Library Juice 1:33 - September 16, 1998

1. IFLA Social Responsibilities Discussion Group website 
3. Joint letter on database legislation wheedling into a WIPO copyright bill 
4. Dublin Core Metadata for Resource Discovery (RFC 2413) 
6. A Classification System For Libraries of Judaica 
7. Internet Library of Early Journals (ILEJ) 
8. Starr Report a challenge for internet filters 
9. - most comprehensive directory of non-profit jobs 
10. New Members Round Table accepting applications for a grant and an award 
11. Nominations sought for 1999 RUSA Awards 
13. CALL FOR PAPERS - Annals of Information Technology and Librarianship 
14. _Librarianship and Legitmacy:  The Ideology of the Public Library Inquiry_ 
Quote for the week: 
"If information is not neutral, if moral judgments are part of information  
usage, and if one of our jobs as a profession is to recognize those judgments  
and to make decisions, it would seem that certain principles of truth, justice,  
equality, and freedom must be defining values of the profession." 
-Mark Alfino & Linda Pierce, p. 123 of their _Information Ethics for Librarians_ 
(Editor's comment: I have to think about this. Whose judgments are being  
refered to, the librarian's or the user's?  And why make the stated principles  
and not others - such as "Family Values" - the defining values of the  
Note to readers: Library Juice mailings are too long for some email systems to  
display.  If you aren't able to read all of Library Juice, try having it sent  
to a different address (if possible) or read it on the web, at: 
1. IFLA Social Responsibilities Discussion Group website 
Sender: owner-srrtac-l[at] 
You can check out the brand new IFLA Social Responsibilities Discussion 
Group website at: 
Five of six of our discussion papers are there.  The last one is coming soon. 
(IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations -ed.) 
Al Kagan 
Africana Unit, Room 328 
University of Illinois Library 
1408 W. Gregory Drive 
Urbana, IL 61801, USA 
tel. 217-333-6519 
fax. 217-333-2214 
e-mail. akagan[at] 
In some ways the World Wide Web is like all other communications 
There is more material available about Palestine originating from outside 
the country than from within it. 
In fact, most of the information flow on the Internet travels from the 
North to the South, reflecting this bias.  
In addition, Northern categorisation processes are flawed. A visitor to 
Yahoo!, for example, will be interested to see that the autonomous 
Palestinian area of Ramallah is listed as being part of Israel. 
Similarly, American news organisation CNN does not even list a single 
Palestinian website based inside Palestine in its Middle East "related 
sites" section. Neither does it have any Palestinian category in this 
Mabrook (congratulations) to the search engines Lycos and Excite, and 
ABC News, all of whom recognise that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are 
disputed territories that are not automatically part of Israel. 
Web surfers direct access to categorised reviews of all websites published 
by individuals and organisations located in Palestine. Get the news from 
those who live it! 
3. Joint letter on database legislation wheedling into a WIPO copyright bill 
To: INFO-POLICY-NOTES <info-policy-notes[at]> 
Subject: database legislation  
The following is a URL for a joint letter by 47 organizations and firms 
in opposition to efforts to attach very sweeping legislation on 
collections of data to a WIPO copyright bill. 
There is a lot of information about the legislation on the Digital 
Futures Coalition (CPT is member) web page, at: 
I will be sending out additional information shortly.  This is quite 
important.  jamie 
James Love, Consumer Project on Technology 
P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036 
202.387.8030; f 202.234.5176, mailto:love[at] 
4. Dublin Core Metadata for Resource Discovery (RFC 2413) 
Dublin Core Metadata homepage 
This Request for Comments (RFC) is the first in a series of Informational 
RFC's to be produced by the Dublin Core (DC) Metadata Workshop Series. This 
first RFC provides an introduction to the Dublin Core, "a fifteen-element 
metadata element set intended to facilitate discovery of electronic 
resources." The RFC also presents the consensus reached by librarians, 
digital library researchers, content experts, and text-markup experts from 
around the world on the semantics of each of the fifteen elements 
(descriptors). The DC elements are title, author, subject, description, 
publisher, other contributor, date, resource type, format, resource 
identifier, source, language, relation, coverage, and rights management. 
