Monday, November 28, 2016

The spatial and intellectual horizons of LIS

The spatial and intellectual horizons of LIS

In response to Kerry’s pleas for contributions to the Library History SIG blog, here’s a link to a draft chapter I updated recently: Chapter 1 of my book International and comparative librarianship: concepts and methods for global studies. Chapter 1 is entitled “From local to global: the expanding horizons of libraries and related information organizations”. In it, I attempt to sketch the evolution of the spatial and intellectual horizons of librarianship, documentation, and information activities – the wider field of librarianship, documentation and information services commonly denoted by LIS – from early times to the present. Here the focus is on the international dimension of LIS as a field of activity.

The chapter is a radical revision – a rewriting really – of an earlier version in which I had outlined the history of international librarianship from the earliest times,  going back to the libraries/archives of ancient city states, Assurbanipal, the ancient Library of Alexandria, etc. It dawned on me a few years ago that it is an anachronism to refer to international librarianship before the advent of nation states (conventionally but somewhat simplistically marked by the Westphalian treaties of 1648). In fact, the word “international” was introduced in 1789 by that prolific coiner of new words, Jeremy Bentham, and international library activities in the strict sense only took off in the second half of the 19th Century.

How then to refer to border-crossing, cross-polity activities before the mid-19th Century?  After considering various periodizations of library history (discussed briefly, with some references, at the beginning of the chapter), I decided to avoid chronological periods and rather organize the chapter in terms of roughly chronological but often overlapping and sometimes recurring ‘horizons’. By ‘horizon’ I mean the geographic (e.g. local, national, international, global) and intellectual space within which librarians see their work (for example in terms of collections, bibliographic control and users) and the extent to which they interact with librarians and scholars in other cultural and political entities. I identified six horizons: local, imperial, universal, national, international and global. You can read the chapter here and judge for yourself whether the concept works:

Peter Lor

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Library History session at IFLA 2016 Columbus: Few Photos

Hello Library History friends

Our session at the Columbus conference was well attended and many thanks to all who came.  We had a lovely spread of papers with three of our four presenters able to attend- from left to right: Ray Pun who delivered the paper Recalling an Arab American Dream: The Story and Legacy of Ameen Rihani's novel The Book of Khalid and The New York Public Library, session Chair yours truly Kerry Smith, Irene Munster who delivered Spreading the roots: Origin of Jewish libraries in Argentina, and Dr Sharon McQueen who gave her paper May Massee and the Buffalo Public Library: Service to Immigrant Children, 1906-1912.  Our 4th paper presenter Dr Suzanne Stauffer was unable to attend. As some of you will recall Baton Rouge experienced serious weather and flooding during the conference and whilst Suzanne and family who live there came through this, she was unable to leave town.  You can read her paper From Saigon to Baton Rouge :  East Baton Rouge Parish Library and Vietnamese Refugees, 1975-1985 (which I read at the session) and the others by browsing the  IFLA library    I am working with Sharon McQueen to get her paper up as soon as we can.

Kerry Smith, Convenor IFLA Library History SIG

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Report of Library History/ Multicultural Libraries session in IFLA Columbus 2016 Conference

What a wonderful Library History session at IFLA 2016 Columbus:"Libraries and Immigrants: Historical Perspectives"! I may be biased, but I thought the session went very well with three of our four speakers able to attend and present their papers with much passion and enthusiasm. The 4th speaker was caught up with the floods in Louisiana (she and her home are OK) so I read her paper though perhaps not with the same passion as she would have. All papers had different approaches to the topic and all were very interesting and appreciated by all present. In fact, there is a summary of the session at this website and the papers can be found at Session 192 of the Conference programme:
In addition, I sought expressions of interest from those attending, to assist on the committee for this Special Interest Group and was delighted with the response. I will keep you posted on how things develop, and I will be sending out a Call for Papers for the 2017 Conference in Wroclaw Poland in the next little while. See you there!

Kerry Smith, Convenor IFLA Library History SIG

Monday, July 18, 2016

Call for Papers | Libraries: Culture, History, and Society (LCHS)

Call for Papers | Libraries: Culture, History, and Society (LCHS)

We are delighted to announce that "Libraries: Culture, History, and Society" is now accepting submissions for our premiere issue to be published in Spring 2017.
A semiannual peer-reviewed publication from the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association and the Penn State University Press, LCHS will be available in print and online via JSTOR and Project Muse.The only journal in the United States devoted to library history, LCHS positions library history as its own field of scholarship, while promoting innovative cross-disciplinary research on libraries' relationships with their unique environments. LCHS brings together scholars from many disciplines to examine the history of libraries as institutions, collections, and services, as well as the experiences of library workers and users. There are no limits of time and space, and libraries of every type are included (private, public, corporate, and academic libraries, special collections and manuscripts). In addition to Library Science, the journal welcomes contributors from History, English, Literary Studies, Sociology, Education, Gender/Women's Studies, Race/Ethnic Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Architecture, Anthropology, Geography, Economics, and other disciplines.Submissions for volume 1, issue 1, are due August 29, 2016. Eric Novotny and Bernadette A. Lear of Penn State University Libraries are co-editors.Manuscripts may be submitted electronically through LCHS's Editorial Manager system. They must also conform to the instructions for authors.
We are excited to see this journal become a reality and welcome your thoughts (and submissions!) as we create a new platform for studying libraries within their broader humanistic and social contexts.
For further questions, please contact the editors:
·         Bernadette Lear,
·         Eric Novotny,