Library History Round Table Newsletter

library history round table  

Fall 2007
New Series Vol. 8 No. 3 

LHRT Executive Meeting at ALA Midwinter in Philadelphia (open to all interested members) will be held on Sunday, January 13, at 8:00 a.m., place TBA watch the LHRT web page.

Message from the Chair

One of my longstanding interests has been the study of library history from a comparative perspective, and another has been the history of public libraries.  As LHRT chair,  it has been my privilege to combine these two interests into the 2008  annual conference program which will be entitled:  "Public Library History in the Late 20th Century:  A Comparative Perspective."  The program will feature a distinguished panel with three speakers who will present an historical analysis of major trends and issues affecting public libraries in France, Britain and the United States.  The focus is on the period of dynamic change and transition from World War II through the end of the century.

The theme of the LHRT Program at the ALA Annual Conference will be "Public Library History in the Late 20th Century:  A Comparative Perspective."  The program features a distinguished panel with three speakers who will present an historical analysis of major trends and issues affecting public libraries in France, Britain and the United States.  The focus is on the period of dynamic change and transition from World War II through the end of the century.

Anne-Marie Bertrand, director of the Ecole National Supérieure des Sciences de l'Information et des Bibliothèques (ENSSIB), has agreed to give a paper on the situation in France during this period of impressive growth and development.  She has published and edited several books on French municipal libraries and has also written a comparative study of public library development since the Second World War in the US and in France. She presented this study as her thesis for the habilitation (a post-doctoral academic credential for faculty).  Among her books, the most relevant to this panel is: Les Villes et Leurs Bibliothèques: Légitimer et Décider: 1945-1985 (Paris: Editions du Cercle de la Librairie, 1999).   In addition, she has written on French library practices, librarianship as a career, and library architecture.  For several years Anne-Marie Bertrand also served as the editor of the prestigious Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France.   In 2005 she was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to carry out research in the ALA archives.
Our second speaker is Alistair Black who will discuss public library history in Britain.  He is a professor of library and information science at the Leeds Metropolitan University.  Alistair both edited and contributed to the last volume of the Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain & Ireland.  From 2003 to 2007 he served as Chair of the IFLA Section on Library History and he is also honorary editor of Library History,  the journal published by the Library and Information History Group (LIHG) of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.  In addition to publishing numerous articles,  Alistair Black has written three books on British public libraries:  A new history of the English public library : social and intellectual contexts, 1850-1914 (London: Leicester University Press, 1996); The Public Library in Britain, 1914-2000 (London : British Library, 2000); and Understanding Community Librarianship : The Public Library in Post-modern Britain, with David Muddiman. (Aldershot, Hants., England, Avebury, 1997).
Our third speaker will be Douglas Raber who has done extensive research on the Public Library Inquiry, a massive national study carried out by a team of US social scientists in the late 1940s.  He has written articles on this topic, and in 1997 he published a book entitled Librarianship and Legitimacy: The Ideology of the Public Library Inquiry.  More recently he published a text entitled The Problem of Information: An Introduction to Information Science (2003).  Professor Raber has also written and lectured on public l library development in the late 20th century and on the planning process.  He is now on the faculty at the University of Missouri.  Doug will discuss the challenges faced by American public libraries from the era of post-war planning to the age of the information superhighway.
We believe that this will be a very exciting program, offering us a chance to reflect on similarities and differences among three countries where, despite similar models of public library service, there are significant differences in the roles of government, community, cultural organizations, and friends groups.  I will be seeking co-sponsorship of other ALA units such as IRRT, PLA, ACRL-Western European Studies Section and LRRT.  Please pass the word and encourage your colleagues to look for this program.
Best wishes,

Mary Niles Maack

Call for Papers for LHRT Research Forum

"The History of American Libraries and Librarianship in the West."

