Week 7

Basic Library Philosophy

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." (Mark Twain, 1835-1910)

"Beware of the person of one book." (Aquinas, Thomas. 13th Century)

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

The following apply to all types of libraries. Pay particular attention to the Library Bill of Rights:

ALA Library Bill of Rights Read carefully.

ALA Intellectual Freedom Manual Note especially "We teach our library users to be able to evaluate information for themselves." This should apply to ALL libraries... Reading the notes on this page should be enough. However, click on the link "Lessons School Librarians Teach Others".

Academic Libraries and Intellectual Freedom Applies to ALL libraries.

To quote from previous lessons:

Public Libraries -- " ...the democratic cast of American life which encouraged the free flow of information" (Harris, p. 224).

"To these men, steeped in enlightenment principles, there was a direct connection between knowledge and virtue, and in their report they stated the very heart of what was to become the public library creed: the future of a democratic republic is directly dependent upon the education of its citizenry, and the library is an important element in the educational process" (Harris, p. 227).

"... by the 1930s the public library's role was being re-defined as a "guardian of the people's right to know." This new view of the library's purpose... emphasized the librarian's obligation to provide a balanced and unbiased picture of issues so that the citizen might make an independent decision. This philosophy, gaining increasing acceptance in the forties, is generally subscribed to by all public librarians, at least in theory, and is embodied in all basic policy statements, such as ALA's Library Bill of Rights and Statement on Labeling, both currently in force" (Harris, p. 232). [note from Colby: The current predominance of political dogma and the public stress on only talking about certain subjects constrained by certain frames makes this balance of reading materials even more pertinent. Thinking "outside the box" has become unfashionable if not verbotin.]

"More recently, public librarians, stung by criticisms regarding lack of use of the public library, have taken a more aggressive stance in the area of service and have initiated numerous "outreach" programs designed to increase the availability and use of library facilties... This new thrust was greatly facilitated by the widespread funding of library programs by federal and state government in the late fifties and the sixties" (Harris, p. 232).

Academic Libraries -- "The emergence of a number of vigorous and respected library administrators, like Melvil Dewey of Columbia and Justin Winsor of Harvard, heralded the rise of a new class of professional librarians dedicated to the ideal that books in libraries were an essential ingredient in any educational recipe" (Harris, p. 233).

From the mid-1980s onward a major focus has been on the automation of catalogs and databases, and the increasing supplying of students and faculty with computers and networks.

"As the availability of online databases grew and end-users needed special training, librarians became even more concerned about teaching students success in using libraries and information. An added wrinkle in this concern was the fact that many faculty also needed help and guidance in using electronic information formats but often did not want to admit it" (Rader).

"One of the more famous, and certainly the longest surviving, example of a successfully integrated library instruction program has been at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, under the guidance of Farber. Another good example has been the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, which features the "teaching library," where library instruction was a required part of the general curriculum for students, and a test had to be passed to assess library skills before students could graduate" (Rader).

The "Teaching Library". The idea is to stress instruction in every service in the library as well as working with faculty in teaching courses and developing curriculum. This is an outgrowth of the German University idea of research as the best form of learning. To it is added the goal of making students self-sufficient life-long learners.

"The uncertain quality and expanding quantity of information pose large challenges for society. The sheer abundance of information will not in itself create a more informed citizenry without a complementary cluster of abilities necessary to use information effectively" (Earlham College).

Almost forty years have passed since Knapp (1958) of the Monteith College at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, stated: "If we wish the library to function more effectively in the college ... we must direct our efforts toward the curriculum, working through the faculty" (p. 83 1). This sentiment has been echoed by numerous leaders in the library profession over the years and has surfaced to a much greater extent in the last few years as the information technology revolution has begun to manifest itself. Librarians have continually been concerned with students' library and information skills, with faculty attitudes toward the library, and with the importance of the library's involvement in curriculum development. ("Information literacy and the undergraduate curriculum - The Library and Undergraduate Education" Library Trends, Fall, 1995 by Hannelore B. Rader) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1387/is_n2_v44/ai_17726336/?tag=content;col1 accessed on 6/26/09.

School Libraries -- "One reason for the trend toward the independent school library as distinct from the public library school deposit can be found in the newer methods of teaching adopted after 1900. The idea of learning to read for the pleasure of reading was stressed, and the importance of having good books in addition to textbooks in the schools began to be realized" (Harris, p. 243).

"In the better libraries throughout the nation, the emphasis was being placed on service to students and teachers and on making the library an active part of the school program" (Harris, p. 245).

Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement: A Review of the Research "Such research is an important strategic tool for raising the profile and prestige of library professionals and for reinforcing in the minds of policy-makers and school communities the crucial contribution that school libraries can make to student achievement"

The Future of School Libraries

The Role of the School Library Media Specialist in the 21st Century by Carrie A. Lowe; Please read carefully.

National Libraries -- The philosophy of national libraries is to collect evey book published in the country and relating to the country. Many offer additional services.

Special Libraries -- Includes governmental libraries. Each library's philosophy is defined by its specialization.


Once you have completed all the readings for this week, please return to Canvas, click on the quiz link, and take the quiz. If you are not satisfied with your score, take the quiz over again. This can be done multiple times.

Once you have taken the quiz and achieved a grade with which you are satisfied, return to Canvas and address the Discussions topic for the week.

Colby Glass, MLIS