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Other titles in the Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book series:

Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book)

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Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) Cover

ISBN13: 9781558495913
ISBN10: 1558495916
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Book News Annotation:

The nature and purposes of the library in all its multiform manifestations are explored by scholars of library science, literature, and history. Their topics include subscription libraries and commercial circulating libraries in colonial Philadelphia and New York, 1898 and the Hispanic Society of America, women writers and their libraries during the 1920s, and preserving the past in a digital era. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Tracing the evolution of the library as a modern institution from the late eighteenth century to the digital era, this book explores the diverse practices by which Americans have shared reading matter for instruction, edification, and pleasure. Writing from a rich variety of perspectives, the contributors raise important questions about the material forms and social shapes of American culture. What is a library? How have libraries fostered communities of readers and influenced the practice of reading in particular communities? How did the development of modern libraries alter the boundaries of individual and social experience, and define new kinds of public culture? To what extent have libraries served as commercial enterprises, as centers of power, and as places of empowerment for African Americans, women, and immigrants? Institutions of Reading offers at once a social history of literacy and leisure, an intellectual history of institutional and technological innovations that facilitated the mass distribution and consumption of printed books and periodicals, and a cultural history of the symbolic meanings and practical uses of reading in American life. In addition to the editors, contributors include Elizabeth Amann, Michael Baenen, James Green, Elizabeth McHenry, Barbara Mitchell, Christine Pawley, Janice Radway, James Raven, Karin Roffman, and Roy Rosenzweig.

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Elizabeth Lenaghan, November 24, 2009 (view all comments by Elizabeth Lenaghan)
The quality of this edited collection was uniformly good, though the vast majority of the contributions were more historically interesting than theoretically provoking. Nonetheless, the book covers topics as chronologically diverse as social libraries in 18th century New England to contemporary concerns of digital archivists. Along the way, the various authors expose their own affinities for libraries (they aren't all librarians, but I would venture they are all accomplished users of their resources) by engaging with a vast array of relevant archives. Personally speaking, I'm still attempting to tease out the relationship that libraries (as institutions) play in the practices of individual book collectors, but these essays helped me to formulate the question underlying this relationship in different ways, prompting me to think about how the ways information is cataloged or chosen for a library controls the type of work likely to be conducted within it. The tensions (still felt) between the role of the library as a democratic space which might reflect the desires of its patrons versus a formative space that might influence the public tastes persist even as collections become increasingly virtual. Regardless of the fate of the codex book in our digital age, libraries will remain vital in the cultivation and preservation of scholarship. This collection nicely demonstrates both how and why libraries have always occupied roles of such importance, while simultaneously promoting the necessity for their continued prominence in the future.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781558495913
Author:
Augst, Thomas
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Editor:
Carpenter, Kenneth
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Intellectual life
Subject:
Library & Information Science
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
United States Intellectual life.
Subject:
Books and reading -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Library & Information Science - General
Subject:
US History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book
Publication Date:
20070831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.20x6.16x.94 in. 1.19 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » American Studies » General
History and Social Science » US History » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Reference » Bibliography and Library Science

Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 368 pages University of Massachusetts Press - English 9781558495913 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Tracing the evolution of the library as a modern institution from the late eighteenth century to the digital era, this book explores the diverse practices by which Americans have shared reading matter for instruction, edification, and pleasure. Writing from a rich variety of perspectives, the contributors raise important questions about the material forms and social shapes of American culture. What is a library? How have libraries fostered communities of readers and influenced the practice of reading in particular communities? How did the development of modern libraries alter the boundaries of individual and social experience, and define new kinds of public culture? To what extent have libraries served as commercial enterprises, as centers of power, and as places of empowerment for African Americans, women, and immigrants? Institutions of Reading offers at once a social history of literacy and leisure, an intellectual history of institutional and technological innovations that facilitated the mass distribution and consumption of printed books and periodicals, and a cultural history of the symbolic meanings and practical uses of reading in American life. In addition to the editors, contributors include Elizabeth Amann, Michael Baenen, James Green, Elizabeth McHenry, Barbara Mitchell, Christine Pawley, Janice Radway, James Raven, Karin Roffman, and Roy Rosenzweig.
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