Dublin Core metadata has been implemented in several ways, including as 
HTML metatags and as database elements, as it is used in the Scout Report 
Signpost (discussed in the June 20, 1997 issue of the Scout 
Report-- Add 
itional information about the Dublin Core Workshop Series, DC semantics and 
syntax, working papers, and projects that have implemented Dublin Core 
metadata can be found at the Dublin Core Metadata homepage. [AG] 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 
Project 1994-1998. 
CURRENT SCIENCE TITLES is a new, free one-way distribution list from 
Science-Week (discussed in the Scout Report for June 27, 1997-- Each 
week, subscribers will receive a listing of ten selected current articles 
"of broad and significant interest" to the scientific community. Each 
listing includes the subject of the article, the lead author, the author's 
affiliation(s), a complete journal reference, and available author contact 
information. [MD] 
To subscribe to CURRENT SCIENCE TITLES, send e-mail to: 
In the SUBJECT line of the message type: 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 
Project 1994-1998. 
6. A Classification System For Libraries of Judaica 
To: Multiple recipients of list LIS-L <LIS-L[at]POSTOFFICE.CSO.UIUC.EDU> 
The following might interest your readers. Please consider posting on your list. 
For Judaica libraries; Schools of Library/Information Science; Jewish reference. 
In August 1997, the 3rd edition of "A Classification System For Libraries of  
Judaica" was published by Jason Aronson Inc.(New Jersey USA). The authors,   
David and Daniel Elazar (Rishon LeZion and Jerusalem) contend that there was  
and is a need for a classification system for libraries with Judaic collections  
to classify and arrange these collections according to Jewish concepts based  
upon Jewish thought and terminology. This is in contrast to the familiar  
classification schemes like Dewey and LC which incorporate the Bible, Judaism  
and Israel into the general world of knowledge without relating them to each  
other in the spirit of Jewish Tradition. 
  A description in detail of 
  including discussions by librarians who have used previous editions 
  is available on the Elazar home page  at the following URL: 
  David Elazar  (MALS  U of Mich  1965) 
  P.S.  If you have already received this - sorry. 
7. Internet Library of Early Journals (ILEJ) 
ILEJ is a joint project by the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, 
Manchester and Oxford, conducted under the auspice of the eLib (Electronic 
Libraries) Programme (discussed in the Scout Report for September 20, 
The project has digitized selected twenty-year runs of three eighteenth- 
and three nineteenth-century journals and placed the images online at the 
site. Journals include: _Annual Register_ (1758-78), _Gentleman's Magazine_ 
(1731-50), _Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society_ (1757-77), 
_Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_ (1843-52), _Notes and Queries_ (1849-69), 
and _The Builder_ (1843-9). Users can browse the journals by volume and 
section, conduct a standard search, or try a "fuzzy search" (limited 
availability). The project has considerable potential for scholars and 
students of British history and literature, although slow loading image 
pages may make it more useful as an online index to these journals. [MD] 
>From the Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 
Project 1994-1998. 
8. Starr Report a challenge for internet filters 
forwarded by Sanford Berman 
---------- Forwarded message ---------- 
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 12:55:58 -0400 
From: Nina Crowley <crowleyn[at]> 
To: kyp[at] 
Subject: "rock 'n' roll porn star" prez 
You would hope some of these people would finally get a clue and realize 
that they can't look anywhere but in the mirror to find moral guidance for 
their kids. 
>Parents, teachers reach for Internet porn blocks 
> Despite their efforts, kids are getting a look at the report 
> By Janet Naylor and Kevin Lynch / The Detroit News 
> Lots of Metro Detroit school kids are talking about civics and current 
> events these days -- but not always for the best of reasons. 
> The lurid revelations in independent counsel Kenneth Starr's report of 
> his investigation of President Clinton have teachers cringing and 
> administrators and parents flocking to Internet smut-blocking software. 
> Russell Gibb, a television and film teacher at Dearborn High School, 
> worries what it means when students tell him jokes -- some of them 
> off-color -- about the leader of the country. "It's funny, but in the 
> same vein, here are high school students who think the president is some 
> rock 'n' roll porn star," Gibb said. 
> "These are things that kids talk about. They are reading it, especially 
> the bright kids. The other ones, well, they are just telling jokes." 
