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Falling Short of Their Profession's Needs: Education and Research in Library & Information Studies

In Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library (2015), I discovered people loved their public libraries for three main reasons: access to practical information; the library as a place; and the transformative potential commonplace stories had for library readers. Because conventional LIS research and education mostly focus on the first, and largely overlook and undervalue the last two, I argue that by not having core courses in "reading and libraries" and "library as place" in American Library Association-accredited programs, and by not conducting much more research on the effects of both, LIS research and education fall short of the profession's needs.

In a recent article in Inside Higher Ed, Professor Wiegand provides an analysis based on his recent book, Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library, on how we fail to consider all the various assets public libraries provide.

As a primer to the Meet the Author’s presentation on November 4th, this fascinating article will get you thinking about the salient attributes public libraries provide, not only for information studies, but sociologically and politically as well [more].

C-span interview

Part of Our Lives Wayne Wiegand talked about his book Part of our Lives, in which he provides a a history of America’s public libraries. He spoke with Greg Mikkels, director of the Madison Public Library, at the 2015 Wisconsin Book Festival, held at the Central Branch of the Madison Public Library.  Click here to view the c-span interview


Wayne A. Wiegand is F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University.  Wiegand was cofounding Director of the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (est. 1992), and co-founder and first Director of the Florida Book Awards (est. 2006), now the nation’s most comprehensive state book awards program.  He taught in library schools at the University of Kentucky (1976-86), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1987-2002), and Florida State University (2003-2010).