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American Public School Librarianship

A History

Wayne A. Wiegand

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The first comprehensive history of American public school librarianship.

"Can I get a library pass?" Over the past 120 years, millions of American K–12 public school students have asked that question. Still, we know little about the history of public school libraries, which over the decades were pulled together and managed by hundreds of thousands of school librarians. In American Public School Librarianship, Wayne A. Wiegand recounts the unseen history of both school libraries and their librarians.

Why, Wiegand asks, did school librarianship turn out the way it did? And what can its history…

The first comprehensive history of American public school librarianship.

"Can I get a library pass?" Over the past 120 years, millions of American K–12 public school students have asked that question. Still, we know little about the history of public school libraries, which over the decades were pulled together and managed by hundreds of thousands of school librarians. In American Public School Librarianship, Wayne A. Wiegand recounts the unseen history of both school libraries and their librarians.

Why, Wiegand asks, did school librarianship turn out the way it did? And what can its history tell us about limitations and opportunities in the coming decades of the twenty-first century? Addressing issues of race, social class, gender, and sexual orientation (among others) as they affected American public school librarianship throughout its history, Wiegand explores how libraries were transformed by the Great Depression, the civil rights era, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs, and more recent legislation like No Child Left Behind, Common Core, and the Every Student Succeeds Act. Wiegand touches on censorship, the impact of school segregation on school libraries, disparities in funding that fall along lines of race and class, the development of school librarianship as a profession, the history of organizations like the American Association for School Librarians, and how emerging technologies affected school librarianship.

Wiegand clarifies the historical role of the school librarian as an opponent of censorship and defender of intellectual freedom. He also analyzes the politics of a female-dominated school library profession, identifies and evaluates the profession's major players and their battles (often against patriarchy), and challenges the priorities of librarianship's current agendas, particularly regarding the role of "reading" in the everyday lives of children and young adults. Filling a huge void in the history of education, American Public School Librarianship provides essential background information to members of the nation's school library and educational communities who are charged with supervising and managing America's 80,000 public school libraries.

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American Public School Librarianship

Wayne A. Wiegand

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Reviews

Reviews

American Public School Librarianship is a comprehensive and panoramic thematic analysis of the development of the US public school library and its leadership from the nineteenth century to the present. Written with energy and clarity by a distinguished historian, this is a rich story of myth, rhetoric, and survival.

All of us, as readers, have been molded by school libraries and school librarians, and yet their story has never been told. Wayne Wiegand, the dean of American library historians, has produced a definitive and engaging account of this ubiquitous institution, which has always encouraged children to read some kinds of books but not others.

Wayne A. Wiegand has written a masterful history of school libraries and librarianship. Prodigiously researched and beautifully written, his book makes an original contribution to the history of childhood and public education, of women and the professions, and of reading and print culture. A splendid achievement.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
384
ISBN
9781421441504
Illustration Description
14 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction. A Profession with No Memory
Chapter 1. Inheriting Pre-Twentieth-Century Traditions
Chapter 2. "To Prove By Her Work": Establishing the Profession of School, 1900-1930
Chapt

Acknowledgments
Introduction. A Profession with No Memory
Chapter 1. Inheriting Pre-Twentieth-Century Traditions
Chapter 2. "To Prove By Her Work": Establishing the Profession of School, 1900-1930
Chapter 3. Weathering the Great Depression and World War II, 1930-1950
Chapter 4. Organizing the American Association of School Librarians, 1930-1952
Chapter 5. Consolidating Gains, 1952-1963
Chapter 6. "The Golden Era of School Library Development," 1964-1969
Chapter 7. Battles for Professional Jurisdiction, 1969-1981
Chapter 8. "Information Literacy": Old Wine in New Bottles, 1981-2000
Chapter 9. A New Century: Adapting to Shifting Educational Environments
Chapter 10. Hindsight: Factors Influencing the Contours of School Librarianship
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography of Primary Sources
Index

Author Bio
Wayne A. Wiegand
Featured Contributor

Wayne A. Wiegand

Wayne A. Wiegand is the F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University. He is the author of Irrepressible Reformer: A Biography of Melvil Dewey and Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library.