Review of the Week: 1/23/17

"Check out" our current Review of the Week about the American public library.

Part of our lives : a people’s history of the American public library

Wiegand, Wayne A. Oxford, 2015
331p index afp, 9780190248000 $34.95, 9780190248017

Authored by one of the titans of American library history, this volume is a celebration of the transformative role public libraries have played in US society since the second half of the 19th century. The ten chapters delve into the gist of why Americans love their libraries, tracing the history of the public library as an emblematic institution that has contributed to promoting democratic civic values and maintained social diversity by providing commonplace reading materials and public spaces available to all. Wiegand (emer., Florida State Univ.) investigates primary historical sources dating from as early as 1850, which, coupled with contemporary accounts, results in a dynamic canvas that pinpoints the development of the US public library and its significance in the lives of the two-thirds of citizens who carry a library card. Genuinely welcoming places for people seeking information and leisure reading, or for those who want to further their education and acquire new skills, public libraries remain open to all ages, genders, and races. They unite their supporters to fight censorship and defend the core value of intellectual freedom. A good read for anyone, librarian or not.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers.
Reviewer: H. G. B. Anghelescu, Wayne State University
Subject: Reference
Choice Issue: Jun 2016