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LQ Volume 4 Issue 1

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

To return to the list of notes on this volume: volume-4

Article 1

This entry is about:

Kelley, Grace O. (1934). The Democratic Function of Public Libraries. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 1-15. url:

Note: The first article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “The Democratic Function of Public Libraries.”

It was written by Grace O. Kelley, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: Queens Borough Public Library

Note: And this is one of the core beliefs about (free) public libraries:

Of all such essays none has been more truly democratic and liberal in motive, or, dare we say, in some respects naïve, than the creation of the free public library (p. 1).

This article does not take the above notion granted. Instead it examines, and perhaps, criticizes the notion. Such that:

Today, economic and political conditions are such that librarians are being forced to examine these broad assumptions to find out what measure of truth lies therein; to determine more clearly the actual relation which exists between the library and the people whom it serves; and to explain the nature and to justify the results of library service. They are realizing that the hoped-for ends are not implicit nor realized automatically, but that “critical attention” to the direction and character of its growth“ is needed if the public library is to be a “true agency for education” (p. 3).

Again, this is written during the Great Depression.

Note: If there has been a paradigm shift, in a slightly Kuhnian sense but more cultural, then it happened because of a gestalt switch in how libraries have been conceived over time:

Before the appearance of the free library as we know it today it is worth noting that the word “library” had a different meaning. The precursors of the public library had been the private libraries, the proprietary, academy, and society libraries, the college, university, and state libraries, none of these wholly free or tax-supported. The right of using the books was usually granted only to those who met prescribed conditions as to education, fees, and membership, although it is doubtless true that the serious student could obtain the privilege without subscribing to all of the conditions (p. 4).

Note: Just a tidbit – the author uses the term “library world” on page 5. Earliest record of the use of that term?

Note: On special libraries – the term special is in quotes in the previous sentence (unquoted):

The special library, so called for want of a better term, is the direct and inevitable product of the machine age and of the era of specialization in all fields of knowledge. Wealth has increased, education has expanded, and occupational opportunities have changed, releasing vast numbers from routine work and making it necessary for them to prepare themselves for other kinds of activity. The older professions have increased their numbers and have required that their employees meet definite educational standards (p. 5).

Note: The relation of special library and other libraries to the topic of this article, the free public library:

Thus, before and since the era of the free public library, all other libraries have been almost entirely selective institutions established for use under prescribed conditions. Particular needs of certain classes of readers have been met. With the exception of the proprietary libraries, the various types which existed before the public library continue to function today in increased strength and numbers. To these have been added the highly selective special library, a direct outgrowth of the present age of specialization (p. 7).

And in light of these contrasting libraries:

In distinction to all of these, the function of the free public library has been to serve the people as a whole, collectively; the masses, the general public, the ordinary folk, were to be supplied with books in preparation for the duties which democracy was thrusting upon them (p. 7).

Note: Important distinction between public education and public libraries, in terms of control from above:

Where in education youth is guided and regimented in its activity by state-supported teachers who are influenced by the authority of tradition in the form of established curricula, the only guide for service to the clientèle of the library has been the variety of reading interests of library patrons as interpreted by the librarian. True, occasional social pressures restricting the librarian's choice have been brought to bear in the way of censorship of certain books; the actual effect of this, however, has been small in comparison with the total amount of freedom enjoyed (p. 8).

Note: Nice point about what it means to be a librarian given that library use is not at all obligatory by anyone:

The librarian must use his ingenuity and tact to the utmost to arouse and hold his patrons, the actual use of the library never being obligatory in any way, but resulting always from the purely voluntary urge of the patron (p. 9).

Note: As relevant a discussion point today as then:

“An industrial civilization founded on technology, science, invention, and expanding markets must of necessity change and change rapidly.” Any institution which does not change too, adapt itself to the times, and become part of the onward “drive to change,” will be pushed aside to be left perhaps for a time to make a harmless life of its own (p. 10).

The quote is from footnote 16:

C. A. Beard, A Charter for the social sciences in the schools (New York, 1932), pp. 28, 31.

Note: On page 12, the author discusses the recent development of reader adviser services.

Note: Interesting argument about the role of librarians at the end of the article — to make accessible specialized research to the general public in a form that the general public will appreciate.

Article 2

This entry is about:

Danton, J. Periam. (1934). Our Libraries: The Trend toward Democracy. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 16-27. url:

Note: The second article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Our Libraries: The Trend toward Democracy.”

