Whither the Postmodern Library?

Libraries, Technology, and Education in the Information Age

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About the Book

Once upon a time, looking for a book in the library involved an ancient mechanism called the card catalog. Now, most card catalogs are gone forever and patrons gaze at computer screens. As electronic technology becomes more pervasive, or invasive, librarians and library users continue to be embroiled in the controversy over the function of a library and its staff. As “knowledge” loses ground to “information” and techware pre-empts book budgets, library collections are “purged” and reference librarians find their role diminished—except to put more paper in the printer (to serve the voracious wood-pulp appetite of the new paperless society).
The essays in this book analyze the complex issues surrounding the postmodern library and its increasingly impersonal nature, as the librarian at its center is more and more frequently marginalized. The insights and observations, both practical and thoughtful are those of a practicing librarian. An annotated bibliography guides the reader to additional important articles and books that explore the future of the library and the role of technology.

About the Author(s)

William H. Wisner is a reference librarian at Laredo Community College in Laredo, Texas. He has written for such publications as Library Journal, Journal of Academic Librarianship, and The Unabashed Librarian. He lives in Laredo.

Bibliographic Details

William H. Wisner
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 133
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2000
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0795-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1671-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      7

Preface      11

1. The Winter of Knowledge      21

2. Good Technology, Bad Technology      33

3. Good Education, Bad Education      61

4. Whither the Postmodern Library?      87

Afterword: The Self That Remains: Recollections of My Father and His Library      111

The Library in Context: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography      121

Index      129

Book Reviews & Awards

“a highly readable book…engages the reader both intellectually and emotionally”—Public Libraries; “very well written…offers fresh insights into our profession’s struggles and its future role in our society…recommended strongly”—Wilson Web; “well written…recommended”—Reference & User Services Quarterly; “many no doubt agree with [the author’s] contention that the future of libraries depends on people not technology”—Counterpoise; “interesting…[will] find a suitable place in libraries collecting on the social role of reading and learning”—The Australian Library Journal.