September 25: Library Lineages

Ajay Suresh, Brooklyn Public Library, via Wikimedia

FIELD TRIP: Brooklyn Public Library with David Giles, Chief Strategy Officer. We’ll meet in the lobby of the Central Library (10 Grand Army Plaza), in front of the Info Commons, at 4pm. Please be on time — if not early — since we’ll be heading to a secure staff area shortly after our arrival! We’ll talk about library strategy with David, then tour the Brooklyn Collection and the “decks” with Diana Bowers-Smith.

READINGS [here’s a summary handout]

Consider the material concerns (and opportunities) of other institutions:

  • Noah Arjomand, “The Struggle for Kabul’s Libraries,” Public Culture 26:3 (2014): 378-92.
  • Skim Matthew Battles & Jeffrey Schnapp, “Scenarios” in The Library Beyond the Book (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014): 55-119.
Libraries Without Borders’ Ideas Box, via LWB


Jan Assman, “Libraries in the Ancient World – with Special Reference to Ancient Egypt,” trans. Robin Benson, In Susanne Bieri & Walther Fuchs, Eds., Building for Books: Traditions and Visions (Boston: Birkhäuser, 2001): 51-67; Thomas Augst & Kenneth Carpenter, Eds., Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007); Thomas Augst & Wayne E. Wiegand, eds., Libraries as Agencies of Culture (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002); Lionel Casson, Libraries in the Ancient World (New Haven: Yale 2001); Roger Chartier, “Libraries Without Walls” Representations 42 (Spring 1993); Alice Crawford, ed., The Meaning of the Library: A Cultural History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015); Sean Cubitt, “Library” Theory, Culture & Society 23:2-3 (2006): 581-606; *Stephanie Ann Frampton, “Alexandria in the Googleplex,” Eidolon (December 22, 2017); Daniel Heller-Roazen, “Tradition’s Destruction: On the Library of Alexandria” October 100 (Spring 2002): 133-153; Edward Howland, “The Public Libraries of the United States,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (April 1877): 722-30; Fred Lerner, The Story of Libraries: From the Invention of Writing to the Computer Age (New York: Continuum, 1999); Alberto Manguel, “The Library as Myth” [Tower of Babel & Library of Alexandria] + “The Library as Space” [on Diderot’s Encyclopedie] The Library at Night (Toronto Knopf Canada, 2006): 6-34, 81-89; Shannon Mattern, “Collected Notes on the Morgan Library for an Article I Meant to Write in 2003 But Never Did” [unpublished]; Shannon Mattern, “Marginalia: Little Libraries in the Urban Margins,” Places (May 22, 2012); Allison Meier, “Researchers Bury Their Noses in Books to Sniff Out the Morgan Library’s Original Smell,” Hyperallgeric (February 28, 2017); Proper Paper, Tweets re: Little Artist-Run Libraries (August 6, 2018); Konstantinos Sp. Staikos, The Great Libraries: From Antiquity to the Renaissance (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press & The British Library, 2000); Alex Wright, Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2008): “The Universal Library”: 70-5 [Alexandria] + “After Alexandria”: 75-7 [Roman libraries] + “Houses of Mumblers”: 86-91 [Cassiodorus, Vivarium scriptorium, subject-level classification, annotation, craft textual production].


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