The Library History Round Table (LHRT) will sponsor a Research Forum at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Anaheim, California (June 26 - July 2, 2008).  The Forum will consider new or continuing research to be presented at the annual conference in the following research area: the history of American libraries and librarianship in the West.  The West will be defined as the "trans-Mississippi west" and the papers may be inclusive of all library development, including public, academic, private or membership libraries.  Of particular interest will be studies on library development in frontier areas and the evolution of libraries and librarianship in the "new West."  The time frame considered will be the 19th and 20th century. 

Researchers from all backgrounds, including faculty, practitioners, graduate students, and independent researchers, are invited to submit.  LHRT members and non-members are welcome to submit; however, those selected will be required to be present and register for the conference at their own expense.

Please submit a two-page proposal by January 5, 2008.  Late submissions will not be considered. On the first page, please list your name(s), title(s), institutional affiliation(s), and contact information (telephone number, mailing address, and email address).  The second page should not show your name or any other identifying information.  Instead, it must include the following: 1) the title of your paper, and 2) a synopsis or abstract of not more than 500 words.  It is desirable that the abstract include a problem or thesis, including a statement of significance, objectives, methodology, and conclusions (or tentative conclusions for work in progress).  Please indicate whether the research is in-progress or completed.

Please send submissions either by email or land mail to:

Kenneth Potts
LHRT Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect
C/o University Library
California State University, Stanislaus
One University Circle
Turlock, CA 95382

VII Information Science International Conference: "Women, Libraries and Technology: a Gender Perspective". Salamanca (Spain), October 29th-31st 2007

The 7th Information Science International Conference, organized by the Department of Library and Information Science of the University of Salamanca (Spain), is dedicated to the topic of "Women, Libraries, and Technology: a Gender Perspective"; this is an annual conference that each year focuses on a subject considered of interest to the library community in general.

In Spain, this is the first international conference that concentrates on this topic; however, it is a logical step for this Department as it has offered several seminars and summer workshops on this topic since 2000. The main goal of the conference is to create a space for discussion and reflection about causes and consequences of the library profession becoming a female profession. Research completed in Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Mexico and Colombia will be presented in order to highlight the obstacles that women librarians encounter in their professional development and promotion. Other topics to be addressed will be possible measures to advance equity issues, and a historical view of the situation of women librarians. The introduction of technology in the library field, scientific production and the situation of women professors in Library and Information Science are, as well, themes that will be looked at from a gender perspective.

Sadly, this year we are not going to have Isabel de Torres among the presenters, as she unexpectedly passed away last summer in a car accident. This unhappy event affected the entire organization and participants, since Isabel was a friend and colleague to us all as well as an advocate and supporter of past conferences and workshops.  She promoted the introduction of Women's Studies in the Spanish library field, and was a leading figure for the Spanish Women's Studies Libraries Network. Above all, she was an outstanding professional and an extraordinary human being.  We will honor her memory during the conference program. Maria José López Huertas will read Isabel's contribution to the conference and, on the last day of the program, a panel of her colleagues and co-author will present her newly published book.

In summary, we are proud to say that this year's panel of lectures represents the diversity, importance, and international perspective of the topic. The following professionals and academics will be presenting at the conference: Montse Argente Jiménez (Centre de Documentació, Institut Catalá de la Dona, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona), Gillian Burrington (National Library for the Blind, Stockport, U.K.), James V. Carmichael Jr. (Department of Library and Information Studies, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, U.S.A.), Roma Harris (Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, Canada), Mary Niles Maack (Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, U.S.A.), Ana María Muñoz Muñoz (Departamento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación e Instituto de Estudios de la Mujer, Universidad de Granada), Rosa Oliveira (Biblioteca Pública de Lousada, Portugal), Leena Siitonen (founding member of the Women's Issues Section at IFLA), and Ruth Helena Vallejo (Decana de la Facultad de Sistemas de Información y Documentación, Universidad de La Salle, Bogotá, Colombia).

For further information, contact:

Lucia Cedeira Serantes
Conference liaison
Ph.D. student
Faculty of Information & Media Studies
University of Western Ontario, Canada

Historical Perspectives SIG

"In Search of Our 'Dead Germans': Continued Critical Reflections on Scholars who Professionalized Historical Research in LIS" Andrew Wertheimer, Panel Chair. In response to Sydney Pierce's call for evaluating the profession's 'dead Germans" (see American Libraries 23 (Sept 1992): 641), Mary Niles Maack conducted a 2007 ALISE panel that examined the lives of three LIS theoreticians. The panel for 2008 will continue where the last one left off.


