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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Thursday, September 22, 2005

As I have often wondered about the marginalization of genealogy and library services to genealogists, I applauded Hays' mention of the need of examining change through intergenerational patterns, including Hay's comment: "Hence my long-standing plea to bring genealogy into history, as both a teaching and a research device." (p. 44).

I do question Woodford's repeated assumptions without pesenting evidence (or presenting little evidence) to support his claims. Some of our earlier readings contradict what Woodford claims.
I also noticed that Woordord wrote this article in 1966, during the turbulent 60s, yet he still holds firm to some of the conservative ideas of the early library leaders and scholars (though its seems library historians didn't start revising earlier theories until the 1970s).

Below are some of Woodford's statements that made me yell, "ARGH!"

"No structure of a public type more closely touches and effects the lives of the people, or exerts a more profound influence on the characteer of its community than does the public library" (p. 34).

"The original library as an implement of education was chiefly intended to meet the needs of the primary level.... Popular and universal education begins iwth the library, pjrincipally the public library. The ability and the desire to read does not begin in the classroom. It starts with the book, and the book is the library.... they can reach their fullest development only where the books are." (p. 35).

"the library contributed to the development and grouth of the automotive industry. It provided at least, the place where ideas were born.... as a new breed of millionaires came on the local stage, it is understandable that cultural horizons expanded, and the library's departments ddevoted to the arts--music and drama, literature and the fine arts, rare books --came into being." (p. 36).

"One can only speculate about what dind of men wrote tat clause, who had the foresight to see the need and devise the means of support for public libraries. They were frontiersmen, farmers, country lawyers, small merchants." (p. 37).

"It might also be pointed out that no one benefits more from public librareis than the worker and his children." (p. 41).



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