A Little Library History: 1912 Library Director’s Report

I came across this wonderful posting from Mr Library Dude, aka Joe Hardenbrook. Love the way Joe has linked it to present day librarianship.

Some things don’t change. Libraries are a victim of their own branding – hard to get past the perception of a library as purely a repository of books and librarians doing nothing but shelving them, with a bit of cataloging.

Thank you Joe for posting this. Hope you enjoy it too.

Mr. Library Dude

Last week was National Library Week. Our library director shared with us her predecessor’s library report from 1912. I was struck by how many of the report’s themes are still integral to today’s libraries.

Library Director's Report from 1912 - photo courtesy Carroll University Archives Library Director’s Report from 1912 – courtesy Carroll University Archives

Authored by Amanda Flattery, who worked as college librarian from 1905-1915 and who was described as possessing “outstanding scholarship, high ideals, and ready humor” (see her obituary – page 2), starts her report by describing the the juggling of multiple duties. Sound familiar, librarians? It then moves on to the year’s major activities and issues. Here’s where I see parallels to today’s library work:

  • Creating bibliographies: Aren’t those today’s LibGuides?
  • Students unable to find desired information: Yep, even in today’s info-rich environment, this is still a hallmark of what we do.
  • A course in reference work and bibliography: That has morphed into information literacy.

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