Contemporary Libraries: 1900s-2000s
Let's begin with an overview of the contemporary libraries section of the course. Watch the Contemporary Libraries video at Vimeo.
Libraries were impacted by war, poverty, and an array of social and political issues. Services expanded to include those with special needs, those living in remote areas, and recent immigrants speaking many languages. Libraries expanded their missions to include everything from storyhour and homework help to job fairs.
The image on the right shows the Ballarat Mechanics Institute Library in 1942 in Victoria Australia.
Rapid changes in technology effected both communication and formats of information. It also had a tremendous impact on library management including automation of library systems including circulation and reserves. The reference interview shifted multiple times from face-to-face to telephone-based to web-based tools. The ability to instantly access information around the world changed how people viewed information. From basic reference questions to scholarly search, library users could instantly connect with librarians and resources.
Virtual libraries allowed librarians to reach beyond the walls of the library including websites, social networks, and online reference services through chat and video conferencing. Access to virtual collections including e-books, electronic databases, and digital image collections increased access beyond the library walls.
Let's explore libraries of the 20th century.