"the other ones" (!) This Mr. Gibb needs to be taken out back and hung by 
his feet for a day or two. Thank god, none of my kids are subjected to this 
> Nena Smithpeters, a Canton Township secretary with two school-age kids, 
> 12 and 16, has blocking software on her home computer -- and is glad it 
> worked in catching the report. 
> "I feel that it's an important issue -- we're seeing history in the 
> making," she said. "However, I think we have to tread lightly with the 
> younger kids.  And keep a tight rein on the Internet." 
> She recommends filters at elementary schools, but thinks high schoolers 
> could probably handle the whole thing. "But I don't think anybody should 
> have to read that stuff," she said. 
> One problem frustrating many administrators: The Starr report is showing 
> up in its graphic entirety on what would otherwise be innocent or even 
> useful Web sites.  
LEST THIS BE FORGOTTEN:  the only filtering software that could 
possibly catch the Starr Report on all its hundreds of mirrors, within 
a few days after its release, is software that filters by KEYWORDS. 
This means the software makes blocking decisions with NO human input 
of any kind -- NO human looks at the blocked pages.  Next time someone 
tries to tell you that only the most discriminating blocking software 
will be used in our public institutions -- the kind where a human 
(supposedly) looks at each page before adding it to the blacklist -- 
remember the blocked Starr Report. ......This last from:  Jamie McCarthy 
Fight Censorship - Listen to the Banned! 
             Mass. M.I.C. 
9. - most comprehensive directory of non-profit jobs 
To: announce[at]IDEALIST.ORG 
It's nice to be able to write you with the following news: 
1. You can now subscribe to two new mailing lists that each 
day will deliver to you a list of all Nonprofit Jobs and 
Internships added to Idealist during the previous 24 hours. 
If you or anyone you know is looking for a nonprofit job or 
internship, you or they can subscribe to these lists at If your organization 
would like to post a job or an internship that will reach all 
those who subscribe to these lists, you can use Idealist to 
do so. As always, all these listings are free. 
2. We have just added a new section for Conferences for 
Nonprofit Professionals around the world. If you work for a 
nonprofit and would like to find out about upcoming 
conferences in your area, or if you are organizing such a 
conference and would like to list it, please go to and click on the Nonprofit 
Conferences link. 
3. All entries in Idealist (organizations, volunteer 
opportunities, services, jobs, internships, events and 
materials) are now re-arranged automatically every night so 
that they can be easily browsed by country and state. In 
addition, all this information is still searchable by 
keyword, location, skill, date, etc. 
4. For those of you who have asked for buttons or banners to 
help promote volunteerism around the world, we have put 
several of these at 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who 
over this past year have worked with Russ and Patsy to help 
make Idealist a better and richer site. We all look forward 
to updating you with more new features in the next few weeks. 
All the best, 
Ami Dar 
Action Without Borders 
Please post this message to any relevant mailing lists or 
newsgroups. If at any time you would like to remove yourself 
from this mailing list, you can enter your email address in 
the Idealist home page at and click 
on the REMOVE button. 
Action Without Borders is a nonprofit organization that 
promotes the sharing of ideas, information and resources to 
help build a world where all people can live free, dignified 
and productive lives. 
Idealist, a project of AWB, is the most comprehensive 
directory of nonprofit and volunteering resources on the Web, 
with information provided by 14,000 organizations in 130 
If your company or foundation would like to support this 
project, please call us at 212-843-3973 
10. New Members Round Table accepting applications for a grant and an award 
Sender: owner-nmrt-l[at] 
This message is being forwarded to mulitple lists.  Please excuse 
the duplication. 
ALA's New Members Round Table is accepting applications for the 
Shirley Olofson Memorial Award and the 3M/NMRT Professional 
Development Grant.  All current members of ALA/NMRT are 
encouraged to apply. 
New Members Round Table Shirley Olofson Memorial Award 
     The Shirley Olofson Memorial Award is presented annually in 
honor of Shirley Olofson, a well-respected former NMRT President, 
who died during her term in office.  The award, which is intended 
to help defray costs to attend the ALA Annual Conference, will be 
presented in the form of a check for $500 at the NMRT President's 
Program during the 1999 Annual Conference in New Orleans. 
