Foundations of Library and Information Science, Fifth Edition

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

Foreword by Camila A. Alire

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.

Richard E. Rubin’s book has served as the authoritative introductory text for generations of library and information science practitioners, with each new edition taking in its stride the myriad societal, technological, political, and economic changes affecting our users and institutions and transforming our discipline. Rubin teams up with his daughter, Rachel G. Rubin, a rising star in the library field in her own right, for the fifth edition. Spanning all types of libraries, from public to academic, school, and special, it illuminates the major facets of LIS for students as well as current professionals. Continuing its tradition of excellence, this text addresses

  • the history and mission of libraries from past to present, including the history of service to African Americans;
  • critical contemporary social issues such as services to marginalized communities, tribal libraries, and immigrants;  
  • the rise of e-government and the crucial role of political advocacy;  
  • digital devices, social networking, digital publishing, e-books, virtual reality, and other technology;
  • forces shaping the future of libraries, including Future Ready libraries, and sustainability as a core value of librarianship;
  • the values and ethics of the profession, with new coverage of civic engagement, combatting fake news, the importance of social justice, and the role of critical librarianship;
  • knowledge infrastructure and organization, including Resource Description and Access (RDA), linked data, and the Library Research Model;
  • the significance of the digital divide and policy issues related to broadband access and net neutrality;
  • intellectual freedom, legal issues, and copyright-related topics;
  • contemporary issues in LIS education such as the ongoing tensions between information science and library science; and
  • the changing character of collections and services including the role of digital libraries, preservation, and the digital humanities.

In its newest edition, Foundations of Library and Information Science remains the field’s essential resource.

List of Figures
Foreword by Camila A. Alire

1.    The Knowledge Infrastructure
2.    From Past to Present: The History and Mission of Libraries
3.    The Library as an Institution: An Organizational Perspective
4.    Transforming the Library: The Impact and Implications of Technology
5.    Library and Information Science: An Evolving Profession
6.    The Organization of Knowledge: Techniques and Issues
7.    Information Science: A Service Perspective
8.    Information Policy: Stakeholders and Agendas
9.    Intellectual Freedom
10.    The Values and Ethics of Library and Information Science


  •     A.    Major Library and Information Science Associations and List of Additional Associations
  •     B.    List of ALA-Accredited Programs
  •     C.    Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies
  •     D.    IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto 1994

About the Authors

Richard E. Rubin

Richard E. Rubin served as director of the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, from 1999 to 2010 and subsequently became associate provost for extended (online) education at KSU until his retirement in 2013. He previously served as a librarian and personnel director at the Akron-Summit County Public Library in Akron, Ohio. He received his AB in philosophy from Oberlin College, his MLS from Kent State University, and his PhD from the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has spoken and presented at workshops throughout the United States, primarily on aspects of human resources management, including hiring, performance evaluation, discipline and termination, worker motivation, and ethics in the workplace. Dr. Rubin has been active in professional associations on the national and state levels, including serving as a member and chair of ALA’s Committee on Accreditation. Dr. Rubin is the author of numerous publications, including Human Resources Management in Libraries: Theory and Practice (Neal-Schuman, 1991), Hiring Library Employees (Neal-Schuman, 1994), and the five editions of Foundations of Library and Information Science (Neal-Schuman). His articles have appeared in a variety of journals, including Library Quarterly and Library and Information Science Research.

Rachel G. Rubin

Rachel G. Rubin is the associate university librarian for research and learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Previously she was the director of the Capital University Library and the Bexley Public Library. She holds a PhD from Simmons College, an MLIS from Kent State University, and a BA from Carleton College. She is an active member of the American Library Association, having served as a Councilor-at-Large and a member of a variety of ALA and APA committees, including the Resolutions Committee and the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship. She speaks nationally on topics such as management, leadership, and healthy organizational cultures. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, son, and a variety of pets.

”Excellent and up-to-date. I would recommend it for any library/information science program."
— Dr. Lesley S. J. Farmer, Professor of Library Media, CSULB Teacher Librarian Program Coordinator, CSU ICT Literacy Project Manager

"What does it mean to be a library and information science (LIS) professional in 2021? How do our issues differ from those addressed by archivists or knowledge managers or people who work in museums and galleries? What is the body of knowledge that underpins our professional identity? How is it evolving in response to social, political, economic and technological change? What’s the latest? Big questions. Fortunately, lots of big answers in this classic textbook, encyclopaedic in its coverage – and heft! ... For students qualifying and qualified, for practitioners, teachers and researchers, this book is a stimulating, informative and reassuring companion. Thoroughly recommended."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association

Praise for the fourth edition

”In this fourth edition, Rubin excels at providing everything working library professionals and those desiring to become library professionals need to know. This text could be considered ‘the librarian’s Bible,’ as it is so comprehensive in its coverage of the profession. Rubin’s relaxed and conversational writing style makes it a highly approachable text and a valuable addition to any professional resource collection, library and information science classroom, or personal reference."

”Well informed about the latest developments and issues in the field ... LIS faculty who teach introductory courses in LIS should consider assigning Rubin’s text as the primary reading. No textbook can perfectly match every instructor’s desired learning outcomes, but this one may serve well with just a few supplementary readings."

”Continues to deserve its place in the required curriculum of many American MLS programs ... in its latest edition, [it] lives up to the broad expectations set by its title."
— Against the Grain