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Social Functions of Libraries B. Landheer

Social Functions of Libraries

B. Landheer

Published March 1st 2007
ISBN : 9781406770438
Paperback
292 pages
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 About the Book 

Table of Contents Chapter I What is the social function of a Library Page 1 ANALYTICAL PART Chapter H Who reads and why 13 m Devotional reading. 32 IV Culture reading 51 11 V Achievement and compensatory reading 72 VI The library in relation to theMoreTable of Contents Chapter I What is the social function of a Library Page 1 ANALYTICAL PART Chapter H Who reads and why 13 m Devotional reading. 32 IV Culture reading 51 11 V Achievement and compensatory reading 72 VI The library in relation to the function of reading. 91 VII The function of writing and the writer. 112 SOCIOLOGICAL PART Chapter Vin The function of the library 131 IX The library in different culture stages. 152 X The function of books and libraries in contemporary culture-patterns. 171 XI Their role in less - developed areas . 191 XII The Library as a social institu tion. 207 XHI Reading and personality develop ment. 219 XIV The probable future functions of writing, reading and libraries. 237 Selective Bibliography 251 Index 269 Chapter I. What Is The Social Function Of A Library Every historical period has its own mentality, and this mentality tends to stress certain ideas more than others. Thus, it becomes possible to characterize cul tural periods by the philosophy or ideology which they possess. From the very start, however, it is essential to bear in mind that those dominant ideas do not reflect the entire culture of a given period nor is it infrequent that a number of cultures, and consequently philosophies, compete with one another so that the weight of a given idea varies within a given culture and even more in the various culture - patterns which occur at a given time. While in the past, Western civilization tended to consider its own culture as the one par excellence, TT we have learned the relative value of a number of cul ture-patterns so that it has become much more difficult to ascertain the actual value of a certain idea which does not play a dominant rolein one culture. In this way, we have become more aware of the inter - r elatedness of all human affairs, and it is per haps this trend which has given such great weight to the term social. The word social is derived from the Latin so cius which means companion, ally, friend, follower, etc. It has acquired numerous meanings in modern us age, all of which pertain to belonging to or playing a role in groups. It acquired its dominant position in our thought patterns in the late nineteenth and twentieth century 2 Social Functions of Libraries when social policy, social economics, socialism, social work, social legislation, social psychology sociology, social insurance, social psychiatry, etc. became household words, better known than terms like social contract which played a considerable role in the eight eenth century. If a certain term gains so tremendously in value and usage, there must be some underlying psychological reason or motive for this change. It seems most logical to look for this motive in the shift from individual ism towards collectivism which occurred in Western civilisation during that period. This change had so many facets and its influence penetrated so deep and ranged so far, that, for our present purpose, we can deal with a few of its aspects only. Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, rationalism had been the dominant philosophy of Western society, and it was rationalism that made the individual, endowed with reason, the capital arbiter of all things. It is also included the idea that the universe ran according to a rational pattern and that Man, through his faculty of Reason, could gain knowledge of these pro cesses. The tremendous success of the exactsciences gave strong impetus to these ideas, and when the social disciplines began to gain in influence, they were eager to abandon their metaphysical terminology and to imi tate the exact sciences. Consequently, the first social science which reflected and influenced the actual changes in the society of the New Era, viz. political economy or economics, placed the rational individual in the center of its observations...