Applicants must be members of ALA and NMRT; active within the 
library profession; show promise or activity in the area of  
professional development; have valid financial need; and have 
attended no more than five ALA annual conferences.  The recipient 
of the Shirley Olofson Memorial Award is required to attend at 
least one NMRT Executive Board meeting during ALA's Annual 
Conference, as well as the President's Program at which this 
award is presented.  
Contact: Dora Ho, Shirley Olofson Award Committee Chair 
        North Hollywood Regional Branch 
        Los Angeles Public Library      Phone: (818) 766-7186 
        5211 Tujunga Ave.               Fax: (818) 756-9135 
        North Hollywood, CA 91601       Email: ap520[at] 
New Members Round Table 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant 
     The purpose of the 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant 
is to encourage professional development and participation by new 
ALA members in national ALA and NMRT activities.  All ALA/NMRT 
members within their first ten years of membership are eligible 
for the grant.  The grant is sponsored by 3M's Safety and 
Security Systems Division, which markets materials flow  
management products to libraries to prevent unauthorized  
borrowing and to streamline the flow of library materials.  Since 
its establishment in 1975, the grant has been awarded to 88 NMRT 
members.  The 1999 grant will help finance attendance at the ALA 
Annual Conference, which will be held in New Orleans, LA.  It 
covers round trip airfare, lodging, conference registration fees  
and some incidental expenses. 
Contact: Marilyn Grush, 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant 
Committee Chair 
        2245 Rogene Dr. #101       Phone: (410) 706-1784 
        Baltimore, MD 21209        Fax: (410) 706-0067 
               Email: mgrush[at] 
***   Please note that the application deadline for both 
scholarships is December 15, 1998. *** 
Further details and applications are available on the NMRT Home 
Page (the URL is: and from the 
committee chairs noted above. 
-- Gene               
   Gene Kinnaly  Cataloger  Computer Files & Microforms Team 
  Special Materials Cataloging Division   Library of Congress 
 101 Independence Avenue SE          Washington DC  20540-4371 
email: gkin[at]  voice: (202) 707-2722  fax: (202) 707-7161 
  Co-Chair, Publicity Committee, New Members Round Table, ALA 
           NMRT Home page: 
11. Nominations sought for 1999 RUSA Awards 
Sender: owner-rusa-l[at] 
Nominations are being accepted for the twelve 1999 awards sponsored 
by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of 
the American Library Association (ALA). The application deadline for 
award nominations is is December 15, 1998.  
The awards are: 
The Dartmouth Medal, donated by Dartmouth College in Hanover, 
N.H., is presented to honor achievement in creating reference works that  
are outstanding in quality and significance. It is typically given for works  
made available during the calendar year preceding the award. 
The Denali Press Award, $500 and a plaque donated by The Denali 
Press, recognizes reference works that are outstanding in quality and 
significance and provide information specifically about ethnic and minority 
groups in the United States. 
The Disclosure Student Travel Award, $1,000 donated by 
Disclosure, Inc., enables a student with an interest in a career as a 
business reference librarian to attend the ALA Annual Conference. The 
award is presented by RUSA's Business Reference and Services 
Section (BRASS). 
The Facts On File Grant, up to $2,000 donated by Facts On File, Inc., 
is awarded to a public, academic or school library for imaginative 
programming that would make current affairs more meaningful to an adult 
The Gale Research Award for Excellence in Business 
Librarianship, $1,000 and a citation donated by Gale Research, Inc. 
and presented by BRASS, is given to an individual who has distinguished 
himself or herself in business librarianship. 
The Gale Research Award for Excellence in Reference and Adult 
Services, $1,000 and a citation donated by Gale Research, Inc., is 
presented to a library or library system for developing an imaginative and 
unique library resource to meet patrons' needs. 
The Genealogical Publishing Company Award, $1,000 and a citation 
donated  by The Genealogical Publishing Company, recognizes and 
commends professional  achievement in   historical, reference and 
research librarianship.  
The Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award, a citation, 
is given to a librarian who has made significant contributions to library 
adult services. 