It was written by J. Periam Danton, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: University of Chicago

Note: The Depression is really becoming evident in these articles now.

Note: The previous article hinted at the same idea:

The very fact that an institution is forced to retrench may bring to light possible economies or improvements in efficiency or service which would not otherwise have been noticed (p. 16).

Note: Examining not just libraries but democracy itself:

It is by way of being platitudinous to say that the country and age in which we live are constitutionally democratic, but it may be valuable to recall and examine the assumption from time to time, particularly with regard to certain aspects of institution control and management as these are currently practiced (p. 16).

Note: Interesting turn. This article is about the management of libraries and how democratic their practices are. First the author writes about book selection and incorporating the entire staff, next the author writes about composing annual reports, and then the author provides other examples. This would make an good, historical article for a library admin / management course.

Note: True today?

Corporate wealth has given up within the past twelve months more power than in any previous decade; labor now meets the representatives of government, industry, and the public on equal terms, and the voice of the employee, speaking through the new trade codes, has more authority and receives more attention than at almost any time in our history since the earliest colonial days (p. 19).

Note: The above is followed with remarks on the administration and organization of universities. Important higher education comments here.

Note: On the evolution of librarianship:

To be sure, the librarians-collector, the librarians-bibliographer, and the librarians-scholar of an older day have largely given place to, or been combined with, the librarian-organizer and executive of today (p. 24).

Note: Ends with some provoking questions:

In short, is not the change from the present fairly autocratic administration of libraries to a more or less completely active, participating, democratic one an almost inevitable change to which we ought and must look forward, a change which should be aided in every way, and one for which librarians should prepare and be prepared (p. 27)?

Note: J. Periam Danton was a very interesting person. More about him and his work at Berkeley here: E.g., while this is his first *LQ* article, his last one was published in LQ 65 years later, in 1999.

Article 3

This entry is about:

Borden, A. K. (1934). Libraries and Cultural Renaissance. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 28-35. url:

Note: The third article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Libraries and Cultural Renaissance.”

It was written by A. K. Borden, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: University of Pennsylvania

Note: Borden's third LQ article. The first one (quote a few times so far in *LQ*) is The Sociological Beginnings of the Library Movement. The second one, also historical, is Seventeenth-Century American Libraries. This article is also historical (dealing with cultural revolutions in early England, France, and Italy and the causal necessity of books and libraries), and it's essential thesis is nicely summarized in the last sentence:

Where and when the love of knowledge will blaze forth with renaissance proportions, no one knows, but the genius of the past will doubtless smile first on that place which has been busy storing its treasures (p. 35).

Article 4

This entry is about:

Fuchs, Hermann. (1934). The “Gesamtkatalog” of the Prussian Libraries. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 36-49. url:

Note: The fourth article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “The “Gesamtkatalog” of the Prussian Libraries.”

It was written by Hermann Fuchs, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: Staatsbibliothek

Note: The article is on the development of a union catalog of most of the major libraries in Germany at the time. It's odd reading an article like this knowing a bit about what's happening in German in 1934 (e.g., Hitler was Chancellor of Germany at this time) and what will happen in just a few years from this date.

In fact, I just did a search on Fuchs and it seems he became a Nazi:

Between Two Worlds: The American Library in Paris during the War, Occupation, and Liberation (1939 – 1945) doc file by Mary Niles Maack.

All of the sudden, this article is really hard to read.

Note: In light of future developments, it's also odd to read about American involvement in the creation of this union catalog:

On January 1, 1933, help arrived on a grand scale. The Rockefeller Foundation, in order not only to double the editorial staff but also to aid the participating libraries, granted the funds for five years which make it possible, though not without sacrifice, to do the necessary additional work (pp. 46-47).


Equally gratefully they [the participating libraries] welcome the support offered by the American Library Association and the Bibliographical Society of America in soliciting subscribers for the Gesamtkatalog in the United States (p. 47).

I don't know if anyone has pursued research on ALA's relationship with Germany up to WWII. Needs investigation.

Article 5

This entry is about:

Fuchs, Hermann. (1934). Der Gesamtkatalog Der Preussichen Bibliotheken. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 50-64. url:

Note: The fifth article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Der Gesamtkatalog Der Preussichen Bibliotheken.”

It was written by Hermann Fuchs, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: Staatsbibliothek

Note: The article is the German version of the previous article.

