Reading notes for the second volume and second issue of The Library Quarterly.
To return to the list of notes on this volume: volume-2
This entry is about:
Esdaile, Arundell. (1932). The British Library Association Conference. The Library Quarterly, 2(2), 97-105. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301877
Note: The first article of the second issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “The British Library Association Conference.”
It was written by Arundell Esdaile, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: British Museum
Note: The British Library Association is the precursor to today's //Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals//.
Note: This is essentially a report of the conference. It begins with a short (and nice) recent history of the libraries in the UK.
Note: Interesting tidbit about library workers related to library quality, or the view thereof:
It is not for nothing that the great advance in serious public esteem of the public library in the last fifteen or twenty years has coincided with the raising of the standard of entry of junior assistants from the age of fourteen or fifteen to that of seventeen or eighteen, i.e., from children leaving elementary schools to those leaving secondary (high) schools with at least university matriculation (p. 100).
Note: Then some comments on the effects of Andrew Carnegie's philanthropy.
Note: Esdaile recounts Louis R. Wilson's presentation of his paper on “Aspects of education for librarianship” (p. 101). C. C. Williamson is also mentioned. The author writes, in reference to what Wilson said:
He thought that the staffing of the great libraries needed scientific thinking out and that members of such staffs should have training in scientific research (p. 102).
Note: The mention of a journal I've never heard of: Library Association Record (p. 102), which according to Ulrichsweb, became Library + Information Update in 2002 after merging with Inform. This of course corresponds to the merging of the Library Association with the Institute of Information Scientists in 2002.
W. W. Bishop is also mentioned, in reference to a pre-conference International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) meeting.
Note: Wilson, Williamson, and Bishop represent connections as previous, early authors of *LQ*. This could be why Esdaile is familiar with The Library Quarterly (and is publishing in it). In fact, Esdaile attended the IFLA meeting that Wilson and Bishop attended (the latter becoming IFLA's second president). It's currently unknown, to me, how well disseminated LQ was at this time, only half way through its second volume. The conference took place in August 1931 and there is no submission date attached to this piece. Esdaile was elected as an IFLA vice-president along with Marcel Godet, who became IFLA's third president, and Bishop who became the second president. Quick IFLA past president info.
Reflection: I didn't expect to get so much out of this article.
This entry is about:
Reece, Ernest J. (1932). What Library Schools Are Not. The Library Quarterly, 2(2), 106-112. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301878
Note: The second article of the second issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “What Library Schools Are Not.”
It was written by Ernest J. Reece, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: Columbia University
Note: With some history of the library school. It's early purpose, Reece argues:
Some device was needed to turn more people into library work, and that quickly. The one adopted, namely, the library school, became by pre-emption and default the agency not alone for training but in large degree that for recruiting, selecting, measuring, apprenticing, and placing (p. 107).
Diversity of function, therefore, is a thing by which the library schools of today have come honestly, and which, incidentally, there is no likelihood that they ever can abandon wholly (p. 107).
And the purpose of this paper:
It is fitting to consider, however, to what extent present conditions warrant its persistence. In doing so, the several offices referred to above will be touched in sequence (p. 107).
By offices, Reece means the actions listed above: recruiting, selecting, measuring, apprenticing, and placing.
Note: This is an important line of argument that gives credence to the argument that library schools should not be vocational schools:
It is to be remembered, however, that school conditions differ signally [significantly?] from field situations in general and violently from specific field situations, that the circumstances and incentives in a school year for a given student are often abnormal, and that predictions based on school performance therefore are not to be made with certainty (p. 109).
Note: In short, Reece's final note:
The positive principle inescapable in any thoroughgoing consideration of school activities is that the first and last duty of a school is to instruct. This is true for library schools as well as for schools of other types; and in the case of library schools, the time has come to assert it, and perhaps to shout it, rather than merely to allow it (p. 111).
Reflection: It's helpful (and suggestive by the author) to read this article by keeping in mind the difference between and the evolution of the library school of the 1880s and 1890s with the library school of the 1930s.
This entry is about:
Kenneth J. Boyer. (1932). Interlibrary Loans in College and University Libraries. The Library Quarterly, 2(2), 113-134. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301879
Note: The third article of the second issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Interlibrary Loan in College and University Libraries.”
It was written by Kenneth J. Boyer, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: Bowdoin College
Note: A survey of libraries about their interlibrary loan practices.
Note: Interlibrary loaning is one area where libraries have truly progressed, at least in practice, and the advancement in this area is partially due to the ease of fulfilling these requests (the available infrastructure, broadly envisioned).
Although I have experienced a library denying a request of mine (it is rare), I cannot imagine that it would be acceptable as a matter of routine today:
To be sure, we restricted our own requests to books for use in serious research; only once did we attempt to borrow a book for an undergraduate, an exceptional case in which the student was doing what amounted to Master's degree research (even then we were refused the loan) (p. 113).
Notice, also, the level of expectation and the level of regulation or gatekeeping in the above passage. The librarian neither expects to receive a request nor to fulfill a request. Further, requests are only really considered in matters of serious research. This meant that the librarian had to make a judgement call about the seriousness of the patron's needs and that there existed a kind of a decision rule with regards to undergraduates — that their information needs will rarely be greater than the cost to request a loan from another library.
