Good discussion points Jacob
Sources of Evidence: Jacob writes: Is Library Journal the best source to demonstrate the “popular concept” of a librarian? If Library Journal is a good source what makes this the case? If not, what other source would be more convincing?"
While I do think that Library Journal does provide insight as to the popular view of the times I do not think that it should be used as the ONLY reference.
One can discern a lot (even from a journal reporting about its own community of practice). It would be great to compare and contrast this with other sources such as newspapers of the day or any personal correspondence.
East and West:
[My assumption is] There had to be a significant divergence in opinion the further one moved away from the New England library establishment. Obviously there would be many motivational differences / influences between established cultural centers such as Boston and frontier towns of the West.
I had a difficult time with the passage on 21. I am uncomfortable with the "one can safely assume" quote. This is not trivial . . . I think that the early examination of the "5 spinsters" creates the groundwork for much of the remaining chapters. I would have liked to have seen this substantiated in some way . . . even just a simple follow-up quote from a personal account or biography of any of the original five.