight-lacers" and the "hip" and if , what can libraries do about this- keeping budgets in mind, and other factors?