The Myth of the Electronic Library: Librarianship and Social Change in America

The Myth of the Electronic Library: Librarianship and Social Change in America

by William F. Birdsall

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Overview

Librarians develop myths to explain themselves to society and to generate support for their profession. Since the last quarter of the 19th century, the prevailing myth has been the myth of the library as place. Confronted with social change, librarians are searching for a new myth. They are abandoning the myth of the library as place and are adopting uncritically the assumptions and values of the myth of the electronic library, with profound consequences for the future of librarianship.

This book examines the assumptions and values of the myth of the electronic library, compares them with the myth of the library as place, and explores the meaning of the library as a place, alternatives to the information society, the role of the librarian in a therapeutic society, and the politics of librarianship. It concludes with a set of propositions with the objective of encouraging librarians to assess critically the role of libraries and librarianship in the context of social change and, especially, to debate more fully the implications of the myth of the electronic library for librarians and the users of the library.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313292101
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/30/1994
Series: Contributions in Librarianship and Information Science Series , #82
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

WILLIAM F. BIRDSALL is University Librarian at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has previously held positions at Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, and the University of Manitoba. His publications include articles in Library Journal, Canadian Library Journal, Journal of Academic Librarianship, The American Archivist, and the Journal of Library History.

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: the Myth of the Library

Breaking the Myth of Library as Place

Creating the Myth of the Electronic Library

Myth of the Electronic Library in the Information Society

The Sensuous Library

The Therapeutic Librarian

The Intermediary Librarian

The Librarian and the Library

The Politics of Librarianship

The Politics of the Electronic Library

Libraries and Life Chances

Conclusion: The Second Century

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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