Libraries Without Borders: New Directions in Library History

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Demonstrating how librarianship has been and continues to be a practice of pushing beyond definitions and preconceptions, the inspiring and informative histories in this volume chronicle library workers and users who strived towards making libraries more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

What does it mean for a library to be without borders? This remarkable collection of essays, drawn from the Library History Seminar sponsored by the Library History Round Table (LHRT), explores the roles that libraries have played in the communities they serve, well beyond the stacks and circulation desk. The research contained in these pages shows how librarians and users can not only reach beyond the border separating professionals from patrons, but also across institutional boundaries separating different specializations within the profession, and outside traditional channels of knowledge acquisition and organization. Delving into a variety of goals, approaches, and practices, all with the intention of fostering community and providing information, this collection's fascinating topics include 

  • a critique of library history as it is currently conducted, pointing out the borders of habit, familiarity, and bias that thwart diversity within library and information studies;
  • stories of the community-based activism that has been key to battling the “epistemicide” that can undermine collective understandings about the world and the interests of African American library users;
  • profiles of current Indigenous library practitioners who are both documenting and creating library history;
  • a grassroots movement to create a comprehensive collection related to the theology and practice of the Society of Mary at the time of great ecclesiastical and liturgical changes; 
  • histories of the innovations which led to the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services and the Instruction Section of ACRL;
  • using the “due date” as a lens for understanding how patrons and the general public feel about the role of libraries and their rules in the lives of average Americans;
  • how the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act influenced the work of research libraries that collected materials from the Communist Bloc; and
  • a primer on conducting research in library history that will allow readers to explore how libraries in their own communities have affected the lives of their users.

Imprint: ALA Editions

Published: Fall, 2023

Pages: 240

Sku: 9780838936634

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