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"
Each time I re-read the Harris article I am deeply bothered by the way Harris presents his arguments and especially his choice of sources. Harris seems to depend too much on secondary sources for his information and direct quotations instead of reading the original correspondence himself. This may be a reflection of the article appearing in Library Journal instead of a more scholarly research publication. Maybe the longer ERIC report uses different sources that this version but I am not convinced this would change how Harris argues his position. I do agree that we need to re-examine the foundation myth of American libraries but this article does not seem to go about the re-examination in a judicial fashion. Moreover, is the foundation of Boston public library representative of library development everywhere in the US? Harris seems to imply this is the case but he does not provide any evidence to support such an assumption.