Papers Now Available

Library History Forum XI was held at the University of Illinois in late October 2005 on the subject of "Libraries in Times of War Revolution and Social Change". An account of the seminar has already appeared in LHRT Newsletter (Vol 7 No 3, Fall 2005). Of the many excellent papers from the US and abroad that were presented at the seminar a number, after a rigorous review process, have been published as the Winter 2007 issue of Library Trends The papers by professional historians, professors of library and information science, librarians and doctoral students from a number of countries are a fascinating mixture of subjects, periods, personalities and approaches, ranging from ancient China, apartheid South Africa, libraries for children in the US, Belgium and Canada, the ALA, the Theresienstadt Ghetto and Finnish hospital libraries, to the disastrous looting of the National Library in the ongoing war in Iraqi. They suggest how vigorous and wide reaching historical studies are in the library field.

With twenty eight articles, totaling 313 pages, the single issue price of $23 to individuals is a bargain.  Orders should be made to:

Johns Hopkins University Press
Journals Division
P. O. Box 19966
Baltimore, MD 21211-0966

Library Trends, Volume 55 no. 3 Winter 2007.

W. Boyd Rayward

News in Brief

New Publications:
Wayne and Shirley Wiegand have just published Books on Trial: Red Scare in the Heartland (University of Oklahoma Press)  They have spent a good deal of the fall giving presentations on the book in Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Florida..

A new book of essays on library history, Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States, edited by Kenneth Carpenter and Thomas Augst, has just been published by University of Massachusetts Press. Complete information at:

Self-publication recommended by Larry Nix: Sergio Lugo, 'Your Uniform Is Your Pass,' Soldier and Sailor Welfare Relief In World War I: The American Library Association.  One of a projected 11 volume series on World War I welfare relief organizations. Available PP $18.00 from Sergio Lugo, 1190 S. Grape, Denver, CO 60246.

Call for Papers

The Culture of Print in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM)

The Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America
Madison, Wisconsin
September 12-13, 2008

The conference will include papers focusing on the dynamic intersection of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) and print culture. Papers might address ways in which STEM-its histories and materials, its theories and practices, its economics, and its practitioners-affects or is affected by print culture.  These approaches might include: innovations in the production and circulation of print; patterns of authorship and reading; publication, and dissemination of knowledge in the history of STEM. Alternatively, taking the various theories and methodologies that have grown out of half-a-century of historical and social studies of STEM, papers could investigate the social construction of STEM knowledge through print; technologies of experimentation and inscription as a print culture of the laboratory; and the social networks of readership in the production of scientific consensus or conflict. Though our emphasis is on the United States scene, we welcome submissions from other areas of the globe as well.

The keynote speaker will be Professor Jim Secord, of Cambridge University, Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project, and author of many publications, including the award-winning Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (University of Chicago Press, 2000).

Proposals for individual papers or complete sessions (up to three papers) should include a 250-word abstract and a one-page c.v. for each presenter. If possible, submissions should be made via email. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2008. Notifications of acceptance will be made by early March.  For further information, please contact Christine Pawley, Director of the Center for Print Culture 

The Calendar

  • ALISE Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, Jan 8-11, 2008.  See the History SIG program elsewhere in this issue.
  • Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, PA: Jan 11-16, 2008
  • Annual Conference, Anaheim, CA, June 26-July 2, 2008.
  • SHARP 2008: "Teaching and Text," June 24-28, 2008 at Oxford Brookes University, UK, is now accepting proposals for papers. Deadline for submission is November 30. Go to for more information.
  • IFLA: World Library and Information Congress: "Libraries without Borders: Navigating Towards Global Understanding," 10-15 August 2008, Québec, Canada. Go to:
  • AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION, October 16-19, 2008. Albuquerque, NM