Gimme That Old Time Religion: Practicing the Library Faith in the New Millennium

by McGlothlin, James C.

Abstract (Summary)
The Public Library Inquiry, a study performed by an independent team of social scientists at the behest of the American Library Association, was documented in a series of monographs printed between 1949 and 1952. These monographs made repeated reference to the “Library Faith,” articulated by Robert Leigh, director of the study, as “a belief in the virtue of the printed word, especially the book, the reading of which is held to be good in itself or from its reading flows that which is good.” The Public Library Inquiry asserted that the library faith had been the central value of the public library movement in America and that it “retains persistent validity.”

This paper is a brief history of the Library Faith in American public libraries, followed by an examination of work by selected writers about public libraries and public education which focuses on the relationship between reading and democracy and the role public libraries have played and can continue to play in ensuring, in John Dewey’s words, “that an organized, articulate Public comes into being.”

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:David Carr

School:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Location:USA - North Carolina

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public libraries history library inquiry project aims and objectives librarianship social responsibilities reading educational aspects


Date of Publication:04/24/2008

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