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“Public Librarianship” in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences

Public Librarianship

Authors: Kathleen de la Peña McCook and Katharine J. Phenix


Public librarians are the community’s cultural support as providers of lifelong learning, reading, information provision, and a vibrant public sphere for people of all ages. Public librarians provide access to books and all varieties of media to meet the needs of people for education, information, and personal development. This entry focuses on public librarianship as it is practiced in the United States with a brief history of the field’s development in two parts: beginnings to 1966 when the field used a national service model and 1966 to the present with a community-based focus. The education, certification, and working conditions of public librarians are reviewed. The philosophical and ethical worldview of practice with a human rights ethos is described. Finally, current (2009) issues in public librarianship are stated.
Keywords: Adult services; African Americans; American Library Association; American Library Association-Allied Professional Association; Human rights; Immigrants; International Federation of Library and Information Institutions; Lifelong learning; Literacy; Outreach; Poverty; Public Library Inquiry; Public Librarianship; Public Librarians; Social responsibility; Unions; Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Women; Youth services. 

Available February 2010.

Access through USF Library.


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