The Academic Library in the United States

Historical Perspectives


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About the Book

This book advances the belief that the library—more than any other cultural institution—collects, curates and distributes the results of human thought. Essays broaden the debate about academic libraries beyond only professional circles, promoting the library as a vital resource for the whole of higher education. Topics range from library histories to explorations of changing media. Essayists connect modern libraries to the remarkable dream of Alexandria’s ancient library—facilitating groundbreaking research in every imaginable field of human interest, past, present and future.
Academic librarians who are most familiar with historical traditions are best qualified to promote the library as an important aspect of teaching and learning, as well as to develop resources that will enlighten future generations of readers. The intellectual tools for compelling, constructive conversation come from the narrative of the library in its many iterations, from the largest research university to the smallest liberal arts or community college.

About the Author(s)

Mark L. McCallon is a professor and associate dean for library information services at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. His interests include electronic resources management, the history and biography of reading and librarianship.

John Mark Tucker, professor emeritus from Purdue University, served as Humanities, Social Science, and Education Librarian at Purdue and, later, as dean of library and information resources at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Mark L. McCallon and John Mark Tucker
Foreword by John M. Budd
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 294
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9587-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4570-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
John M. Budd 1
From the Bequest of John Harvard to the Dream of Alexandria: Historiography of the Academic Library in the United States, 1638–2015
Mark L. McCallon and John Mark Tucker 3
Introductory Essays 43
The Development of the Academic Library in American Higher Education and the Role of the Academic Librarian
Beverly P. Lynch 45
Perceptions of the Academic Library: Midwestern College Libraries as They Have Been Depicted in College Histories
John Caldwell 60
Book Collections and Classical Training, 1638–1799 69
Books Across the Atlantic
Eric Glasgow 73
Libraries in America to 1850: College Libraries
Elmer D. Johnson and Michael H. Harris 78
Liberal Arts Colleges and Professional Education, 1800–1875 81
The American College Library, 1800–1860
Howard Clayton 85
Formation of the University, 1876–1919 99
The Transformation of American Scholarship, 1875–1917
Arthur E. Bestor, Jr. 103
Research Libraries, the Ideology of Reading, and Scholarly Communication, 1876–1900
Wayne A. Wiegand 118
Experimentation and Redefinition, 1920–1945 131
Private Dominance in Black Academic Libraries, 1916–1938
James E. Hooper 135
Toward a New Cultural Design: The American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and Libraries in the 1930s
Kenneth Carpenter 147
Expansion, Science, and Technology, 1946–1988, Part I 167
The Influence of Computer Technology on Academic Library Buildings: A Slice of Recent History
Philip D. Leighton and David C. Weber 171
Diversity and Retrenchment, 1946–1988, Part II 187
In the Eye of the Storm: Academic Libraries in the Sixties
Fay M. Blake 191
ACRL’s Fiftieth Anniversary: For Reflection, for Celebration, and for Anticipation
Edward G. Holley 201
Digital Expansion, 1989–2015 217
Context and Background [on the Transformation of Scholarly Communication]
Rikk Mulligan 223
Historiographical Futures 229
Historiographical Futures for Library History: Conceptual Observations for Future Historians
­­­Jean-Pierre V.M. Hérubel 233
Further Reading 261
The Academic Library in the United States: Selected Historical Readings
Jean-Pierre V.M. Hérubel, Mark L. McCallon, and John Mark Tucker 263
About the Contributors 271
Index 275

Book Reviews & Awards

A Library Journal Starred Review

• “This well-researched book demonstrates impressive scholarship from beginning to end. The editors are to be applauded for stitching together the right voices in a volume that will be referenced for years to come. Santayana’s 1905 maxim, mentioned in this book’s foreword—’Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’—certainly applies here, as the editors are committed to learning from the lessons of the past….This comprehensive and important work will be deeply appreciated by librarians and historians; a welcome addition to any higher-education library.”—Library Journal

• “The introductory chapter [is] a tour de force of scholarship. This is the book I have been waiting for! [It] will become an instant classic and a seminal work in the historiography of libraries and librarianship.”—Edward A. Goedeken, professor of library and information science, library collections coordinator, Iowa State University

• “Masterful introductory survey…comprehensive in its treatment, and superb in its inclusion of landmark contributions…by the most outstanding scholars in the field of American academic library history.”—Donald G. Davis Jr., professor emeritus of library history, University of Texas

• “A major contribution to the history of academic libraries [and] the history of higher education; [and fills] an important niche in the larger arena of intellectual history. [Should be] revisited often by practicing librarians to understand and appreciate more fully the foundations of the profession…[and] the critical role of the academic library in the scholarly world.”—Larry Hardesty, past-president, Association of College and Research Libraries

• “An impressively informative compendium…erudite and thought-provoking…unreservedly recommended…exceptional in organization and presentation”—Midwest Book Review