ALA Member
Item Number
ALA Editions
AP Categories
Read a sample of this book now!
1.14 MB • pdf • Download

Primary tabs

You don't need to be an ALA Member to purchase from the ALA Store, but you'll be asked to create an online account/profile during the checkout to proceed. This Web Account is for both Members and non-Members. 

If you are Tax-Exempt, please verify that your account is currently set up as exempt before placing your order, as our new fulfillment center will need current documentation. Learn how to verify here.

  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Foreword by Renate L. Chancellor

Demonstrating how librarianship has been and continues to be a practice of pushing beyond definitions and preconceptions, the inspiring and informative histories in this volume chronicle library workers and users who strived towards making libraries more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

What does it mean for a library to be without borders? This remarkable collection of essays, drawn from the Library History Seminar sponsored by the Library History Round Table (LHRT), explores the roles that libraries have played in the communities they serve, well beyond the stacks and circulation desk. The research contained in these pages shows how librarians and users can not only reach beyond the border separating professionals from patrons, but also across institutional boundaries separating different specializations within the profession, and outside traditional channels of knowledge acquisition and organization. Delving into a variety of goals, approaches, and practices, all with the intention of fostering community and providing information, this collection's fascinating topics include 

  • a critique of library history as it is currently conducted, pointing out the borders of habit, familiarity, and bias that thwart diversity within library and information studies;
  • stories of the community-based activism that has been key to battling the “epistemicide” that can undermine collective understandings about the world and the interests of African American library users;
  • profiles of current Indigenous library practitioners who are both documenting and creating library history;
  • a grassroots movement to create a comprehensive collection related to the theology and practice of the Society of Mary at the time of great ecclesiastical and liturgical changes; 
  • histories of the innovations which led to the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services and the Instruction Section of ACRL;
  • using the “due date” as a lens for understanding how patrons and the general public feel about the role of libraries and their rules in the lives of average Americans;
  • how the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act influenced the work of research libraries that collected materials from the Communist Bloc; and
  • a primer on conducting research in library history that will allow readers to explore how libraries in their own communities have affected the lives of their users.

Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use. 

Foreword: “The Hill We Climb”: Towards Equity and Inclusion in Library and Information Science, by Renate L. Chancellor

Part I        Community Formation and Centers of Literacy
Chapter 1    Locating Activism and Memory: Reimagining 1960s Civil Rights Familial Communities in a Library and Information Context
LaVerne Gray, Beth J. H. Patin, Tyler Youngman, and Rachael Nutt
Chapter 2    “Thank You, Father, for Your Grand Cooperation”: Outreach and the Founding of the Marian Library
Henry Handley

Part II        Library Outreach beyond Borders
Chapter 3    Uncharted Waters: A History of the Bibliographic Instruction Movement and Its Administrative Context
Kelly Hangauer

Part III    Boundary-Setting and Conflicts in Library History
Chapter 4    Better Late Than Never: Stories of Long-Overdue Books
John DeLooper
Chapter 5    Defining the Boundaries of Propaganda: Informational Materials Subject to the Foreign Agents Registration Act in American Research Libraries
Emily D. Spunaugle

Part IV    The Practice of Library History
Chapter 6    Getting Started: Research in the History of American Libraries 
Tom Glynn
Chapter 7    Illuminating Diversity in History Research and Education: A Shared Past, Present, and Future 
Loriene Roy and Rea N. Simons

Afterword: Library History Seminar XIV: The Conference We Wanted to Have Bernadette A. Lear
About the Editors and Contributors

Steven A. Knowlton

Steven A. Knowlton is Librarian for History and African American Studies at Princeton University.  His research has appeared in many peer-reviewed journals, and he has served on editorial boards or as editor for numerous scholarly publications including Libraries: Culture, History, Society.  He has won the Justin Winsor Library History Essay Award twice and is the recipient of prizes from the West Tennessee Historical Society and the North American Vexillological Association.  His first edited book, Oscar Federhen's Thirteen Months in Dixie, or, the Adventures of a Federal Prisoner in Texas, appeared in 2022.

Ellen M. Pozzi

Ellen M. Pozzi is an Associate Professor at William Paterson University in New Jersey. Her research interests include library history and diversity in children's and young adult literature. Her publications include "Going to 'America': Italian Neighborhoods and the Newark Free Public Library, 1900-1920" published in the edited book Libraries and the Reading Public in Twentieth-Century America. She is an ALA Councilor and a past chair of the Library History Round Table.

Jordan S. Sly

Jordan S. Sly is the Head of the Humanities and Social Science Librarians and the librarian for Anthropology, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Digital Humanities, French, German, and Italian studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has published in the areas of library history, the extensions of critical theory in the practice of librarianship, digital humanities, and more.

Emily D. Spunaugle

Emily D. Spunaugle is Humanities and Rare Books Librarian at Oakland University (Rochester, MI). She is published in library history and book history of the long eighteenth century and is co-director of the Marguerite Hicks Project. She has served as chair of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association and as associate editor for SHARP News.

"Deftly examines the role that libraries play in their communities ... This robust collection, originally presented at the 14th Annual Library History Seminar, should appeal to those interested in the history of librarianship and the intersection of social justice and libraries.”
— Library Journal