On the History of Libraries and Scholarship: A Paper Presented Before the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association, June 26, 1979

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Library of Congress, 1980 - Intellectual life - 26 pages
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There are signs that research into the history of libraries and research into the history of scholarship in the West are coming to be conceived as parts of a common enterprise. Generally this combined history can be summarized in terms of two great climacterics: the founding of the Museum and Library of Alexandria; and the refounding, in 1737 at the new Gottingen University, of the encyclopedic research library. This history has three constant and interlinked features: (1) the all-embracing yet dependent nature of the world of books considered as instruments for the attainment of absolute knowledge; (2) the interdependence of the world of libraries and scholarship and the world of politics, administration, and patronage; and (3) the link between the faltering of external support for libraries and scholarship and their internal loss of morale. A consideration of the current state of libraries and scholarship helps to validate this schematism. The way ahead for libraries may lie through the interaction between a constantly enlarging encyclopedic enterprise and a constantly enlarging critical reading public. A brief description of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress prefaces the pamphlet. (ESR)

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