Article 6

This entry is about:

Hanson, J. C. M. (1934). Sound and Unsound Economy in Cataloging. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 65-75. url:

Note: The sixth article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Sound and Unsound Economy in Cataloging.”

It was written by J. C. M. Hanson, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: University of Chicago

Note: This is a nice piece on the importance of doing good cataloging work and on the lack of understanding that some administrators had (at the time) about the complexity of doing good cataloging work (and the associated costs). Good article to cite in case I do more work related to the historical view of librarians by administrations.

Note: Quotes Charles Martel, then “chief of the Catalog Division of the Library of Congress” (p. 67). See footnotes for information about the Martel papers to read. The author indicates that this material should be,

read and re-read by those who ever and anon feel called on to attack the catalogues which aim to give somewhat full and explicit information (p. 67).

Note: And this is essentially the modern agenda:

The arguments so far presented may be summed up as follows: (1) curtailment and omission of information and a lowering of standards of academic and professional training required from the cataloguing staff are not sound economy; (2) not only must the staff be permitted to make the bibliographical investigations necessary to insure an accurate and satisfactory entry, but it must be encouraged in these efforts; (3) competent supervision and revision must be provided to insure a proper correlation of results, harmony, and unity of interpretations and decisions; (4) the road to sound economy lies through the cooperation of many libraries—the more the better—agreement on rules and methods, and the establishment of a central authority to insure unity of effort (p. 71).

Note: Great article. Interesting story about a conversation the author had with Charles A. Cutter. See page 73.

Article 7

This entry is about:

Carnovsky, Leon. (1934). A Study of the Relationship between Reading Interest and Actual Reading. The Library Quarterly, 4(1), 76-110. url:

Note: The seventh article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “A Study of the Relationship between Reading Interest and Actual Reading.”

It was written by Leon Carnovsky, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: University of Chicago

Note: This is the fourth article by Carnovsky. He has an article in each volume so far.

Note: As with Carnovsky's first article in LQ, this is an article about adult education and adult reading. He writes:

When the Graduate Library School was established at the University of Chicago, the field of adult reading was recognized as one directly pertinent to the primary objectives of librarianship and as a field of great social importance in itself. It was felt that cultivation of the field might serve to clarify certain fundamental objectives of public libraries, college libraries, and other agencies for the distribution of substantial literature (p. 78).

Then he provides an outline, with research questions, of what this field of adult reading seeks to ask. Quoted in part (questions omitted):

A. Reading matter available
B. Reading population
C. The demand for reading
D. The status of reading
E. Consumption of reading
F. Effects of reading (p. 78).

Note: Nice quote:

For the union between book and reader is a much more complex phenomenon than might appear at first glance (p. 79).

Note: Much mention of Waples' work on reading. See previous articles by Waple in LQ:

Note: Inasmuch as this article is about preferences (reading), Carnovsky does a wonderful job revealing how complicated preferences are and how complicated it is to measure them. Consider the following passage. Carnovsky makes a go at measuring preferences, but he hedges his bets:

But if it were possible to measure, however roughly, the extent to which the objective factors have been present and thus have influenced reading, it would be possible to understand their influences as affecting reading interests. In the following discussion an approach is made to the problem of indicating and measuring certain factors whose presence or absence probably bears a definite relationship to the reading done (p. 83).

Note: This is a long, detailed article and what Carnovsky is trying to do is to, begin at least, establish some causal factors that lead to reading particular works. Or at least have a discussion about the possibility of that. He knows it's big game hunting and that he's not going to accomplish it with this study (which is nicely described), but the goal seems to be his main agenda.

Article 8

This entry is about:

Wilson, Louis R. (1934). Richard Rogers Bowker: September 4, 1848-November 12, 1933. *The Library Quarterly, 4*(1), 111-112. url:

Note: The eighth article of the first issue of the fourth volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Richard Rogers Bowker: September 4, 1848-November 12, 1933.”

It was written by Louis R. Wilson, who was affiliated with:

Affiliation: University of Chicago

Note: A respectful obituary of Richard Rogers Bowker, one of the founders of the American Library Association and the Library Journal.

Note: It should be noted that Bowker (and many in the profession) were not a fan of LQ at the beginning. See my notes on Steve Norman's (1988) article on the early years of LQ:

Steve Norman, 1988, notes

lq/volume-4-issue-1.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/07 08:55 by seanburns