Libraries and the Enlightenment

Libraries and the Enlightenment Contemporary American libraries are products of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment the intellectual and political movement that emerged in th century Europe consolidated various scientific and poli

  • Title: Libraries and the Enlightenment
  • Author: Wayne Bivens-Tatum
  • ISBN: 9781936117420
  • Page: 214
  • Format: Paperback
  • Contemporary American libraries are products of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment the intellectual and political movement that emerged in 18th century Europe consolidated various scientific and political ideals into a worldview advocating scientific discovery and experimentation, reason as a touchstone of truth, intellectual freedom to study and publish, skepticism abouContemporary American libraries are products of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment the intellectual and political movement that emerged in 18th century Europe consolidated various scientific and political ideals into a worldview advocating scientific discovery and experimentation, reason as a touchstone of truth, intellectual freedom to study and publish, skepticism about received traditions, individual liberty, political and social equality among all persons, democracy, and toleration of diverse opinions among other beliefs From the 17th century on, libraries were crucial to the development and dissemination of Enlightenment ideals Early modern universal libraries such as the Bibliotheque Mazarine attempted to collect books on every subject to promote study and research and preceded the rise of research libraries supporting another Enlightenment creation, the research university, with the goal of collecting, classifying, and disseminating the human and scholarly record Early circulating and subscription libraries such as the Library Company of Philadelphia were founded by enterprising citizens who wanted to educate themselves about the latest scientific and philosophical knowledge They led to the development of the public library movement in the 19th century, founded on the premise that people needed access to books and information to continue the education necessary for citizens in a democratic republic These two goals of Enlightenment to support the creation of knowledge and to disseminate that knowledge throughout a free society provide the philosophical foundation for modern American libraries, with the ultimate ideal of a universal library universally accessible There can be libraries without Enlightenment, but no Enlightenment without libraries.

    One thought on “Libraries and the Enlightenment”

    1. An enjoyable read that connects modern American libraries to Enlightenment ideas and movements in the history of education.To be honest, I read this as a counterargument to a theory of libraries I've been thinking about, one which explicitly refutes the connection to the Enlightenment which Bivens-Tatum expresses here. Overall, I think this book is more about the history of libraries than their theory and often conflates ethical notions of how libraries should be with how they actually are. It w [...]

    2. If I wasn't reading the library's copy I would have highlighted half of this book. Bivens-Tatum does an excellent job of reviewing the foundation of the public library and especially the American public library. What's amazing, is how relevant the information is still today, and how the early library-thinkers can inform our decisions in the 21st century. For anyone who spends a significant amount of time thinking about why public library's exist, this is a must-read.

    3. Great overview and analysis of German universities, their libraries, and their combined impact on the development of the American research university. Disappointed to find no mention of Paul Otlet, and disappointed to find no mention of the Mafra Palace Library in Portugal, considered by many to be the first of the Enlightenment libraries.

    4. Got this in the mail today and I am so excited. I hope to put it to use for one of my papers in Enlightenment Lit this semester.--Haven't read this in forever due to move and then I would really have to begin over and I was 43% of the way through. I truly believe it is worth reading but I can't say not having finished. [23 Dec 2013]

    5. An excellent survey of the intellectual history of American research and public libraries. Highly recommended. Here's a longer review on my blog.

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