The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland. by Alistair Black, Peter Hoare, Peter Hoare
By Alistair Black, Peter Hoare, Peter Hoare
The general public Libraries Act of 1850 based a convention of public provision and repair which maintains this day, and nationwide and educational libraries have grown and expanded hence. Libraries became an instead of a localized phenomenon, and librarianship has built from a scholarly craft to a systematic career. The essays during this quantity current an image of serious variety, protecting public, nationwide, educational, subscription and personal libraries. The clients of libraries are a tremendous a part of their background and are thought of the following intimately, along the improvement of the library occupation and the effect of latest details applied sciences.
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Additional resources for The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland. Vol. 3: 1850 to Today
4 Select Committee on Public Libraries, Report (1849). 5 W. G. S. Adams, A report on library provision and policy to the Carnegie United Kingdom Trustees (Dunfermline, 1915) (Adams Report). 6 Ministry of Reconstruction, Adult Education Committee, Third interim report: libraries and museums (London, 1919) (Cmd. 321). 7 J. M. Mitchell, The public library system of Great Britain and Ireland, 1 921 –3 (Dunfermline, 1924) (Mitchell Report). 8 Board of Education, Public Libraries Committee, Report on public libraries in England and Wales (London, 1927) (Cmd.
Historians of the public library are consequently best advised to view their subject as a part of, rather than apart from, society. Yet, often popularly portrayed as an unremarkable, ‘backwater’ institution, its relevance marginal and its level of social engagement tending towards the passive, the public library has not always inspired studies that address the contexts in which it has been rooted. The temptation of narrowly conceived, descriptive research has often proved too strong for historians of the movement, many of them librarians eager to draw attention to an institution for which they have considerable intellectual and nostalgic respect and which they may have sought to promote in ways that are accessible, digestible and productive.
These included: a switch to computerised catalogues; the provision of access to the Internet and other personal computing services; an enhancement of the public library’s information role; the procurement of exciting designs for new buildings; improved customer care; and new modes of service delivery, generically termed ‘community librarianship’, that sought to engage more intimately and effectively with disadvantaged client groups. On the other hand, libraries constantly found themselves under financial pressure.