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Subject: Libraries FAQ, v. 2.1, part 3/10

This article was archived around: 14 Mar 2000 16:35:05 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: books/library-faq
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Archive-name: books/library-faq/part3 Posting-Frequency: Every 3 months Version: 2.1
Libraries FAQ 2.1 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/1107 Anthony Wilson paw@iglou.com Libraries FAQ Section 2.0 General Information About Libraries 2.1 What is a Library? 2.2 What is library science? 2.3 What types of libraries are there? 2.4 How long have libraries been around? 2.5 How old is librarianship? 2.6 Where can I get the latest news on libraries and library science? 2.1 What is a library? The traditional definition is "a collection of books". The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (Heartsill Young (ed.) Chicago: ALA, 1983) defines a library as: "A collection of material organized to provide physical, bibliographical, and intellectual access to a target group with a staff that is trained to provide services and programs related to the information needs of the target group". Will Manley adds, in his _Manley Art of Librarianship_ (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1993), "An unused collection of books is simply that - an unused collection of books. It is not a library." 2.2 What is library science? The ALA Glossary defines it as "The knowledge, demands and skills by which recorded information is selected, acquired, organized and utilized in meeting the information needs of a community of users."(pg. 132) However, Will Manley writes, "library science is an oxymoron. There is absolutely nothing scientific about librarianship." (pg. 175) 2.3 What types of libraries are there? Libraries can be categorized into four basic types: 1. public libraries, http://www.yahoo.com/Reference/Libraries/Public_Libraries/ 2. school libraries, http://www.yahoo.com/Reference/Libraries/School_Libraries/ 3. academic libraries, http://www.yahoo.com/Reference/Libraries/University_Libraries/, and 4. special libraries, which include: Law libraries http://www.yahoo.com/Government/Law/Legal_Research/Libraries/ Medical libraries http://www.yahoo.com/Health/Reference/Libraries/ Art libraries http://www.yahoo.com/Arts/Libraries/ Science and engineering libraries http://www.yahoo.com/Science/Libraries/ http://www.yahoo.com/Science/Engineering/Libraries/ Music libraries http://www.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Music/Libraries/ Government libraries http://www.yahoo.com/Government/Documents/Libraries/ or any of the many libraries which serve organizations requiring, or providing, specialized information (see Special Libraries Assoc., http://www.sla.org/ .) 2.4 How long have libraries been around? The Sumerians are believed to have developed the first writing system around 3500 BCE By 2700 BCE, they had established temple, private, and governmental libraries. If you are interested in the history of libraries and librarianship, visit the Library History Round Table web site and consider joining their mailing list, http://www.spertus.edu/library-history/ : "The purpose of the Library History Round Table is to facilitate communication among scholars and students of library history, to support research in library history, and to be active in issues, such as preservation, that concern library historians." 2.5 How old is librarianship? From the Libraries FAQ 1.2 by Steve Bergson: Much younger, but difficult to pinpoint. The _ALA Glossary..._ defines librarianship as "the profession concerned with the application of knowledge of media and those principles, theories, techniques and technologies which contribute to the establishment, preservation, organization, and utilization of collections of library materials and to the dissemination of information through media." (pg. 130) Barbara Ehrenreich writes, in her _Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class_ (Pantheon: New York, 1989) that professionalization occurred between 1870 and 1920 (pg. 133). I don't know if a consensus has been reached on a specific year for this development. Certain milestones are noteworthy, though. 1876 - Melville Dewey established the first standardized classification system for libraries (DDC) - the American Library Association was founded - _Library Journal_ began publication 1882 - first ALA library conference held 1887 - Dewey established the first library school at Columbia University (which has since closed down) 1965 - MAchine Readable Coding (MARC) coding was introduced 2.6 Where can I get the latest news regarding libraries and library science? NewsFlashes/Libraries, http://www.hwwilson.com/flash.html, is a headline news service for the library community provided by the publisher H. W. Wilson. News Flashes is updated every Monday. The Library Journal Digital, http://www.ljdigital.com/, provides library news and technology updates. AcqWeb's Hot Topics section, http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/law/acqs/acqs.html, has links relating to current controversies in library science. A good source for "alternative" news is the Minnesota Library Association Social Responsibilities Round Table (MSRRT) Newsletter, http://www.cs.unca.edu/~davidson/msrrt/ . Editor Chris Dodge, http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Cafe/7423/index.html , provides interesting updates on library staff unionizing, internet censorship, price gouging by vendors, etc.