Ideology and Libraries: California, Diplomacy, and Occupied Japan, 1945-1952

Ideology and Libraries: California, Diplomacy, and Occupied Japan, 1945-1952


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In 1950 Robert L. Gitler went to Japan to found the first college-level school of library science in that country. His mission, an improbable success, was documented in an assisted autobiography as Robert Gitler and the Japan Library School (Scarecrow Press, 1999). Subsequent research into initiatives to improve library services during the Allied occupation has revealed surprising discoveries and human interest of the lives of very diverse individuals.
A central role was played by a librarian, Philip Keeney, who later became well-known as an alleged communist spy. A national plan, designed for Japan’s libraries, was based directly on the county library system developed by progressive thinkers in California, itself a dramatic story. The School of Librarianship at the University of California and its founding director, Sydney Mitchell, was found to have deeply influenced key figures. The story also requires an appreciation of the deployment of American libraries abroad as tools of foreign policy, as cultural diplomacy. Meanwhile, library services in Japan were seriously underdeveloped, despite Japan’s extraordinarily high literacy rate, very well-developed publishing and book retail industries, and librarians who were far from backward.
The difference in library development lay in the huge divergence between the ethos of the American public library (dominated by support for individual self-development and Western liberal democracy) and the evolving political ideology of Japanese governments after the Meiji Restoration (1868). After absorbing authoritarian French and German administrative practices Japan became a militarist dictatorship from the 1920s onwards until surrender in 1945.
The literature on the Allied Occupation of Japan is vast, but library services have received very little attention beyond the creation of the National Diet Library in 1948. The story of initiatives to improve library services in occupied Japan, the role of libraries as cultural diplomacy, the dramatic development of free public library services in California have remained unknown or little known – until now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538143148
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 11/13/2020
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.78(d)

About the Author

Michael Buckland is professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Information and co-director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative.

Buckland was born and grew up in England. He entered library work as a trainee at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford after studying history at that university. After taking his professional qualification in librarianship from the University of Sheffield in 1965, he joined the staff at the Lancaster University Library in 1965, one year after it was founded. From 1967 to 1972 he was responsible on a day-to-day basis for the University of Lancaster Library Research Unit where a series of studies were undertaken concerning book usage, book availability, and library management games. In the meanwhile he received his PhD from Sheffield University. His doctoral dissertation was published as Book Availability and the Library User (Pergamon, 1975).

In 1972 he moved to the United States to Purdue University Libraries, where he was assistant director of libraries for Technical Services, before becoming dean of the School of Library and Information Studies at Berkeley, 1976–84. From 1983 to 1987 he served as assistant vice president for library plans and policies for the nine campuses of the University of California. He has been a visiting professor in Austria and in Australia.

His writings include Library Services in Theory and Context (Pergamon, 1983; 2nd ed. 1988, ISBN 0-08-035754-7), Information and Information Systems (Praeger, 1991, ISBN 0-275-93851-4), Redesigning Library Services (American Library Association, 1992, ISBN 0-8389-0590-0), Emanuel Goldberg and his Knowledge machine (Libraries Unlimited, 2006, ISBN 0-313-31332-6), and Information and Society (MIT Press, 2017, ISBN 978-0-262-53338-6), recipient of the 2018 ASIS&T Best Information Science Book of the Year Award.

Buckland's interests include library services, information retrieval, cultural heritages, and the historical development of information management, including studies of pioneers of documentation, including Suzanne Briet, Emanuel Goldberg, Paul Otlet, Robert Pagès, and Lodewyk Bendikson.[1] He is co-director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative and was the principal investigator, with Fredric Gey and Ray Larson, of several funded projects including Search Support for Unfamiliar Metadata Vocabularies, to make the searching of subject indexes easier and more reliable; Translingual Information Management Using Domain Ontologies, for improved translingual search support, and Seamless Searching of Numeric and Textual Resources, to facilitate searching across different kinds of databases. He was president of the Association for Information Science and Technology in 1998 and received its Award of Merit in 2012.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Function and Structure
3 Cultural Contexts and Political Choices.
4 The California County Library System
5 Libraries in Diplomacy
6 Libraries in Japan and the Allied Occupation
7 CIE Information centers
8 The Education Mission, 1946
9 Philip Keeney and his Plan
10 National Diet Library
11 The Library Law of 1950
12 Don Brown’s Initiative
13 Gitler, Kiyooka and Keio
14 The Japan Library School
15 Afterwards
16 Summary and Retrospect
Appendix: Keeney’s Plan

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