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

This book is available in e-book format for libraries and individuals through aggregators and other distributors—ask your current vendor or contact us for more information. Examination copies are available for instructors who are interested in adopting this title for course use.

Put simply, there is no text about public librarianship more rigorous or comprehensive than McCook's survey. Now, the REFORMA Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author has teamed up with noted public library scholar and advocate Bossaller to update and expand her work to incorporate the field's renewed emphasis on outcomes and transformation. This "essential tool" (Library Journal) remains the definitive handbook on this branch of the profession. It covers every aspect of the public library, from its earliest history through its current incarnation on the cutting edge of the information environment, including

  • statistics, standards, planning, evaluations, and results;
  • legal issues, funding, and politics;
  • organization, administration, and staffing;
  • all aspects of library technology, from structure and infrastructure to websites and makerspaces;
  • adult services, youth services, and children's services;
  • associations, state library agencies, and other professional organizations;
  • global perspectives on public libraries; and
  • advocacy, outreach, and human rights.

Exhaustively researched and expansive in its scope, this benchmark text continues to serve both LIS students and working professionals.

List of Figures
Foreword, by Felton Thomas, Jr.
Preface, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook and Jenny S. Bossaller

Chapter 1    The American Public Library, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • The Community’s Commons: Heart, Anchor, Safe Haven
  • Evolution
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 2    Development of the Public Library in America, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • Colonial Times to 1852
  • 1852 to the Great War (World War I)
  • State Library Commissions
  • World War I (1918) to the Public Library Inquiry (1952)
  • After World War II: The Public Library Inquiry
  • From LSA to LSCA (1956 to 1966)
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 3    People, Not Institutions: Toward Equity of Access: 1960s—Today, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • Civil Rights and the Role of Public Libraries
  • People and Community Focused Librarianship: Equity of Access Becomes a Core Value for America’s Public Libraries
  • A Strategy for Public Library Change: A Major Transformation of the Philosophy of Public Librarianship
  • Steps toward Transformation: Roles, Responses, Outcomes
  • Thirty Years of the Library Services and Construction Act: 1966 to 1996
  • Transformation and Strategic Planning: 1996 to 2015
  • The New Outcome Era: 2015 to the Present
  • The Public Library in the Twenty-First Century: Core Values and Trends
  • Conclusion
  • Notes

Chapter 4    The Public Library Journey to Accountability, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • Measuring the Outcomes of Library Programs
  • How Do We Convey the Importance of Public Libraries?
  • Planning for Library Service: 1966 to 2014
  • State Public Library Standards
  • Ratings and Awards
  • The National Medal for Museum and Library Service
  • Association Awards
  • Quality of Life and Human Development
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 5    “More and Better Libraries,” by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • The Library in the Government
  • State Library Administrative Agencies and the Institute of Museums and Library Services
  • The Library Services and Technology Act
  • Evaluations
  • Advocacy and Federal Legislation
  • Funding the Public Library
  • Transforming the Perception of Libraries
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 6    The Public Library’s People, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • How Libraries Are Organized
  • The Library Board of Trustees
  • Trustee Organizations
  • The Library Director
  • The Library Staff
  • Union Impact on Salaries and Working Conditions
  • Friends of Libraries
  • Volunteers
  • Overarching Issues Relating to Staffing
  • Continuing Education and Staff Development
  • Recognizing Excellence in Staff and Trustee Development
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 7    The Public Library Building, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook

  • Civic Memory and Identity
  • The Beginning of the Public Library Building
  • Funds for Public Library Construction: Priming the Pump with LSCA
  • Building Showcases
  • Branches
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 8    Youth Services in Public Libraries, by Alicia K. Long

  • History
  • From Core Services to Civic Engagement and Innovation
  • Youth Media Book Awards
  • Key Books and Media Awards for Children and Young Adults in the United States
  • The Future of Youth Services: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 9    Reader and Adult Services, by Kathleen de la Peña McCook and Katharine Phenix

