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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

Familiar landmarks in hundreds of American towns, Carnegie libraries today seem far from controversial. In Free to All, however, Abigail A. Van Slyck shows that the classical faandccedil;ades and symmetrical plans of these buildings often mask a complex and contentious history.

“The whole story is told here in this book. Carnegie’s wishes, the conflicts among local groups, the architecture, development of female librarians. It’s a rich and marvelous story, lovingly told.”and#8212;Alicia Browne, Journal of American Culture

“This well-written and extensively researched work is a welcome addition to the history of architecture, librarianship, and philanthropy.”and#8212;Joanne Passet, Journal of American History

“Van Slyck’s book is a tremendous contribution for its keenness of scholarship and good writing and also for its perceptive look at a familiar but misunderstood icon of the American townscape.”and#8212;Howard Wight Marshall, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

“[Van Slyck’s] reading of the cultural coding implicit in the architectural design of the library makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the limitations of the doctrine ‘free to all.'”and#8212;Virginia Quarterly Review

Synopsis

Familiar Landmarks in hundreds of American towns, Carnegie libraries have shaped the public library experience of generations of Americans and today seen far from controversial. In Free to All, however, Abigail Van Slyck shows that the classical facades and symmetrical plans of these buildings often mask the complex and contentious circumstances of their construction and use. Free to All is the first comprehensive social and architectural history of the Carnegie library phenomenon, an unprecedented program of philanthropy that helped erect over 1600 public library buildings in the United States. Van Slyck skillfully untangles the overlapping and conflicting motives of the many people involved in erecting, staffing, and using the libraries: Andrew Carnegie himself; small-town civic boosters avid for new investment; metropolitan library trustees anxious to maintain the elite character of urban libraries; architects reacting to increased professional specialization; a growing number of female librarians; and the children and adults, frequently immigrants, who came to borrow books.

Description

Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-270) and index.

Table of Contents

Figures

Graphs

Table

Acknowledgments

Introduction

One – Giving: The Reform of American Library Philanthropy

Librarians vs. Architects

Andrew Carnegie Enters the Philanthropic Game

Carnegie’s Reform of American Philanthropy

Defining “The Modern Library Idea”

Designing the Modern Library

Carnegie’s Reform of American Library Architecture

Redefining the Nature of Library Use

Conclusion

Two – Making: The Marketing of Library Design

The Culture of Professionalism

The Library Bureau and the Modern Library

The Impact of the Carnegie Library Program

Conclusion

Three – Taking: Libraries and Cultural Politics, Part I

Cultural Politics in Larger Cities

The Impact of the Carnegie Library Program

Building the Central Library

Building Branch Libraries

Conclusion

Four – Taking: Libraries and Cultural Politics, Part II

Cultural Politics in Smaller Towns

Carnegie’s Reception in Small-Town America

Male and Female Visions of the Library

The Temple in the Park

Conclusion

Five – Working: The Feminization of Librarianship

Engendering American Librarianship

Engendering Library Design

Transcending the Limits of the Gendered Work Station

Conclusion

Six – Reading: The Experiences of Children as Library Users

Coming of Age in the Small-Town Library

Claiming New Space in Urban Branches

Conclusion

Postscript

Appendix 1: Notes on the Erection of Library Buildings

Appendix 2: Carnegie Libraries Sampled in Table 4.1 and Graphs 4.1-4.5

Notes

Bibliography

I. Primary Sources

II. Secondary Sources

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226850313
Binding:
Hardcover
Publication date:
03/01/1996
Publisher:
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
Pages:
294
Height:
1.01IN
Width:
6.96IN
Thickness:
1.00
Number of Units:
1
Illustration:
Yes
Copyright Year:
1995
Series Volume:
38
UPC Code:
2800226850315
Author:
Abigail A Van Slyck
Author:
Abigail Ayres Van Slyck
Author:
Abigail Ayres Van Slyck
Author:
Abigail A. Van Slyck
Subject:
Architecture-Types
Subject:
United States Civilization 1865-1918.
Subject:
Public libraries
Subject:
Carnegie libraries — United States — History — 20th century.
Subject:
Architecture and society
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Library architecture
Subject:
Library architecture — United States.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Carnegie libraries

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