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LQ Volume 1 Issue 2

Reading notes for the first volume and second issue of The Library Quarterly.

To return to the list of notes in this volume: volume-1

Article 1

This entry is about:

Joeckel, Carleton B. (1931). The Public Library under the City-Manager Form of Government. The Library Quarterly, 1(2), 121-151. url:

Note: The first article of the second issue of The Library Quarterly is titled “The Public Library under the City-Manager Form of Government” It was written by Carleton B. Joeckel, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: University of Michigan

Note: The second part of this article was published in Vol. 1, Issue 3 and my post on it is here:


Note: A powerful introduction set within the context of why libraries do not receive much attention, much financial support from their municipal governments, and little pay for their librarians:

Moreover, notwithstanding the best publicity efforts of modern librarians, the library has never been a spectacular feature of government. The basis of its success consists of thousands of individual units of service to its many users. It cannot point with pride to single outstanding achievements, such as the construction of a new street or a new bridge, the capture of a notorious criminal, or the extinguishing of a dangerous fire (pp. 121–122).

Note: Two lines of public library development:

  • public libraries attached to school districts
  • public libraries attached to city governments

Then the notion of the board of library trustees is introduced. Such that:

So firmly has the board idea intrenched [sic] itself in library administration that librarians themselves have come to regard it almost as a sacred and inalienable right, variation from which is unthinkable and not to be tolerated. Scant space is given in writings by librarians to other forms of library government; and the librarian has come, pretty generally, to accept the *sui generis* idea of the library's place in municipal affairs. The librarian still feels that the library's place *is* different and distinct from all other parts of the municipal government and, as such, is entitled to special and separate consideration at all times. He often fails to realize that the board plan was but one phase of the development of municipal administration and that library organization took shape as it did largely because of the existing fashion prevalent at the moment in municipal government rather than from any special design (pp. 123–124).
  • public libraries in the “council-manager government” (p. 125)

Note: This is likely the first research article to appear in this journal, as we would understand that concept / construct today. That said, it differs from the form presented today, even though only superficially. That is, there are no literal Introduction, Literature Review, Findings, Discussion, etc. sections marked off, but the article naturally follows that kind of organization, even though its sectioned off differently. Personally, I like it.

Note: Joeckel finds five types of public library management with each type containing finer grain categories (quoted in bits):

1. School library districts
2. Municipal public libraries with independent library boards
3. “Corporation” libraries with self-perpetuating boards
4. Libraries managed by non-governmental associations
5. Municipal public libraries under the control of city manager (pp. 128–129).

Note: After laying out his classification of the legal organization of these public libraries, Joeckel proceeds to describe each type and provide examples from the various cities he examined.

Note: The final two appendices are extremely helpful. The first appendix lays out his findings in tabular form. The second in charts and diagrams.

Note: The article ends with a note that a second part will be issued in July.

Note: This article would benefit a variety of courses in a LIS program:

  • management of libraries
  • history of libraries
  • ethical issues in libraries (as the control of various parts of the library will have an effect on what librarians can do at any specific library. For example, whether they can purchase books).

I've heard a few people raise the idea that there should be more integration between LIS programs (especially lines in the LIS programs that focus on public libraries) and political science programs. This article is evidence that such a relationship would be fruitful.

Note: There's a nice Wikipedia article on Carleton B. Joeckel, and| has a copy of his The Government of the American Public Library.

Note: While Joeckel's book has been cited numerous times (and there is, by the way, some interesting references to that book in Jesse H. Shera's important work, Foundations of the Public Library, this article has only been cited three times (via Google Scholar), and one of those citations is from Joeckel's 2nd part of this article.

Article 2

This entry is about:

Lewerenz, Alfred S. (1931). Children and the Public Library. The Library Quarterly, 1(2), 152-174. url:

Note: The second article of the second issue of The Library Quarterly is titled “Children and the Public Library.” It was written by Alfred S. Lewerenz, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: Los Angeles City Schools

Note: This article takes a look at children's use of public libraries in Los Angeles. One of the first observations: the study is not based on a random selection of students, although the selection of students does attempt to be methodological and *scientific*. As a result, methodological bias is indicated or could be suspected.

Second, while many of the previous articles I have read in this study, with minor editing, read like they could have been written more recently, this article strikes me as something you would actually find in the 1930s – esp. because of its focus on IQ.

That being said, it is interesting to read such an early study that looks at whether there is anything distinctive about the kinds of people who would visit the library. That is, the fundamental questions here are: who are the people who visit the library, are they different from the general population, and if so, how?

That also being said, there is some confusion in the article, at least in my of reading it. That is, this is a study of children who are sent to public libraries by their schools. Yet the article suggests that there is something different about these children a priori instead of as a result of the schools sending them to the public library. I am not clear on what the author is saying here.

Note: There are a whole host of issues with the following statement, and it is almost comical in a bad sci-fi movie kind of way. But perhaps there is something positive in the idea that they were aware in the 1930s that the location of the public library was important; or, perhaps the idea that the placement of the public library in a city is important comes from ideas about the distribution of populations of “subnormal mentality” in a city:

the public library may not have branches which serve sections of the city inhabited by a population of subnormal mentality (p. 157).

