Previous histories of libraries in the Western world—the last of which was published nearly 20 years ago—concentrate on libraries and librarians. This book takes a different approach. It focuses on the practice of librarianship, showing you how that practice has contributed to constructing the heritage of cultures. To do so, this groundbreaking collection of essays presents the history of modern librarianship in the context of recent developments of the library institution, professionalization of librarianship, and innovation through information technology.
Organized by region, the book addresses the widely recognized, international impact of Anglo-American librarianship and its continuing influence over the past century, combining critical analysis with chronological histories of modern librarianship in Europe, North America, Australia/New Zealand, and Africa. An introductory chapter explains the origins of the project, and a concluding chapter examines the effects of digitization on modern librarianship in the 21st century.
- Discusses the cultural role of libraries and the role of information in shaping modern society
- Deepens readers' understanding of the history of the 20th century and modern librarianship, including digital convergence of the past two decades
- Analyzes the cycles of "information explosion" and multiple information eras as part of the development of librarianship over more than a century
- Explores tensions around professional neutrality in the provision of public access to information and knowledge in a democratic society