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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 08, 2005


One concept expressed in Harris' article that fascinated me was his claim that Censorship, the very issue that many of today's libarians fights so hard to combat, was routinely practiced by early librarians, trying to give the "common man" the "best books" and help them become "Americanized, meaning just like them!



Blogger Jom said...

Yes, I agree that the idea of "Americanization" is very interesting. Then, how can a public library take part in a rapid growing community as the American’s where multi-cultural and multi-intelligence issues leave strong accents in not only the American history in general but also in the development of the community and also libraries? Since the growing community is happening along with the growing of diversity, so did or how did "Americanization" change during the history?

5:39 PM  
Blogger Barbara Walden said...

I think the question of "censorship" vs. "selection"in libraries is very interesting. What is the difference? Our ideas of what is appropriate to include in libraries have changed over time. But I think we should not call those old librarians "censors"because they applied different ideas or standards from ours. I really disagree with Harris on this. If we ask what their standards were, and what led them to have and apply these standards, sometimes we find insights that inform us with issues of today, too. ""Americanization"is an issue we still have with us. Why is this still an issue in libraries, even though we may deal with it differently? I think in looking at this historically we can see some answers, maybe.

9:15 PM  
Blogger Awa said...

I love your ideas Barbara. Although I don't know how old librarians selected books, I really doubt that this kind of behavior can be called as "censorship". Maybe it can be, but we must understand how those old librarians thought, believed, and did in the first place. And this understanding doesn't come from the biography of merely a handful of people.

10:43 PM  

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