  • Inclusion and Accessibility
  • Reader Services
  • Adult Services during the Planning Era (1966 to 2015): Public Library Roles to Services Responses
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 10    Collaboration and Consortia, by Jenny S. Bossaller

  • Cooperating With Each Other: Consortia, State Libraries, and Cooperatives
  • Local History: Cooperating with The Community and with Other Libraries
  • Community Outreach: Cooperating with Other Groups
  • Public Library Leadership
  • Conclusion
  • References

Chapter 11    Technology in Public Libraries: An Overview of the Past, Present, and Future, by Richard J. Austin and Diane Austin

  • Information Technology in Public Libraries: A Brief History
  • Public Librarianship and Technology Skills
  • Information Technology in Public Libraries Today
  • Kinds of Technology
  • Connections: Library 2.0 and 3.0
  • Electronic Resources and Digital Libraries
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • References

Chapter 12    Global Perspectives on Public Libraries, by Clara M. Chu and Barbara J. Ford

  • History and Purpose of Public Libraries: A World View
  • Worldwide Snapshot
  • IFLA: A Global Voice for Public Libraries
  • Implementing the Manifesto
  • Impact and Advocacy
  • Community Outreach and Services
  • The Road Ahead for Public Libraries Worldwide
  • References

Afterword, by Katharine Phenix
About the Contributors

Kathleen de la Peña McCook

Kathleen de la Peña McCook is Distinguished University Professor, School of Information, University of South Florida in Tampa. The Chicago Public Library recognized McCook as a "Scholar in Residence" where she did a system wide series of events on the role of the public library in building communities in 2003. Author of numerous articles, she has also contributed to many books on librarianship, including Service Learning, Libraries & Democracy: The Cornerstones of Liberty, and The Portable MLIS. She is member of the editorial boards of the journals Progressive Librarian and The Library Quarterly. She was the Dr. Jean E. Coleman Library Outreach Lecturer at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference and spoke on "Librarians and Human Rights." She was the recipient of REFORMA's Elizabeth Martinez Lifetime Achievement (LAA) Award in 2016 and the Joseph W. Lippincott Award in 2019.

Jenny S. Bossaller

Jenny S. Bossaller is Associate Professor at the University of Missouri's School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. She earned her MA in Library Science in 2005, worked at the MOBIUS consortium from 2005 - 2008, and earned a PhD in Information Science and Learning Technologies in 2010. She has been active in state, national and international conferences and committees, including Missouri Library Association (MLA), ALA, ALISE, ASIS&T, and IFLA. She has served on the editorial board of RUSQ for the past four years. Her scholarship covers a wide range of topics, such as free speech, public librarians' role in the Affordable Care Act, library management, equity, education, indigenous knowledge, and reference work. Her teaching focuses on information access, public libraries, and intellectual freedom. She is the co-PI on the Public Library Leadership (PuLL) project, which aims to develop new public librarian leaders with an awareness of community needs, and which involves work with many public librarians across Missouri.

Felton Thomas Jr.

Felton Thomas Jr., is Director, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio. He was President of PLA from 2016-2017.

"A thorough textbook ... Collaboration (among libraries, professional associations, and community partnerships) is highlighted to a greater extent here than in the second edition. Furthermore, a greater emphasis is placed on humanitarian and global concerns, including gender equality, the alleviation of poverty, and climate change."
— Library Journal

"The scope of this third edition is broad and covers the major points of public librarianship, making it a good introduction to the rigors of the field."
— Booklist

"A peerless ambassador for public libraries, educating future professionals, current professionals in other parts of the field, and anyone else interested about the irreplaceable and irrepressible entities that are public libraries ... Even as someone who has devoted my life to teaching about, researching, and advocating for public libraries, I was inspired and delighted reading this third edition—a truly essential book."
— Library Quarterly