The Isadore Gilbert Mudge*R.R. Bowker Award, $1,500 and a 
citation donated by R.R. Bowker, is given to a person who has made a 
distinguished contribution to reference librarianship. 
The Reference Service Press Award, $1,000 donated by Reference 
Service Press, Inc., recognizes the most outstanding article published in 
 Reference and User Services Quarterly, RUSA's official journal, during 
 the preceding two volume years. 
The John Sessions Memorial Award, a plaque donated by the 
AFL/CIO, recognizes the efforts of a library or library system to work 
with the labor community. 
The Louis Shores-Oryx Press Award, $1,000 donated by Oryx 
Press, is given to an individual, team of individuals or an organization to 
recognize excellence in the reviewing of books and other materials for 
For more information, contact the Sheila Henson at 800-545-2433, ext. 
4398, Fax  312-944-8085, E-mail:shenson[at], or visit the RUSA 
Web site at html. 
  Sheila Henson 
  RUSA Office 
  800-545-2433, ext. 4398  
Sender: owner-diversity-l[at] 
The Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA), a 
division of the American Library Association (ALA), is now accepting 
applications for its Cultural Diversity Grant.  The application deadline is 
December 1. 
The goals of this program are to support the creation and dissemination 
of resource that will assist library administrators and managers in 
developing a vision and commitment to diversity, and in fostering and 
sustaining diversity throughout their institutions ; to increase the 
representation and advancement of people of color in the field of library 
administration and management and to establish productive partnerships 
between LAMA and major national organizations representing minority 
interests; to strengthen the diversity of LAMA membership, committees, 
and officers and integrate diversity into all aspects of the Association's 
The LAMA Cultural Diversity Grant is available to LAMA members or 
LAMA units in support of the grant program goals.  Members of the 
LAMA Cultural Diversity Committee are ineligible. 
An application form and guidelines are available at; or contact Shonda Russell, 
Communications Assistant, LAMA, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 
60611.  E-mail:  srussell[at]  Fax:  312/280-5033. 
Reinette F. Jones 
University of Kentucky 
College of Communications 
(on sabbatical till 1/99) 
13. CALL FOR PAPERS - Annals of Information Technology and Librarianship 
Annals of Information Technology and Librarianship 
Edited by Gregory A. Crawford and Gary W. White 
Technological advances over the past three decades have created new 
challenges and opportunities for libraries and librarians.  As a 
result of automation and computerization, services to users have 
changed, the management of libraries has evolved, the roles of 
librarians have multiplied, and the impact of libraries on their 
client groups has grown.  This new publication, Annals of 
Information Technology and Librarianship, seeks to be a forum for 
the dissemination of research and scholarly articles on the impact 
that information technology has had and is continuing to have on 
libraries.  The publication is peer-reviewed and seeks to offer its 
readers highly relevant and thought provoking articles that will 
enhance their understanding of how libraries and librarians are 
responding to the changes caused by information technologies. 
Information Technology, Libraries, and the New Millennium 
As one millennium draws to a close and a new one begins, there is 
an opportunity to reflect on how far libraries have come and on 
where we would like them to go.  Throughout the history of libraries, 
there has been an acceptance and use of a variety of information 
technologies.  The new millennium presents new opportunities to 
exploit a ever-growing array of information technologies in the 
provision of library services. 
The editors are seeking submission of manuscripts that address the 
issues surrounding the use of information technologies within 
libraries.  Manuscripts which address questions such as the following 
are especially encouraged: 
What will the opportunities be for the expanded use of information 
technologies in libraries? 
How will information technologies be used or misused? 
What will be the impact of information technologies on libraries, 
librarians, and library users? 
How will the organization of the library change? 
What is the future of librarianship? 
What have been the historic impacts of information technologies on 
How will information technologies change the role of libraries and 
How will education for librarianship change as a result of emerging 
Will instruction of patrons differ in the new millennium? 
Will new information technologies challenge the existence of libraries? 
For more information, point your browser to, or contact the editors. 
To submit manuscripts, please see the submission guidelines at, or contact the editors. 
Gregory A. Crawford, Ph.D. 