Article 3

This entry is about:

Starke, A. H. (1931). Children's Reading. The Library Quarterly, 1(2), 175-188. url:

Note: The third article of the second issue of The Library Quarterly is titled “Children's Reading.” It was written by A. H. Starke, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: Chicago, IL (No affiliation)

Note: This is another article on children and public libraries. It's written in response to an early committee / study designed to answer questions about children and reading.

Here's an interesting set of questions about the lack of information about the topic:

One asks in vain what part of the 47 percent of our people without public library service are children; how many of the two and a quarter million books circulated annually from our public libraries are juvenile books or books withdrawn for juvenile reading; how many of the 15,000 and more trained or experienced librarians in the United States are trained for, or are doing work with, children; what amount of the thirty-five and a third million dollars spend on public library work each year is spent on children's books, or the maintenance of children's rooms, or for salary of children's librarians (p. 177)?

Note: This article is turning out to be a really excellent rant against the lack of information (and lack of books) about what children get at libraries and elsewhere.

Note: This rant is so good, I'm beginning to find it humorous:

On the other hand, it seemed a little ridiculous that any scientific study, involving the expenditure of much time and often large sums of money, should present only the conclusion that “students of the school studied and read a great variety of magazines” or that “fiction seems to have a greater grip on the reading interests of boys and girls than reading matter of an informational sort”–conclusions any worker with children knows almost a priori to be true (p. 182).

Note: Even on topics of diversity, this author is remarkably awesome and scathing of his contemporaries:

But after considerable investigation only four studies of the reading interests and ability of negro children were discovered, and none of the reading habits and interests of children of other races; nor, in the many studies of children's reading, had the factor of face received much attention in the statements made concerning the home environment and the social background of the children studied. The aim of most investigators had been, apparently, to study “an even stratum of American middle-class life,” “100 percent American” (and presumably Nordic) boys and girls, as if such undiluted groups anywhere exist [in the US] (pp. 183-184).

Note: Starke is not holding back on librarians now:

As on many topics, of course, librarians could give no help at all (p. 185).


Note: Nice article. I don't study children's librarianship, but it would be interesting to read and compare a contemporary *state of the affairs* article on the topic.

Article 4

This entry is about:

Waples, Douglas. (1931). What Subjects Appeal to the General Reader? *The Library Quarterly, 1*(2), 189-203. url:

Note: The fourth article of the second issue of The Library Quarterly is titled “What Subjects Appeal to the General Reader?.” It was written by Douglas Waples, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: Graduate Library School, University of Chicago

Note: Waples begins with a nice starting question, one that he acknowledges would be nice to answer yet difficult to do so:

why is it that some people read and others do not (P. 189).

Note: It will be important to highlight how the topics in many of these early *LQ* articles are still the topics we are working on today. I'll need to classify these in my paper on this.

Note: This is really a fantastic article on reading, or, on “what people would like to read about” (p. 191).

Note: I think one key insight about this paper, regardless (or because) of the findings it reports, is that understanding reading will require understanding both books and people. Neither can be investigated separately if any hope of understanding what it means to read is desired.

Note: Damaging:

Another example will serve to show how the procedure may be used to find the subjects of most interest to a given community. A public librarian, of long experience in small and medium-sized communities, selected 23 of the 117 topics appearing on the check-list when asked to select topics on which most books needed to be purchased to meet the public library demand. Sixteen groups were then chosen as best representing a typical American community. The 23 topics considered by the librarian to be most in demand were then compared with the topics in which most interest was expressed by the sixteen groups. Only 3 topics appeared in both lists! Twenty of the 23 library topics were relatively uninteresting to half of the sixteen groups and 12 other topics, not selected by the librarian, were found to be just as interesting as the 3 most interesting topics he had selected (p. 198).

Read more of Waples' work on reading.

Note: Historically, an interesting tidbit:

About thirty public libraries and many college libraries make some provision for helping readers to find books of most interest and value. In public libraries such help is given by an assistant called “reader's adviser” (pp. 200-201).

Article 5

This entry is about:

Butler, Pierce. (1931). The Dentition of “Equus Donatus.” The Library Quarterly, 1(2), 204-211. url:

Note: The fifth and last article of the second issue of The Library Quarterly is titled “The Dentition of 'Equus Donatus.'” It was written by Pierce Butler, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: The Newberry Library

Note: This is an interesting essay by one of the founders of the term *library science,* specifically in his role as a librarian at The Newberry Library, one of the great American research libraries.

Note: The essay begins by noting the importance gifts have been to libraries in America's history. Then it proceeds to make a case that an understanding of philanthropy and libraries is necessary for a theory of librarianship to develop (probably still true today).

Note: Butler then offers a critique that focuses on the purpose of collecting rare books when compared to the social mission of the library and the library's commitment to its community. This seems to be the real value of the essay, although the specifics are important for other reasons too. It's a nice use of a heuristic: the library has a mission, and if something violates that mission, even if that something seems to align with it, then what violates must be examined and possibly set aside, no matter how seemingly worthy it is.

Note: Regarding the previous note about the relationship between libraries and philanthropy, and the impact this has on a theory of librarianship, I add this note from Irene S. Farkas-Conn's work From Documentation to Information Science:

After World War II, the government took over the role played earlier by the philanthropic foundations (p. 201).

This, then, should be incorporated into the broader theory of LIS.

lq/volume-1-issue-2.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/07 08:43 by seanburns