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Libraries as Agencies of Culture / Edition 1

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Libraries—public, school, and academic libraries—are ubiquitous cultural agencies. Yet how much do we know about the multiple ways that they serve and enrich our culture? These essays explore the role of the library in the life of the reader and the library as a place in the life of its users.  Contributors are Thomas Augst, Ari Kelman, Elizabeth Jane Aikin, Ronald J. Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, Christine Pawley, Juris Dilevko and Lisa Gottlieb, Jean L. Preer, Jacalyn Eddy, Benjamin Hufbauer, and Emily B. Todd.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Originally published as a special issue of the journal American Studies (Vol. 42, No. 3, Fall 2001), this monograph has been edited by Wiegand, the dean of American library history, and Augst, an assistant professor of English at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Augst's fascinating introduction attempts to place libraries, which have "borne the particular weight of defining culture and devising means for its practical administration," in relation to the major issues of the production, distribution, and consumption of culture in America. The far-ranging essays that follow-contributed by scholars with backgrounds in the humanities, library science, or often both-further explore libraries' roles as cultural agencies, setting a standard for American library history. Ari Kelman provides a new look at the development of New York Public's Research Library. By both constructing a public space and disciplining noise levels, Kelman argues that the library ensures the transfer of information from text to individual, thereby placing itself at the center of discourse. Other essays look at the development of folk music collections in the Library of Congress; the creation and use of home libraries in antebellum New England; and the relationship between American library culture and gender norms between 1880 and 1920. A fascinating look at the nonfiction collection of the library in Celebration, Disney's planned Florida suburb, reveals how public libraries fit into the intellectual landscape of their communities, ultimately acting as repositories of cultural heritage. Most academic libraries subscribe to American Studies, but those with LIS collections or that support strong American studies or print history programs will want to add this volume to their circulating collections.-Brian Kenney, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299183042
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: Print Culture History in Modern America
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 211
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Augst is assistant professor of English at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. Wayne Wiegand is the F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies, and Professor of American Studies, at Florida State University, effective 1/1/03.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: American Libraries and Agencies of Culture 5
The Sound of the Civic: Reading Noise at the New York Public Library 23
High Culture, Low Culture: The Singular Duality of the Library of Congress 43
Home Libraries and the Institutionalization of Everyday Practices Among Antebellum New Englanders 63
Reading versus the Red Bull: Cultural Constructions of Democracy and the Public Library in Cold War Wisconsin 87
The Celebration of Health in the Celebration Library 105
Exploring the American Idea at the New York Public Library 135
"We Have Become Too Tender-Hearted": The Language of Gender in the Public Library, 1880-1920 155
The Roosevelt Presidential Library: A Shift in Commemoration 173
Antebellum Libraries in Richmond and New Orleans and the Search for the Practices and Preferences of "Real" Readers 195
Notes on Contributors 4
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