Gary W. White 
Editors, Annals of Information Technology and Librarianship 
Heindel Library 
Penn State Harrisburg 
777 W. Harrisburg Pike 
Middletown, PA  17057 
(717)948-6076; fax: (717)948-6381 
gac2[at] or gww[at] 
Editorial Board (as of August 17, 1998) 
Rod Bustos, Georgia State University 
Anita Cook, OhioLINK 
Eric Delozier, Penn State Harrisburg 
Pat Ensor, University of Houston 
Shelagh Fisher, Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) 
Patricia Fletcher, University of Maryland, Baltimore County 
D. Kaye, Gapen, Northern Lights Inc. 
Susan Hocker, Miami University 
Peggy Johnson, University of Minnesota 
Tom Klinger, Kent State University 
Lucy Te-Chu Lee, National Taiwan University (ROC) 
Thomas Leonhardt, Oregon Institute of Technology 
Poping Lin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Michael Lloyd-Williams, University of Wales Institute Cardiff (UK) 
William McHugh, Northwestern University 
Keith Morgan, North Carolina State University 
Ian Richard Murray, Loughborough University (UK) 
William Ptacek, King County Library System 
Laverna Saunders, Salem State College 
Ann Margaret Scholz-Crane, Rutgers University 
Charles Schwartz, University of Massachusetts at Boston 
Pamela Snelson, Franklin and Marshall College 
Amanda Spink, University of North Texas 
Lawrence Woods, University of Iowa 
14. _Librarianship and Legitmacy:  The Ideology of the Public Library Inquiry_ 
Date:         Wed, 9 Sep 1998 19:18:27 -0400 
Reply-To: H-NET Discussion List on the History of Library and Information 
              Science <H-LIS[at]H-NET.MSU.EDU> 
Sender: H-NET Discussion List on the History of Library and Information 
              Science <H-LIS[at]H-NET.MSU.EDU> 
From: Suzanne Hildenbrand <lishilde[at]> 
Subject:      Becker on Raber, _Librarianship and Legitimacy_ 
Published by H-Lis[at] (August, 1998) 
Douglas Raber.  _Librarianship and Legitmacy:  The Ideology of 
the Public Library Inquiry_.  Contributions in Librarianship and 
Information Science, no. 90.  Westport, Conn. and London: 
Greenwood Press, 1997.  xi + 162 pp.  Notes, bibliography, and 
index.  $49.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-313-30234-0. 
Reviewed for H-LIS by Patti Clayton Becker <p2becker[at]> 
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. 
                   Looking for Legitimacy 
At a time when public libraries work hard to stay relevant in 
the eyes of funding agencies and the population in general, it 
is natural to carefully consider the nature and purpose, and 
hence legitimacy, of the institution.  Douglas Raber does just 
that in his book _Librarianship and Legitimacy:  The Ideology of 
the Public Library Inquiry_.  Although a mainstay of American 
culture for almost 150 years, the public library has never been 
able to take its existence for granted.  But sometimes the task 
is more urgent than others.  Such was the case in the late 1940s 
when the country, victorious in war, was on the threshold of 
fulfilling and expanding upon postwar plans in all spheres of 
society.  Business, government, and education agencies sought 
ways to serve--and benefit by participating in--the welcome 
return to peacetime life.  Public libraries also sought their 
place in the reconfigured world. 
Postwar planning for libraries had begun early and continued 
throughout the war.  But the American Library Association (ALA) 
was concerned about the status of libraries following the 
bruising experience of World War II, when library usage dropped 
dramatically nationwide, despite vigorous promotional efforts, 
and when libraries failed to receive recognition for special 
war-related services in the form of federal aid.  Continuing 
poor salaries and low social prestige added to the desire to 
define an appropriate role for public libraries that would 
bolster the status of librarianship in society.  ALA leadership, 
and Executive Director Carl H.  Milam in particular, wanted a 
study done by outsiders to supply an empirical basis for a 
redefinition of the public library. The result was the Public 
Library Inquiry, conducted with Carnegie support by the Survey 
Research Center at the University of Michigan.  The study was 
directed by University of Chicago political scientist Robert D. 