Given this, however, the purpose of this article involves finding a way to progress in this matter—to give more attention to the information needs of all patrons. I know a little of this history, but it would be worthwhile to investigate more deeply—to see what documentation existed that discussed this matter.
Reflection: There is in this article a really important lesson about information expectations. We expect it to be free and quickly accessible today. Tracing these expectations, from a history of ideas perspective, would be an important research topic.
Note: Two important statements and several important implications in this passage:
One library reported that in certain cases faculty members and graduate students are enabled to visit other libraries by a fund provided for that purpose.
And the rest of the paragraph and second important statement:
One southern college for negroes reported that they borrowed freely, “as libraries in the South are not always open to us”—which tells its own story (p. 120).
Note: On privacy:
Only 19 (9.3 per cent) replied that they required the name of the reader for whom the material was borrowed, while 167 (82.2 per cent) answered that they did not do so (p. 121).
Note: On the use of union catalogs:
Borrowers are now better able to learn where their books may be obtained; the Union list of serials definitely locates periodical holdings, and requests for these may be diversified; some localities have regional union lists of serials; there are certain printed aids showing the location of books in special fields (p. 123).
Note: On the accessibility of information. There is an important relationship here between accessibility and expectations (see note above):
Consider for a moment the predicament of a library in New England with one of its books lent to a California library. The book is needed at home and must be recalled. A letter sent by regular mail would take five days to reach the California library; air mail would take about two and one-half days. One day would be lost in calling in the book and preparing it for mailing, and the return trip would take not less than seven days, usually more. This would mean a minimum of ten or eleven days and a maximum of fourteen or more. Meanwhile the local borrower must wait, usually not patiently. Or, for example, a book is absent from a library on the East coast for ten days to two weeks longer when it is lent to a library on the West coast than it is if it is lent anywhere in the adjoining states or even slightly farther way (p. 123).
The beginning of the next paragraph:
Nevertheless, it is to the everlasting credit of American college libraries that 139 (68.4 per cent) reported that they either lend, or would lend if asked, books and periodicals to libraries at a great distance from their own (p. 123).
Note: Although libraries overall seemed to suffer from few losses, it did occur and mostly seemed to happen in relation to the postal service. So this is kind of funny::
Nevertheless, there are losses, and it behooves each library to be as careful as possible. Several libraries reported that they did not ship books during the Christmas season, which is a wise precaution (p. 128).
Note: Who pays for interlibrary loans? The author didn't ask this question but he writes that, fortunately, some libraries provided this anyway. A couple more interesting scenarios:
1 library reported that professors paid the charges one way and that students paid all charges (p. 129).
One library, which originally paid all charges for the professors, made a change in its policy two years ago, requiring the professors to pay all charges; as a result there was a noticeable decrease in requests to borrow (p. 129).
Note: They weren't always a fan of interlibrary loans, as one librarian wrote in:
Consumes much valuable time. It proves to be a costly practice in many ways“ (p. 130).
Note: Still an important consideration for any school that builds a new program:
There is the problem of the college or university giving graduate work without the necessary library equipment to care adequately for the needs of its graduate students (p. 130).
Note: Article ends with a letter about a statewide cooperative plan. Important ending and an important topic, one that would eventually shape the future of library administration.
This entry is about:
G. A. Crüwell. (1932). Contributions to Egyptian Penmanship. The Library Quarterly, 2(2), 135-137. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301880
Note: The fourth article of the second issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Contributions to Egyptian Penmanship.”
It was written by G. A. Crüwell, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: University Library (Vienna, Austria)
Note: A very brief commentary on early Egyptian scribes. Includes two plates (photos) of some early Egyptian pictographs and hieroglyphics.
This entry is about:
Borden, Arnold K. (1932). Seventeenth-Century American Libraries. The Library Quarterly, 2(2), 135-137. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301881
Note: The fifth article of the second issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Seventeenth-Century American Libraries.”
It was written by Arnold K. Borden, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: Dartmouth College
Note: This is a really neat history. Consider how important a thesaurus was:
One gentleman, for instance, made a gift in 1849 to the Harvard Library of a thesaurus, in four volumes, upon condition that he would have free access to it at any time and that, in the event of having a son who needed it, he might have the privilege of recovery (pp. 139-140).
Note: Nice description of the public library (p. 140) built by the will of Captain Robert Keayne (see also Jesse Shera's [[http://uky.worldcat.org/oclc/575422|Foundations of the Public Library].
Note: There's a story about a man named Increase Mather and his library. Turns out Increase Mather is the father of Cotton Mather. Didn't know that. Interesting names.
Note: Regarding Reverend Thomas Bray:
It is difficult, in any discussion of early libraries, to eliminate the Reverend Thomas Bray, rector in the 1690s of the church of Sheldon, England (pp. 145-146).
His genius presided over the origin of so many collections that he is easily entitled to the nook of a prophet in the history of libraries (pp. 146-147).
Note: Nice, short history. Pleasure to read. Borden's second article in LQ so far.