Leigh and published in the late forties and early fifties in 
seven monographs and five supplementary reports by separate 
authors, including political scientist Oliver Garceau, Columbia 
Library School Dean Bernard Berelson, and library educator Alice 
I. Bryan. 
In Leighs words, the Public Library Inquiry was an "examination 
of the objectives, function, structure, organization, services, 
and personnel of public libraries."[1]  Leigh wondered about the 
health and relevance of the optimistic Library Faith, the 
guiding conviction of librarians that providing good books would 
produce a positive benefit to society, whose members, 
presumably, would read them.  The conclusions of the Public 
Library Inquiry were not encouraging.  Only one in ten adults 
and three in ten children used libraries, and many of them as a 
source of entertaining reading, not the sort of serious study 
that would lead to an enlightened society.  The authors 
concluded that since they werent achieving it anyway, 
librarians should abandon the ideal of serving all segments of 
society and concentrate their efforts on providing material of 
"quality and reliability" to "serious groups in the community, 
however small."  According to the Inquiry, this approach would 
have a trickle-down benefit to society through its contribution 
to wise policy decisions affecting the communities.  In the 
meantime, library patrons might read bestsellers for a fee and 
"current trashy material" could be phased out of library 
Clearly, justification for the Library Faith was challenged by 
these findings of actual usage, but librarians of the time were 
loathe to abandon their historic raison detre. The study 
stimulated discussion that has continued to the present day; the 
Library History Round Table of the American Library Association 
devoted a program to the Inquiry at the 1992 national 
conference, published in 1994 as a special issue of _Libraries 
and Culture_.  Douglas Raber was among the contributors to that 
issue.  His book, which is based on his doctoral dissertation, 
is a more thorough treatment in which he proposes to "explore 
consistencies, contradictions, and assumptions inherent within 
the legitimating ideology of public librarianship expressed by 
the Public Library Inquiry"(6).  Raber grounds his discussion in 
the interpretive context of the need of the library profession 
(or any of the "pseudo-professions") for a "legitimating 
discourse" through which to seek validation (p. 7).  The 
Inquiry, according to Raber, was a significant part of that 
discourse since it described a unique role for public libraries 
in democratic society.  Raber claims that "the philosophical and 
ideological arguments of the Inquiry remain strikingly vital," 
even though he acknowledges that the recommendations of the 
Inquiry seem "unforgivably elitist" (pp. x-xi). 
Rabers book is an explication of the meaning of the unique role 
proposed for public libraries; he intentionally does not 
critique the methodology of the study, nor explore areas in 
which the Inquiry was curiously silent, such as gender equity or 
children and childrens services.  Rabers analysis of the 
inherent ideology of the Inquiry is thorough and far-reaching, 
extending from the intellectual fine points of the nature of 
American democracy to more concrete considerations such as why 
public libraries should not try to compete with bookstores.  His 
efforts are more explanatory than critical.  Raber cautions that 
the "elitism" (p. 142) of the Inquiry derives not from its 
preferred audience but from the edifying nature of the preferred 
library materials, yet the tone of his work suggests otherwise. 
For instance, in his critique of American culture Raber claims 
that the Inquiry reflected the "fear" that American political 
life will come to be dominated by private interest groups who 
"in the name of freedom" will "threaten freedom."  He concludes 
that "the public library has a role to play in preventing this 
outcome, but it can be successful only if its efforts are 
directed to the correct audience."  Raber describes this 
audience not as a set group of people, but instead as a dynamic 
construct of an "informed elite of active citizens" who 
"actively seek out and use knowledge" to "contribute to the 
production of new knowledge and the solution of social 
problems."  It is emphatically not made up of people looking for 
vacation reading or children attending story hour:  "That the 
public library might someday base its legitimacy precisely on 
the ability to satisfy public demand is a condition that could 
scarcely be imagined by the authors and supporters of the 
Inquiry" (pp. 96-97). 
Like the Inquiry itself, Rabers book raises many questions, 
which is one reason why both are so germane to current 
discussions about the purpose of public libraries.  Who were the 
10 percent of adults who used the library?  Were they the 
opinion leaders the Inquiry wanted to target?  Given that most 
adult library users sought entertainment from the collections, 
how did the Inquiry propose to make "serious" material more 
attractive and relevant to library users and put libraries in 
the direct service of democracy?  Raber acknowledges that "the 
most problematic contradiction" of the Library Faith was that 
"libraries simply were not used" (p. 78) as founders and leaders 
had hoped, but he does not consider whether carrying through the 
vision of the Inquiry would result in a similar contradiction. 
What made the authors of the Inquiry confident that their 
recommendations would achieve any more success than the failed 
objectives that prompted the Inquiry?  Is it realistic to think 
that self-selected library users would conform to such a 
specific purpose?  Raber admits it is "a little disingenuous" to 
assume "that the audience for public library materials will in 
fact be one that will use them for public purposes," (p. 142) 
but that assumption forms the basis of the Inquirys 
Rabers arguments might better be applied to an institution that 
is less voluntary in nature, such as public education. 
Ultimately one must ask if implementing the recommendations of 
the Inquiry even could help the profession to achieve 
validation.  Raber accepts the assumption of the Inquiry that a 
unique, "legitimate" role in society would provide the 
profession with legitimacy, but he doesnt take into account 
other possible reasons for the relatively low status of the 
profession or other sources of legitimacy.  Wayne Wiegand 
asserts that the structure of the profession and its lack of 
authority to confer "value in information products" have made 
librarianship "a marginal profession."[3] Phyllis Dain suggests 
that even though libraries might not have been used by all of 
the population, it doesnt necessarily follow that this means 
they have failed, asking, "What does use mean?  How can the 
effectiveness of a library be evaluated?"  Although Carl Milam, 
the Inquiry authors, and Douglas Raber were concerned over the 
lack of a clear focus for public libraries as an institution, 
Dain suggests that their "open-ended" nature frees libraries to 
serve "whatever purposes their users have in mind," and that 
their relative lack of power gives libraries flexibility, free 
from "close scrutiny."[4] Furthermore, how can any profession 
claim legitimacy by ignoring the interests of its clientele? The 
Public Library Inquiry is suffused with the elitist assumption 
that librarians know what is best for readers, but recent 
scholarship on reading suggests that trusting library users to 
make their own decisions about what is appropriate reading 
material "respects the readers right to assign value to their 
reading" and "honors their ability to make reasoned decisions 
based on their own sociocultural circumstances."[5] 
Raber thoroughly examines a narrow but defining aspect of the 
Public Library Inquiry.  His sources include correspondence 
between some of the principals, various ALA documents, the 
publications of the Inquiry, and appropriate secondary material. 
I noted one bit of misinformation:  his claim that "World War II 
had witnessed the development of a service to military personnel 
similar to the Books for Sammies program" (p. 28) of World War I 
is misleading; in the later war the military, not the ALA, 
assumed responsibility for establishing and maintaining military 
libraries,[6] with the Victory Book Campaign, a joint effort of 
the ALA, USO, and Red Cross, providing supplementary books to 
those libraries.  Rabers book also contains a number of 
typographical errors. 
_Librarianship and Legitimacy_ provides 
engaging reading, with highly germane applications to 
contemporary discussions of politics, mass media, the meaning of 
democracy, and the role of public libraries in American 
society.  But it is hampered by the weakness of its subject: 
the Public Library Inquiry, while attempting to provide a 
realistic, empirically based model of library service instead 
offered a wishful vision that, although claiming to serve 
democracy, was in some ways undemocratic.  The Inquiry ignored 
the reality of who actually uses the public library and the 
spectrum of legitimate reasons why. 
[1].  Robert D. Leigh, _The Public Library in the United States: 
The General Report of the Public Library Inquiry_ (New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1950), 11. 
[2].  Ibid., 234-35. 
[3].  Wayne A. Wiegand, _Irrepressible Reformer:  A Biography of 
Melvil Dewey_ (Chicago:  American Library Association, 1996), 
[4].  Phyllis Dain, "Ambivalence and Paradox:  The Social Bonds 
of the Public Library," _Library Journal_ (Feb. 1, 1975): 262. 
[5].  Wayne A.  Wiegand, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind:  Why Dont 
We Have Any Schools of Library and Reading Studies?" _Journal of 
Education for Library and Information Science (Fall 1997): 
[6].  Arthur P. Young, _Books for Sammies:  The American Library 
Association and World War I_ (Beta Phi Mu, 1981), 93. 
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